1935 Tour de France

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1935 Tour de France
Tour de France 1935.png
Route of the 1935 Tour de France
Followed clockwise, starting in Paris
Race details
Dates 4–28 July 1935
Stages 21 (27 including split stages)
Distance 4,338 km (2,696 mi)
Winning time 141h 32' 00" (30.650 km/h or 19.045 mph)
Winner  Romain Maes (Belgium) (Belgium)
Second  Ambrogio Morelli (Italy) (Italian individuals)
Third  Félicien Vervaecke (Belgium) (Belgium)

Mountains  Félicien Vervaecke (Belgium) (Belgium)
Team Belgium

The 1935 Tour de France was the 29th Tour de France, taking place July 4 to July 28, 1935. It consisted of 21 stages over 4,338 km, ridden at an average speed of 30.650 km/h.[1] Although the French team was favourite, Belgian Romain Maes took the lead in the first stage, and never gave it away. Halfway the race, Romain Maes' biggest threat, Antonin Magne, had to abandon after he was hit by a car.

In the eighth stage, Spanish cyclist Francisco Cepeda fell while he was descending at high speed, and died while he was transported to the hospital.

Changes from the 1934 Tour de France[edit]

This was the first Tour that had a stage finish and start in a city that wasn't in France, when Geneva was visited in the fifth stage.

The prize money increased in 1935, and for the first time it was more than one million Francs.[2]


As was the custom since the 1930 Tour de France, the 1935 Tour de France was contested by national teams. Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany and France each sent teams of 8 cyclists. Then there were the individuals: each country also sent four cyclists who rode as individuals, but could take over the place of another cyclists if they dropped out. Spain only sent three cyclists, and Swiss sent four individual cyclists even though they did not have a national team, so 23 individual cyclists were racing. Finally, there was the touriste-routiers category, in which 30 cyclists participated.[3] In total this made 93 cyclists. Split up in nationalities, there were 41 French, 13 Italian, 12 Belgian, 12 German, 11 Spanish and 4 Swiss cyclists.[4]

The French team looked very strong, as it contained the three winners of the last five Tours, Antonin Magne, Georges Speicher and André Leducq, in addition to climber René Vietto and Maurice Archambaud, who had led the general classification for a long time in 1933. In addition, they had Roger Lapébie and Charles Pélissier riding as individuals, which meant that they could take the place of a French team member dropping out.[5]

Of the other teams, the Belgian and Italian teams seemed most likely to challenge the French.[5]

Race details[edit]

In the first stage, Belgian Romain Maes was lucky as he passed a train crossing just before it closed, while the rest had to wait. Romain Maes was one minute ahead, and although he was chased, the others could not capture him.[5]

In the second stage, Romain Maes was less lucky, as several flat tires put him nine minutes behind the peloton. The Belgian team chased for 70 km to get him back with the rest. The stage was won by French sprinter Charles Pélissier. Romain Maes and Charles Pélissier were now ranked first and second, but nobody expected them to remain on top of the general classification.[5]

On the fourth stage, the French team performed bad; the first French cyclist came in tenth place, and Romain Maes increased his leading margin to over five minutes.[5]

In the second part of the fifth stage, Romain Maes performed unexpectedly well, as he lost only 38 seconds to Magne, a time trial specialist. Magne was in second place in the general classification, about four minutes behind Romain Maes.[5]

The sixth stage, the first in the Alps, was perfect for a climber as Vietto, and he indeed took the victory solo. Magne was still about four minutes behind Romain Maes.[5] In the seventh stage, Magne was hit by a car, and had to abandon the race.[5] Later in that stage, Spanish cyclist Francisco Cepeda died after he fell going down the Galibier.[3] One of his tires had peeled of his rim, which caused him to crash at high speed.[6] Because Magne was out of the race, Vasco Bergamaschi became the new number two of the general classification, more than twelve minutes behind Romain Maes.[5] In the ninth stage, Bergamaschi lost half an hour, and was out of contention for the victory. René Vietto won the stage, with Francesco Camusso a few seconds behind him. Romain Maes lost almost ten minutes,[7] and Camusso jumped to the second place in the general classification, three and a half minute behind Romain Maes.[5]

