Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The 1909 Tour de France

Route of the 1909 Tour de France

The 1909 Tour de France, the seventh edition, began on July 5th and ended on August 1, 1909. The favorite to win, Francois Faber, was the overall winner of the 1,737 mile race and also won 6 of the 14 stages. The winning average speed in 1909 was 17.81 miles per hour. The results were calculated using the point system, with the rider with the fewest points at the end of the race winning. 

Leon Georget climbing the Galibier in the 1909 Tour de France.

There were a few differences in this race when compared to the previous years race. Though the route of the 1909 Tour de France was very similar to the 1908 race. For the first time, cyclists could enter the race in teams, although technically they were still considered sponsored individuals. Bathrooms were installed at check points along the course to prevent cyclists from urinating in front of spectators. Tour-supplied bicycle frames were required to be used in the 1908 Tour de France. In 1909 riders used their own frames, but the frames were marked with a stamp to ensure that racers used one bicycle for the entire race. A record number of participants, 150, started the race. Because of the cold temperatures, the rain and snow, the 1909 Tour de France was considered the most difficult one so far.
Faber running for the finish line in the rain with his chain broken and missing at the conclusion of stage 4.
Francois Faber, freshly hired away from the Peugeot team by the Alcyon team, won the 1909 Tour de France in dominating style. He won a total of six stages and five stages in a row, 2,3,4,5, and 6. 
Two of the stages, stages 4 and 14 (the final stage), he won running across the finish line with his bicycle. The second stage saw Faber break away half way through to solo to a win in freezing rain. Francois won the third stage, crossing the Ballon d'Alsace in snow and ice, by a half hour ahead of second place Gustave Garrigou. He won the fifth stage, crossing the Col de Porte, in wind so strong that Faber was twice knocked off his bike. During stage five he also had a horse knock him down and kick his bike away.  In the sixth stage, 20,000 fans had come to see Faber win his fifth stage in a row, which he did. After his fifth win Tour organizers asked Faber to calm down, in order to keep the Tour exciting. 
Finish of the 1909 Tour de France
Final 1909 Tour de France General Classification:
1. Francois Faber 
2. Gustave Garrigou
3. Jean Alavoine
4. Paul Duboc
5. Cyrille Van Houwaert
6. Ernest Paul (Faber's half-brother)

                                                                               Francois Faber
Click here to learn more about Francois Faber.

Gustave Garrigou

Jean Alvoine
Click here to lean more about Jean Alvoine

Paul Duboc
Click here to learn more about Paul Duboc.

Cyrille Van Houwaert

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