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.

To see the enhanced content on this page, you need to have JavaScript enabled and Adobe Flash installed.

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

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


BBC Sport - Cycling

Tour de France 2013

BBC Business of Sport

More audio slideshows:

How 'big data' is changing lives

How the men from the ministry saved England's heritage

Colours of space - Visions of the Universe

More Business stories


Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.