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1910 Tour de France

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Dates  1–31 July
Distance  4,734 km (2,942 mi)
Winner  Octave Lapize (FRA)
Stages  15
Winning time  63 points
Second  François Faber (LUX)
1910 Tour de France

The 1910 Tour de France was the eighth edition of the Tour de France, taking place 3 to 31 July. It consisted of 15 stages over 4,734 kilometres (2,942 mi), ridden at an average speed of 28.680 km/h. It was the first Tour to enter the Pyrenees mountains. Two main candidates for the victory were 1909 winner François Faber, a sprinter, and Octave Lapize, a climber, both members of the powerful Alcyon team. Because of the points system, their chances for the overall victory were approximately equal. The race was not decided until the final stage, after which Lapize had won by a difference of only four points.


Changes from the previous Tour

The courses of the Tour de France in 1907, 1908 and 1909 had been nearly identical. In 1910, the Pyrenees were included, an initiative from Adolphe Steinès, who had drawn the course for the Tour de France since the first Tour in 1903. Compared to the 1907, 1908 and 1909 Tours, the stages Nîmes-Toulouse and Toulouse-Bayonne were replaced by three stages, Nîmes–Perpignan, Perpignan–Luchon and Luchon–Bayonne. Tour organizer Henri Desgrange at first refused the inclusion of the Pyrenees, but later gave in and sent Steinès to the Pyrenees 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. At 3 a.m. he was found by a search party. He quickly got some food and a hot bath. 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". 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. Other newspapers reacted to the Tour's route as "dangerous" and "bizarre".

Also new in 1910 was the broom wagon, to pick up the cyclists that abandoned during the race. This was a reaction of the Tour organizers to the criticism of the cyclists on the difficult mountains. 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.

Technically, a new addition were gears. Lucien Petit-Breton, Maurice Brocco, Henri Cornet, Charles Pavese and Jean Alavoine rode with gears.

What had not changed was the points system. A cyclist received points, based on their rankings. As in 1909, the points system was "cleaned up" two times: after the 9th stage and after the 14th stage. Cyclists who had abandoned the race were removed from the rankings of the previous stages, and the classification was recalculated.


Although cyclist were in 1909 able to register for the Tour with a sponsor, they were still considered to be riding as individuals; in 1910 they competed for the first time in teams.

The cyclists were not so enthousiastic about the inclusion of the Pyrenées, and there were less participants: 110 instead of 150 in 1909. There were three teams with 10 cyclists each, including all the favourites for the overall victory: Alcyon, Le Globe and Legnano. The French team "La Française" decided not to join, but allowed their cyclists to ride for the Italian Legnano team. The other 80 cyclists rode as individuals, this was called the "isolés" category.

Race overview

The first stage, from Paris to Roubaix, was won by Charles Crupelandt. In the second stage, François Faber showed his strengths, and won the stage, and took the lead.

On the rest day between the sixth and seventh stage in Nice, cyclist Adolphe Hélière died whilst swimming. He was the first victim of the Tour de France. In the ninth stage, four mountains were climbed, and Desgrange saw how much trouble the cyclists had on these mountains. The tenth stage would include the Pyrenees mountains, so Desgrange left the race and made Victor Breyer the director of the stage. In that tenth stage, the Tourmalet was climbed, the highest point of the 1910 Tour de France. Octave Lapize reached the top first, followed by Gustave Garrigou. Garrigou was the only cyclist who reached the top without dismounting, and received an extra prize of 100 francs for that. The next climb was the Aubisque. Lapize struggled there, and regional rider François Lafourcade lead the race. The organizers had a car standing in top, and when Lafourcade passed them, they did not recognize him, and when they found out it was Lafourcade, they were surprised that such an unknown rider had been able to pass all the 'cracks'. When Lapize passed the organizer's car, he screamed "Assassins!", and announced that he would give up during the descent. Downhill, he refound his strength and was able to catch up to Lafourcade, and even win the stage.

After the 12th stage, Faber was leading the race by only one point. In that stage to Brest, Faber punctured, and Lapize took over the lead, helped by Garrigou.

In the 14th stage, Faber sped away almost from the start in what could be his last chance to win the Tour de France. It seemed that he had a chance, until a flat tyre caused him to lose time, and Lapize could get back to him, again aided by Garrigou. Lapize improved his lead by winning the stage, and had a six-point margin before the last stage. In that last stage, it was Lapize who suffered from a flat tyre, shortly after the start. Faber raced away, but could not pull off the stunt: he had a flat tyre. He still finished ahead of Lapize, but won back only two points, so the 1910 Tour de France was won by Lapize.


The Alcyon team was dominant in the 1910 Tour de France, winning 9 out of 15 stages.

General classification

Of the 110 starting cyclists, 41 finished. The winner, Octave Lapize, received 5000 francs for his victory. In total, he earned 7525 francs during the race; the average daily wages were around 5 to 7 francs.

Other classifications

Fifth-placed Charles Cruchon became the winner of the "isolés" category. The organising newspaper l'Auto named Octave Lapize the meilleur grimpeur. This unofficial title is the precursor to the mountains classification.


1910 Tour de France Wikipedia

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