Tour de France 100

The cyclists taking part in the centennial staging of the world's greatest bike race will cover nearly 3,500 km in 21 stages - as they seek to emulate Sir Bradley Wiggins' 2012 victory.

But how does the corporate, science-based Tour of the 21st Century compare to the early days of the competition, when riders lacked gears and were very much on their own?

Here, at the start a series of reports looking at the business behind the race, take a nostalgic look back. Hear from Graeme Fife, author of Tour de France, the History, the Legend, the Riders - and Brian Robinson who became, in 1955, the first British man to complete the race.

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All images subject to copyright. Archive photographs courtesy Getty Images, TopFoto.co.uk and Press Association.

Music by Kraftwerk and KPM Music. Slideshow production by Paul Kerley. Publication date 25 June 2013.

Related:

BBC Sport - Cycling

Tour de France 2013

BBC Business of Sport

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