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Ascent to madness: Riders taking aim at the top of the Alps

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PINEROLO, France — The 98th edition of the Tour de France in some ways begins today with the two-day centennial of a climb to a mountain pass, the ascent of which was once considered madness. The race will twice visit the Col du Galibier, the summit in the Alps, first negotiated in 1911 when Frenchman Emile Georget was the first rider to pass the summit in the ninth Tour de France. Until then, the difficult route was only used by drug smugglers.

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