The history of the Tour de France

Year 1956

THE STORY

  • Louison Bobet, Fausto Coppi and Ferdi Kubler all bypassed the Tour for various reasons, thus the 1956 edition was an open race from the start. The French national team pinned their hopes on the solid Gilbert Bauvin. But the little-known Roger Walkowiak stole the show. The member of the tactically crucial breakaway from Lorient to Angers, Walkowiak grabbed an 18-minute lead over the favorites and slipped into the yellow jersey. Over the next two weeks his rivals learned that "Walko" was plenty tough. Despite the mountains and plenty of attacks, he did not budge from the top post, and he came home in yellow.

  • Four stage victories for Roger Hassenforder. (187-km breakaway between Lyon and Montluçon). In the eyes of many French fans, the famed French national team lost the 1956 Tour more than Roger Walkowiak won it. When the race entered the Paris, the national team riders were booed.

  • Roger Chaussabel, last overall and the life and soul of the field: ”I don’t go fast, I don’t climb, I don’t sprint ... I am a complete rider. Thus a man of the Tour." Last rider: Chaussabel (88th) at 4 h 10 min. 18 sec.

  • The first major victory for an outsider selected in a regional team. Turin, Italy host the Tour for the first time.

  • Don Larsen pitches a no hitter in the World Series; Prince Rainier of Monaco marries film star Grace Kelly; The Soviet Union crushes the Hungarian insurrection; Israeli forces enter Egypt; Brigitte Bardot stars in "And God Created Woman."

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