The world's largest cycling race, a national landmark that France values almost as much as the Eiffel Tower and its 360 cheeses! Nothing compares with La Grande Boucle (French for The Great Loop and Tour de France nickname) in the world of cycling. For more than a century, the Tour de France has taken place over a three-week period every summer (except during warfare). It is remarkable in that it draws over 12 million spectators along the streets, in addition to millions of people watching on television from all around the world. La Grande Boucle is also recognized as the most difficult cycling Tour since each year, 200 of the world's top cyclists compete for the renowned yellow jersey.
L'Auto-Vélo, the Tour de France's pioneer!
The first Tour de France was organised in 1903, with the purpose of selling a huge number of newspapers. The event was created and sponsored by the French sports newspaper L'Auto, which thought that a new endurance race throughout the country would draw public attention and increase sales of its decreasing print edition. L'Auto-Vélo was one of the presses that competed fiercely in the 1900s in France to outperform the competitive market. It was printed on yellow paper and edited by Henri Desgrange, a former professional cyclis.
So, La Grande Boucle began as a marketing ploy to only sell many more newspapers. That was right; the Tour was enormously successful. Thousands of spectators now congregate in Paris each year to see the final stage on the Champs-Elysées. The L'Auto trick had succeeded, and this newspaper had garnered a lot of notoriety as the owner of the world's largest bike race.
From the iconic yellow newspaper to the legendary yellow jersey!
During the liberation of France in 1944, L'Auto-Vélo came to an end, although it is still honoured every year with the prestigious yellow jersey. The legendary yellow jersey has not always been used at the Tour. In the first Tour de France, which was won by Maurice Garin in 1903, the race leader was denoted by a green wristband. The famous yellow jersey was first donned in 1919. When La Grande Boucle returned after World War I, the Tour de France's director, Henri Desgrange, devised the idea that whoever had the fastest overall time at a given stage of the race would wear a yellow jersey. The colour yellow was chosen to honour L'Auto, the sports newspaper that established the event and was printed on yellow paper.
Eugène Christophe, wearing the first Tour de France yellow jersey, 1919
The first yellow jersey winner
Despite his inner desire, race leader Eugène Christophe pulled on the first yellow jersey of the Tour de France before the second stage departure on July 18, 1919. He was dissatisfied because he thought both spectators and rivals mocked him since he resembled a canary. Of course, he had almost no idea that a century later, this yellow jersey would be the most cherished prize in the world of cycling. Nowadays, the yellow jersey is the most easily recognized jersey in professional cycling, not just in Paris or on La Grande Boucle, but anywhere.
Of course, we have a wonderful collection of yellow jerseys in our shop! So, pick one of these fantastic jerseys and cycle in the cycling clothes of historic Tour de France heroes.
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