Kategorie-Archiv: Tour de France

The achievement of a lifetime : Jean-Pierre Schmitz (V/X)


© Presse Sports
Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, letour.fr is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. Back in the 1956 Tour, Jean-Pierre Schmitz produced one of the most epic rides in the history of Luxembourgish cycling to win a Pyrenean stage that seemed to have fellow Luxembourger Charly Gaul’s name written all over it.
Everyone knows that the first non-French rider to win the Tour was a Luxembourger. François Faber opened the account in 1909, followed a couple of decades later by Nicolas Frantz. Fast-forward to 1956 and the two-time winner of the race (1927 and 1928) was serving as the director of a mixed Luxembourgish-British-Portuguese team for what was expected to be Charly Gaul’s triumphal parade in the Tour de France. The favourite had put his country back on the map the previous year by finishing third overall and winning the mountains classification. The Angel of the Mountains could count on the support of a brother-in-arms who was only slightly less talented. Going into his Tour debut, Jean-Pierre Schmitz already had a few impressive performances under his belt, including second place in the 1954 Critérium du Dauphiné and a nice silver medal won at the Worlds in Frascati, Italy in late summer 1955. Although no-one expected it to be necessary, “Jempy” was more than ready to step up to the plate if his leader and friend ran into trouble.
A prodigious jump
That is precisely what happened as the peloton rolled out of Pau for the second Pyrenean stage. Gaul showed signs of weakness and Nicolas Frantz gave the go-ahead for the rest of the team to attack. The time had come for Schmitz to shine. After catching the breakaway of the day, he kept his powder dry on the ascent to the Col de Aspin, only to attack on the descent, climb the Col de Peyresourde on his own and plunge to the finish in Luchon. This is how Pierre Chany described this monster performance in the next day’s edition of L’Équipe: “The way the ‘spare Luxembourger’ came back on the climbs was absolutely stunning. Just think of it: after trailing the breakaway by eight minutes while still in the peloton with 54 kilometres to, Mr J.-P. crossed the line in Luchon no less than 2′08″ ahead of runner-up Fernand Picot!” An opportunity to repeat this flash of brilliance never presented itself to Schmitz, who spent most of his career as a luxury domestique to Charly Gaul, particularly in the latter’s victorious Grande Boucle in 1958. Every man at his station!

THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A LIFETIME: ALBERT BOURLON (IV/X)


© Presse Sports
Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, letour.fr is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. Back in the 1947 Tour, Albert Bourlon went solo in the first Pyrenean stage and brought his adventure to a victorious conclusion 253 kilometres later. It was the longest solo ride in the modern history of the race.

Albert Bourlon flew under the radar in his Tour debut in 1938, the penultimate edition before the war. Although a strong and hard-working power rider, Bourlon’s lack of tactical flair seemed to condemn him to a lifetime in the shadow of other cyclists. Fresh out of the Renault factories, where he had taken on a leading role among trade unionists at the height of the 1936 strikes, the communist worker flopped in the Tour de France —still, nothing compared to the trials and tribulations he went through during World War II. Following his capture and imprisonment in German stalags, he tried to escape again and again until he finally managed to break out. He crossed Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary on foot until reaching Romania… where he even managed to win the Bucharest–Ploiești–Bucharest classic in 1944! When it came to daring escapes, the rider from the Berry region earned a reputation for being as tough as nails, and he was even decorated with the Croix de Guerre. However, when the peloton rolled out from Carcassonne in the 1947 Tour de France, no-one seemed concerned about the France Centre/South-West rider when he jumped right after Jacques Goddet gave the start from his Hotchkiss cabriolet. Even Bourlon had his sights set on making a quick buck by taking the bonus available in Espéraza, about 50 kilometres down the road, and certainly not on reaching Luchon all on his own.
With Marcel Cerdan
It was only when his advantage over the peloton ballooned to 29 minutes near the halfway point that Bourlon started to fancy his chances. Although a terrible climber, he gritted his teeth over the Col du Portet d’Aspet and the Col d’Ares to finish on the Allées d’Étigny with 16 minutes to spare —enough time to freshen up, change clothes and shoot the breeze with Marcel Cerdan before the rest of the bunch crossed the line. Jacques Goddet paid tribute to Bourlon’s stubbornness in the next day’s edition of L’Équipe: “The 253-kilometre course of the fourteenth stage was not too demanding because it did little damage among the big names, but it was still 253 kilometres over a long succession of hills and small mountains. Every single pursuer was convinced that, sooner or later, Bourlon would be found relaxing at a small inn near a river with trout in it, exhausted and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task at hand. What a mistake! Bourlon is one of the last of a dying breed, those that never go to bed until the job is done.”

