generic image of the French countryside

From Newsstands to Glory: A Look Back at the Tour de France's Enduring Legacy

For cycling enthusiasts, the Tour de France isn't just a race; it's a pilgrimage. Every July, the peloton snakes its way through the French countryside, conquering iconic climbs like Alpe d'Huez and battling it out in thrilling sprints. But how did this grueling test of endurance come to be, and why is it considered the pinnacle of professional cycling?

A Newspaper's Gamble: The 1903 Tour

The story begins in 1903. French sports daily L'Auto, facing declining sales, needed a gimmick. Enter Henri Desgrange, the paper's editor, with a radical idea: a multi-stage bicycle race spanning the length of France. The inaugural Tour was brutal. Riders, mostly individual competitors, battled over 2,428 kilometers (1,509 miles) on unpaved roads, often riding through the night. Maurice Garin, a French postman, emerged victorious, but the race's true winner was L'Auto, whose sales skyrocketed.

Evolution of a Spectacle

The Tour's early years were marked by innovation and controversy. Riders resorted to tactics like catching trains or changing bikes to gain an edge. The introduction of the iconic yellow jersey in 1919, the color of L'Auto's paper, offered a new visual element to the race. Team formations emerged in the 1930s, adding a strategic layer to the competition. Technological advancements like derailleurs (gear shifters) and improved road surfaces further shaped the Tour.

Beyond the Finish Line: A Cultural Phenomenon

The Tour de France's impact extends far beyond the world of cycling. It's a cultural phenomenon that unites France. Millions line the roadsides, cheering on the riders and soaking up the festive atmosphere. The race also acts as a showcase for French landscapes, with iconic landmarks like the Champs-Élysées serving as dramatic backdrops for the final stage.

The Tour's Importance to Cycling

The Tour de France is the crown jewel of professional cycling. Winning it is the ultimate achievement, a testament to a rider's physical and mental fortitude. It pushes the boundaries of equipment and training, constantly evolving the sport. The Tour also serves as a breeding ground for cycling legends. Names like Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, and Miguel Indurain are forever etched in Tour history, inspiring generations of cyclists.

Fuel Your Passion at

Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or just starting your journey on two wheels, the Tour de France is an event to be savored. It's a display of human potential, a celebration of perseverance, and a testament to the enduring allure of cycling.

At Threshold Cycling, we share your passion for the sport. Visit us at to browse our extensive collection of cycling apparel and accessories, designed to help you reach your peak performance. For exclusive deals and promotions, like and follow our Facebook page! Together, let's celebrate the magic of the Tour de France and all things cycling.

Back to blog

Leave a comment