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Is Garin saying
Someone invent the sloping top tube already! 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Jacquie Phelan scares me - I think it's the banjo.. 67%  67%  [ 2 ]
Gauloises are the ultimate performance enhancing drug 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
By WW2 I might have this Brooks broken in 33%  33%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 3
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 Post subject: The TDF, Old Style
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:09 am
Posts: 799
Location: Runcorn
I've never really been interested in road cycling, but......... just "Gosh!" Really. All the following stories are from

Garain became a professional that same year, and did so in typically unusual fashion: having turned up for a race in Avesnes-sur-Helpes, he was informed by officials that the event was open only to professional riders. Rather than going home or becoming a spectator, he waited until nobody was looking once the riders had set off and then jumped on his bike and went after them. He crashed twice but dropped them all, finishing the race far ahead of them. The crowd loved it - the organisers, meanwhile, were not so impressed and refused to pay him the prize money; so the spectator had a whip-round and gave him 300 francs, double what the professional winner received. It was not long until a sponsor approached him with a contract, and his first victory as a professional came a short while later at a 24-hour race in Paris during which he covered 701km. A record survives showing what Garin claimed to have eaten during the race and makes for impressive reading even when compared to the vast quantities of food (and, in some cases, intoxicating substances) consumed by rider since: 5 litres of tapioca, 2kg of rice, 45 cutlets of meat, 7 litres of tea, 8 eggs, 19 litres of drinking chocolate, some oysters, a mixture of champagne and coffee and "lots" of strong red wine.

This is tough enough for me - I really do not like tapioca - but after winning the first ever Tour De France in 1903, Garin came back to race again in 1094. When...

1904 was harder still. The race remained the same distance, but this time fans remembered the events of the previous year and started vendettas against riders they disliked, felling trees across the road to hold them up and physically beating them given the chance. Garin had apparently incurred their wrath at some point, because he was attacked under cover of darkness during a night stage as he climbed the Col de la République, suffering severe beating and being hit in the face with a stone. The mob were wild, braying "Up with [local hero, André] Faure! Down with Garin! Kill them!" The Italian rider Paul Gerbi was punched and kicked until he became unconscious and had his fingers broken - which suggested that the death threats may well have been carried out had officials not arrived and dispersed the crows by firing their pistols into the air. Later on in the same stage, they ran into a gang of men on bikes and were attacked again - this time, Garin's arm was injured and he had to steer with one hand to the end of the stage.

As if the spectators hadn't been trouble enough, there was widespread cheating among the riders that year (some of them may even have paid for the nails that the spectators threw into the road to cause punctures). No fewer than nine had been kicked out during the race, mostly for "illegal use of cars and trains" (Lucien Petit-Breton said that he'd seen a rider he preferred not to name publicly getting towed by a motorbike, but when he tried to remonstrate with the man, he pointed a pistol at him) and more complaints came in when the race was over. The Union Vélocipédique Française started an investigation, details of which were lost when records were transported to the South of France for safe-keeping during the Nazi Occupation, and in the end a further 20 riders were disqualified. Among them were Garin, who had won the race, 2nd place Lucien Pothier, 3rd place César Garin (Maurice's brother) and 4th place Hippolyte Aucouturier. 19-year-old Henri Cornet, real name Henri Jardry, had been given an official warning after he was spotted getting a lift in a car during the race but, perhaps on account of his youthful inexperience, was not disqualified and thus his 5th place finish was upgraded to 1st. He remains the youngest winner in Tour de France history

And the officials themselves could be like something from Papillion:

Christophe dropped Defraye with relative ease during Stage 6, which started at 03:00 and took in seven major cols. He left his rival far behind on the Aubisque and wasn't too concerned when Thys caught him on Tourmalet and was first to the summit because officials had told him that he now led overall by 18'. Nevertheless, he thought that he might as well use the descent to try to extend his lead further, so in his own words he "plunged full-speed towards the valley." Then, with around 10km to go to the bottom, he found he was unable to steer. Looking down, he saw that his forks had snapped just below the crown race, and anyone who knows Tourmalet and the speeds that can be reached on the way down it will find it as amazing as he undoubtedly did that he was then able to bring himself to a safe halt.

The rules stated that, unless a race official declared a bike irreparably damaged, the rider was required to repair it himself or face a stiff penalty, perhaps even disqualification. Christophe makes no mention of being refused permission, but we can assume permission was refused and he had no choice but carry his bike down the mountain in search of somewhere to mend it - he considered taking a shortcut down the goat tracks that snake all over the mountain, but he was crying with the sheer frustration of it all and couldn't see clearly enough to risk it. After two hours he reached Ste-Marie-de-Campan and met a girl who took him to Monsieur Lecomte, the village blacksmith. Lecomte said that he would repair the fork, but an official (the presence of an official at this point is why we can assume permission to replace the bike earlier was refused - he'd been joined by some nosy staff from other teams, keen to make sure Christophe didn't get any special treatment) told Christophe that this would result in a penalty. Lecomte then told him he was free to make use of the forge - fortunately, before becoming a professional cyclist, Christophe had been a locksmith; and in those days all locksmiths produced locks from raw materials rather than simply sold locks made elsewhere in factories, so he was no stranger to the tools he had at his disposal and with Lecomte's guidance he was able to complete the repair in three hours. Then the race official penalised him ten minutes, because Lecomte's seven-year-old son Corni had worked the bellows.

Lecomte have him a loaf of bread to replenish his energy levels then, having torn it up and stuffed it into his jersey pockets for easy consumption on the road, Christophe set off over the Cols du Aspin and Peyresourde towards the finish line, arriving there in 29th place and 3h50'14" after stage winner Thys - yet, incredibly, not last; fifteen riders arrived after him. There was some good news: the official that gave him the 10' penalty was considered to have been excessively harsh considering the rider's ordeal and the punishment was reduced to 3'

That last part makes me feel so much better!

Here is a picture of Garin showing off his new Midge Bars on what looks like an early Ritchey built as a fixed gear:


 Post subject: Re: The TDF, Old Style
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:13 pm 
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: The wilds of West Swindon. It’s temporary.....
Proper hard. Respect.

 Post subject: Re: The TDF, Old Style
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:19 pm 
rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:18 pm
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Location: California
I have read this story before but it never fails to amuse

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