Bourlon’s solo exploit, virtually unmatchable now that stages tend to have a more reasonable length, is often described as a record, which is true for the post-war era. It is also true that René Pottier rode alone for 325 kilometres to win the stage from Grenoble to Nice in the 1906 Tour. However, that was at a time when the general classification was points-based, so winning by a mile was the same as winning by an inch!

THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A LIFETIME: FEDERICO EZQUERRA (III/X)


© Presse Sports
Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, letour.fr is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. Spaniard Federico Ezquerra demonstrated his climbing abilities in the 1936 Tour under grievous circumstances. Back home, the uprising of Francoist forces had just pushed the conflict between Republicans and Nationalists past the point of no return.
In the history of France, 1936 is remembered as a time of harmony, optimism and social progress, as seen in the Tour de France itself following the introduction of a week of paid leave. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pyrenees, the electoral victory of a coalition also known as the Popular Front in February sparked a wave of violence that led to the Spanish Civil War several months later, when the Nationalist faction launched a failed coup on 17 and 18 July. Spanish riders had started the Tour de France on the defensive —on the cobbled sectors, for example—, but the start of the mountain stages brought with it their chance to shine. The leg-breaking course of the stage from Nice to Cannes on 19 July whetted the appetite of Federico Ezquerra, possibly the most explosive member of the Spanish Armada. Ezquerra’s climbing abilities had caught the attention of L’Auto, which nicknamed him the Eagle of the Galibier after he was first over the top of this mountain pass in his debut in 1934. On this occasion, the Spaniard dropped his breakaway companions Sylvère Maes and Félicien Vervaecke like a stone on the ascent to La Turbie. However, the two riders were still hot on his heels, and there were 30 kilometres to go before the finish in Cannes. After crowning the ascent, the Basque rider decided not to change gears, which at the time required stopping for half a minute to spin the back wheel. Ezquerra’s gamble paid off and he went on to claim the greatest win of his career on the French Riviera.
Team of exiles in 1937
L’Auto seems to have missed the political significance of his triumph, but Jacques Goddet meticulously analysed and heaped praise on Ezquerra’s style. “Good old Federico is not particularly aesthetic when he gets up on the pedals, hunched towards the front, jumping from one thigh to the other like a metronome. He thrusts from his kidneys, seemingly from the bottom up. The hip seems to pull the pedal upwards instead of pushing against it. This type of movement evokes the feeling of levity that has become the hallmark of climbing talent.” One year later, in 1937, Republican Spain fielded a team composed mostly of exiles, with Mariano Cañardo and Julián Berrendero also taking their only victories at the Tour de France.

The achievement of a lifetime : Emile Engel


Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, letour.fr is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. Back in 1914, a rising star by the name of Emile Engel claimed the stage to Brest just a few days before being taken out of the race… and just a few weeks before giving his life for France in the Battle of the Marne.

Emile Engel went into the 1914 Tour firing on all cylinders. Just one year earlier, he had finished 10th in his debut. His potential earned him protected rider status in the great Peugeot team led by stars of the calibre of Jean Alavoine, Eugène Christophe, François Faber, Gustave Garrigou, Firmin Lambot, Henri Pélissier and Philippe Thys! 24-year-old Émile stood out as a powerful rouleur and a great sprinter, all in one. His future seemed bright… but fate can be cruel. He had more than his fair share of punctures and bad luck. In 1912, for instance, a crash with a dog cost him the chance to fight for the French national championship, which he was targeting that year. Yet even the rain that drenched the peloton at the start in Cherbourg on 2 July 1914 could not stop Engel from getting his first taste of glory after 405 kilometres and 15 hours on the saddle. He brought his big thighs, elbows and shoulders to bear to win a 14-man sprint in Brest.
Out of the race
It could have been a watershed moment for Emile Engel, but as fate would have it, that stage win became the zenith of his career. The first blow came in Marseille a few stages later. Photo-finish technology was still decades away and race officials were unable to determine who had won the sprint in the velodrome. They therefore decided to hold a semifinal and a final, in which Engel hit the floor due, to a certain extent, to teammate Oscar Egg. The officials did not like the furious tone in which Emile complained and disqualified him right away. Yet the worst was yet to come. The rider from Colombes was sent to the front as a corporal in the 72nd Infantry Regiment. Barely two months after his triumph on the edge of Finistère, Engel was killed in action after receiving a shot in the abdomen during the Battle of the Marne, on 10 September 1914. His older brother, Louis Engel, was lucky enough to survive the war and continue his career until 1920, but he never took part in the Tour de France again. Emile’s victory in Brest remains the family’s most prestigious win.
@ASO
@Foto Presse Sports

