Thursday, July 18, 2013

Did You Know...Early Racers Went to Such Lengths?

Buffalo Velodrome, France's first cycle track in Paris. It holds 8,000 spectators. Henri Desgrange
(Tour de France founder) holds first world record. in this venue. Photo credit: Wikipedia
In the early 1890s, long before the start of the Tour de France, France adopted long distance racing from Britain and built a plethora of cycle tracks to cater to fans. The Buffalo Velodrome was one of three venues opened in Paris in 1893 alone.

Left: Charles Terront, France's famous rider in the 1890s. He also won the first
 Paris-Brest-Paris. Photo credit: Wikipedia Right: Constant Huret, a professional
 from 1894 to 1902. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
Constant Huret and Charles Terront ruled the top endurance events, but it was Charles who later set himself apart by winning one 1,000km race—2,500 laps of the Velodrome D'Hiver—by bypassing toilet breaks. Instead, he urinated into an inner tube.

Compare that with today's Tour de France riders who stop en mass to relieve themselves on the roadside. If they're caught by officials in a highly populated area they are fined.

*Information garnered from William Fotheringham's Cyclopedia.

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