The history of the Tour de France

Year 1951


  • One year after Switzerland's Ferdi Kubler won the Tour de France, his countryman, Hugo Koblet, was inspired to rise to the challenge. Taking over the yellow jersey on the stage to Luchon, Koblet dominated the rest of the race. Of the two top challengers, French hope Louison Bobet was still too inexperienced, and Italy's Fausto Coppi was traumatized by the recent death of his brother, Serse. Koblet cruised to Paris with a massive 22-minute lead on the second-place rider, Frenchman Raphael Geminiani.

  • Hugo Koblet was clearly the strongest rider in the 1951 race. On the stage from Brive to Agen, the entire peloton could only watch as he attacked 125 kilometers from the finish. Nonetheless, Koblet might not have taken the yellow jersey quite so early if it had not been for the spectacular crash of Wim Van Est, who fell over the cliffs of the Aubisque pass with the yellow jersey on his shoulders. Miraculously, he was pulled from the ravine uninjured, but he was in a state of shock and could not continue.

  • Cabaret singer Jacques Grello, watching the race, gives Koblet the nickname of "The Pedaler of Charm." Decimated, the Dutch team is totally eliminated in Luchon. Last rider: Zaaf (66th) at 4 h 58 min. 18 sec.

  • The domination, personality and elegance of Koblet. Introduction of the Mount Ventoux climb.

  • Jacques Cousteau's submarine, the Calypso, embarks on its first voyage; Iran's parliament nationalizes the oil industry; formation of NATO.

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