Nizza wird Grand Départ der Tour de France 2020


Einen Tag nach der 76. Austragung von Paris-Nizza wurde heute bekanntgegeben, dass der Grand Départ der Tour de France 2020 in Nizza stattfinden wird. Damit wird die Stadt an der Côte d’Azur zum zweiten Mal nach 1981 Startort von Le Tour. Der Auftakt zur 107. Ausgabe der Frankreich-Rundfahrt erfolgt am 27. Juni 2020.

Nizza und die Tour de France blicken auf eine lange gemeinsame Geschichte zurück. Insgesamt 36 Mal hat die Frankreich-Rundfahrt bereits in der Hauptstadt des Départements Alpes-Maritimes Station gemacht. Zum ersten Mal im Jahr 1906 als der spätere Tour-Sieger René Pottier einen Etappensieg in Nizza feiern konnte. Beim Grand Départ 1981 hat Bernard Hinault nach dem Sieg im Prolog sein Weltmeistertrikot gegen das Gelbe Trikot getauscht. Nach sieben Jahren wird im Jahr 2020 die Tour nach Nizza zurückkehren. 2013 wurde unmittelbar nach dem Grand Départ auf Korsika das Mannschaftszeitfahren der 100. Tour de France in Nizza ausgetragen.

Für den Direktor der Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, bieten die Stadt und das Umland von Nizza viele Möglichkeiten, abwechslungsreiche Etappen zu gestalten: „Die jüngsten Austragungen von Paris-Nizza haben uns gezeigt, dass die Vielfalt der Landschaften in dieser Region für Spannung und aufregenden Radsport sorgen. Genau das wollen wir, um der Tour de France 2020 einen dynamischen Ton zu verleihen. In Nizza wissen wir, dass die Teams fast eine Woche lang eine freundliche Atmosphäre voller Begeisterung für den Radsport erwarten wird.“

Christian Estrosi, Bürgermeister von Nizza, ergänzt: „Wir sind stolz, den Grand Départ der Tour de France 2020 nach 1981 zum zweiten Mal in Nizza zu begrüßen. Le Tour ist das drittgrößte internationale Sportereignis und hat damit auch eine große wirtschaftliche Bedeutung für unsere gesamte Region. Sieben Jahre nachdem im Jahr 2013 die 100. Auflage und fast 100.000 Zuschauer bei uns zu Gast waren, ist dies ein weiterer Schritt, um Nizza zu einer wichtigen Stadt für große Sportevents zu machen. Wir werden den Veranstaltern und Teams einen optimalen Rahmen bieten. Nizza weist außergewöhnliche Bedingungen für Radfahrer auf, von der Promenade des Anglais bis zu den hohen Pässen des Nationalparks Mercantour. Dieses vielseitige Terrain wird der perfekte Start für die 107. Ausgabe der Tour de France.“

Die Tour de France startet in diesem Jahr am 7. Juli in der Vendée. Im kommenden Jahr wird der Grand Départ in Brüssel organisiert. Die Region rund um die belgische Hauptstadt wird 2019 zwei Etappen zum Auftakt der 106. Tour de France ausrichten.

Deutsches Pressebüro A.S.O.
Sandra Schmitz
Veröffentlicht durch Gerhard Plomitzer

Cannondale-Drapac rider reflections on the Tour


It has become somewhat of a #GreenArgyle Grand Tour tradition to collect rider reactions from every Cannondale-Drapac rider that makes it to the finish of a three-week tour. Typically these comments are shaped by individual experiences and allow us to share some of the lesser-told stories of a race.

When we asked our Tour de France nine to share their stand-out memories and the things they will carry with them when they head home from Paris, their comments were distinctively different than those we’ve become accustomed to hearing.

