Saturday, June 29, 2013
June 29 - Tour de France
Today marked the start of the 2013 Tour de France.
The Tour de France is an annual, multi-stage bicycle race, primarily held in France, with passes through nearby countries.
In 1903, the race began as a way to increase paper sales for the magazine L'Auto, and since then has been held annually, with the exception of its suspension during the two world wars. The race is a Union Cycliste Internationale tour, consisting of mainly UCI ProTeams.
Though the route changes each year, the format stays the same; two time trials, a passage through the mountains of the Pyrenees and the Alps, with a finish on the Champs-Élysées. Modern editions of the race consist of 21 day-long segments over a 23-day period, covering around 3200 km. Each stage is times to the finish, the riders' times compounded with their previous stage times. The rider with the lowest aggregate time gets to don the coveted yellow jersey.
Today's winner was Kittel Marcel, racing with Team Argos-Shimano, of the Netherlands.
The Tour de France will be completed on July 21st.
Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:
- Shakespeare's Globe Theater burned down in 1613.
- Leader Peter Verigin, whose powerful personality enabled the Doukhobors to retain their special identity as a sect of Christian pacifist communists in Canada, was born in Slavyanka, Russia in 1859.
- George A. Custer was appointed Union Brigadier-General in 1863.
- A Grand Trunk Railway train plunged off the Beloeil Bridge into the Richelieu River at St-Hilaire, Québec in 1864, killing 99 people and injuring another 100. It was Canada's worst train wreck.
- The National Forest Service organized in 1891.
- Canada House opened in London, England in 1925.
- The 8 Jesuit Martyrs (including Father Brébeuf) killed by the Iroquois in the 1640s were canonized as the first North American saints in 1930.
- In the Batman Comics, mobsters rubbed out a circus highwire team known as the Flying Graysons in 1940, leaving their son Dick (Robin) an orphan.
- Inuk leader Charlie Watt, who negotiated the James Bay Agreement, was born in Fort Chimo, Québec in 1944.
- The Shaw Festival opened its first season in a renovated courthouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario in 1962.
- The 1st draft of Star Trek's original pilot, "Cage" was released in 1964.
- The 1st Jewish worship service at the White House occurred in 1969.
- In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that motorists could seek legal advice before submitting to a breathalyzer test.
- Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto in 1974.
- George Foreman lost the IBF boxing title in 1995, after refusing to fight Axel Schulz.
- In 1999, International Trade Minister Sergio Marchi announced that there would be a review of relations with Cuba after prominent Cuban dissidents were put on trial in Havana.
- Thomas Beatie, born Tracy Lehuanani LaGondino, became the world's first pregnant man in 2008, giving birth to a daughter.
Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!