The Biggest TdF Scandals: 1910—The Assassins

Forget about Lance Armstrong. These ten scandals rocked cycling to its core.

Octave Lapize at a six-day race in Paris.     Photo: Rol Agency

Today, a Tour de France without brutal climbs snaking over snow-capped peaks would be unthinkable. However, in 1910, when Tour organizers announced the race route would include the Pyrenees, more than two dozen cyclists withdrew from the starting list in protest of what the considered a dangerous stunt.

Stage 10 of that year’s Tour included ascents of the Tourmalet and the Col d’Aubisque. Only one rider, Gustave Garrigou, was able to conquer the Tourmalet without dismounting his bike (for which he received a prize of 100 francs). At the top of the Aubisque, eventual overall winner Octave Lapize shouted, “Assassins!” as he rode by race organizers, who’d driven to the top to watch the suffering cyclists from the safety of a car.

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