2010 marks the centenary of the Pyrenees mountains’ inclusion in the Tour de France. It was on the 19th July 1910 that the first Tour stage scaled legendary climbs such as the Col d’Aubisque, Peyresourde and the Tourmalet. ‘Giants of the road’ – riders like Francois Faber and Octave Lapize – conquered monstrous ascents that had never been attempted before by cycle racers, usually on roads that were little more than donkey tracks.
Only a handful of photographs and newspapers, including Henri Desgrange’s L’Auto, could recount the tales of unbelievable human endeavour to a fascinated public. Today, we enjoy the sights of riders like Schleck and Contador dancing their way up these mountain passes covered with spectators via live television feeds and helicopter views.
Of course the sport has changed considerably in 100 years but, in essence, it’s still the mountains that provide the most excitement and prove who is most worthy to wear the yellow jersey.
To read a feature on the history of the Pyrenees click »
To view how Rapha relived the first Pyrenean Tour stage click »