Author Topic: Tdef - first Pyrenees stage - 1910  (Read 561 times)

mattc

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Tdef - first Pyrenees stage - 1910
« on: December 05, 2013, 10:31:01 pm »
Apparently the first Tour stage in the Pyrenees was about 320km, the winner took 14h-odd, and riders were still finishing 5 hours later. Does anyone know the exact route? Is it still ridable, and has it been done much? (there may well be an annual event that I don't know about!)

Wikipedia has some amusing stuff (my favourite is in bold):

Tour organizer Henri Desgrange at first refused the inclusion of the Pyrenees,[4] but later gave in and sent Steinès to the Pyrenees by to see if it was possible to send cyclists up the mountains. Steinès encountered many difficulties. He went there at 27 January 1910, and asked an innkeeper for directions over the Tourmalet. The innkeeper replied that it is barely crossable in July, so practically impossible in January. Steinès hired a car anyway and rode up the mountain. Close to the top, there was so much snow that the car could not go further, and he continued on foot. Steinès walked during the night, and fell down a ravine.[4] At 3 a.m. he was found by a search party. He quickly got some food and a hot bath.[5] The next morning, he sent a positive telegram to Desgrange: "Have crossed the Tourmalet on foot STOP Road passable to vehicles STOP No snow STOP".[6] When it was announced that the Pyrenees were included in the race, 136 cyclists had entered the race. After the news, 26 cyclists removed themselves from the starting list.[7] Other newspapers reacted to the Tour's route as "dangerous" and "bizarre".[5]

Also new in 1910 was the broom wagon, to pick up the cyclists that abandoned during the race.[3] This was a reaction of the Tour organizers to the criticism of the cyclists on the difficult mountains.[4] In the tenth stage, over the four mountains in the Pyrenees, cyclists were allowed to finish the stage in the broom wagon and still start the next stage.
Has never ridden RAAM
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No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

marcusjb

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Re: Tdef - first Pyrenees stage - 1910
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 10:44:11 pm »
I think this was the stage that produced the "Vous etes assassins!" quotation as well - on top of Tourmalet or Col d'Aubisque?

Amazing stuff.

I am sure it will still be rideable - assuming they took what became the main roads through the Cols.

I do know that it wasn't until the next year's tour that someone managed to ride all the way up Tourmalet without walking any of it!
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!