|Competition||Professional and Annual|
|First winner||Maurice Garin|
The Tour de France is an annual multiple stage road cycling race which is mostly held in France, beginning in 1903 when L'Auto needed to increase sales of the newspaper. It has been annually and it didn't run during the two World Wars.
The first Tour de France was held in 1903 with six stages that went all around the country which compared to the modern day, was relatively long with the shortest stage being 268 km from Toulouse–Bordeaux. Maurice Garin won the first ever edition of the tour and it would be his last as he was one of ten that cheated because of the use of cars and trains. This change meant that it went to a point system which would last until 1912 when it was replaced with the time system again. During this time, the stage length was doubled to 11 in 1905 and then 13 in 1906. During that time, Lucien Petit-Breton become the first rider to win two Tour de Frances in a row after winning 1907 and 1908 before François Faber did the same two years later.
Two World Wars
The initial route of the Tour de France was going all around the borders of France and actually stuck to 15 stages between the 1910-1924 editions where the time system coming back in 1913 with Philippe Thys winning the first one before winning the race in the closest gap until 1956. After the war, Belgium kept hold the general classification winner until 1923 when Ottavio Bottecchia became the first winner to come from Italy. An attempt in 1927, with the use of the team time-trials, wasn't a success with Alcyon dominating the race. This appearance was dropped from 1928 and would not return until 1954.
National teams were in, when in 1930, France took the team classification out while in the individual classification it was Learco Guerra taking the yellow jersey. The national team competition went to 1961 before being a minor trophy which is still done to this day. The Maes brothers dominated 1935 and 1936 with both of the riders finishing one-two. Sylvère Maes would win the 1939 edition as that would be the last one before the second world war kicked in.
When the Second World War eased in 1945, L'Auto was nailed shut and the belongings included the Tour was up for grabs. After news outlets organized events around France in 1946, L'Équipe won the rights to organise the 1947 Tour de France as the potential for national teams which was successful before the war. In the first edition back, it was Pierre Brambilla who would take out the title and also aided in taking out the team title. The next year, saw the tour heading outside France for the first time with the tour started in Belgium.