Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jean Aerts

Jean Aerts

Jean Aerts (1907-1992) born in Laken near Brussels, Belgian, was a professional road racing cyclist. Aerts won the 1927 Amateur Road Race Championship and the 1935 Professional Road Race Championship. His greatest ability was that of sprinting. His climbing ability wasn't strong enough to make him a contender in the great tours. Jean Aerts won 11 stages in the Tour de France, 6 of those victories were during the 1933 race. He also finished 9th over all in the 1933 Tour.  
Jean Aerts

Friday, December 30, 2011

Louis Heusghem

Louis Heusghem

Louis Heusghem (December 26,1882 – August 26,1939) was a Belgian professional road bicycle racer. He was the brother of cyclists Hector Heusghem andPierre-Joseph Heusghem. His best Tour de France finish was his fifth place in 1911. In 1912, he won a stage in the Tour de France and Paris–Tours.

Bing and Lynn Crosby, Gary, Phillip and Dennis Crosby ride bikes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Federico Bahamontes

Fedrico Bahamontes Wearing The Yellow Jersey.

Fedrico Bahamontes ,nicknamed the "The Eagle of Toledo", is a former Spanish professional road racing cyclist. He is most famous for his 1959 Tour de France race and winning the "King of the Mountains" classification in that race six times (1954, 1958, 1962, 1963 and 1964). He is considered one of the best climbers ever and was the first Spaniard to win the Tour de France.

Bahamontes started cycling in an effort to scratch out a living  after the brutal three years of the Spanish Civil war. He was from a poor family that like millions of others was devastated by the war. This is how he describes becoming a cyclist: "I became a cyclist at the age of 10 because I would have starved otherwise. I used to nab fruit off the lorries in the local market and sell that, and with the money I made I bought my first bike in order to sell more fruit faster. I'd ride around with up to  150 kilos of fruit and vegetables on the back of the bike, but all that extra weight, I think, helped me become a better mountain climber. Once I shed it all, I could fly." He describes his second race and first victory experience at age 17 as:
"I only had a lemon and a banana to eat all day, and I was so hungry I ate the lemon peel and all, but I still won. I'd done 60km that day selling stuff on the black market, but I attacked from the gun and that was that. It was the same as the Tour [in 1959]; they all reckoned I'd crack out there by myself. But nobody could catch me."

Federico quickly realised he could make more money racing his bike than he could selling stolen fruit. He traveled around spain to various races by catching rides on freight trains. He was winning races and making some money. Word of his race winning skill got around  Bahamontes was selected to ride the Tour de France for Spain in 1954.

Federico Bahamontes describes his race tactics as simply attacking. "I had only one tactic, and that was attack, attack and attack again," the Eagle admits. "From start to finish."

One of the most famous stories about Bahamontes racing was that he had once attacked on an Alpine mountain pass so that he could have time to stop and eat an ice cream at the top. He tells what really happened as: "One of my wheel spokes broke halfway up, so I attacked so the repairs could be carried out at the top without me losing time," he explains. "But the team car carrying the spares got stuck behind the main bunch, so I bought an ice cream to pass the time. After that I was known as the 'ice-cream rider' - I wish I'd never stopped!"
Federico Bahamontes during the 1954 Tour de France.

He was known as a rider with a terrible temper. Once he was insulted by a spectator during a race, Bahamontes promptly turned around and wielding a bike pump, chased after him for an hour. Another time when the Tour of Spain organizers re-admitted six riders who had pulled out exhausted as they could not handle the pace set by Bahamontes, he got so angry he quit  the race himself. 
Bahamontes at the top of the Col de Tourmalet during the 1954 Tour de France.

While a fantastic climber Bahamanotes must be described as a cautious descender who often put one foot down to make it around bends in the road. This most likely can be contributed to him once crashing during a descent as an amateur and landing in a cactus bush. Once he waited at the top of Col during the Tour de France for other riders to arrive so he wouldn't have to descend the mountain alone. 
Federico Bahamontoes

Bahamontes retired in 1965 to open a bicycle and motorcycle shop in Toledo, Spain. The town where he was born July 9, 1928.
Federico Bahamontes in his bicycle shop.

Federico Bahamontes during the 1956 Tour de France.

