1913 Tour de France

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1913 Tour de France
Map of France with the route of the 1913 Tour de France on it, showing that the race started in Paris, went clockwise through France and ended in Paris after fifteen stages.
Route of the 1913 Tour de France
Followed counterclockwise, starting in Paris
Race details
Dates 29 June–27 July 1913
Stages 15
Distance 5,388 km (3,348 mi)
Winning time 197h 54' 00" (26.715 km/h or 16.600 mph)
Winner  Philippe Thys (Belgium) (Peugeot)
Second  Gustave Garrigou (France) (Peugeot)
Third  Marcel Buysse (Belgium) (Peugeot)

The 1913 Tour de France was the 11th Tour de France, taking place between 29 June and 27 July 1913. The total distance was 5,388 kilometres (3,348 mi) and the average speed of the riders was 26.715 kilometres per hour (16.600 mph).[1] The competition was won by the Belgian Philippe Thys, after in the crucial sixth stage Eugène Christophe broke his bicycle and lost several hours because he had to do the repairs by himself. In the last stage, Thys also had mechanical problems, but he got help during the repairs, and only got a penalty of ten minutes. Between 1904 and 1912, the overall classification had been calculated by points, but in 1913 the classification was reverted to the original format from 1903, where the overall classification was calculated by adding up the times of the individual stages. The general classification has been calculated in the time format ever since.

Changes from the 1912 Tour de France[edit]

In 1905, the format of the Tour de France had been changed from the time system to the points system, to reduce the cheating that had caused the first four cyclists of the 1904 Tour de France to be disqualified. In the 1912 Tour de France, this system had been working against Eugène Christophe's chances, who would have been leading the time classification up until the final stage where he allowed a group to ride away.[2] The system had been working against a French cyclist and in favor of a Belgian cyclist (Odiel Defraye, who won the Tour de France in 1912), and the French organisation changed the system back again to the time system: the finishing times of all stages were added per cyclist, and the cyclist with the least total time was the winner.

For the first time, the route of the race was in the opposite direction. Prior to the 1913 race, the Tour the France always had been in the clockwise direction through France, and in 1913 it was anticlockwise.[3]

Philippe Thys after finishing the race.


The 1913 Tour started with 140 cyclists; there were 51 cyclists distributed over 9 teams, including all favourites for the overall victory. The remaining 89 cyclists started in the isolés category.[3] This edition started with six former Tour de France winners (Louis Trousselier, Lucien Petit-Breton, François Faber, Octave Lapize, Gustave Garrigou and Odile Defraye), the most ever.[4]

Although cyclists had started in teams previously, the rules had forbidden them to work together against other cyclists. In 1913, this changed, and cyclists from the same team were allowed to work together. The organizers preferred riders to ride solo, so they added a rule that if a cyclist would win a stage with a margin of 20 minutes or more, he would not only get his own prize money, but also the half of all the other cyclists' prize money of that stage.[5]

The first African cyclist took part in the Tour de France in 1913: Ali Neffati from Tunisia. Neffati had been discovered by Tour organizer Henri Desgrange, and would later become a driver at l'Auto, the newspaper that organised the Tour de France.[6]

Race details[edit]

In the first stages, not much happened in the overall classification, as most cyclists were saving their energy for the Pyrénées.[7] The stage was won by Italian Giovanni Micheletto in a sprint. Micheletto was not part of the first group in the second stage, and thus lost his lead. There were four cyclists who had been in the lead group in both stages, and they were jointly leading the Tour.[8]

The most important event occurred in the third stage, when former winner Lapize stopped the race because he considered his earning insufficient.[6]

The crucial stage proved to be the sixth. At the start of the sixth stage, last year's winner Defraye lead the general classification, some 5 minutes ahead of Eugène Christophe. In that sixth stage, the first mountains were climbed. Defraye was dropped quickly, and Christophe lead the race.[4] Christophe came up first on the Aubisque, and in second place behind Philippe Thys on the Tourmalet. On the way down from the Tourmalet, Christophe's fork broke, rendering his bike unusable, and the rules said that he had to repair it himself. He walked more than 10 km down to the next village, and found a place where he could repair his bicycle. He worked on it for over three hours, being watched by race officials who made sure that he was not helped by anyone. When Christophe asked a small boy to work the bellows, he was fined with ten minutes.[4] After his bicycle was fixed, he rode away and finished the stage, 3 hours and 50 minutes later than the stage winner Thys. Christophe's chances to win the 1913 Tour de France were over.[9]

After that sixth stage, Marcel Buysse was in the lead. In the ninth stage, Buysse had mechanical failure with a broken handlebar, and finished almost three and a half hours after stage winner Lambot. This was the end of the chances for Buysse for the victory.[6] Buysse did not give up, and won four of the remaining five stages.[7]

The lead had transferred to Thys now. In the last stages, the race focussed on the duel between Petit-Breton and Thys. In the 14th stage, Petit-Breton fell down and stopped the race. In the same stage, Thys also fell down and remained unconscious for a while. When he was conscious again, he was helped to repair his bicycle. All help was illegal in 1913, but the jury only gave him a 10-minute penalty.[3] Thys finished the stage, and kept 8'37" in front of Gustave Garrigou in the general classification. In the final stage, Thys stayed with Garrigou, and so won the 1913 Tour de France.


