The history of the Tour de France

Year 1913

THE STORY

  • Accidents marked the 1913 Tour and played a crucial role in the race’s outcome. Eugene Christophe and Marcel Buysse were strong contenders until mechanical breakdowns put them out of the running, leaving Lucien Petit-Breton and Belgium's Philippe Thys to battle it out for the win. Petit-Breton crashed on the penultimate stage and dropped out. Ironically, Thys crashed shortly thereafter and was momentarily knocked unconscious. Petit-Breton, however, had already abandoned, and despite considerable grogginess, Thys managed to finish the stage and win the Tour.

  • Of all the spectacular incidents that occurred in the 1913 Tour, the one involving Eugene Christophe takes the cake. While attacking in the Pyrénées his fork snapped in two. Isolated near the summit of the Tourmalet, he carried his bike 14 kilometers to the village of Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, where he found a forge and spent the night repairing his fork before returning to the race. He had lost all hopes of winning the Tour, but a plaque was posted in the town to commemorate his heroic struggle.

  • Judging his earnings insufficient Lapize abandons between Cherbourg and Brest. Participation of a young Tunisian discovered by Henri Pelissier, Ali Neffati (18 yrs old), who later became a driver at L'AUTO. Last rider: H. Alavoine (25th) à 63 h 12 min 17 sec.

  • Second at the summit of the Tourmalet, Eugène Christophe breaks his fork. After 14 kilometers on foot, he repairs his fork, unaided, in four hours, at the Sainte-Marie de Campan blacksmith, without any prior blacksmith experience. A commemorative plate can be found to honor this act. .A few days later, Marcel Buysse, with a broken handlebar, is also forced to walk in the Estérel, victory had been so close. The race returns to the overall-time format rather than points.

  • The Treaty of Bucharest divides the Balkans; Roland Garros flies across the Mediterranean; business mogul J.P. Morgan dies; Igor Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring" is poorly received in Paris; the word "jazz" first appears in print.

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