The history of the Tour de France

Year 1959

THE STORY

  • With Jacques Anquetil, Roger Rivière, Louison Bobet and Raphaël Geminiani all together on the French national team, they appeared unbeatable. But instead of working together, they worked against each other. And instead it was the feisty Spanish climber Federico Bahamontès who took control. Breaking away with defending champion Charly Gaul on the stage to Grenoble, Bahamontès slipped into the yellow jersey. And he didn't take it off until the race reached Paris, thus becoming the first Spaniard to win the Tour.

  • Darrigade wins the first stage for the fourth consecutive time. For veteran Tour winners Louison Bobet and Jean Robic, the 1959 Tour proved to be their last. Sick and struggling, Bobet knew he had no choice but to abandon. But rather than do so in the anonymity of a mountain valley, he grimaced his way to the top of the Iseran Pass, where he dismounted his bike with dignity and called an end to his Tour de France career. Robic, in contrast, refused to quit. He struggled to finish the stage to Chalon-sur-Saône, but was disqualified for finishing outside the time limit.

  • Bobet and Robic say goodbye to the Tour, withdrawing. Louison stops at the top of the Iseran, highest point on the route. Robic is eliminated in Chalon-sur-Saône. Baldini and Adriaenssens finish tied for sixth place Last rider: Bisilliat (65th) at 3 h 12 min. 35 sec.

  • The first Spainsh victory in the Tour.

  • Fidel Castro overthrows the Batista government in Cuba; the first hovercraft crosses the English channel in two hours and 7 minutes; Frank Lloyd Wright designs the Guggenheim Museum.

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