Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Antonin Magne

Antonin Magne
Antonin Magne (1904-1983) was a French cyclist who raced as a professional from 1927 to 1939. After his retirement he became a director sportif for the Mercier team. Magne was a mentor to many great riders. 

His original dreams and passion, as a boy, were of locomotives and railroads. He was latter introduced to bicycle racing while working as an apprentice at a bike shop. Through hard work and dedication he was able to begin racing at a professional level in 1926 and the following year competed in the Tour de France.

Through out his life Antonin Magne lived by the prescript: "The glory is never where virtue is not." Integrity, camaraderie, modesty and righteousness were his values. 

Magne was one of the first to understand the importance of diet in the practice of high performance sports.

During his career Antonin Magne was very successful racing the Tour de France. He was the overall winner during the 1931 and 1934 editions of the race. Some of his first place finishes and his placings in the overall general classification at the Tour de France are listed below by year.


1st. in stage 14
6th. overall in the General Classification


1st. in stage 13
1st. in stage 21
6th. overall in the General Classification


7th. in the General Classification


1st. in stage 12
3rd. in the General Classification


1st. in stage 9
1st. overall in the General Classification


8th. overall in the General Classification


1st. in stage 17 
1st. in stage 21 
1st. overall in the General Classification


1st. in stage 20
2nd overal in the General Classification


1st. in stage 10
1st. in stage 21

At the 1931 Tour de France, the French Team was a powerhouse. Antonin Magne was on the team with Andre Leduca and Charles Pellissier. Magne and the French team had to cover many attacks by the Itailian team during the Alpine stages of that year's tour. He never lost his lead during those stages.

The greatest threat to Antonin Magne's lead during the 1931 Tour de France was on the penultimate stage, from Charleville to Malo-les-Bains. This was a day of racing over rough cobblestone roads. Magne was worried the night before this stage and was keeping his roommate, Andre Leducq, awake. Leducq suggested to Magne that he read some of his fan mail. As he read, one letter caught his attention. It read:

"Monsieur Antonin Magne,
"I am writing to warn you that Rebry [one of the Belgian riders] has written to his mother saying that he'll attack with Demuysére on the stage from Charleville to Malo-les-Bains."

The following day, the Belgians attacked over and over, while riding on dangerous cobbles that were wet and slick. Despite falling once, Magne was able to stick with the pair of attacking riders.  

He went on to win the 1931 Tour de France. The effort was so fatiguing that Antonin Magne didn't start the tour the following year.

Antonin Magne receive help from a spectator in the 1934 Tour de France

In Antonin Magne's second tour win, the 1934 Tour de France, he took the lead in the second stage and never gave it up through the rest of the race. He wore the yellow jersey of race leader for a total of 22 days that year. 

Magne's success at the 1934 Tour de France would have never happened if his teammate Rene Vietto had not made sacrifices. 

During stage 15, from Perpignan to Ax-les-thermes, Veitto was first over the big climb of the day. Magne crashed on the descent and broke his front wheel. Veitto dutifully gave him his front wheel and waited for support. 

Magne hit a rock and crashed again on a descent during stage 16. This time he broke his rear wheel. A motorcycle marshal rode ahead and told Rene Vietto of his team leader's plight. Vietto turned around and rode back up the mountain and gave his rear wheel to Magne.
Antonin Magne about to start  and win an eighty kilometer individual time trial 1934 Tour de France. This was the first individual time trial ever in the Tour de France.
Antonin Magne's bicycle while racing for the 1939 Mercier-Hutchinson team.
Antonin Magne at the 1934 Grand Prix des Nations. He won this event in three consecutive years (1934, 1935 and 1936).

Antonin Magne

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