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When did you FIRST start following the Tour de France?

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Anonymous

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Mellow Velo said:
I dunno......the problem with going back so far is age tends to dull the memory specifics.
I actually Googled C4's screening dates, as I was fairly sure some of the stuff I remembered, pre-dates their daily coverage, as indeed, it does.
WORLD OF SPORT ITV maybe?????

maybe they had a weekly roundup show on the sunday on c4 or something.. i definately remember millars polka.. :eek:
 
Jul 7, 2009
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1974. I would go to the local newsstand and buy the Monday New York Times and they would have a paragraph or two buried in Monday Sports recapping the previous week. Or you waited two months to read about it a cycling magazine.
 

Dr. Maserati

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First Tour ....1985.

I managed to accidentally catch the end of a stage on TV - so the following day I was ready to watch the full highlights.
It was the stage to Saint Etienne, Hinault was in yellow and crashed just before the finish line breaking his nose. Lucho Herrera won the stage even though he crashed on the decent in to the finish - an amazing stage in an amazing Tour.

I had the mudguards and carrier whipped off my bike by that evening - and shortly after had joined my local club where I was fortunate to have one of the senior riders lend me loads of magazines - including old black & white 'Cycling Weeklys', so I knew every rider and climb in every Classic long before I ever saw them on TV.

Mellow Velo said:
I dunno......the problem with going back so far is age tends to dull the memory specifics.
I actually Googled C4's screening dates, as I was fairly sure some of the stuff I remembered, pre-dates their daily coverage, as indeed, it does.
WORLD OF SPORT ITV maybe?????
I would have bet my bike that I watched it on Channel 4 in 85 - but I checked and C4 did not start coverage until '86! So, it must have been ITV - it was definitely Phil Ligget doing the commentary though!
 
A

Anonymous

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someones twittered me to say they have 1985 with ligget commentating.. :confused:

ok.. so my first tour was 84 then.. hurrah.. :D
 

Polish

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Watching the Tour on TV, live or even "same day", was not possible
on my TV setup during the BigMig era. I would read the previous day's "boxscores" in the local big city newspaper (SJ Mercury News).
They would list the stage results and the top20 or so GC standings.

To see actual images of the tour, had to wait until late August for the magazines to come out. Later still the WCP videos with Phil would be released and I could finally watch (knowing full well who won etc!)

In the mid 90's or so, a 1-900 business started up - giving same day results over the phone for a USDollar per minute - advertised in VeloNews. They would hem and haw for a few minutes before finally announcing the results..then I would slam down the phone. High phone bills in July's lol.

Then Al gore invented the internet and the 1-900 phone business folded.
Streaming videos were still years away, but at least results were posted.

The stories of "watching as a kid with my Dad" are nice:)
We older North American do not have those memories as the Tour was never televised live when we were kids...at least I do not think it was.
However, there are now thousands and thousands of North American kids (my kid included) that WILL have those memories thanks to OLN/VS/INTERWEBS:)





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I was a bit of a latecomer, 2004. As a 24 year old in Canada, cycling didn't get mainstream exposure too much, but I happened to finish some contract work out in the woods and didn't have a place to live in the summer, so I was at my parents' place and they had cable. It was pleasant to wake up every day for 2 weeks and just watch the scenery of France slowly pass by, and wait for the buildup of the stage finish. The tactics of cycling immediately fascinated me, it was so unlike any other sport.

I had no idea who Virenque or Zabel were, that there was a history of the race, and a whole rest of the season. I knew who Armstrong was, of course (and already disliked him, although I was at the edge of my seat the stage he pipped Kloden at the line), but not much else. The Tour caught me up. In 2005 I was taking a french language program in Quebec and didn't have TV and would follow online text updates every day obsessively. 2006 I was back home and taped every stage to bring to show my friends, I would often watch them twice. It was that winter that I discovered an online, year-by-year history of the Tour (no longer available for free) that gave me context around the cycling season. I read it twice, and mention of other races and historical achievements made me look for year-round coverage, which is when I started following cyclingnews. Now I'm hooked, I've been to see stages of the Tour in 2007 and this year, but the Tour is just a small part of the breadth of the cycling season, and I'm growing to appreciate the rest of the season more than the mainstream main event TdF every year. But it will always remain what got me into cycling.
 
first cycling memory was watching lance outsprint kloden in the 04 tour as a 15 year old watching on OLN...took me about three more years before i was completely hooked...as arrogant as lance is and as much as he is hated, i have to acknowledge that without him i never wouldve gotten into cycling in the first place so i can tolerate him more than most
 
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I remember catching weekend summary coverage during the LeMond era, so mid '80s (high school for me). I got my wife hooked in '97 as we were on a 2-week 700 mile ride and only stayed in cheap motels with cable to be able to watch. We've been regular viewers since (going to bars until we had a kid, have our own cable now). Nice thing about the web, I've also been able to watch giro and vuelta coverage the last couple of years.

Polish,
I'm with you - my 2 year old asked every day during July "bike guys" when I got home from work - as cycle racing was the first TV he was allowed to watch (except for the 2008 election coverage when he was 1). I'll be taking him to the prolog in NL next July.
 
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Polish said:
I first became aware of the TdF in 1986 - because of Greg getting exposure.
I do NOT remember Roche in 87 or Delgado in 88, however.

