Saturday, July 01, 2006

Prologue spinning and a bit of history

I invite you to consider what the Tour looked like in 1906 - 100 years ago! This was three years after the Tour was born and as you can see it had a sporting start. Back then, cyclists pedaled 30-pound single-speed bikes with wooden rims along mostly unpaved roads. They strapped glass water bottles to the frames for refreshment. These were some manly men. They also knew how to grow a proper mustache.

The 1906 Tour ventured into the mountains, where 4 riders were caught riding the train (cheeky!) and given the boot. In the end, only 14 of the 75 starters made it to the finish line in Paris. The winner, Rene Pottier had ridden a fair amount of the 1905 tour on flat tires before abandoning altogether. But in 1906 his luck had turned and he won the Tour. Unfortunately Pottier saw but a brief period of joy. In January, 1907, he hanged himself in the clubhouse of his Peugeot team. The story goes that he despaired after learning his wife had an affair while he was away at the Tour. He was considered the favorite for the next year, but alas it was not meant to be. How sad!

Here we are 100 years later and all 176 riders finished the stage today. It was a Norwegian sprinter named Thor Hushovd who turned in the fastest time. Americans George Hincapie and David Zabriskie came in second and third, respectively. I would have thought Hincapie would be wearing Lance's old number 1 but he is wearing number 3 this year. For the non-cycling fans, (who no doubt are still reading this long cycling story) Hincapie is the Robin to Lance Armstrong's Batman. I don't understand how the numbers get doled out.

Overall it was exciting to watch the coverage as I sat at my wheel and spun some natural colored mill ends from Sheep Shed Studio. Vive Le Tour!

3 comments:

alex said...

Landis looked strong today, despite the weird start...

Star said...

It looked like he might have been a contender for first if he didn't miss the start. It was really strange!

sopranospinner said...

Got a little spinning in at the last minute (10 p.m.). Today will be difficult, but I will manage!