In the first 10 year of the Tour de France, many of the cyclists cheated by taking buses and trains instead of cycling!
On the July 1, 1903, 60 cyclists set off from Paris. After more than 2400 kilometers of cycling, at an average speed of 25.7 kmh, they returned to Paris on the July 19th, in a competition won by Maurice Garin of France. The Tour de France had been born. The race was threatened in 1904-1914 by an extraordinary amount of cheating, with spectators eagerly trying to ensure that certain contestants failed to finish, and several contestants taking buses and trains instead of cycling, but the race struggled on through these difficult years and mountains were introduced to the circuit in 1905.
Apart from the war years of 1915-1918 and 1940-1946 the Tour de France has taken place every year since. By 2000, the number of participants had increased to 200, the distance covered to 3,660 kilometers, and the average speed to 39.6 kmh. There are now 20 stages instead of the six longer stages that made up the very first race. But that is in no way to detract from those early racers, when both roads and equipment were much inferior to those found today. The Tour de France is now watched all around the world, with an audience that includes many non-cyclists, and is perhaps the greatest mainstream endurance event there is.