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Vintage Cheating at Tour de France – Before Doping

  • Vintage cheating at Tour de France - From poison to taking a train
  • Fighting the mob to win
  • Moving up to heavy weight
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Image source: Agence Rol [Public domain]

While Tour de France refers to Dope de France for many reasons, vintage cheating at Tour de France was a lot more entertaining than today’s doping scandals. Wacky Races is not even close to what these guys did during the beginning of Tour de France. While you are watching your favorite bikers through online sportsbook sites in the US from the comfort of your home, you would never think how dark is the history of this game. The doping situation was a lot funnier. Riders could legally use red wine or champagne mixed with coffee. Taking part in watching the race of real life was a lot funnier as well since spectators were pushing their favorites up on hills and also beating up the ones they didn’t like that much.

Today’s cheaters are lame they are paying huge amounts of money for the newest doping technics or using hidden motors in their bike. Maybe it would make sense to make bets on who is the biggest cheater of all time. However, it wasn’t always like that. At the beginning of the history of Tour de France, racers were a lot more creative in the means of cheating.

Hippolyte Aucouturier – Never accept lemonade from strangers

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He could be a character in Whacky Races!

In 1903 the first Tour de France was held and vintage cheating was immediately there. As doping was not so easy to obtain even cocaine was quite rare cheaters had to come up with other ways. Hippolyte Aucouturier was a strange-looking guy. In 1903 he won two stages of Tour de France, but he was a big favorite for winning the whole race as well. However, he had some problems with his stomach. As he was taking the first few hundred kilometers he started to feel pain in his stomach. First, he was saying that this is due to drinking too much.

It is not clear whether he meant that he drunk too much water or dirty water or he was referring to drinking wine and ether. Drinking wine and ether was a common method at the time to ease pain in the muscles during a long run. According to some sources it was also Aucouturier’s hobby to do that. Which is understandable at some point. Taking part in prestigious competitions can lead to a lot of stress.

Winning after some rest

All in all, Aucouturier had to quit on that day. He went to his hostel to take a nap. Rules were allowing him to get back on the bike the next day. He was competing for daily victories with great success, he won the second and third stages as well. It took almost a decade to find out that he was poisoned that day with a bottle of spiked lemonade.

Aucouturier on the other side of vintage cheating at Tour de France

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I am here to help. Or maybe to sabotage you, don’t know yet. Agence Rol [Public domain]
Next year things got around a bit. Aucouturier was kind of corrupted by last year’s poisoning and was cheating. Well, he was not the only one. The first four riders Maurice Garin, Lucien Pothier, César Garin, and Aucouturier were disqualified. There were many kinds of accusations. There were protesters against the race who attacked riders, trees cut down to stand in the way many were accused of taking a train. But the best amongst them was Aucouturier who was pulled by a car. They tied a string to the car with a cork on the other end – which was held in Aucouturier’s mouth. The Tour was such a scandal that organizers were not sure if it is going to go down next year or not. But it did, and Aucouturier was taking the second place after all.

Maurice Garin professional of the crowd

Maurice Garin was a special character. While he didn’t have the extreme look like Aucouturier, he was like a folk-hero cycling all the time with a cigarette in his mouth. As he started his professional career was also outstanding. He was arriving at the race at Acesnes-sur-Helpes without registering before. At the entrance, judges were telling him that the race is only for professionals. He didn’t care much, he was waiting until the riders started the race. He chased them and won the whole competition. It was very impressive for the crowd but the organizers were not so enthusiastic about him. They paid the prize to the official winner, but spectators were raising double the amount of the winning prize for him.

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No cigarettes in the picture?! Jules Beau [Public domain]

The perfect diet

His first professional win was in 1893, where he was following a strange diet. First of all, smoking al the time. Second, drinking lots of red wine (which was pretty common). Besides this, the winning recipe was 19 liters of hot chocolate, 7 liters of tea, and champagne mixed with coffee. On the Tour of 1904, he was the champion, but unfortunately, he got ripped off his title. Apparently, racers were accused of taking a train, using itching powder on others.

But vintage cheating at Tour de France wasn’t harmless all the time. It’s a fact that fans were a bit carried away making today’s football hooligans look like choir boys. During the contest, the fanatics were beating up rival racers with a stick. Garin was also the victim of the mob, he managed to escape with a broken finger. Possibly there was some gambling involved to heat up emotions that much. However, Garin also had a lot of supporters who were beating up other racers.

Weighing up for the slopes – Vintage cheating at Tour de France

Jean Robic has won the Tour de France in 1947. Robic was quite an underdog usually. Possibly due to his small stature (1.6m and 60kg), nobody taught him as a winner. However, he did it fairly, well almost. Later it turned out that Robic at the top of the hills or ascents were boosted with some weight. His teammates were handing him some water in a bottle for hydration. But he wasn’t supposed to drink it. The bottles contained some heavy minerals like mercury to provide additional weight for him. Then good old physics was just doing it thing on the way down.

Just pay to win

The last day of the post-war Tour was quite a drama. The drama was between Robic and Fachleitner who were competing for the first place. There were some riders in front of us but they were giving a big spurt. Teisseire from the national team was told to drop back from the leading group and help Fachleitner. The three of them were riding together in the last 100kms. It was the time when Robic told Fachleitner to ride with him and let him win for 100.000 francs. Well, Fachleitner accepted the offer and the money was paid after Robic won the race. Not so glorious, is it?

Well, shooting steroids is not glorious either, however, bike races are still great fun. While it’s good to know about racers’ performances when you make a bet on bike races, it can be more useful to know who has the most effective drugs in their pocket. To find out about the most recent news about bike races check online sportsbook news in the US.

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