Henri Desgrange - regarded by some as 'father' of the Tour de France

@JudyEv (125368)
Bunbury, Australia
August 2, 2017 12:09am CST
We had a marvellous day recently going up, then down the Col de Galibier in the French Alps. This was part of the route of the 2017 Tour de France cycle race. Along the way we passed a monument to Henri Desgrange. I’ve never heard of him but a search on Google revealed that he is often regarded as the ‘father’ of the Tour de France. Desgrange was born in 1865 and set 12 world track cycling records. He became editor of the magazine L’Auto and it was actually one of his journalists actually put forward the idea of a bike ride through much of France. It seems that Desgrange wasn’t convinced that the ride would be a success and actually stayed away from the start of the first race. Riders also complained that they’d be eaten by bears if they ever reached the summits of the Pyrenees alive. However the race was a success and sales of L’Auto soared. The Tour de France has gone from strength to strength. In fact, according to two academics who studied the role of the race, Desgrange and the Tour de France can take credit for familiarising many Frenchmen with the shape of their country
14 people like this
13 responses
@teamfreak16 (41175)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
2 Aug 17
Yep. He started the Tour de France as a way to sell newspapers.
6 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
Have you read the Wikipedia entry? It seems as though the Tour got going almost in spite of him!
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41175)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
2 Aug 17
@JudyEv - No, but I have read a lot about him and the early days of the Tour.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41175)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
2 Aug 17
@JudyEv - When he added the Pyrenees to the race, he called in sick so he wouldn't have to face the riders and their anger.
1 person likes this
@topffer (34483)
• France
2 Aug 17
The Tour went to the Galibier this year, but the tv did not even showed the monument. I think the Tour was in the air of the time. Since the 1880's the bicycle was considered like an instrument of freedom, and there were already races for tough men : Paris-Brest, Bordeaux-Paris and even Paris-Nice, proving that a "steel horse" was more tough than a horse. Speaking of horses these incredible races make me think at the old Pollack's movie "They shoot horses, don't they ?" The Tour de France was a great idea. The length of the stages are more reasonable today, and the Tour de France is no more really a complete tour, but it is stlll very popular, thanks to Desgrange.
5 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
It really seems to unite the people. There are bikes and references all over the place. It was interesting reading the Wikipedia article about Desgrange.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (59673)
• Los Angeles, California
2 Aug 17
It is the most important and prestigious cycle race in the world.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
There are dozens of bikes on roundabouts and at strategic places all round the country. It certainly seems to unite the nation - much like Australia's Melbourne Cup does.
1 person likes this
@andriaperry (52898)
• United States
2 Aug 17
Great history!
4 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
It's an incredible race. That climb up that pass is horrific. I'd be battling to walk up there!
@gilggg (2667)
• Israel
2 Aug 17
Very intresting, I did not know this guy.. well to know that he was the one who founded this famous competition : Tour de France
3 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
Sometimes the people behind the scenes get forgotten about don't they?
1 person likes this
@gilggg (2667)
• Israel
2 Aug 17
@JudyEv Yes, I'm glad you let us know about it
1 person likes this
@vsai2008 (7689)
• India
2 Aug 17
Awesome picture :)
3 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
Thanks. I'm glad you like it.
1 person likes this
@Shavkat (63477)
• Philippines
2 Aug 17
I think it is the best historical place to visit.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
We've been up and down several of the mountains that are used from time to time for the Tour de France. They are all incredibly difficult.
1 person likes this
@Shavkat (63477)
• Philippines
3 Aug 17
@JudyEv I hope the weather is not hot while climbing the mountain.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Aug 17
@Shavkat The weather wasn't too bad really but it is actually cooler driving in the van with the windows open than not driving.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (162526)
• Switzerland
2 Aug 17
Back in times the "Tour de France" was much more complete, in our days the stages are shorter and the tour does not go through all the cities of France, but I know it is still very popular.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
They sometimes include other countries now too, don't they?
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (162526)
• Switzerland
2 Aug 17
@JudyEv If I remember well this year included Belgium and Germany.
1 person likes this
@dollaboy (6225)
2 Aug 17
Thanks for this interesting informative post, Judy
2 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
I'm glad you found it interesting.
1 person likes this
@dollaboy (6225)
2 Aug 17
@JudyEv thanks Judy
@prashu228 (25814)
• India
2 Aug 17
Good to know about him ..
2 people like this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
There are so many things I'm learning as I travel about.
1 person likes this
@Inlemay (16640)
• South Africa
8 Aug 17
Its one of the races that every cyclist dreams of riding. It was my inspiration to walk down the Champs Elysees - after watcing it on Television
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Aug 17
Imagine riding your bike there with all your comrades round you.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
6 Aug 17
On the free channel they have missed a lot of the W "Tour Of France" out this time so I have to go back now and see the days I missed well in parts as the Spanish Commentators do go on a bit. "Tour of Spain" coming up next.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug 17
I didn't even know they had a Tour of Spain!
@TRBRocks420 (79300)
• Banks, Oregon
2 Aug 17
Glad to hear you had a good day and, very interesting.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (125368)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Aug 17
Driving through the mountains is really something. We're not used to it I guess.
1 person likes this