In 1950 Federico Bahamontes won the National Amatuer Road Race Championship of Spain. In 1958 he won both Spains National Time Trial Championship and the National Road Race Championship.
Bahamontes cheered on by fans.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bicycle Advertising Posters

Bicycle advertising posters are artistic fuel for the imagination. Best of all they are promoting bicycles! Hopefully you have noticed that on the right side bar of this blog there is often a cycling advertising poster. These will change almost daily as long as fresh ones can be located. Keep an eye out for them and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 At the turn of the nineteenth century, bicycles were all the rage throughout Europe and North America. New bicycle manufactures were springing up everywhere. The invention of multicolor printing was developed along the same time and transformed the advertising industry. Artists were moving to Paris and other major cities to try it out. Suddenly posters were being seen as an art form. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Greg Lemond's Amazing Time Trial To Win The 1989 Tour de France


Greg Lemond and his 1989 Tour de France winning Time Trial Bike

Greg Lemond rode the time trial of his life during the final stage of the 1989 Tour de France. Going into the final stage he trailed the race leader by 50 seconds. Before the final stage began he had already been congratulated for finishing the Tour in second place. No one thought that he would be able to gain enough time in the 24.5 km (15.223 miles) time trial from Versailles to Paris to win.

Lemond had done the work to prepare his bike for the race against the clock. He had done wind-tunnel testing and perfected his riding position. He used an aerodynamic helmet, in a time when most racers didn't ever wear a helmet, and he used the then controversial aero handlebars. Lemond also rode an aerodynamic bike that had a disc rear wheel.

He pushed a gear of 54 x 12 to a Tour de France time trial record average speed of 54.545 kmh (approximately 34 mph)!  Some calculations have suggested he was producing around 513 watts. Lemond's time trial was the fastest of the day and he was 58 seconds faster than Laurent Fignon. This gave Greg Lemond his second win in the Tour de France by the closest margin ever in the race. 

The final 1989 Tour de France General Classification:
1. Greg Lemond (ADR-Agrigel): 87 hours, 38 minutes, 35 seconds
2. Laurnet Fignon (Super U) @ 8 seconds
3.Pedro Delgado (Reynolds) @ 3 minutes, 34 seconds
4. Gert-Jan Theunisse (PDM) @ 7 minutes, 30 seconds
5. Marino Legarreta (Patemina) @ 9 minutes, 39 seconds

Below is a video of his historic ride.

This video describes the development of early Aero Bars.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jean Dotto

Jean Dotto
Jean Dotto (March 27, 1928, -  February 20, 2000) was the first French racing cyclist to win in 1956 the Veulta a Espana. He rode the Tour de France 13 times, finishing in fourth place in 1954. 

Dotto was a good climber. He became an independent, or semi-professional, in 1948. His first year as a independent he won a race up Mont Ventoux and also won Marseille-Toulon-Marseille. In 1950 Dotto won the climb of La Turbie, near Nice. He turned professional in 1951 for France-Sport-Dunlop and won five races, including three hill climbs, in his first season. He rode until 1963, winning 35 races, including the Dauphiné-Libéré twice. He won stage 19 of the 1954 Tour de France and next year won the Vuelta by beating Julio Jiménez of Spain and Raphael Geminiani of France.
Jean Dotto at the 1956 Vuelta a Espana

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Derny is the brand name of a French manufacturer, Roger Derny. The Company was founded in 1930 and closed in 1958. He was the inventor of the moped used in Bordeaux-Paris. The Derny is considered a hybrid; half-light motorcycle, half-bike. The speed of a Derny is controlled by pedaling. The faster you pedal, the faster the engine runs. This way the changes in speed are similar to the way a bicycle changes speed. Making it easier for the cyclist to draft behind it. The size is approximately that of a bicycle. The machine is equipped with a fuel tank located between the handlebars and the front wheel. It was first used in Bordeaux-Paris in 1938.
A 1952 Derny
The Derny, pictured above, features a hand-made steel frame and is equipped with a 2-stroke ZURCHER motor. The motor has a displacement of 90cc and produces 2 horsepower @  2400 rpm. The front gearing is a single 60 tooth chainring. In the rear gearing has cogs of 14-17-21 teeth. A Cyclo 3 speed bicycle rear derailer changes the chain from cog to cog in the back. This Derny is equipped with a rear rack, a rear wheel stand and a pump.

 Louison Bobet in Bordeaux-Paris 1959

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paris-Roubaix 1990: The closest finish in this race ever. Decided by less than a centimeter!

Eddy Planckaert and Steve Bauer sprinting for the finish line of the 1990 Paris-Roubaix.

