Nearly 200 riders across 22 teams compete every year to triumph through the Tour de France's grueling 21-stage, three-week race. A life's ambition for cyclists around the world, the Tour de France continues to draw hopeful competitors and devoted viewers for over 100 years. Boasting a rich history, though not immune to controversy, the race symbolizes a type of athletic opulence unseen in many sports. In 1949, Fausto Coppi represented Italy at the finish of both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia, cementing him as the world's first winner of the Giro-Tour double—a feat he would repeat in 1952. In 1951, only the second race to begin somewhere other than Paris since 1926, cyclists rode through the pristine Massif Central Mountains for the first time. Despite Tour organizers efforts to thwart French cyclist Jaques Anquetil's chances of winning his fourth Tour de France in a row, Anquetil won in 1963—and did it again in 1964.
Before the historic race was shrouded in rumors of unethical winning tactics, the Tour de France was a prestigious sporting event known to capture hearts around the world. Even today, the race serves as a glimmer of hope for aspiring cyclists who hope to achieve the great success of Coppi and Anquetil. Enjoy the ride as this playlist takes you on a journey through time with archival footage of this great race.