The history of the Tour de France

Year 1907

THE STORY

  • After the tragic off-season suicide of defending champion René Pottier, the 1907 Tour was a wide-open race. Louis Trousselier, François Faber and Emile Georget emerged as the top contenders, and Georget appeared to take control when the race passed through eastern France. But on the stage to Bayonne, he was penalized for borrowing a teammate's bike after he flatted. To the surprise of many, it was Lucien Petit-Breton, a little-known rider, who slipped into the lead and captured the overall win.

  • Although his penalty in Bayonne kept him from winning the Tour, Emile Georget won a total of six stages and used one of the first bicycles equipped with a freewheel. The biggest coup of the race, however, was that Lucien Petit-Breton was able to capture the overall win. He had entered the race in a special "poinçonnée" category, which was designed for lesser-known riders who didn’t have (or couldn’t afford) the support of a team. As a result, he was allowed virtually no mechanical assistance, and won his first Tour single-handedly.

  • In Metz, Georget beats Trousselier by inches in a contested finish. After investigation, H. Desgrange and race officials decide to give first place to both riders. Last rider: Chartier (33rd) 568 pts (Petit-Breton : 47 pts). More climbs were added as riders raced up the Col de Porte and the Col de Sappey in the Chartreuse mountains. The Tour also visited Switzerland for the first time during the stage from Lyon to Grenoble.

  • Georget's penalty and Petit-Breton's performance on a stamped bicycle.

  • Pablo Picasso paints the monumental “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon;” Rudyard Kipling wins England's first Nobel Prize for literature.

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