The Col du Tourmalet is still the most frequently climbed mountain pass in the Tour de France, to which it was added 1910. That year, to mark the seventh anniversary of the Tour, the organisers wanted to introduce some new thrills to the race. Henri Desgranges, the event’s founder, wanted to add the Pyrenean mountain passes to the route. He sent his colleagues out on a reconnaissance mission. They came back issuing dire warnings: there were no roads, wild animals posed a threat, some of the populations didn’t speak French.
Did you know?
The Tour was created to boost the sales of a paper. Henri Desgrange, a former racing cyclist and director of the daily paper L’Auto, organised this race in order to win back readers with an interest in cycling, following the court case which forced him to remove the word “vélo” (French for “bike”) from the title of his paper, which was originally L’Auto-Vélo.