An insightful infographic designed by Joe McNamara, where he makes a clear comparison between 1903 and 2013 Tour de France.
In 1903 riders had to complete the Paris-Lyon route of 467km. Whereas today the longest route is Givors-Mont Ventoux at only 242 km. It is no surprise that the 1903 riders needed 12 rest days, compared to present day riders at only 2 days.
Facial hair-wise, handlebar moustache seemed to be de riguer in 1903, where present day riders tend to sport mutton chops ala Bradley Wiggins. We do hope someone will sport cool hipster beard at this year’s Le Tour. It would be interesting to see the probability at the bookies.
In 1903, riders were allowed to snack on french bread, cigarettes and alcohol. But today they have to stick to energy bars, nuts and electrolyte gels. Maybe that’s why some riders resorted to doping in late 20th century – to make up for the lost energy.
Technology has improved the cycling sports a lot. In 1903, a bike frame is made of steel and wood, weighing 18 kg. Today, a carbon and alloy bike frame weighs only 7 kg.
The only thing that hasn’t change during the 100-year period is Eddie Mercx’s reign over Tour de France.
The data makes the 1903 riders seem stronger than the 2013 riders. However, the present day riders have a better longevity as professional athletes.