The Schmooze

Six Degrees of Tour de France

It turns out that the world’s most famous bicycle race, the Tour de France, has an unlikely origin: It was a direct result of the notorious Dreyfus Affair.

The slightly condensed, rather confusing story goes something like this: When pro-Dreyfus Émile Loubet became president of the French Republic in 1899, he was attacked (and beaten on the head with a walking stick) by the passionately anti-Dreyfus Count de Dion, one of France’s major bicycle and auto manufacturers. De Dion was jailed for the attack, and the resulting scandal was featured prominently in the then-major daily sports paper Le Vélo (The Bike), whose editor, Pierre Giffard, was just as passionately pro-Dreyfus.

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Six Degrees of Tour de France

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