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When did you FIRST start following the Tour de France?

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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:
Just found my own post in this thread some +13 years ago :p
Apparently by that time completely forgot about how it all started to me.

At least my memories of my first on location experience at the stage to Nîmes in the 1986 edition are still immense.
And think I soon have to digitalize my dad's standard 8mm recordings (color, no sound) of tons of action happening at our location in the middle of nowhere, not expecting anything to happen.

Including incredible living footage of the caravan passing by, especially a certain Michelin MC rider, the view inclined to my spine. Standing on his MC bike in full Michelin Man outfit, at the wide bending slightly uphill slope at a speed of about 90kph!! Pure artistry. Think nobody would believe today if I didn't show the recordings.

And an hour later the peleton passing, and a (German?) rider giving in, totally empty. Just in front of our spot.
And pictures of TV broadcaster cameraman, mercilessly pointing the camera directly into the head of the poor rider from a distance of maybe ½ a meter, as the rider sat lost alone back on the tarmac, totally empty.

And others mentioning Alexi Grewal's Olympic gold, his solo struggle to finish line is still crystal clear to my mind to this day. But don't remember how much of the race was broadcasted in my country, but remember I watched all of it.

The memory lanes! :kissingheart:
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I still remember my first correct cycling prediction.

In 1980, as a four-year old, I only knew two cyclists: Hinault, who was always first, and Zoetemelk, who was always second.

Then my cycling addicted uncle told me that Hinault had withdrawn from the Tour because of a knee injury.

Me: "So Zoetemelk is going to win?"
Uncle: "Oh no, Zoetemelk won't win."

But he did. Since then I've been hooked.