The history of the Tour de France

Year 1921


  • In 1921, Léon Scieur continued Belgium’s domination of the Tour de France. His was the sixth-consecutive Belgian win in the great French race. After winning the third stage, Scieur encountered few challengers, and Tour director Henri Desgrange complained that the competitors gave into Scieur too easily. Nonetheless, the Belgian was clearly the most consistent rider throughout the race’s 15 stages. His countryman Hector Heusghem and Honoré Barthélémy of France did put up a late challenge, but neither could outclass Scieur in the mountains.

  • Honoré Barthélémy finishes third in the overall standings and first among the French riders despite 11 flat tires during the first stage. Léon Scieur didn't even learn how to ride a bicycle until he was 22 years old--he needed to cycle to get a job as a delivery boy. Although age was not on his side--it took him over a decade to win the Tour--endurance was. For his inexhaustible power he was called him "The Locomotive".

  • Student of Firmin Lambot, Léon Scieur (33 years old), nicknamed "the locomotive," learned to ride a bicycle when he was 22. At 40, Ernest Paul and Pothier participate in their last Tour de France. They are 27th and 32nd in the overall standings. Last rider: Catelan (38) at 63 h 19 min. 57 sec.

  • The absence of a major event. Annoyed, Henri Desgrange sanctions the riders who he finds gave in to Scieur's superiority.

  • Famine strikes Russia; the United States signs a peace accord with Germany; tenor Enrico Caruso dies; Mies van der Rohe designs the skyscraper of the future.

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