But 1989 and every year since I have followed the race day after day:)

So, who has the earliest memory?

Anybody "watching" during Hinault?
Anybody remember watching Eddy eat people?
In Black & White?



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For me it would have been around 1991 or so (was amateur racing then). I still remember waiting for my velonews to show up in the mail. Only source of cycling news I had (well besides the horrible coverage on American TV then).
 
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It should be said though, before I became really interested in cycling, I still knew who Lance Armstrong, Robbie McEwen, Miguel Indurain, Stuart O'Grady, Brad McGee, Baden Cooke, and Phil Anderson all were.
 
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Tough question. All I remember is Greg on TV but I know I followed it in the papers before. I think it was with Fignon and Kelly in 83. But the Coors Classic turned me on to cycling and led me to the tour de france
 
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Remember Hinault winning and then the race with Greg and him and then when Greg won but really got into it when Greg came back and beat Fignon in the final TT. I was never a greg fan but that has to be one of the best tours I can remember. The other highlight for me and one that really got me into watching all of the races was Hamsteads Giro win, not just because I liked Andy but the pic of him riding in the snow was just amazing. I also have fond memories of Kelly and Roche, and in particulate Roche's double grio/tour. I doubt we will ever see that again.

+1 on Bauer saw him race in my home town when I was weee, super proud when he wore yellow for a week and ****ed that he never go the worlds that year with the legal battle that followed. And don't get me started on PR.... :mad:

This is a great thread!
 
St. Elia said:
+1 on Bauer saw him race in my home town when I was weee, super proud when he wore yellow for a week and ****ed that he never go the worlds that year with the legal battle that followed. And don't get me started on PR.... :mad:

I loved Bauer as a rider. He was the original fat boy to wear yellow. There was a wonderful article with him recently in the British Press about "that" world championship crash. It amazing what an emotional toll that entire event took on all 3 riders involved.

Wish him well getting his team to Europe and his bike tours are fantastic. Just about the best in Europe.
 
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I was heavy into speed skating as a kid, since Eric Heiden was one of my heroes, I naturally followed him in his move to pro cycling. But, LeMond in the '86 TDF was the catalyst that changed everything for me. I was 14 in '86.
 
Polish said:
I first became aware of the TdF in 1986 - because of Greg getting exposure.
I do NOT remember Roche in 87 or Delgado in 88, however.

But 1989 and every year since I have followed the race day after day:)

So, who has the earliest memory?

Anybody "watching" during Hinault?
Anybody remember watching Eddy eat people?
In Black & White?

Wow. I'd have to say the exact same timeline as you, although I do recollect being frustrated at not being able to find out anything about the 87 and 88 tours (no internet, didn't know about international cycling mags...counted on local sports sections!)
 
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
I was heavy into speed skating as a kid, since Eric Heiden was one of my heroes, I naturally followed him in his move to pro cycling. But, LeMond in the '86 TDF was the catalyst that changed everything for me. I was 14 in '86.

83 after LeMond won the 82 world championship. I did get to see Eric at the Coors Classic in 86 as a side note. Got his autograph on an old Campagnolo bike hat.
 
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I think I got hooked in 1982 but it was 1983 (I was 10 years old) that I actually spent May and June wishing it was July so I could see the Tour.
 

Daniel Benson

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Great thread.

The first Tour I watched was in 1996. I was 13 or 14at the time and I remember just being totally mesmerized by what I was seeing, even though I didn't grasp exactly what was going on straight away. I went out and bought a cycling magazine after the race and remember reading it cover to cover, again and again. I don't remember too much from the TV - but I do remember asking my father how they were able to go so fast. His response was 'it's cos they've got thin tyres.'

I kind of believed him at the time but then again by father also managed to convince me (at a much younger age) that he'd gone to school with Diego Maradonna. Quite an impressive achievement considering Maradonna is about ten years younger and didn't go to a Catholic school in inner-city Dublin.

Still, despite everything that's come out of that race and that era, the 1996 Tour will still hold an important place for me.

Daniel
 
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It was '81 or '82, whatever year it was the first American, Jock Boyer, rode in it. ABC's Wide World of Sports did a little bit on the Tour during the weekends. Being a cross-country runner at the time it was natural for me to follow a sport such as cycling. When Lemond came along, I was totally hooked.
 
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In 1974 I overheard someone mention the TDF at college. After further investigation I signed up for a Velonews subscription.

I never watched TV back then, so I don't know or remember it being on TV in the States.

It was a real stretch having to wait for ~30 days after the event before the Velonews would arrive in the mail. So you may see what happened in the first few days of the tour and have to wait until sometime in August to find out the rest of the race results.

But I do have to admit it was a real thrill to see all that news and try to make sense of it.

There were local riders, the Stetina brothers from Indiana, were probably the top amateurs in the Chicagoland area.

Oh, well, great thread. You jogged my memory a bit.
 
I can remember being excited when Phil Anderson first wore the yellow jersey in 1981, but for the rest of the 80s and 90s I took a greater interest in the trackies because they were on TV during the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

I got right back into it in 2003 when I started cycling to stay fit. I've been following closely and back-filling my knowledge of the sport ever since. I prefer the classics over grand tours.