It was the original Tour de France that started it all off. Conceived by a cycling-mad newspaper editor as a stunt to save his paper, the Tour of 1903 was a brutally tough event of non-stop, day-and-night stages raced over punishing roads while pedalling the heavy iron bikes of the day.
Little wonder that some of these huge-hearted racers went nearly mad with fatigue and others resorted to dirty tricks to get through the ordeal. And so the culture of suffering was launched — and it has permeated the Tour de France ever since.
Chasing the Chimney Sweep is a nostalgic voyage around that race of so long ago. On the hundredth anniversary of the first Tour, four amateur cyclists attempted to follow in the wheel tracks of the originals, sometimes with unexpected and unfortunate results. But when it was all done, they emerged with a renewed admiration for these forgotten racers on which the heritage of the Tour de France has been built over so many years.