In the tenth, eleventh and twelfth stage, Romain Maes won some time on Camusso. The second part of the thirteenth stage was a team time trial, in which the French team beat the Belgian team by 27 seconds, and had Speicher get within 9 minutes of Maes in the general classification. In the second part of the fourteenth stage, however, Romain Maes finished in second place, and thereby increased his lead in the general classification to more than ten minutes on Speicher, who had jumped to second place.[3][5]

In the fifteenth stage, the Pyrénées were climbed. Belgian cyclists Felicien Vervaecke and Sylvère Maes were ahead and beat the others by minutes. The first three places in the general classification were now occupied by Belgian cyclists, with Romain Maes, Vervaecke and Sylvère Maes.[5]

In the sixteenth stage Romain Maes ran into troubles for the first time in 1935. The Belgian team controlled the race over the first three mountains, but on the fourth, the Aubisque, Italians Ambrogio Morelli and Orlando Teani escaped. Morelli won the stage and took the time bonus, and Romain Maes needed his team mates to keep his losses small. Vervaecke and Jules Lowie helped him to keep it only six minutes, and Romain Maes was still ahead in the general classification, although only two and a half minute ahead of Morelli.[5]

In the first half of the eighteenth stage, Morelli lost ten minutes. Jean Aerts crossed the finish line first in that stage, but he was set to second place by the jury because he had sprinted irregularly.[8] Maes finished second in the second part of that stage, and increased his lead even more.[5] Initially Jean Fontenay was declared winner of that stage, but he got a penalty of five minutes after the jury found out he had been helped by a car.[9]

A cyclist entering a crowded stadium.
Being watched by a huge audience, Belgian Romain Maes, stagewinner and overall winner, enters the Parc des Princes stadium.

Romain Maes finished the Tour by escaping in the last stage, and finishing alone in Paris.[5]


Stage winners[edit]

Stages 5, 13, 14, 18, 19 and 20 are retroactively seen as split stages, always between a standard mass-start stage and a time trial stage. In 1935, the mass-start stages were seen as a normal stage, and the time trial stages were not numbered. Stages 5B, 14B and 18B were individual time trials, while stages 13B, 19B and 20B where team time trials. In the team time trials in 1935, cyclists started together in teams, but unlike current team time trials it was the individual time that counted; the team time trial was not won by a team but by a cyclist.

Stage results[3][10]
Stage Date[11] Route Terrain[Notes 1] Length Winner
1 4 July Paris – Lille Plain stage 262 km (163 mi)  Romain Maes (BEL)
2 5 July Lille – Charleville Plain stage 192 km (119 mi)  Charles Pélissier (FRA)
3 6 July Charleville – Metz Plain stage 161 km (100 mi)  Rafaele di Paco (ITA)
4 7 July Metz – Belfort Stage with mountain(s) 220 km (140 mi)  Jean Aerts (BEL)
5A 8 July Belfort – Geneva, Switzerland Plain stage 262 km (163 mi)  Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
5B Geneva – Evian Individual time trial 58 km (36 mi)  Rafaele di Paco (ITA)
6 10 July Evian – Aix-les-Bains Stage with mountain(s) 207 km (129 mi)  René Vietto (FRA)
7 11 July Aix-les-Bains – Grenoble Stage with mountain(s) 229 km (142 mi)  Francesco Camusso (ITA)
8 12 July Grenoble – Gap Stage with mountain(s) 102 km (63 mi)  Jean Aerts (BEL)
9 13 July Gap – Digne Stage with mountain(s) 227 km (141 mi)  René Vietto (FRA)
10 14 July Digne – Nice Plain stage 156 km (97 mi)  Jean Aerts (BEL)
11 16 July Nice – Cannes Stage with mountain(s) 126 km (78 mi)  Romain Maes (BEL)
12 17 July Cannes – Marseille Plain stage 195 km (121 mi)  Charles Pélissier (FRA)
13A 18 July Marseille – Nîmes Plain stage 112 km (70 mi)  Vasco Bergamaschi (ITA)
13B Nîmes – Montpellier Individual time trial 56 km (35 mi)  Georges Speicher (FRA)
14A 19 July Montpellier – Narbonne Plain stage 103 km (64 mi)  René Le Grevès (FRA)
14B Narbonne – Perpignan Individual time trial 63 km (39 mi)  Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
15 20 July Perpignan – Luchon Stage with mountain(s) 325 km (202 mi)  Sylvère Maes (BEL)
16 22 July Luchon – Pau Stage with mountain(s) 194 km (121 mi)  Ambrogio Morelli (ITA)
17 24 July Pau – Bordeaux Plain stage 224 km (139 mi)  Julien Moineau (FRA)
18A 25 July Bordeaux – Rochefort Plain stage 158 km (98 mi)  René Le Grevès (FRA)
18B Rochefort – La Rochelle Individual time trial 33 km (21 mi)  André Leducq (FRA)
19A 26 July La Rochelle – La Roche sur Yon Plain stage 81 km (50 mi)  René Le Grevès (FRA)
19B La Roche sur Yon – Nantes Individual time trial 95 km (59 mi)  Jean Aerts (BEL)
20A 27 July Nantes – Vire Plain stage 220 km (140 mi)  René Le Grevès (FRA)
20B Vire – Caen Individual time trial 55 km (34 mi)  Ambrogio Morelli (ITA)
21 28 July Caen – Paris Plain stage 221 km (137 mi)  Romain Maes (BEL)