In 1990 the 88th edition of Paris-Roubaix had the closest finish ever for this race. There were 186 starters and only 92 finishers. The average speed of the race was 34.855 km/h or 21.658 mph. After racing 265 km (165 miles) of the toughest of all the classics, the outcome was decided by two riders tossing their bikes toward the finish line. Eddy Planchaert won by less than a centimeter.

Only 20 km into the race three riders, Stefan Joho, Peter Pieters and Rob Kleinsman, broke away from the main field. Over the next 76 km the three racers built a 16 minute lead as they entered the first section of cobbles at Troisvilles.

A group of 21 riders had been chasing for 100 kilometers and had closed the gap to the three break-a-way rider to only 50 seconds at the beginning of the famed cobbled section in the Arenberg Forest. Kleinsman had a flat tire and was elimanated from the break. The Belgain Eddy Planckaert attacked solo out of the 21 chasing riders. Planckaert quickly caught and passed the two riders remaining in the initial break. Planchaert's lead built to 1 minute and 15 seconds, but there were 65 km left in the race. A strong chase group was working to catch up to Planchaert. Two riders from the chase group, Martial Gayant and Kurt Van Keirsbulck, bridges up to Planchaert and the three built the lead to 2 minutes and 5 seconds.

A chase group formed of 15 riders lead by Laurent Fignon. The Panasonic team did their best to slow the progress of the chase. Fignon, despite Panasonic's efforts, closed the gap down to 20 seconds. He was unable to close the final meters. At this point Steve Bauer, Eddy Van Hooydonck a 2 others rode across to the Planckaert breakaway.

At the next cobbled section, Camphin-en Pevele 25 km from Rouabaix, Bauer attacked hard. Panckaert and Van Hooydonck were the only two that were able to latch on to his wheel. 

The peleton was closing in on the three riders as they reached the town of Roubaix. Several riders joined them while they were on their finishing lap on the Velodrome. Bauer started his sprint and Planckaert responded. The two were pretty much even as their sprint drew near to the finish line. Both riders gave one final push as they threw their bikes forward toward the line.  Neither rider raised their hands in victory.
The photo finish.

The huge crowd at the velodrome was silent. Finally the finish line judge, Joel Menard, made the announcement: "Eddy Planchaert, the winner by less than a centimeter!"

265.5 km from Cmpiegne to Roubaix (Veledrome), winning time of 7 hours, 37 minutes and 2 seconds.

Below is a video of the last part of the race.

Below is around an hour of coverage of the 1990 Paris-Roubaix from Eurosport Vision with commentary by David Duffield divided into 4 parts. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Georges Speicher

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Georges Speicher leading up the Tourmalet during the 1933 Tour de France

Georges Speicher (Paris, June 8, 1907 - January 24, 1978) was a French cyclist who won the 1933 Tour de France, and the 1933 World Cycling Championship. He was the first to win both of these races in the same year, and also the first French World Champion. 

Speicher had never ridden a bicycle before he turned 18 years of age. In the post World War I years his sport was boxing. He was an up and comming boxer when he came upon cycling quite by accident. He answered an add for employment and got the job as a courier for deliveries by bicycle. He had never even learned to ride a bicycle. The first day he pushed the bike with his left foot and used the right foot to balance the bike.
Georges Speicher first started racing at the age of 22 as a member of the prestigious Bicycle Club Santa Clara. Only three years later in 1932 at the age of 25 he rode his first Tour de France and finished the race in eighth place. 

In 1933 Speicher rode his second Tour de France, winning three stages and finishing in first place over all. The World Cycling Championship were to be held in France only about 20 days after the final stage of the Tour de France. He had not planned on racing the World Championship because of the extreme fatigue he experienced after winning the Tour. 

When one of the French riders fell ill and was not able to race the World Championship, it was decided to ask Georges Speicher to take his place. At first they could not locate him. Finally he was found in a Theater at midnight on Saturday Night August 12, 1933. The World Championship race was to be held on the morning of Monday August 14, 1933. On Sunday the 13th, Speicher went to the factory of his sponsor, Alcyon, to pick up a new bicycle. 

Monday morning at the start of the race Speicher attacked as soon as they left from the starting line on a new bicycle he had never ridden. He was joined by three other racers. The break was eventually caught. As soon as they were caught he attacked again. At this point there was 78 miles to go (125 km). He won the race and was 5 minutes and 33 seconds ahead of the second place rider. Speicher had cover the 155 miles (250 km) course at an average speed of 22 mph (35.5 mph). 

