Daniel Sheflin enjoyed a successful career as an engineer and business leader, with positions including general manager of engineering at General Electric and vice president of technology automation control solutions at Honeywell. Since retiring in 2015, Daniel Sheflin has stayed active through competitive cycling. He also enjoys following the Tour de France.
The Tour de France was established in 1903 by Henri Desgrange, a cycling enthusiast who had recently been appointed director-editor of the newspaper L‘Auto. The first staging of the Tour was Desgrange’s attempt to raise interest and sales for the magazine, though the popularity of the inaugural event went on to exceed his wildest expectations. Long distance races were a common means of driving newspaper sales at the time, but none approached the scope of what would become the first staging of the Tour de France.
The five-stage race began in Paris and passed through Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Nantes before circling back to Paris. Between 60 and 80 cyclists entered the race after Desgrange lowered admission fees and increased prizes, though only 21 remained by the end of the grueling race’s fourth stage. Maurice Garin became the Tour’s first winner, and in dominant fashion. He outpaced the last rider by nearly 65 hours.
The first Tour de France was an unqualified success as it doubled publication numbers for L’Auto. In recognition of the passionate fan response, Desgrange agreed to host a second tour in 1904, which he expected to be the last. However, the popularity of the race only continued to grow.