Classification leadership[edit]

Stage General classification
Jersey yellow.svg
Mountains classification Team classification Classification for individuals Classification for touriste-routiers
1  Romain Maes (BEL) N/A  France  Charles Pélissier (FRA)  René Bernard (FRA)
4  Félicien Vervaecke (BEL)  Eugenio Gestri (ITA)
5B  Jules Lowie (BEL)
8  François Neuville (BEL)
9  Bruno Roth (GER)  Gabriel Ruozzi (FRA)
10  Charles Pélissier (FRA)
Final  Romain Maes (BEL)  Felicien Vervaecke (BEL)  France  Charles Pélissier (FRA)  Gabriel Ruozzi (FRA)

Final general classification[edit]

The time that each cyclist required to finish each stage was recorded, and these times were added together for the general classification. If a cyclist had received a time bonus, it was subtracted from this total; all time penalties were added to this total. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey.

Final general classification (1–10)[3][12][13]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Romain Maes (BEL) Belgium 141h 32' 00"
2  Ambrogio Morelli (ITA) Italian individuals +17' 52"
3  Félicien Vervaecke (BEL) Belgium +24' 06"
4  Sylvère Maes (BEL) Belgian individuals +35' 24"
5  Jules Lowie (BEL) Belgian individuals +51' 26"
6  Georges Speicher (FRA) France +54' 29"
7  Maurice Archambaud (FRA) France +1h 09' 28"
8  René Vietto (FRA) France +1h 21' 03"
9  Gabriel Ruozzi (FRA) Touriste-routier +1h 34' 02"
10  Oskar Thierbach (GER) Germany +2h 00' 04"

Final team classification[edit]

The team classification was calculated in 1935 by adding up the times of the best three cyclists of a team; the team with the least time was the winner. Individuals that ranked higher than team members could be put in the team. This happened with the Belgian team: individual Sylvère Maes ranked higher than the third Belgian team member Jean Aerts, so his time was used for the calculation. If this rule would have not been in place, the French team would have won the team classification. It also happened with the Spanish team, which had only two cyclists left at the end of the race; Spanish individual Vicente Bachero was added to the team.

The Italian team had no cyclists left at the end of the race. There were two Italians in the individual category that were then added for the team calculation, but they still lacked a third team member. For that case there was a rule that said that an imaginary cyclist would be added to the team, that had the time of the final cyclist plus one hour penalty time.