This is a group that arrived in Dusseldörf ready to attack and animate the race, take whatever opportunities they could seize. They did exactly that during the first week.

Taylor Phinney nearly held off the peloton in the stage two finale. Caught in the final kilometer following five hours up the road, he came away with the polka dot jersey.

Nate Brown got in the breakaway the next day and scored enough mountain points to keep the polka dot jersey within the team.

Alberto Bettiol finished in fifth place on stage three in a technical finish won by Peter Sagan (BORA – hansgrohe). Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) rounded out the stage podium.

Dylan van Baarle spent several days in the first week on the escape. He earned most aggressive on stage seven, sporting the award’s distinctive red numbers on stage eight.

Then Rigoberto Uran won stage nine of the Tour de France, jumping up to fourth overall and announcing himself as a general classification contender. And suddenly the target shifted shape.

Cannondale-Drapac spent the final two weeks of the Tour de France largely at the service of their leader – a leader who went on to finish second overall, the best general classification result in Slipstream Sports Tour history.

The team’s comments in Paris reflect this shift, this accomplishment, this experience of rallying around Uran. In Paris the personal took a back seat to the collective.

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Emanuel Buchmann beendet Tour de France auf dem 15. Gesamtrang und wird Drittbester bei den Jungprofis

Ein Wechselbad der Gefühle war die Tour de France 2017. Nach dem ersten Sieg des Teams bei der Tour, scheiden beide Kapitäne aus. Am Ende nimmt die Tour mit dem Etappensieg gestern und dem 15. Gesamtrang durch Emanuel Buchmann ein versöhnliches Ende. Rudi Selig fährt auf der letzten Etappe mit dem 9.Rang zum Abschluss noch ein Topergebnis ein.

Als „Tour d’honneur“ wird die 21. und letzte Etappe der Tour de France gerne bezeichnet. Ein Schaulaufen der Tritkotträger von Montgeron auf die Champs-Elysées, wo nach 103 Kilometern die Tour 2017 feierlich zu Ende geht. Acht Runden sind am Ende auf der berühmtesten Prachtstraße von Paris zu bewältigen, spätestens dort beginnt auch auf der letzten Etappe wieder der ernste Kampf um den letzten Sieg.

Für BORA – hansgrohe’s Rudi Selig eine letzte Chance sich noch einmal im Sprint mit den Besten zu beweisen. Das gesamte Team sollte Selig heute unterstützen, um nach dem gestrigen Sieg von Maciej Bodnar auch am letzten Tag noch einmal ein Top Ergebnis einzufahren.

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Tour de France #21: Boasson Hagen sprints to third place in Paris

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka finished off this year’s Tour de France with another podium performance by Edvald Boasson Hagen who sprinted to third place on the final stage of the race.

Per tradition, the day started out with smiles and laughter as the riders left Montgeron and headed towards Paris. However, as the peloton entered the iconic circuit on Champs-Élysées, the faces of the riders were now very focused and ready to race hard.

Multiple riders tried to escape as they started on the eight laps and ultimately, a strong group managed to distance the peloton. Jaco Venter and Steve Cummings helped to set the pace in the pack and with 10 km left to go, it was all back together again.

The remaining Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders always kept Boasson Hagen near the front and together with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, the fast Norwegian entered the final corners in a good position.

Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) started his sprint early and quickly opened up a small gap. Boasson Hagen tried to close the gap but at the end, he had to settle for third place. In addition to his impressive victory on stage 19, this was the fifth time Boasson Hagen finished in Top3 during this Tour de France.

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Rigoberto Uran finishes second overall at 2017 Tour de France

A time trial in Marseille clinched the best general classification result for Slipstream Sports in the team’s nine-year Tour de France history.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran started stage 20 in third place overall, six seconds behind Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and 29-seconds adrift of race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). By stage finish, Uran had moved up one spot.

In Paris on Sunday evening, Uran climbed onto the podium as the 2017 Tour de France runner-up to Froome, who secured his fourth Tour title.

“Finishing second to Froome at less than a minute seems pretty good to me,” said Uran. “It’s a quality final podium in Paris, so this is the greatest success of my career. This result is dedicated to my family, friends, my team and everyone who has supported me during the last three weeks.”

