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.