The 100th annual Tour de France just ended last week. Did you watch it? Every year, this famous bike race winds its way through nearly every corner of France, bringing crowds of cheering fans to parts of the countryside typically left to sheep and their shepherds.
It’s probably safe to say that the Tour de France really became popular outside of cycling circles right about the time when the now-infamous Lance Armstrong won his first yellow jersey. When it was recently revealed that Armstrong was under the influence of performance enhancing drugs during those epic races (and lied about it) he was stripped of his seven consecutive titles.
The cycling world was blown away by this revelation, but it shouldn’t have been. It turns out that scandal of one kind or another has been a part of the Tour de France since its earliest years. Granted, these early scandals were more innocent–bikers taking unauthorized shortcuts or leaving obstacles in the path for competitors following behind–but still, it appears that there have been more than a few men willing to do anything to take home this particular prize.
Whether you’re a cycling fanatic or a history buff or both, take a minute to scroll through the infographic below. It shows in striking detail that the Tour de France has always had a dark side, and unfortunately for the dedicated bikers who resist the urge to cheat, it’s not likely to stop any time soon.
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Lead image via Thinkstock