Series Editor’s Foreword


A year  after  the  last  FIFA World  Cup  but  one,  Hugh  Dauncey  and
Geoff  Hare  published  their  subsequently  applauded  France  and  the
1998 World Cup:  The National  Impact  of  a World Sporting Event  in
the Cass Sport  in the Global  Society series.  A measure of  the book’s
appeal  was its speedy translation into French.  Now in the centenary
year  of  the  unique  Tour  de  France—‘the  greatest  cycle  race  in  the
world,’
1—they  have  published  The  Tour  de  France  1903–2003:  A
Century  of  Sporting  Structures,  Meanings  and  Values  in  the  same
series. No doubt, it too will be translated sooner rather than later into
the French language.
In his forthcoming Bicycle Racing: Sport, Technology and Modernity
shortly  to  be  published  also  in Sport  in the  Global  Society,  Andrew
Ritchie  describes  the  nineteenth-century  background  to  the  Tour’s
emergence: ‘Set in, and centred amid, a rich historical scene of social
change and technological development, the sport of bicycle racing has
evolved for 130 years and taken its place among the oldest and most
celebrated  modern  international  sports.  Unofficial  “world
championships” took place between England and France in the early
1870s. Cycling’s first national governing body, the Bicycle Union, was
founded  in  London  in  1878,  the  League  of  American  Wheel  Men
followed  in 1880  and  France’s  Union Vélocipédique  in 1881.  Official
World Championships were first held in 1893, provided by the newly
constituted International Cyclists’ Association, and cycling was among
the sports included in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.’
2
Then, of course, came the Tour de France in 1903!
Ritchie,  in  his  authoritative  Bicycle  Racing,  also  writes  of  four
dimensions to the sport  of  cycling in its early moments:  competitive,
non-competitive,  recreational  and  utilitarian.  He  remarks:  ‘…  The
relationship  between  competition,  recreation  and  utility  was  a
complex  …one,  but…competitive  sport  was  the  dynamo  or  engine
which  pushed  innovation,  technical  change  and  progress.’
3  He  then
provides a summary of the nineteenth-century growth of bicycling in
its  various  forms:  ‘by  the  late-1890s  the  bicycle  had  become  an