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Here are some key dates in the Tour de France, which begins its 100th edition on June 29:
1903: Tour de France established with the backing of L'Auto magazine. Sixty cyclists start the race, which comprises only six mammoth stages, including 471 km from Nantes, in western France to Paris. Only 21 cyclists finish. The race is won by Maurice Garin.
1904: Henri Cornet of France wins the race aged just 19. He remains the Tour's youngest-ever winner.
1910: The riders tackle the Pyrenees mountains for the first time.
1919: First yellow jersey awarded for the race leader, as the race returns after World War I. The colour reflected the paper on which L'Auto was printed. Belgium's Firmin Lambot wins and only 11 riders finish.
1947: The Tour returns after a seven-year absence because of World War II. France's Jean Robic is the winner.
1948: The Tour is televised for the first time.
1952: Fausto Coppi of Italy triumphs after three victories on altitude finishes, including the monster Alpe d'Huez.
1964: France's Jacques Anquetil becomes the first rider to win the Tour five times.
1967: Britain's Tom Simpson dies on the ascent of Mont Ventoux.
1969: National teams are scrapped and sponsors introduced.
1974: Belgium's Eddy Merckx wins his fifth Tour and becomes the first man to add victories in the Giro d'Italia and world championship road race in the same year.
1975: Le Tour finishes on the Champs Elysees boulevard in Paris for the first time.
1985: France's Bernard Hinault joins the five-time winners club and remains the host nation's last winner.
1989: Le Tour's tightest-ever finish, with US rider Greg LeMond triumphant after beating France's Laurent Fignon by just eight seconds.
1995: Spain's Miguel Indurain wins the race for the fifth time.
1998: Doping allegations surrounding the Festina team mar the race, and they are kicked out. Italy's Marco Pantani wins but only 96 riders of 189 starters finish.
1999: US rider Lance Armstrong lifts the gloom surrounding the race, capping a seemingly remarkable come-back from life-threatening cancer. He will win the race for the next seven years -- a then record.
2003: The Tour marks its centenary by starting at Montgeron, southeast of Paris, as it did in 1903.
2006: Winner Floyd Landis tests positive for the blood booster erythropotein (EPO) and later becomes the first Tour victor to be stripped of his title.
2010: Spain's Alberto Contador, winner in 2007 and 2009 is stripped of his 2010 title after a positive dope test.
2011: Cadel Evans becomes the first Australian and second-oldest rider at 34 to win the Tour.
2012: Bradley Wiggins becomes Britain's first-ever winner of the race.
Cycling's world governing body strips Armstrong of his career record back to August 1998 for doping.
The US rider later admits using drugs and Tour organisers leave the winners' list void from 1999 to 2005.
2013: 100th edition of the Tour.