The history of the Tour de France

Year 1914

THE STORY

  • Philippe Thys came to the 1914 Tour with one idea in mind: to defend his Tour de France title. And he did. Attacking from the gun, Thys won the opening stage from Paris to Le Havre. His two toughest challengers came in the guise of a young Frenchman named Henri Pélissier and Swiss star Oscar Egg. Thys managed to keep them both in check in the mountains, and despite a strong attack by Pélissier on the final stage, Thys held on for a narrow win.

  • Like Eugene Christophe one year earlier, Philippe Thys had the misfortune of breaking his fork in the middle of Stage 13. Unlike Christophe, however, Thys was nearby a bike shop. He entered and insisted that the mechanic help him fix the fork, although Thys would clearly receive a penalty. After a mad chase, he somehow managed to finish third on the stage. And despite receiving a one-hour penalty, he miraculously held onto the overall lead by a slight two minutes.

  • Participation of the first "campionissimo" (Italian champion), Costante Girardengo, in the Automoto team, alongside Petit-Breton and Trousselier. The Italian withdraws in the Pyrénées, following a fall. Last rider: Leclerc (54th), 99 h 4 min 45 sec. behind.

  • The stars' failures: Petit-Breton, Lapize, Mottiat, Defraye, Trousselier. Thys is penalized for having changed a tire during the next-to-last stage. Frame numbers make their debut. Riders climb the Ballon d'Alsace twice.

  • Europe mobilizes for war after the assassination of the Archduke of Austria; radium is introduced in the treatment of cancer; the Panama Canal opens.

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