Friday, March 29, 2013

100 editions of the Tour de France, 1909

1909 Alcyon ridden by Français Faber LUX
If the 1908 race was all about Peugeot then the 1909 edition was all about Alcyon and more specifically, Français Faber.

Faber was a big man, 1.86m and 91kg apparently and he clearly had the heart of a lion. As a Luxembourger he was also the first 'foreigner' to win the Tour.

Some say that the 1909 Tour had the worst weather ever but it didn't stop Faber winning 5 stages in a row, which has yet to be equalled. 
Stage 2 was run off in freezing rain for the entire 398k and Faber rode the second half on his own to finish over 30 mins ahead of the second place man, a feat he replicated on stage 3. Since the points system was still in play he gained no more than if he'd won a sprint by half a wheel.
As you can see in the photograph he won stage 4 on foot after to braking his chain as he entered Lyon.
Stage 5 was equally eventful, due to tremendous winds which knocked him from his bike twice and then a horse joined the act, also knocking him to the ground. 

In the end Alcyon took the first 5 places but it should be noted that from 1909 to 1911 Peugeot, for a reason I have yet to find, boycotted the race so many of it's star riders switched to Alcyon.

A sad footnote, but one that sums up Faber, is that he was killed in 1915 as he carried a wounded comrade through no mans land as he fought in the First World War. 


No comments:

Post a Comment