Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maurice Brocco

Maurice Brocco
Maurice Brocco (January 28, 1885 to June 26, 1965) was a French professional bicycle racer from 1906 to 1927. He won a stage in the Tour de France in 1911. Maurice participated six times in the Tour de France, but finished the race only once. In his later career he was successful in six day races. He lost some of his best racing years to World War I. Brocco did return to racing in 1919 as a 34 year old and found success in winning the Six Days of New York on three occasions; 1920, 1921 and 1924. He also won the Six Days of Chicago in 1923.

Maurice Brocco was the first cyclist to be called a domestique. The Tour de France organizer, Desgrange, used it in 1911 as an insult to Brocco. Not in a position to win the tour he offered his services to Francois Faber who was in danger of being eliminated for taking to long. Brocco waited for Faber and paced him to the finish. Desgrange wanted to disqualy him for breaking the rules, but he had no proof. The Tour organizer scorned Brocco in his newspaper, writing; "He is unworthy, He is no more than a domestique".

Next morning Brocco greeted Desgrange with: "Today, monsieur, we are going to settle our accounts." He won the day by 34 minutes. Desgrange followed him and the yellow jersey, Gustave Garrigou as they climbed the Tourmalet. "So, am I forbidden to ride with him?", Brocco shouted. On the following mountain, the Aubisque, he dropped Garrigou, passed Paul Duboc, who had been poisoned and was in agony beside the road, and took the lead with Ă‰mile Georget. Desgrange was still watching.
"Alors, quoi," Brocco shouted, "do I have the right to stay with him?" And then he rode off alone and won. He had made two points to Desgrange. The first was that he was a talented rider and not a servant. The second was that he had so much talent that his poor riding with Faber could only have been through a commercial arrangement. Desgrange said that any rider with such flair had clearly been selling the race.,
"He deserves his punishment," Desgrange wrote. "Immediate disqualification."
Maurice Brocco

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