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

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 road.cc’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.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

6 comments

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kdh560 [2 posts] 5 years ago
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Fantastic and well put together video, moving as well, wish I could buy the video.

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andylul [410 posts] 5 years ago
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Inspirational, insane, invigorating.

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pj [147 posts] 5 years ago
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i can't imagine doing a 'hundred' and then realising it's not quite halfway.

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Martin Thomas [380 posts] 5 years ago
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Inspirational stuff. I'd *love* to do this...

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MalcolmBinns [115 posts] 5 years ago
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Inspired idea, and a fantastic video to boot. Hat.

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skippy [408 posts] 5 years ago
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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 !