Georges Speicher was the French National Cycling Champion during the years 1935, 1936 and 1939.

Georges Speicher in the front.
Georges Speicher fixing a flat during the 1934 edition of Paris-Roubaix

Below is a short video of the 1933 Tour de France.
Even if you can't understand the commentary, it's interesting to get an idea of the race - spectators,roads, bikes and riders.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beryl Burton

For more on the amazing Beryl Burton click here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Laerco Guerra

Laerco Guerra after winning the 1934 Giro d'Italia
Learco Guerra, born October 14, 1902, was an Italian professional road racing cyclist. He originally tried to be a professional football play without great success. In 1928, at the age of 26, he started is professional cycling career. His nickname was "Human Locomotive".

 In 1930 he won the Italian Road Race Championships. He also won in 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934. Five straight years as National Champion in Italy! Guerra finished the 1930 Tour de France in 2nd place that year.

In 1931 Learco won four stages of the Giro d'Italia and the World Cycling Championship.

Learco Guerra is most famous for his 10 stage wins during the 1934 Giro d'Italia and his overall win of that race.

After retirement he worked as team manager for such great riders as Hugo Koblet and Charley Gaul.

Learco Guerra passed away on February 7, 1963. He had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease.
Laerco Guerra climbing the Allos during the 1933 Tour de France.
He finished 2nd overall in that year's Tour.
Laerco Guerra

Below is a short video of the 1934 Giro d'Italia

I've had days when I felt like this on the bike!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Claude Criquielion

Claude Criquielion on the winners podium at the 1984 World Road Cycling Championships
Claude Criquielion born January 11, 1957 is a former professional whose career spanned the years  1979  to 1990. His greatest victories are his 1984 World Road Race Championship won in Barcelona, Spain and his 1990 victory at the Belgium National Cycling Championships. Along with these victories he had 5 top ten finishes in the Tour de France during his professional racing years. 
Claude Criquielion at the finish line of Fleche Wallone in 1985.

In the 1988 World Championship, held in Criquielion's home country of Belgium, he crashed in sight of the finish line while sprinting beside Steve Bauer of Canada. Bauer was disqualified and Maurizio Fondriest won the race. Criquielion filed a law suit for damages against Bauer for 1.5 million dollars. The case lasted more than three years and ended with the judge ruling in Bauer's favor. Below is a video of the finish. The crash in question takes place about 2 minutes into the video.

In recent years Claude Criquielion became the director sportif  of the Lotto-Adecco team from 2000 to 2004. In 2005 he became the manager of the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team the same year his son, Mathieu Crequielion, turned professional and raced for the same team.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Eugene Christophe

Eugene Christophe

Eugene Christophe (January 22, 1885 - February 1, 1970) was a French road bicycle racer and pioneer of cyclo-cross. He is famous for being the first rider to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, not winning the Tour de France due to broken forks and being a cyclo-cross champion. Through out his career Christophe raced with great determination.

In 1906 Christophe rode his first Tour de France, finishing in ninth place.  

The 1912 Tour de France was the last edition that was decided by points instead of total time. Eugene Christophe was clearly the strongest rider in that year's Tour. The only way he could win a stage was to get away by himself and solo to the finish. The Belgian riders were working together to amass points by winning sprints. Christophe won three consecutive stages by solo break-aways to the stage finish. One of those solo breaks was 196 miles (315 km) in length. If the race had been scored on time he would have been leading going into the last stage. During the last stage Christophe, totally disgusted, sat up and let a group ride away. The race organizer changed the scoring system back to time based for the 1913 race, due to the way things turned out under the points based system used during the 1912 Tour de France.

