July 15, 2011
A hat-trick of domestique success
In the early years of the Tour de France at the beginning of the 20th century, riders were forbidden from receiving help of any kind. The most famous and extreme example of this came in 1913 when Eugène Christophe was penalised three minutes for allowing a boy to work the bellows as he attempted to fix his own broken forks at a local forge.
On a more day to day basis, receiving no help meant that taking advantage of another rider’s slipstream was also forbidden. This rule was an attempt by the Tour organisers to ensure that truly the strongest rider ended up winning the Tour and not the rider who had received the most help.
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