Stage winners[edit]

Stage results[3][10]
Stage Date Route Terrain[Notes 1] Length Winner Race leader
1 29 June ParisLe Havre Plain stage 388 km (241 mi)  Giovanni Micheletto (ITA)  Giovanni Micheletto (ITA)
2 1 July Le Havre – Cherbourg Plain stage 364 km (226 mi)  Jules Masselis (BEL)  Jules Masselis (BEL)[Notes 2]
 Alfons Lauwers (BEL)[Notes 2]
 Marcel Buysse (BEL)[Notes 2]
 Odile Defraye (BEL)[Notes 2]
3 3 July Cherbourg – Brest Plain stage 405 km (252 mi)  Henri Pelissier (FRA)  Odile Defraye (BEL)
4 5 July Brest – La Rochelle Plain stage 470 km (290 mi)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)  Odile Defraye (BEL)
5 7 July La Rochelle – Bayonne Plain stage 379 km (235 mi)  Henri Van Lerberghe (BEL)  Odile Defraye (BEL)
6 9 July Bayonne – Luchon Stage with mountain 326 km (203 mi)  Philippe Thys (BEL)  Philippe Thys (BEL)
7 11 July Luchon – Perpignan Stage with mountain 324 km (201 mi)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)
8 13 July Perpignan – Aix-en-Provence Plain stage 325 km (202 mi)  Gustave Garrigou (FRA)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)
9 15 July Aix-en-Provence – Nice Stage with mountain 356 km (221 mi)  Firmin Lambot (BEL)  Philippe Thys (BEL)
10 17 July Nice – Grenoble Stage with mountain 333 km (207 mi)  Francois Faber (LUX)  Philippe Thys (BEL)
11 19 July Grenoble – Geneva Stage with mountain 325 km (202 mi)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)  Philippe Thys (BEL)
12 21 July Geneva – Belfort Stage with mountain 335 km (208 mi)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)  Philippe Thys (BEL)
13 23 July Belfort – Longwy Stage with mountain 325 km (202 mi)  François Faber (LUX)  Philippe Thys (BEL)
14 25 July Longwy – Dunkerque Plain stage 393 km (244 mi)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)  Philippe Thys (BEL)
15 27 July Dunkerque – Paris Plain stage 340 km (210 mi)  Marcel Buysse (BEL)  Philippe Thys (BEL)

General classification[edit]

A man sitting on a bicycle
Philippe Thys, the winner of the 1913 Tour de France.

For each cyclist, the times they had needed in each stage was added up for the general classification. The cyclist with the least accumulated time after the last stage was the winner. Of the 140 starting cyclists, 25 finished.

Final general classification (1–10)[3]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Philippe Thys (BEL) Peugeot 197h 54' 00"
2  Gustave Garrigou (FRA) Peugeot +8' 37"
3  Marcel Buysse (BEL) Peugeot +3h 30' 55"
4  Firmin Lambot (BEL) Griffon +4h 12' 45"
5  François Faber (LUX) Peugeot +6h 26' 04"
6  Alfons Spiessens (BEL) J.B. Louvet +7h 57' 52"
7  Eugène Christophe (FRA) Peugeot +14h 06' 35"
8  Camillo Bertarelli (ITA) +16h 21' 38"
9  Joseph Vandaele (BEL) J.B. Louvet +16h 39' 53"
10  Emile Engel (FRA) Peugeot +16h 52' 34"

Other classifications[edit]

Camillo Bertarelli, the winner of the "isolés" category, for cyclists not part of a team

Camillo Bertarelli, ranked 8 in the general classification, became the winner of the "isolés" category.[11] The "isolés" classification was calculated in the same way as the general classification, but only the isolated cyclists (not part of a team) were eligible.

The organising newspaper l'Auto named Philippe Thys the meilleur grimpeur. This unofficial title is the precursor to the mountains classification.[12]


  1. ^ In 1913, there was no distinction in the rules between plain stages and mountain stages; the icons shown here indicate whether the stage included mountains.
  2. ^ a b c d After the second stage, Masselis, Lauwers, Buysse and Defraye joint the lead. There were no rules for equal times in 1913.


  1. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Tom James (14 August 2003). "1912: Belgian victory foreshadows problems to come". VeloArchive. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "11ème Tour de France 1913" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Tom James (14 August 2003). "1913: Eugène Christophe, Ste. Marie de Campan and the forge". VeloArchive. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "De ronde van Frankrijk". De Poperinghenaar (in Dutch). 29 June 1913. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "1913 - 11th Tour de France". ASO. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Amels, Wim (1984). De geschiedenis van de Tour de France 1903–1984 (in Dutch). Sport-Express. pp. 18–19. ISBN 90-70763-05-2. 
  8. ^ "De algemeene klassering na de twee eerste ritten". De Volksstem (in Dutch) (Documentatiecentrum en Archief voor Daensisme en Hedendaagse Geschiedenis van de Denderstreek). 3 July 1913. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "6ème étape - Bayonne-Luchon" (in French). Memoire du Cyclisme. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  10. ^ Arian Zwegers. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "l'Historique du Tour - Année 1913" (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  12. ^ Michiel van Lonkhuyzen. "Tour-Giro-Vuelta". www.tour-giro-vuelta.net. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 

External links[edit]

Media related to 1913 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons