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When did you FIRST start following the Tour de France?

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I don't think anyone on this forum is that old.
Jokes asside, I agree; it does get tiring.

There have been too many posts about 2003 as well ;)

I'd have to say 2003... (the bit I watched back in the mid 90es doesn't count)
But must admit I often doesn't really watch the first week... more of a mountain-type (watching, not riding mind you) can't see the fun in a flat stage... (And... well... I kinda like to see people suffer...) And there have been times where I didn't see bits...

(A bit off-topic... but does anyone know if any german broadcaster shows it...)
 
For me it was mid/late 1980s when one of the UK TV channels started showing evening highlights. I’d heard of the Tour, but never seen it on TV.

I remember been thrilled by the scenery and colour. The kits were much brighter than any football kit and the weather was better. I also loved the whole race within a race, with stage winners, GC and other jerseys. Compared to now there was so little sport on TV, so as a kid you were drawn to any sport that you could see.

However, the most amazing part was finding out that one of the best riders (Rober Millar) was Scottish. As a country we have never been blessed with too many international sports stars so to find someone I’d never heard of racing near the front of this huge international race was incredible. It became essential summer viewing. I can’t quite remember which race was the first I saw, but it was probably 1986 or 87. They all blur in my memory until Lemond’s win in 1989.
 
Oh, a memory lane up for grabs. Wonderful!

1979 edition, 7 yo first clear memories of few stages watched in foreign country (first TV broadcast in my country was very few stages of the 1983 edition)

Though my dad continously tries to convince me I watched the 1978 edition and pronounced Hinault perfectly, that race is not in my memory bank, apart from cycling history books decades later.

So I'll still pick 1979 edition

And kinda silly. Then almost left watching bike racing (edit: entering watching Le Tour again from 1983 and onwards from then on). So didn't watch the 1980 edition, didn't know any of it before reading years later. In fact a few years with intermezzo almost away from bike watching, also among the crowd in favour of other sports (apart from loads of track cycling and WC's and especially the 100k road team persuit).

Besides, my warm-up to the 1979 edition was my real intro into this world;
A couple of weeks before Grand Depart getting my first real road bike - "Verdensmestercyklen" (Danish manufacturer SCO bike labeled as "The World Champion Bike" with rainbow rings), through my playmates' dad, who was an importer and distributor of SCO bikes, besides a random conversation with the local bicycle dealer - who happened to be the 1970 WC road amateur title holder and owner of the bike shop, and the reason for the rainbow rings on similar bikes sold these years. And shortly after I participated in a family bike race for all ages. And then an extended street race for decent amateur class, a route that went around the steep residential roads in my neighborhood.

Then the seed was laid for my interest in cycling, this card for the 1979 Tour edition, just weeks later :kissingheart:
 
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I think it was around 1981.

The TdF is the only cycling race which every non cycling fan in Australia knows about. I started following the Tour when Phil Anderson put cycling on the map in Australia. We had the Tooheys beer add. We lived across the street from a guy who raced in the local club. He explained to me why Anderson getting the yellow jersey was a big deal, why the mountains were so important and also being in the right team. My dad raced in the 50s (road and track) so it was natural I gained an interest in the sport and Anderson's breakthrough in Europe made me follow the TdF.

But I didn't follow the TdF closely until 1993. By then I was doing club races and triathlon and was rooting for Rominger to upset Big Mig.

 
For me it was mid/late 1980s when one of the UK TV channels started showing evening highlights. I’d heard of the Tour, but never seen it on TV.

I remember been thrilled by the scenery and colour. The kits were much brighter than any football kit and the weather was better. I also loved the whole race within a race, with stage winners, GC and other jerseys. Compared to now there was so little sport on TV, so as a kid you were drawn to any sport that you could see.

However, the most amazing part was finding out that one of the best riders (Rober Millar) was Scottish. As a country we have never been blessed with too many international sports stars so to find someone I’d never heard of racing near the front of this huge international race was incredible. It became essential summer viewing. I can’t quite remember which race was the first I saw, but it was probably 1986 or 87. They all blur in my memory until Lemond’s win in 1989.
I'm fairly certain it was 86, my first Tour de France too. I ended up seeing the race live that year on a family holiday - one of the last stages to Puy de Dome which cemented my love for the race.
 
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My first TDF images must have been 78-79, but I was 8-9 years old and it really didn't interest me.

Then 80 was a huge event due to Joop winning. I certainly followed the last week of that one (as did every Dutchmen).

But to be fair I really became hooked in 1981 due to Peter Winnen. His haunted look on the Alpe because Hinault was steamrolling from behind... god that was epic. Then 1982 we had Winnen versus Van de Velde (I was a kid, I followed my countrymen). 1983 was the year we all thought Peter would win it especially when he got those minutes the day after Alpe D'Huez. With hindsight its quite naive considering he was competing with Lolo :)

The funny thing is that nowadays I think Peter is full of himself and quite strange. I guess it's always a disappointment learning more about your childhood heroes :)
Have you ever read: 'Van Santander naar Santander' written by Winnen? Only available in Dutch I believe. I loved it.
 
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