Wednesday, February 1, 2012

1911 Tour de France

Route of the 1911 Tour de France
The 1911 Tour de France was the 9th edition of the race and the first to include the alpine climb of the Col de Galibier. It was composed of 15 stages over 5,344 kilometres (3,321 miles) ridden at an average speed of 27.32 km/h (16.98 mph).  The longest stage was 470 km (292 miles) taking almost 18 hours for the fastest riders to complete. Out of the 84 riders who started the tour, only 28 completed the race. 

The start of the 1911 Tour de France
The 1911 Tour was scored using the point system again. With this system the rider with the fewest points at the end of the race won. Cyclists who had abandoned the race were removed from the rankings of the previous stages, and the classification was recalculated. Today's Tour de France is scored based on the cumulative time of each racer, with the rider that completes the route in the shortest time winning. 

The Tour's route crossed over into Germany each year from 1906 through 1910. After 1910, the German authorities did not allow this any more, so the tour stayed in France. 
Col de Galibier
Two members of the Alcyon Team, Gustave Garrigou and Francois Faber, were trading the lead of the race in the early stages.  Garrigou won the first Stage. Faber won the third stage, after a 206 km (128 miles) solo breakaway. During the third stage while leading, Emile Georget was hit by a car and fell down a ravine. Faber won the third stage by 17 minutes over the next racer despite being penalized 2 & 1/2 minutes for not stopping at a checkpoint. Faber was in the lead at the end of stage three.
A rider has his hand stamped at one of the checkpoints during the 1911 Tour de France.
Garrigou took the lead back from his team mate Faber, in the fourth stage. Emile Georget was best in the alps, but Garrigou retained the overall lead. A newcomer, Paul Duboc, was a surprise contender at this part of the 1911 Tour de France.

After the ninth stage Gustave Garrigou was leading with 27 points. In second place was Paul Duboc with 37 points.  In the ninth stage Maurice Brocco, who knew he would not win the race, sold his services to another rider. According to the rules riders could not receive help. Desgrange, the Tour de France organizer, wanted Brocco removed from the race. Brocco objected and pending the decision he was allowed to start the tenth stage from Luchon to Bayonne. In the tenth stage, Brocco attacked and finished first. After the stage, he was disqualified, and his stage victory removed. In the tenth stage, Duboc collapsed with debilitating abdominal pain that was attributed to a poisoned water bottle. 
Maurice Brocco
The suspicion fell on Garrigou since he had the most to lose if Duboc continued to ride so well in the mountains. It is now thought that perhaps the bottle given to Duboc at the sign-in contained the poison and that Francois Lafourcade, who had done so well in the mountains in the 1910 Tour, may have concocted it. Garrigou is now considered to be innocent. 
Paul Duboc

Supports and fans of Paul Duboc were threatening Gustave Garrigou with retaliation for Duboc's  poisoning. In later stages, as the Tour went through Duboc's home area of Rouen, someone put up signs along the road that read;

"Citizens of Rouen! If I had not been poisoned, I would be leading the Tour de France today. You know what to do when the Tour passes through Rouen tomorrow."

Desgrange knew his tour leader was in real danger. For the stage through Rouen, Desgrange had Garrigou ride a bike painted a different color. Garrigou was also given different clothes and new goggles with blue lenses. The disguise was good enough for Garrigou to ride safely and finish the Tour without harm.

Duboc regained his strength and went on to win stages eleven and fourteen. He couldn't close the gap on Gustave Garrigou, who continued to ride well and went on to win the 1911 Tour de France. At the end of the race in Paris, Duboc received a heroes welcome that overshadowed the arrival of Garrigou. Francois Faber had retired from the race during stage twelve.

Final 1911 Tour de France General Classification:
1. Gustave Garrigou (Alcyon): 43 points
2. Paul Duboc (La Française) 61
3. Émile Georget (La Française) 84
4. Charles Crupelandt (La Française) 119
5. Louis Heusghem (Alcyon) 135

 Gustave Garrigou
Click here for more information on Gustave Garrigou.
Paul Duboc
Click here for more information on Paul Duboc.
Emile Georget
For more info on Emile Georget click here.

 Charles Crupelandt
Click here for more information on Charles Crupelandt.
Louis Heusghem
Click here for more information on Louis Heusghem.

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