The 1913 Tour de France - broken forks:
Unfortunately Eugene Christophe is most famous for not winning the 1913 Tour de France because of a mechanical failure, than he is for his great cycling skills. He was placed 2nd in the general classification the night before the Tour reached the first mountain stage. At the foot of the Tourmalet, the highest pass in the Pyrenees Mountains, Christophe dropped all the field except Belgain, Philippe Thys. Thys was no danger, however, because he had lost too much time earlier. The two were five minutes ahead of the field when they reach the summit of the Tourmalet. 
   In those days riders rode fixed gear bikes with a different size cog on either side of the rear hub. To change gears they had to stop, remove the rear wheel, turn it around and reinstall it with the chain on the other cog. Christophe stopped at the top of the mountain and turned his wheel around to put his bike in it's highest gear to go faster on the descent of the Tourmalet. 
   Christophe said:          
"I plunged full speed towards the valley. According to Henri Desgrange's calculation, I was then heading the general classification with a lead of 18 minutes. So, I was going full speed. All of a sudden, about ten kilometres from Ste-Marie-de-Campan down in the valley, I feel that something is wrong with my handlebars. I cannot steer my bike any more. I pull on my brakes and I stop. I see my forks are broken. Well, I tell you now that my forks were broken but I wouldn't say it at the time because it was bad publicity for my sponsor.
And there I was left alone on the road. When I say the road, I should say the path. All the riders I had dropped during the climb soon caught me up. I was weeping with anger. I remember I heard my friend Petit-Breton shouting as he saw me, 'Ah, Cri-Cri, poor old lad. I was getting angry. As I walked down, I was looking for a short cut. I thought maybe one of those pack trails would lead me straight to Ste-Marie-de-Campan. But I was weeping so badly that I couldn't see anything. With my bike on my shoulder, I walked for more than ten kilometres. On arriving in the village at Ste-Marie-de-Campan, I met a young girl who led me to the blacksmith on the other side of the village. His name was Monsieur Lecomte."
Eugene Christophe repairing his fork.
By the time he had reached the blacksmith's forge, Christophe, had lost two hours. The blacksmith offered to weld the broken fork back together, but a race official and managers of rival teams would not allow it. The rules were, that a rider was responsible for his own repairs, and outside assistance was prohibited. Christophe did the repairs while the blacksmith told him what to do. It took three hours to make the repair and the race judge penalised him 10 additional minutes - reduced later to three minutes - because he had allowed a seven year old boy to pump the bellows for him. 
     Christophe filled his pockets with bread and set off over two more mountains and eventually finished the Tour in seventh place.
     The forks which cost Christophe the race were taken away by Peugeot. (his sponsor) He didn't see them again until a dying man bequeathed them to him more than 30 years later. Some reports say that Christophe broke his forks because he ran into a car on the descent. The historian and author, Bill McGaun, says:

"I have found no mention of a car in Christophe's own retelling of the story. Broken forks were not unusual. I am sure that the poor state of 1913 metallurgy and bad mountain roads caused the disaster. My own theory, based on little information, is that the car story is probably a piece of Peugeot disinformation. It must have been awful for Peugeot to have their famous rider celebrated for having broken a fork. A car crash makes this all easy to explain. The final nail in the coffin of the story is that Christophe said 'I wouldn't have told you then because it was bad publicity for my firm.' If it had been a car crash, there would have been no bad publicity because no one expects a bike to withstand a car crash."

Eugene Christophe

Christophe served in a cycling battalion when the French entered into World War I in 1914.
During the 1919 Tour de France Eugene Christophe became the first racer to ever wear the yellow jersey as the race leader. At the conclusion of the race, once again, he wouldn't be the overall winner. Christope was riding with a grey jersey made by La Sportive when, while leading, Desgrange gave him the first Maillot Juane (yellow leader's jersey). Christophe said:

"So soon after the war, the cycle industry was not yet in action again, and the only marque supplying material was La Sportive and there was little difference between any of the jerseys they supplied. One day - it was on the 482km stage from Les Sables d'Olonne to Bayonne - Monsieur Baugé, an official, remarked to Henri Desgrange that it was difficult enough for him to pick out the various riders and the public must find it impossible. Couldn't the race leader wear a special jersey?"

Christophe was not at first pleased to wear the yellow jersey as he complained that  a spectator laughed and told him he looked like a canary.
     At the start of the stage from Metz to Dunkirk he was leading the tour by 30 minutes. His fork broke again, this time on the cobbles of Valenciennes. He lost over two and a half hours while he made the repairs.  Even though the closest blacksmith's forge was within a kilometer of where he broke his fork. On the last stage he had a whole series of flat tires and dropped from second to third place in the final general classification. His story captured the imagination of the public and he was awarded the same money as the winner, Firm Lambot, received as prize money. The money, 13,310 francs, came from subscriptions opened for the paper which organized the race and donations. Donations ranged from 3 francs to 500 francs (given by Henri deRothschild).
     Christophe kept these repaired forks in the basement of his home.
    Unbelievably Christophe had another fork break while racing the 1922 Tour de France. This third fork broke on the descent of the Galiber while he was in the top three places and had a chance of overall victory. Once again Christophe was forced to walk out of the mountains. 
      Eugene Christophe last race of the Tour de France was in 1925 at the age of 40. He finished in 18th place.

