Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1907 Tour de France

The 1907 Tour de France was the 5th annual Tour de France bicycle race. Participants rode 2,788 miles across France from July 8th to August 4th. The average speed of the winner, Lucien Petit-Breton, was 17.69 miles per hour. The race was started by 93 riders and at the end of racing there were only 33 riders classified as finishers. The race was dominated at the start by Emile Georget, who won five of the eight stages. In the ninth stage, he borrowed a bicycle from a team mate after his own broke. This was against the rules, and he was penalized 45 points. Lucien Petit-Breton, who was riding extremely well, became the leader and eventually the 1907 Tour winner. Louis Trousselier's Alcyon team wasn't happy with the penalty given to Georget. They didn't want him to receive a mere points penalty, they wanted him out of the race. Not getting their way, they withdrew completely from the Tour. 
Lucien Petit-Breton winner of the 1907 Tour de France
The length again increased by one stage. The mountain stages had been so successful, according to the organiser Henri Desgange, that the western Alps were included. For the first time, a car with bicycle repairman drove behind the riders, to give assistance in solving mechanical problems on the bicycles. 
Emile Georget, at a track event, winner of 6 stages of the 1907 Tour de France.
Not all cyclists were competing for the victory, some only joined as tourists. The most notable of them was Henri Pepin. Pepin had hired two riders, Jean Dargassies and Henri Gauban to ride with him. Because they were professional riders who would forfeit a lot of money by riding for the "Baron", Pepin generously promised to pay them more for helping him than they would earn even if they won the tour.  They treated the race as a pleasure ride, stopping for lunch when they chose and spending the night at the best hotels they could find. The angry timekeepers had to wait long hours until the 3 gentlemen arrived at the finish. This was before the Tour instituted cutoff times that eliminated the slower riders. 

Top five finishers of the 1907 Tour de France
1. Lucien Petit-Breton: 47 Points
2. Gustave Garrigou: 66
3. Emile Georget: 74
4. Georges Passerieu: 85 
5.Francois Beaugendre: 123
Lucien Petit-Breton: Winner of the 1907 Tour de France
Click here to learn more about Lucien Petit-Breton.
Gustave Garrigou 2nd place finisher in the 1907 Tour de  France
Emile Georget 3rd place finisher in the 1907 Tour de France
Georges Passerieu 4th place finisher of the Tour de France

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