Friday, March 29, 2013

100 editions of the Tour de France 1907

1907 Peugeot ridden by Lucien Petit-Breton FRA
Despite being hit by a double dose of bad fortune, Peugeot wins their third straight Tour. The previous years winners, Rene Pottier tragically commits suicide and is remembered with a memorial atop the Ballon d'Alsace, while Peugeots strongest rider and Tour leader, Emile Garrigou, is docked points for an illegal bike change. Fortunately for the team they have strength in numbers, finishing with the first 5 riders overall, though their success is exaggerated by the fact that powerful rivals, Alcyon withdraw after Garrigou is not thrown off the race.


Although well installed as a sporting monument by 1907, the Tour wasn't immune from a few crazy antics, non more so than adventures of Henri Pépin. His preferred title of Baron Henri Pépin de Gontaud was probably invented, though he was clearly monied since he could afford to pay two pro riders to sacrifice their chances in order to chaperone him around the course. But Pépin wasn't out to upset the leaderboard, he was there for the craic as we might say today. Despite being part of the worlds biggest cycle race it didn't prevent him from stopping for long lunches and finishing up to 12 hours behind the winner on some stages. In the end he only managed to complete 5 stages but he still paid his helpers more than the winner earned. I think he may have been integral in the decision to introduce cut off times for the slower riders!

  1907 Peugeot Tour de France bike.

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