Monday, July 7, 2008

Tour de France ... in England?

Tour de France Prologue 07
Originally uploaded by boarderstu
The Tour de France is by far the world's best known cycling event. Although most of the event is in France, covering some 2200 miles over some three weeks of "stage" racing, the racing sometimes includes other countries.

The Tour de France is a household name in sport, but few know the fascinating historical origins of the race, which stem from the tensions in France over the Dreyfus affair. Dreyfus was a French military man accused of providing secrets to the Germans. A popular sports newspaper called Le Velo maintained Dreyfus guilt while a major advertiser disagreed to the extent they started their own sports newspaper and sponsored an event to promote that new publication. Hence, in 1903 the Tour de France was born as an advertising promotion following a historical controversy.

Dreyfus was eventually exonerated.

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