___Race Snippets

 

40th Tour de France 1953

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bobet is Brilliant, as French Team Squabbles

The 1953 Grand Boucle marked the 50th Anniversary of the Tour de France. French people anxiously awaited a return of a powerful French National team to end the Italian/Swiss domination of the post World War 2 Tours. French National team managers worked overtime to put together a formidable squad.

The selection process for the French National team was controversial. The designation of Louison Bobet as the team leader sent an emotional shock wave through the French team. Bobet was an extremely hard worker in training and had the potential for greatness, but he had not generated success in his 5 previous TdF appearances. French teammate Raphael Geminiani expressed doubt over Bobet's strength after a DNF (did not finish) in the Giro d'Italia earlier that year. When the Tour began team manager Michel Bidot had more than his share of problems.

SPECIAL NOTE: TdF director Jacques Goddet feared the Tour was losing an element of excitement because individual riders were so dominate. Midway through the 1952 Tour Fausto Coppi was so far ahead, he doubled the prize money for second place to keep the peloton racing hard. In 1953, Goddet devised a plan to keep the sprinters racing hard for the entire race. A point's competition was offered as a new classification. The point's competition rewarded riders who finished high in the daily stage placement. Similar to the Maillot Jaune (race leader's Yellow Jersey), a distinctive jersey was needed to designate the classification leader and the Maillot Vert (Green Jersey) was born.

As the French team squabbled, the very strong Swiss team took early control of the race. Swiss sprinter Fritz Schaer wore the Maillot Jaune for 6 of the first ten stages.

Louison Bobet moved into third place overall classification after stage 13 in Beziers . He trailed regional French rider Jean Mallejac by 3 minutes 13 seconds and Italian Giancarlo Astrua and 2 minutes in the overall classification. The pressure was on the French National team to generate time gains for a team member

Bobet knew from Tour history that the stage from Gap to Briancon was historically the battleground for great individual accomplishments. After a hard early pace, the number of riders in the lead pack began to diminish and over the top of the Col de Vars the select group pushed toward the Col d'Izoard. Through the valley leading to the Izoard, Louison Bobet launched a brilliant attack. He set a relentless pace and cruised over the summit of the Izoard alone. Bobet crossed the finish line in Briancon for the stage win. The time gain on the race leader Mallejac was more than 12 minutes and 10'48” on teammate Raphael Geminiani. Bobet had snatched the Maillot Jaune and solidified control of the French National team.

Great champions have the ability to rise to all occasion. Louison Bobet won the final time trial and showed all of France that he was more than just a climber. The win gave Bobet an insurmountable 14'18” lead on Mallejac with just two stages remaining in the race.

In Paris , Bobet cruised across the finish line to claim his first TdF championship. For the French the 50th Tour de France anniversary celebration was extra sweet.

SPECIAL NOTE: Why was the points jersey Green? Tour organizers thought the color of hope was green and when the first point's classification was instituted in 1953, the sponsor was Belle Jardinier . The new sponsor was a department store specializing in gardening products. Green is the predominate color of a garden, so they selected green as the symbolic color of their jersey.

 

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Stage 1 STRASBOURG-METZ, 195 km

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Stage 2 METZ-LIEGE (Bel), 227 km

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Stage 3 LIEGE (Bel)- LILLE , 221 km

Stanislas Bober (Fra)

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Stage 4 LILLE-DIEPPE, 188 km

Gerrit Voorting (Hol)

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Stage 5 DIEPPE-CAEN, 200 km

Jean Mallejac (Fra)

Roger Hassenforder (Fra)

Stage 6 CAEN-LE MANS, 206 km

M. Van Geneugden (Bel)

Roger Hassenforder (Fra)

Stage 7 LE MANS-NANTES, 181 km

Livio Isotti (Ita)

Roger Hassenforder (Fra)

Stage 8 NANTES-BORDEAUX, 345 km

Jan Nolten (Hol)

Roger Hassenforder (Fra)

Stage 9 BORDEAUX-PAU, 197 km

Fiorenzo Magni (Ita)

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Stage 10 PAU-CAUTERETS, 103 km

Jesus Lorono (Spa)

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

Stage 11 CAUTERETS-LUCHON, 115 km

Jean Robic (Fra)

Jean Robic (Fra)

Stage 12 LUCHON-ALBI, 228 km

Andre Darrigade (Fra)

Francois Mahe (Fra)

Stage 13 ALBI-BEZIERS, 189 km

Nello Lauredi (Fra)

Jean Mallejac (Fra)

Stage 14 BEZIERS-NIMES, 214 km

Bernard Quennehen (Fra)

Jean Mallejac (Fra)

Stage 15 NIMES-MARSEILLE, 173 km

Maurice Quentin (Fra)

Jean Mallejac (Fra)

Stage 16 MARSEILLE-MONACO, 236 km

Wim Van Est (Hol)

Jean Mallejac (Fra)

Stage 17 MONACO-GAP, 261 km

Wout Wagtmans (Hol)

Jean Mallejac (Fra)

Stage 18 GAP-BRIANCON, 165 km

Louison Bobet (Fra)

Louison Bobet (Fra)

Stage 19 BRIANCON-LYON, 227 km

Georges Meunier (Fra)

Louison Bobet (Fra)

Stage 20 LYON-ST ETIENNE, 70 km ITT

Louison Bobet (Fra)

Louison Bobet (Fra)

Stage 21 ST ETIENNE-MONTLUCON, 210 km

Wout Wagtmans (Hol)

Louison Bobet (Fra)

Stage 22 MONTLUCON-PARIS, 328 km

Fiorenzo Magni (Ita)

Louison Bobet (Fra)

 

BEST CLIMBER PRIZE

Jesus Lorono (Spa)

POINT'S COMPETITION

Fritz Schaer (Sui)

 

TdF July 3-July 26, 1953
4,479 Km

1. Louison BOBET (Fra) 129h23'25"

2. Jean Mallejac (Fra) +14'18"

3. Giancarlo Astrua (Ita) +15'02"

Starters: 119
Finishers: 76
Average Speed: 34.596 km/h

 

 

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