Eugene Christophe sprinting.
      Christophe's greatest suffering wasn't his three broken forks in the Tour de France, but the extreme conditions he endured will racing the 1910 edition of Milan - San Remo at the age of 25. There were 71 racers on the starting line. Only three would reach the finish line in San Remo. Christophe described his race experience as:
"The weather had been good at the start of the week but it turned really bad and Alphonse Baugé [the manager] told us that we'd be going over the Turchino even though the road was bad and covered with snow. François Faber and Louis Trousselier cheered us up by saying 'What does it matter if we've got Lapize and Christophe the two cyclo-cross champions with us?'
The roads were muddy and frozen and we had to bounce along in the ruts, riding on the verges between the posts that were spaced every 20 metres as far as Pavia. We rode the first 32km in 56 minutes, the 53km from Milan to Voghera in 1h 50. There were attacks after attack and it was more like a course des primes than a long-distance race...
We go to the notorious col de Turchino. The clouds were low, the countryside was unattractive and we started to feel the cold more and more. We started to shiver and every turn of the pedals was heavier. The half-melted snow made the race very hard and we were struggling too with a glacial wind. I dropped my friend Ernest Paul to get up to Ganna, whom I could see on the hairpins. I got up and past him without too much trouble because he didn't seem to be standing the cold any better than I was. Not far from the summit I had to get off my bike because I started feeling bad. My fingers were rigid, my feet numb, my legs stiff and I was shaking continuously. I began walking and running to get my circulation back, looking at the countryside. It was bleak and the wind made a low moaning noise. I'd have felt scared if I hadn't been used to bad weather in cyclo-crosses.
Well, I got back on my bike and I got to the top of the col. There's a tunnel at the top and I asked a soigneur how far down I was on the leader. He told me six minutes. I found van Hauwaert at the exit of the tunnel with his bike in his hand and a cloak on his back. He told me he was packing it in. I was beyond feeling happy about it and I just got on with going down through the snow that lay on the road on that side of the mountain.
The view was totally different now. The snow made the countryside beautiful. The sky was really clear. But now it was my turn to have trouble. It was hard to keep going. In places there were 20cm of snow and sometimes more. Each time I was obliged to get off and push. It was cyclo-cross - off, on, riding, walking. I could keep going but it was slowing me right down. Then I had to stop with stomach cramp. Doubled up, one hand on my bike and the other on my stomach, I collapsed on to a rock on the left side of the road. I was bitter with cold. All I could do was move my head a little from left to right
I saw a little house not far away but I couldn't get there. I didn't realise just what danger I was in. I just had one thought: to get to San Remo first and I attached no importance to the pain I felt… I thought too of my contract with the bike factory. I'd get double my wages if I won as well as primes and there'd be my 300 francs for first place. Happily in my misfortune a man chanced to pass by.
Signor, signor…'"
Christophe looked at the man and said casa [house]. He took him into the house, undressed him and wrapped him in a blanket. Christophe did physical exercises to get his blood restarted. Then van Hauwaert and Paul came in. "They were so frozen that they put their hands into the flames. Ernest Paul had lost a shoe without noticing," Christophe said.
"I was there for about 25 minutes. I saw four riders go by, or at least four piles of mud. I decided to press on. Ernest Paul said 'You're crazy.' And the innkeeper didn't want to let me go. I had to trick him by saying I could meet someone who would get me to San Remo by train. I set off and caught Cocchi and Pavesi and I got to the control just behind Ganna, who was setting off as I stopped. I set off again after Baugé told me I could win and I passed Ganna at the edge of the town. And I caught Albini a few kilometers later.
At the control at Savona (90km) everybody was astonished to see me alone. I didn't stop long and took Trousellier's spare bike, because I knew he and Garrigou had abandoned before Ovada. I was sure of my victory and with only 100km to go I felt a new strength. The idea of crossing the line alone brought back all my energy. I got to San Remo well behind the scheduled time. It was 6pm when I stopped underneath the blowing banner that showed the end of my Calvary."
It took a month in the hospital for Christophe to recover from frost bite to his hands and the damage the cold had done to his body. It was another two years before he got back to his original health.
Christophe was a pioneer of Cyclo-Cross and national champion from 1909 to 1914, then again in 1921.

Eugene Christope lived his whole life in Malakoff, France (near Paris). He was a member of the L'Etoile Sportive de Malakoff cycling club from his first races till his death in 1970.
Eugene Christophe