While the 22-kilometer lone effort out on the roads of Marseille determined the final general classification order, it was, of course, a culmination of work done up until that point to put Uran in a position to capitalize on a strong penultimate stage time trial.

A stage win into Chambery on the final day of the first week announced Uran as contender. From there, Uran’s star rose alongside his results as he cannily pocketed bonus seconds, 22 in total, and carefully metered his efforts.

“We knew it would be difficult to win the Tour but not impossible, so we gave it everything,” said Uran. “It’s been a great Tour.”

At Uran’s disposal as the race unfolded was a Cannondale-Drapac squad that included three Americans and four Tour debutants, a team selected largely to target stage wins, breakaways and animate the race. The squad punched above their collective weight, particularly in the final two weeks of the Tour when general classification ambitions became more realistic, more poignant.

“Many things came together for us to end up here,” noted head sport director Charly Wegelius. “Rigo finally had a clear run at a three-week race without hiccups, on a route that suited both him and our style of racing. His teammates all rose to the occasion and made up for their lack of experience – we had four Tour rookies! – with heart and hard work. I’m very proud of them.”

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Maciej Bodnar holt den Sieg beim Einzelzeitfahren in Marseille

Nach einer langen Zitterpartie rechte am Ende eine einzige Sekunde Bodnar zum Sieg. Nachdem der Pole von BORA – hansgrohe auf der 10. Etappe noch kurz vor dem Ziel eingeholt wurde, holte er heute den lang ersehnten Etappensieg in Marseille.

Vor der „Tour d’honneur“ nach Paris morgen, stand heute das entscheidende Einzelzeitfahren in Marseille auf dem Programm. Ein 22,5 km langer Kampf gegen die Uhr, zwei Rennen, Eines um den Gesamtsieg der Rundfahrt, ein Zweites um den Tagessieg. Der Kurs war dabei durchaus auf die Spezialisten zugeschnitten. Ein schneller Start entlang des Meeres, gefolgt von einem kurzen, aber steilen Anstieg zum Wendepunkt bei Kilometer 15,6. Danach zurück zum Vélodrome, wo auch gestartet wurde.

BORA – hansgrohe hatte mit Maciej Bodnar einen der Mitfavoriten am Start. Der Pole hatte bei der letzten Zeitfahrweltmeisterschaft den vierten Platz belegt, und zeigte bei dieser Tour bereits auf der 11. Etappe, wo er erst kurz vor dem Ziel vom Feld eingeholt wurde, dass seine Form stimmt. Neben Bodnar, musste auch Emanuel Buchmann noch einmal alles geben. Für den jungen Deutschen ging es um den 15. Rang in der Gesamtwertung der Tour, den er einen Tag vor dem Ende keinesfalls abgeben wollte.

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Maciej Bodnar holt den Sieg beim Einzelzeitfahren in Marseille

Nach einer langen Zitterpartie rechte am Ende eine einzige Sekunde Bodnar zum Sieg. Nachdem der Pole von BORA – hansgrohe auf der 10. Etappe noch kurz vor dem Ziel eingeholt wurde, holte er heute den lang ersehnten Etappensieg in Marseille.

Vor der „Tour d’honneur“ nach Paris morgen, stand heute das entscheidende Einzelzeitfahren in Marseille auf dem Programm. Ein 22,5 km langer Kampf gegen die Uhr, zwei Rennen, Eines um den Gesamtsieg der Rundfahrt, ein Zweites um den Tagessieg. Der Kurs war dabei durchaus auf die Spezialisten zugeschnitten. Ein schneller Start entlang des Meeres, gefolgt von einem kurzen, aber steilen Anstieg zum Wendepunkt bei Kilometer 15,6. Danach zurück zum Vélodrome, wo auch gestartet wurde.

BORA – hansgrohe hatte mit Maciej Bodnar einen der Mitfavoriten am Start. Der Pole hatte bei der letzten Zeitfahrweltmeisterschaft den vierten Platz belegt, und zeigte bei dieser Tour bereits auf der 11. Etappe, wo er erst kurz vor dem Ziel vom Feld eingeholt wurde, dass seine Form stimmt. Neben Bodnar, musste auch Emanuel Buchmann noch einmal alles geben. Für den jungen Deutschen ging es um den 15. Rang in der Gesamtwertung der Tour, den er einen Tag vor dem Ende keinesfalls abgeben wollte.

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