Monday, October 15, 2012

Rene Vietto

Rene Vietto
 Rene Vietto (1914 - 1988) was a famous French road racing cyclist. He is considered by many as the best pure climber that France has ever produced. Vietto became a legend at the young age of 20 years old for his performances and sacrifices during the 1934 Tour de France.

During the 1934 Tour de France Rene Vietto won 4 stages; stages 7,9,11 and 18. He also won the mountains classification for best climber and finished in 5th place overall in the general classification.
Rene Vietto sits on a rock wall waiting for support while the race passes by.

The 1934 Tour de France was raced by national teams. Vietto was supporting Antonin Magne, the French team captain. During stage 15 Magne crashed and broke his front wheel. Vietto stopped and gave him his front wheel. The next day Vietto was the first racer over the top of the the first two mountains of the 16th stage. He had descended the Portet d' Aspet when a race marshall on a motorcycle rode up to him to inform him that Magne had crashed and broken his bicycle. Magne turned around and rode back up the mountain through the on coming descending racers. Magne had broken his back wheel. Vietto gave Magne his bike and waited again for support to bring him a new bicycle. He always felt that he could have won the 1934 Tour de France if he hadn't lost the time waiting on support during those two stages.

 Rene Vietto  never won the tour. He wore the yellow jersey of the Tour de France race leader for 15 stages of the 1938 Tour de France and for 14 stages during the 1947 Tour de France. He finished second in 1939, fifth in 1934 and 1947 and eighth in 1935. After his second place finish in the 1939 tour World War II broke out and the Tour de France wouldn't be held again until 1947. Rene Vietto is another racer whose career was interrupted by a World War at the height of his abilities. One has to wonder what his Tour de France record would have been if he hadn't lost 6 years of opportunity.
Rene Vietto finishes a rain soaked stage 11 of the 1934 Tour de France, from Nice to Cannes.

Rene Vietto leads Vincente Trueba over the climb of the Col du Tourmalet during stage 18 of the 1934 Tour de France.

Rene Vietto, repairs a flat at the summit of the Galibier during the 1939 Tour de France. Tour director Henri Desgrange keeps an eye on thinks.

During the 18th stage of the 1934 Tour de France Rene Vietto rides away solo over the Tourmalet. He stays away from the field by himself over the Aubisque and crosses the finish line by himself. He finishes 2 minutes and 57 seconds ahead of Roger Lapebie, the second place finisher of that stage.

Rene Vietto is the first rider over the Aubisque during the 1934 Tour de France. Be sure and take note of the rough road conditions that they were racing on. 

Rene Vietto receives a wheel from neutral support during the 1934 Tour de France.

Rene Vietto during the 1937 Tour de France.

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