Scaled twice in this year's Tour de France, the legendary Col du Tourmalet climb has been part of the race since 1910 when it was first introduced in stage 10 by race director Henri Desgrange as the capstone to what would be referred to as the "Circle of Death": the Pyrenean foursome of the Col de Peyresourde, Col d'Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and the Col d'Aubisque.
Fifty-nine brave souls set out that July 21st morning to tackle the monstrous stage and the Col du Tourmalet's mystique was born. Following are 30 facts about the iconic Col du Tourmalet's role in Tours past. Here's hoping another 100 years are in store for the mythical mountain.
1 The Col du Tourmalet made its first appearance in 1910 and celebrates its 100th anniversary as part of the Tour de France in 2010.
2 Octave Lapize was the first rider to cross the Col du Tourmalet in the 1910 Tour de France, having to walk much of the dirt road ascent. Lapize would win the stage and later the overall GC, the Frenchman's only Tour de France triumph.
3 Lapize is noted for calling Tour officials "assassins" during the stage after tackling the Tourmalet.
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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.
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