The history of the Tour de France

Year 1934


  • Defending champion Georges Speicher grabbed the yellow jersey on the first stage of the 1934 Tour, but Antonin Magne (the winner in 1931) took over the race lead on stage two. Magne never faltered for the rest of the race, which suited Speicher just fine--they both rode for the French national team, and keeping the yellow jersey in France was the squad’s only objective. Magne was not the most charismatic rider on the team--both Speicher and up-and-comer René Vietto won more stages--but he was the race’s most consistent finisher and a deserving overall champion

  • Young climbing ace René Vietto stole the headlines in the 1934 Tour de France. Making his Tour debut as a support rider for Antonin Magne, Vietto was clearly the best climber in the race. He might have even challenged for the yellow jersey had he not been forced to repeatedly sacrifice his chances for Magne. On two occasions in the Pyrénées, Magne had mechanical problems, and both times Vietto gave him the necessary parts from his own bicycle. After giving Magne his front wheel on the Portet d'Aspet climb, Vietto sat along the roadside and waited for the race’s support vehicle to give him a new wheel. As he watched the rest of the race ride by, Vietto wept, knowing he had lost all hope for overall victory.

  • In the Portet d'Aspet, Vietto turns around to help Antonin Magne: an event which confuses the two champions' supporters and gives rise to diverse interpretations. Last rider: Folco (39th) at 7 h 15 min. 36 sec.

  • The French team's superiority (the team wears the yellow jersey from start to finish; 19 stage victories; five for Roger Lapébie; three riders in the Top 5; International challenge) and Vietto's sacrificing himself for Magne. The first individual time trial makes its appearance; time bonuses are awarded at mountain summits and to the top three finishers of each stage.

  • Mao Tse-tung stages the Long March; Walt Disney creates Donald Duck.

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