Video: Rapha's 1910 Tour de France Challenge

Four riders tackle the Tour de France's original mountain stage

by Tony Farrelly   July 21, 2010  

Rapha Tourmalet still

100 years ago today the Tour de France headed into the high mountains of the Pyrenees for the very first time and this film follows four riders, including’s very own Mat Brett, as they attempt to tackle the original Pyrenean stage – a 326km (204-mile) epic from Luchon to Bayonne taking in over 6,000m of climbing.

The Tour de France was in its eighth edition when the organisers decided to include the Pyrenees for the first time. They’d previously thought that the massive mountains, with their poorly surfaced roads, would be too difficult and dangerous. But in a huge about-face on the part of race founder Henri Desgrange, the initial visit to the Pyrenees included the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Soulor, Aubisque and Osquich in a single day – 21 July 1910. 

The 1910 Challenge from RAPHA on Vimeo.

As well as the crazy terrain and ridiculous distance, that stage is remembered best for the words of eventual stage and overall winner Oscar Lapize. As he crested the summit of the Aubisque he shouted to Tour officials: “Vous êtes des assassins! Oui, des assassins!” And not in a jokey way (we’re sure you can work out the translation for yourself).

Bike clothing maestros Rapha organised a group of riders to take on the same route 100 years on: Graeme Raeburn and Ultan Coyle, who both work for Rapha, Phil Deeker, who runs Rapha’s Cent Cols Challenge, plus our man Mat.

How did they get on? Well, we don’t want to give away the ending, do we? Press ‘play’ to find out.

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Fantastic and well put together video, moving as well, wish I could buy the video.

posted by kdh560 [2 posts]
22nd July 2010 - 7:44


Inspirational, insane, invigorating.

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [418 posts]
23rd July 2010 - 11:07

1 Like

i can't imagine doing a 'hundred' and then realising it's not quite halfway.

posted by pj [148 posts]
23rd July 2010 - 11:27

1 Like

Inspirational stuff. I'd *love* to do this...

Martin Thomas's picture

posted by Martin Thomas [623 posts]
23rd July 2010 - 11:35


Inspired idea, and a fantastic video to boot. Hat.

Bring me sunshine, and dry roads

MalcolmBinns's picture

posted by MalcolmBinns [114 posts]
23rd July 2010 - 14:52


When are these people going to invite _e along? Could use a cushy ite like this to stay fit after this 13th edition of TDF !

Guess i eat too well when on tour, thanks to all on the side of the road for inviting & sharing !

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [406 posts]
25th July 2010 - 12:58