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July 24, 1904: Tour de France on the rocks

Posted by: Ben Welter under Sports Updated: June 14, 2012 - 3:40 PM
 
The Tour de France showed great promise in its inaugural year, 1903. But things got a little crazy the next year. Competitors hitched rides aboard trains and drafted behind automobiles. "Peasants and villagers” living near the 1,500-mile course, perhaps inconvenienced by the event, showed their displeasure by scattering stones and nails on the road and firing pistols at the riders. There were, however, no reports of blood doping.
 
This brief, by the way, is the only mention of the Tour de France in the Minneapolis Tribune in the race's first 20 years.
 

PEASANTS HOSTILE
TO ROAD RACING

 
PARIS, July 23. – The Tour de France bicycle race, for which there were 53 entries, was continued this week, and gave rise to a series of exciting incidents showing the animosity of the French peasants and villagers to road racing.
 
Between Lyons and St. Etienne the villagers scattered stones and nails on the road, and when the competitors passed fired pistols and revolvers at them to express their disapproval.

 

Far from Paris, bicyclists raced past spectators lining a Lake City, Minn., street in about 1900. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)

 

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