Sunday, January 6, 2013

1922 Tour de France

Riders stopping at the top of a hill to flip their wheels to a larger gear for the descent during the 1922 Tour de France.
The 1922 Tour de France was the 16th Tour de France. It consisted of 15 stages and covered a total distance of 5,372 kilometers (3,338 miles). It took place from June 25th to July 23rd 1922. The cyclists were divided into two categories, first class (the professionals) and second class (the amateurs).

The early stages of the tour excited French cycling fans. Belgian racers had dominated the tour in recent years. Robert Jacquinot won the 1st stage and Eugene Christophe  finished the stage in 2nd place. Both French racers.

French rider Romain Bellenger won the 2nd stage.  He won the stage in a sprint finish against Philippe Thys, Robert Jacquinot, Victor Lenaers, Jean Alavoine and Emile Masson. The next bunch of riders were just 47 seconds behind them.

The 3rd stage ended in the  Brest velodrome. Jacquinot won the stage in a sprint finish and kept the yellow leaders jersey. The 24 competitors finished together. Desgrange, the race organizer, wanted the riders to struggle to the finish and come in one at a time. He didn't want the riders to help each other or ride in bunches. Desgrange's idea of the Tour de France was a single rider preserving to the end of each stage alone. 
Three breakaway riders in the 1922 Tour de France, on the road to Versailles.

Stage 4 was 412 kilometers in length (256 miles) going from Brest to Les Sables d'Olonne, France. Robert Jacquinot had 3 flat tires during the stage and lost 1 hour and 41 minutes. Belgain Phillipe Thys won the 4th stage, but Frenchman Eugene Christophe took over the lead. The French fans were enthused to have a Frenchman, who was capable of winning the Tour de France, in the position of race leader.

After the end of the 5th stage of the 1922 Tour de France Christophe had a good overall lead. The top three standings were:

1. Eugene Christophe
2. Philippe Thys @ 8 minutes 15 seconds
3. Felix Sellier @ 34 minutes 49 seconds

Stage 6 was the first stage in the Pyrenees Mountains. There was heavy snow on the Tourmalet and the route had to be changed to by-pass that climb. The 6th stage was won by Jean Alavoine, who led over all the climbs. Despite finishing the stage 38 minutes behind Alavoine, Eugene Christhope held on to the leader's yellow jersey. Jean Alavoine was now in second place, 27 minutes behind Christhope. The winner of 3 previous Tour de Frances, Philippe Thys, lost more than 3 hours due to a broken wheel suffered during the stage. Also in the stage, a shepherd suggest to Emile Masson to take a shortcut on a goat path. Masson took the shortcut, had to carry his bike, and lost time.
Jean Alavoine winning the 6th stage of the 1922 Tour de France.
The next rider was 17 minutes behind him.
The 7th stage contained the climbs of the Portet d'Aspet, the Port and the Puymorens. It was also 323 kilometers (200.70 miles) in length. Jean Alavoine won the stage. It was his third stage win in a row. Eugene Christophe lost 46 minutes during the 7th stage and dropped to third place in the overall standings. 

Jean Alavoine had been close to winning the Tour de France several times in the past. In previous tours he had finished in 2nd place, 3rd place 2 times and in 5th place overall. He had also been the French Road Racing Champion 2 times. He now had the yellow leader's jersey and held a healthy lead.

The standings of the top three riders after the Pyrenees was:

1. Jean Alavoine
2. Firmin Lambot (1919 Tour winner) @ 14 minutes 19 seconds
3. Eugene Christophe @ 19 minutes 34 seconds

Philippe Thys won the 8th, 9th and 10th stages all in a row. He was not a threat to Alavoine's lead due to his loss of 3 hours with a broken wheel during the 6th stage. Alavoine's lead in the 1922 Tour de France was now 22 minutes and 18 seconds over 2nd place Firmin Lambot.

 The 11th stage of the tour contained the Alpine climbs of the Galibier, the Telegraphe and the Arvis. The leaders of the stage encountered a heavy rain storm while on the Galibier. It's important to remember that most of the Tour de France was raced on dirt roads at this time. Honore Barthelemy crashed at  least three times and had to abandon the race during this stage. Eugene Christophe broke his fork for an incredible 3rd time while racing a Tour de France, when he was climbing the Galibier. He had to walk the rest of the way up the mountain and down the other side before he could fix his fork. Christophe lost 3 hours and his chance to win a Tour de France for a third time due to a broken fork. Jean Alavoine, the race leader, had mechanical problems during the stage and finished 38 minutes behind stage winner Emile Masson. Heusghem attacked during the 11th stage, and gained over 30 minutes, and was now in 3rd place.

The General Classification at the end of the 11th stage was:

1. Jean Alavoine
2. Firmin Lambot @ 6 minutes 53 seconds
3. Hector Heusghem @ 15 minutes 49 seconds

Emile Masson won the 12th stage. Hector Heusghem attacked on this stage again. Race leader Jean Alavoine had 6 flat tires on this stage and lost 37 minutes. Heusghem finished 35 minutes over Alavoine and more than 10 minutes ahead of second placed Firmin Lambot. This put Hector Heusghem in the yellow jersey of the race leader.

Here are the top three places in the 1922 Tour de France after the 12th stage:
1. Hector Heusghem
2. Firmin Lambot @ 3 minutes 13 seconds
3. Jean Alavoine @ 10 minutes 24 seconds

Robert Jacquinot taking a break during the 1922 Tour de France.

During the 13th stage Hector Heusghem hit a pothole and crashed. His bike was destroyed in the crash. He swapped to a teammate's bike, after getting permission from a race judge, and finished the stage. At the end of the day the race officials reviewed the rules and decided to give Heusghem an hour penalty for the bike swap. Without this penalty he would have surely won the 1922 Tour de France.

The top three spots after the 13th stage were:

1. Firmin Lambot
2. Jean Alavoine @ 33 minutes 16 seconds
3. Victor Lenaers @ 47 minutes 10 seconds

Firmin Lambot during stage 15 of the 1922 Tour de France.
Firmin Lambot held on to his lead for the remaining 2 stages and won the 1922 Tour de France. At 37 years of age he was the oldest rider to have won the race and the first rider to win a Tour de France without ever winning a stage. He had stayed out of trouble and not suffered any misfortunes during the tour. He won with an average speed of 24.49 kph (15.22 mph).

120 racers started the 1922 tour and there were 38 finishers.

Below are the top 5 places in the general classification of the 1922 Tour de France:

1. Firmin Lambot (Peugeot): 222 hours 8 minutes 6 seconds
2. Jean Alavoine (Peugeot) @ 41 minutes 15 seconds
3. Felix Sellier (Alcyon) @ 42 minutes 2 seconds
4. Hector Heusghem (Thomann) @ 43 minutes 56 seconds
5. Victor Lenaers (Peugeot) @ 45 minutes 32 seconds

Firmin Lambot, winner of the 1922 Tour de France.
Click here for more on Firmin Lambot.
Jean Alvoine, 2nd place in the 1922 Tour de France.
Click here for more on Jean Alvoine.
Felix Sellier, 3rd place in the 1922 Tour de France.
Click here for more on Felix Sellier.
Hector Heusghem, 4th place in the 1922 Tour de France.
Click here for more on Hector Heusghem.
Victor Lenaers, 5th place in the 1922 Tour de France.
Click here for more on Victor Lanaers.

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