Abandons marked the 1911 race. Two-time winner Lucien Petit-Breton dropped out on the first stage; defending champion Octave Lapize called it quits on stage four; and eternal favorite François Faber went home on the 12th stage. For much of the race Emile Georget appeared to be headed for Tour glory. He won the tough mountain stage from Chamonix to Grenoble and took control of the race. Newcomer Paul Duboc put up a challenge that could have threatened the favorites, but he fell sick mid-way through the race. That left the door open for Gustave Garrigou, who, while not one of the races flashiest contenders, had what it took to win the race that year: consistency and good health.
First at the Ballon d'Alsace, Faber arrives alone in Nancy after a solitary breakaway of 206 kilometers. He repeats the feat and wins the Grenoble - Nice stage with a 260-km breakaway.
The unheralded Paul Duboc was one of the 1911 Tours sensations. He rode strongly in the Alps and won the stage into Perpignan. But then he fell sick--perhaps due to food poisoning--and collapsed in the Pyrénées. Although he recuperated to win two more stages, he had to settle for second place.
In his editorial dedicated to the Galibier titled "Act of Adoration," Henri Desgrange writes: "O, col Bayard, O, Tourmalet (...) next to Galibier you are worthless."
Brocco, winner of the Bayonne stage with a 34-minute lead on Garrigou, is ejected from the race the same night for not having held his own in the previous stages
Having indicated which gears were used by Brocco and Garrigou during the Pyrenean stages (22x11), Alphonse Steines wrote in L'Auto: "We would not be surprised to see multisystem bicycles one day in a race. The world has to evolve, no one can hide from the future." The rider, Panel, had already been experimenting with gear changes.
Last rider: Roquebert (28th) 391 pts (Garrigou: 43 pts).
Winner in Perpignan and in Luchon, Duboc colapses just before Bayonne, victim of poisoning. He recovers, wins the La Rochelle and Le Havre stages and finishes second in Paris.
The race enters the Alps, crossing the Télégraphe, Galibier and Allos climbs.
George V is crowned King of England and Ireland, and Emperor of India; Marie Curie wins the Nobel Prize for chemistry; Gaumont creates the first talking picture.