The Biggest TdF Scandals: 1904—The Last Tour

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

Jul 15, 2013
Outside Magazine

The Tour's first winner.    Photo: Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia

"The Tour de France is finished and I'm afraid its second edition has been the last.” So wrote race founder Henri Desgrange following the conclusion of the scandal-plagued 1904 Tour. During the race, nine riders were disqualified for hopping trains or taking rides in cars and trucks.

Along the route, overexcited fans showed their support for their favorite competitors by beating up their rivals. When the race finally reached Paris, it appeared that inaugural Tour winner Maurice Garin had triumphed again. But after ongoing complaints to the French Cycling Union about cheating, the top four finishers were all disqualified, making Garin the first Tour winner to be stripped of his title.

In the modern era, three cyclists have been stripped of their titles post-race: Americans Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis, and Spaniard Alberto Contador. All had their victories revoked for doping violations.

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