Two-time defending champion Ottavio Bottecchia was clearly not at his best in 1926, and he abandoned the race on the epic stage from Bayonne to Luchon. Nicolas Frantz and Bartolomeo Aymo each made an effort for the overall win, but Belgium's Lucien Buysse took home the Tour crown. Runner-up in 1925, Buysse won the crucial four-mountain stage from Bayonne to Luchon--the same stage Bottecchia dropped out on. And when he won the next days stage from Luchon to Perpignan, his victory was assured.
Lucien Buysse reaches Luchon with a 25-minute lead on the Italian climber, Aymo.
At 5745 kilometers, the 1926 race was the longest--and certainly one of the toughest--in Tour history. No stage was more memorable that the mythic stage from Bayonne to Luchon: the riders tackled some of the toughest climbs the Pyrénées had to offer, and at 11 p.m. the race organizers were still waiting for the last finishers--some of whom arrived in buses.
At midnight, 47 riders out of 76 who started arrive at les allées d'Etigny, in Luchon. Some riders finish the stage in a bus.
Marcel Bidot's beginnings. He arrives second in Nice, third in Briançon and Paris. The first two Frenchmen, Georges Cuvelier (8th) and Marcel Bidot (10th) went on to captain the French National team.
Last rider: Drobecq (41th) at 26 h 5 min. 3 sec.
The domination of Buysse in spite of Nicolas Frantz and Aymo's presence.
At 5745 kilometers, the 1926 Tour goes down as the longest in history; the race starts outside of Paris for the first time, in the town of Evian.
Hirohito becomes the emperor of Japan; the "Charleston" dance is all the rage; French painter Claude Monet dies; American Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim the English Channel; Germany is admitted to the League of Nations.