___Race Snippets

 

12th Tour de France 1914

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Tour before the “Great War”

Political tensions throughout Europe were very high as the Tour de France prepared for its 11th edition. Within hours after the start of the 1914 TdF, a Serbian nationalist fired a shot that killed Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. As the race progressed through the countryside of France , the rest of Europe was mobilizing for war.

Defending champion Philippe Thys (Bel) came to the Tour determined to take home the championship again in 1914. Thys was not the flashiest rider in the Tour but raced with an aggressive consistency that few could match. When the gun fired to start stage one, Thys attacked won the stage, and took control of the race. Henri Pelissier kept the pressure on the race leader through the early stages. By the end of stage six, the hardest day (the “circle of death”) in the Pyrenees Mountains , Thys had over a 34-minute advantage on second place Pelissier. The persistent Pelissier began to chip away at the lead but could only get back to 31 minutes and 50 second by the end of stage thirteen. This was a lead that Thys took into the fateful stage fourteen from Longwy to Dunkerque.

One year earlier on stage fourteen Thys crashed heavily and lost almost 55 minutes but managed to hold on to the lead and won in Paris. In 1914, again on stage fourteen, Thys crashed heavily, breaking the front fork of his bike. Quickly receiving repairs at a local bike shop, Thys was able to regain the lead group and finish third on the day. After the race, it was determined that the repairs to Thys' bike had been completed with illegal help and a 30-minute penalty was assessed. Going into the final stage Thys had a 1 minute and 50 second lead. A very determined Henri Pelissier attacked relentlessly all the way to Paris . The race leader matched each Pelissier's moves and Philippe Thys rode into Paris with his second Tour de France victory.

SPECIAL NOTE: Patriotism abounded in France following the declaration of war by Germany and the start of WW1.  Tour de France heroes, who were experienced at cycling battles on the roads of France, enlisted in large numbers to fight a huge battle for France.  Several weeks after the end of the 1914 TdF, Henri Desgranges published an open letter to all cyclists in his newspaper Le Auto.  The letter said: “For 14 years, Le Auto has appeared every day.  It has never let you down. So listen my dear fellows, my dear Frenchmen.  There can be no question that a Frenchman succumbs to a German.  GO! Go without Pity!”

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Stage 1 Paris-Le Havre, 388 km

Philippe Thys (Bel)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 2 Le Havre-Cherbourg, 364 km

Jean Rossius (Bel)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 3 Cherbourg-Brest, 405 km

Jean Engel Emile (Fra)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 4 Brest-La Rochelle, 470 km

Oscar Egg (Sui)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 5 La Rochelle-Bayonne, 379 km

Oscar Egg (Sui)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 6 Bayonne-Luchon, 326 km

Firmin Lambot (Bel)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 7 Luchon-Perpignan, 323 km

Jean Alavoine (Fra)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 8 Perpignan-Marseille, 335 km

Octave Lapize (Fra)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 9 Marseille-Nice, 338 km

Jean Rossius (Bel)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 10 Nice-Grenoble, 333 km

Henri Pelissier (Fra)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 11 Grenoble-Geneva (Sui), 325 km

Gustave Garrigou (Fra)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 12 Geneva (Sui)- Belfort , 335 km

Henri Pelissier (Fra)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 13 Belfort-Longwy, 325 km

Francois Faber (Lux)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 14 Longwy-Dunkerque, 393 km

Francois Faber (Lux)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

Stage 15 Dunkerque-Paris/Parc des Princes, 340 km

Henri Pelissier (Fra)

PhilippeThys (Bel)

 

TdF June 28-July 26, 1914
5,379 Km

1. Philippe THYS (Bel) 200h28'48"

2. Henri Pelissier (Fra) +1'50"

3. Jean Alavoine (Fra) +36'53"

Starters: 145
Finishers: 54
Average Speed: 27.028 km/h

 

 

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