The 103rd (2016) edition of the Tour de France has just finished and congratulations to winner Chris Froome. To celebrate the Tour we have prepared some of the worst and the greatest stories of the legendary Tour de France, since the very beginning.
Old bicycle in France, Brittany
The best! Starting from 1905 and following the tumultuous Tour of 1904, there would be no stage during the night.
The worst! In 1906, 3 riders have been disqualified for jumping in a train to save time! Again!?!
The best! In 1910, the Tour included some climbing stages in the mountains (in the Pyrenees) and the concept of the “Voiture-balai” (Broom wagon), which aims at picking up the latest riders (called the red lantern or “lanterne rouge”) was created.
The worst! In 1911, Paul Duboc was the leader of the Tour… until he got thirsty and drunk from a flask that was “kindly” offered to him by an anonymous spectator. Later on, he would succumb and be struck down by a violent sickness. He had to stop riding for a few hours...
The worst! In 1919, 3 famous riders who participated in the Tour de France before the war were killed during World War I and would never take part in the race again. They are Petit-Breton, Lapize and Faber.
The worst! In 1975, Eddy Mercks was about to win his 6th Tour de France. But the French general audience was more in favour with Bernard Thévenet. A spectator became so frustrated he punched the rider in the middle of the climb! After that Eddy Mercks wasn't able stay in front and would loose his top title. Tough isn’t it?
The worst! In 1999, G. Guerini was about to live the most glorious time of the Tour. A clumsy and coarse spectator who wanted to take a picture abruptly pushed him down and made him fall! Lucky him, he would still win the stage, and the rude spectator would be receiving some well deserved public comments!
Every year on 20th March, countries around the world celebrate Francophonie through cultural events honouring the French language.This year the Institut français and Francophonie UK present the national final of the Joutes Oratoires Lycéennes, concluding months of French debating competitions involving 100's of 6th form students across the UK. This event is followed by a screening of the documentary Speak-Up (À voix haute – La force de la parole) by Stéphane de Freitas. The event starts at 3:30pm on 20th March, free but booking is required