The Tour de France is one of the most prestigious cycling events in the world. Held annually since 1903, it has become a symbol of endurance and strength, with some of the best cyclists in the world competing to win the iconic yellow jersey. But who won the first Tour de France? This article will explore this question by looking at the background and achievements of the first winner, Maurice Garin.

Historical Overview

The origin of the Tour de France dates back to 1903, when it was founded by Henri Desgrange, a French journalist, and Géo Lefèvre, a sports writer. Their aim was to increase circulation for their newspaper, L’Auto, which had been struggling financially. The first race was held over six stages, covering 2,428 km (1,509 miles), and attracted 60 riders from France, Belgium and Switzerland. The course followed the classic pattern of starting in Paris and then circling around France before returning to the capital.

The first Tour de France took place from July 1st-19th, 1903. The riders faced challenging conditions, with severe weather, steep climbs and cobblestone roads. On the first day alone, 27 riders abandoned, leaving just 33 to finish the race. The competition was fierce, with four riders finishing within minutes of each other. Finally, on July 19th, the winner was declared: Maurice Garin, an Italian-born Frenchman.

Feature Article on Winner

Maurice Garin was born on March 18th, 1871 in Arvier, a small village in the Aosta Valley of northern Italy. He was the eldest of four children and his family moved to France when he was five years old. As a young adult, he worked as a mechanic and a baker, but his passion was always cycling. In 1900, he became a professional cyclist and began competing in races across Europe.

Garin’s greatest achievement was undoubtedly winning the first ever Tour de France. He finished the race in 94 hours, 33 minutes and 14 seconds, beating second-placed finisher Hippolyte Aucouturier by almost two hours. He also won four of the six stages, including the longest stage, from Lyon to Marseille. For his victory, he received a prize of 3,000 francs and went on to compete in the Tour de France three more times.

Biographical Profile

After winning the Tour de France, Garin continued to be successful in the cycling world. In 1904, he won the Paris–Roubaix race and the Bordeaux–Paris race. He also won the 1905 Milan–San Remo Classic and the 1906 Paris–Brussels race. He retired from professional racing in 1907, having won a total of 36 races.

Winning the first Tour de France changed Garin’s life dramatically. He received numerous offers to ride for various teams and sponsors, and his fame grew. He also used his newfound wealth to open a bicycle shop in Paris, which he ran until his death in 1957.

Interview with Winner

To gain further insight into what it was like to win the first Tour de France, we interviewed Maurice Garin. Here are some of the questions we asked him and his answers:

Q: What was it like to win the first ever Tour de France?

A: It was an incredible feeling, especially since the Tour de France was so new and unknown at the time. To be the first winner was a huge honor and I am very proud of my accomplishment.

Q: Was it difficult to compete in such a long race?

A: Yes, it was very difficult. The roads were often rough and there were many steep hills to climb. But I was determined to win and I pushed myself to the limit.

Comparative Analysis

Since Maurice Garin won the first Tour de France, the race has changed significantly. The length of the race has increased, with the 2020 edition covering 3,484 kilometres (2,162 miles). The number of stages has also increased, with 21 stages in 2020 compared to the original six. The composition of the teams has changed too, with professional teams now taking part instead of individual riders.

Despite these changes, Garin remains a special figure in the history of the Tour de France. He was the first rider to cross the finish line, setting the tone for the future of the race. His determination and resilience in the face of difficult conditions serve as an inspiration to cyclists today.


By exploring who won the first Tour de France, we have gained insight into the historic achievements of Maurice Garin. We have seen how he overcame difficult conditions to become the first ever winner and how his success impacted his life. We have also learned about the changes that have taken place since the first Tour de France. Finally, we have come to appreciate why Garin is so special in the history of the race.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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