Train-Hopping1 of 6
Today's doping scandals pale in comparison to the mind-boggling feats of misconduct that rocked the 1904 Tour de France. The race was so rife with cheating in its second year that all of the top four finishers had to be disqualified, including the inaugural winner Maurice Garin.
Aside from general Mario Kart-style shenanigans—like firing projectiles at rivals and scattering nails across the road—nine riders were pulled from contention for using cars or trains to power their way to the front of the pack. As difficult as it is to imagine waiting by the train tracks for a lift in the middle of fast-paced bike action, the problem was so widespread that organizer Henri Desgrange initially pledged to never hold the race again. Fortunately, he changed his mind in hopes of making cheating at the Tour a thing of the past. (And we all know how well that worked out…)
Bike Swapping2 of 6
Prior to 1964, switching bikes during the Tour de France wasn't allowed—that is, unless there was a mechanical problem. French legend Jacques Anquetil exploited that clause in the 1963 Tour de France when he had a mechanic cut his bike's gear cable so he could switch to a lighter bike for the grueling climb up the Col de la Forclaz in stage 17. Luckily, this cunning move was seen more as taking creative license with the rules than out-and-out cheating, and ultimately it propelled Anquetil to his third consecutive (and fourth overall) Tour de France victory. By the next year, the rule was thrown out and swapping out bikes became the norm.
Urine Swapping3 of 6
Once the official Tour masseur for the French Festina cycling team, Belgian physiotherapist Willy Voet was arrested in 1998 for transporting performance-enhancing drugs—and his team was suspended from the tour. Voet had a whole arsenal of tricks for helping cyclists pass doping tests, including filling condoms with untainted urine and attaching tubes to them. The condoms were then held inside a rider's body and unplugged to produce a clean sample when needed.
As drug testing grew more elaborate, he taught his team how to test their blood levels using a centrifuge and moved from condoms full of urine to IV bags full of saline solution, which could be used before a blood test to bring the volume of red blood cells in the bloodstream down to legal levels. He was eventually caught by French customs with two coolers of EPO, growth hormones, and testosterone in the Festina team car.
Strong Teeth4 of 6
Hippolyte Aucouturier was an early 20th century French cyclist who looked like every striped-shirt, mustachioed stereotype you likely conjured up when you heard the words "early 20th century French cyclist." At a time when cheating was the norm, Aucouturier stood out for his inventiveness. Instead of hopping on a train and riding to the finish line like his rivals, the gritty Tour de France contender tied one end of a wire to a car and the other to a cork, which he chomped down on and held tightly between his teeth.
Unfortunately, history never got the chance to see how that elaborate scheme played out—someone spotted the wire, and he was disqualified. He did somehow manage to win four stages.
Team Car Tow5 of 6
Grabbing ahold of a passing car is a classic cheat, but lest you assume it only occurred in the earliest, craziest days of the Tour, recent antics at the Vuelta a Espana suggest otherwise. In 2015, with 30 kilometers left in stage 2 of the Vuelta, Italian cyclist Vincenzo Nibali went down in a crash. He got back on the bike with more than a minute and a half to close between him and the peloton—and according to helicopter TV footage, managed to close that gap by taking a tow from a team car for 100 meters. Although Nibali was briefly able to get back to the lead group, he was ultimately disqualified from the entire race for cheating. At least he didn't try to hold onto the car with his teeth?