The Tour de France begins Saturday with 176 riders competing in the 105th edition. Here are 10 moments, incidents or highlights that stand out from the long history of cycling’s greatest race, accompanied by Associated Press photos:
1949, July 18 – Stage 16, Cannes to Briancon in the Alps
Defending champion Gino Bartali’s duel with Italian compatriot and rising star Fausto Coppi, who would go on to win the first of his two Tours.
1964, July 12 – Stage 20, Brive to Puy de Dome
Raymond Poulidor competing against Jacques Anquetil on the Puy-de-Dome dormant volcano. Anquetil cracked but knew he could recover. The French ace prevailed and went on that year to become the first five-time Tour winner.
1975, July 13 – Stage 15, Nice to Pra-Loup
Eddy Merckx’s fight with Bernard Thevenet in the Alps. Race leader Merckx, who was punched in the stomach by a French spectator in the 14th stage, fought back but eventually ran out of energy. Thevenet persevered and left the Belgian great behind to win the Tour.
1986, July 16 – Stage 13 Pau to Superbagneres
Defending champion Bernard Hinault’s attack and Greg LeMond’s recovery. The American would go on to win the first of his three Tours.
1987, July 22 – Stage 21, Le Bourg-d’Oisans to La Plagne
Stephen Roche chasing down Pedro Delgado after giving the impression he wasn’t going to follow the Spaniard on the slopes of La Plagne. Roche, who needed oxygen after collapsing from the effort, finished just a few seconds behind Delgado and saved his Tour. He went on to become the only Irish cyclist to win it.
1989, July 23 – Stage 21, Versailles to Paris (Champs-Elysees)
Race leader Laurent Fignon’s battle with Greg LeMond in the time trial on the final day. LeMond, who entered the stage trailing the two-time champion by 50 seconds, managed to win with an eight-second advantage.
1990, July 21 – Stage 20, Lac de Vassiviere to Lac de Vassiviere
Claudio Chiappucci leading coming out of the Alps and keeping the yellow jersey until defending champion Greg LeMond finally caught him in the final time trial in the penultimate stage.
1995, July 21 – Stage 18, Montpon-Menesterol to Limoges
Lance Armstrong winning and paying tribute to Motorola teammate Fabio Casartelli, who crashed in stage 15 and died from his injuries on his way to the hospital.
1997, July 19 – Stage 13, Saint-Etienne to l’Alpe d’Huez
Marco Pantani climbing Alpe d’Huez in a record time. The Italian cyclist’s career was ended by doping allegations two years later.
2011, July 22 – Stage 19, Modane to Alpe d’Huez
Alberto Contador’s attack on Col du Telegraphe with Andy Schleck and Thomas Voeckler, before a battle between Samuel Sanchez and Pierre Rolland. Rolland went on to win the stage.