Team classification (1–5)[12][13][14]
Rank Team Time
1  Belgium 425h 36' 09"
2  France +2h 24' 51"
3  Germany +9h 57' 17"
4  Italy +12h 13' 22"
5  Spain +13h 16' 21"

Mountains classification[edit]

For the mountain classification, 15 mountains were selected by the Tour organisation:

Mountains in the 1935 mountains classification[3]
Stage Name Height Mountain range[11] Winner
4 Ballon d'Alsace 1,178 metres (3,865 ft) Vosges Felicien Vervaecke
6 Aravis 1,498 metres (4,915 ft) Alps René Vietto
7 Galibier 2,556 metres (8,386 ft) Alps Gabriel Ruozzi
8 Côte de Laffrey 900 metres (3,000 ft) Alps Gabriel Ruozzi
9 Vars 2,110 metres (6,920 ft) Alps Felicien Vervaecke
9 Allos 2,250 metres (7,380 ft) Alps Felicien Vervaecke
11 Braus 1,002 metres (3,287 ft) Alps-Maritimes Gabriel Ruozzi
11 La Turbie 555 metres (1,821 ft) Alps-Maritimes Orlando Teani
15 Puymorens 1,920 metres (6,300 ft) Pyrénées Felicien Vervaecke
15 Col de Port 1,249 metres (4,098 ft) Pyrénées Felicien Vervaecke
15 Portet d'Aspet 1,069 metres (3,507 ft) Pyrénées Felicien Vervaecke
16 Peyresourde 1,569 metres (5,148 ft) Pyrénées Felicien Vervaecke
16 Aspin 1,489 metres (4,885 ft) Pyrénées Felicien Vervaecke
16 Tourmalet 2,115 metres (6,939 ft) Pyrénées Sylvère Maes
16 Aubisque 1,709 metres (5,607 ft) Pyrénées Ambrogio Morelli

On the top of these mountains, ten points were given for the first cyclist to pass, nine points to the second cyclist, and so on, until the tenth cyclist who got one point. The final mountain classification after stage 16 was as follows:

Mountains classification (1–10)[3][4][15]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Félicien Vervaecke (BEL) Belgium 118
2  Sylvère Maes (BEL) Belgian individuals 92
3  Jules Lowie (BEL) Belgian individuals 71
4  Gabriel Ruozzi (FRA) Touriste-routier 62
5  Romain Maes (BEL) Belgium 58
6  Ambrogio Morelli (ITA) Italian individuals 49
7  Francesco Camusso (ITA) Italy 47
8  René Vietto (FRA) France 42
9  Orlando Teani (ITA) Italian individuals 41
10  Leo Amberg (SUI) Swiss individuals 33

Other classifications[edit]

Second-placed Morelli was the best cyclist who had started in the "individuals" category, while ninth-placed Ruozzi became the winner of the "touriste-routiers" category.[16] However, in 1935 Morelli was considered to have been included in the Italian team, while Sylvère Maes and Jules Lowie are considered to have been included in the Belgian team, which made Charles Pélissier the best placed individual cyclist.[17]


Felicien Vervaecke, who had finished in third place, felt that he could have won this Tour by more than one hour, if he had not been helping his team mate Romain Maes, when Maes was suffering.[18]


  1. ^ In 1935, there was no distinction in the rules between plain stages and mountain stages; the icons shown here indicate whether the stage was run as a time trial, the stage was flat or the stage included mountains that counted towards the mountains classification.


  1. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique, part 6" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 2009-10-03. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Christopher S. (2006). The Tour de France: a cultural history. University of California Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-520-24760-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "29ème Tour de France 1935" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Michiel van Lonkhuyzen. "Tour-giro-vuelta". Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2006). The Story of the Tour De France. dog ear publishing. pp. 120–125. ISBN 978-1-59858-180-5. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Christopher S. (2006). The Tour de France: a cultural history. University of California Press. p. 210. ISBN 0-520-24760-4. 
  7. ^ "29ème Tour de France 1935 - 9ème étape" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "29ème Tour de France 1935 - 18ème étape (a)" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "29ème Tour de France 1935 - 18ème étape (b)" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  10. ^ Arian Zwegers. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  11. ^ a b Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique, part 3" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "Como una justa revàlida, Romain Maes, el vencedor del 'Tour', llega destacado en Paris" (in Spanish). El mundo deportivo. 29 July 1935. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  13. ^ a b "De Tour de France" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 29 July 1935. p. 14. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  14. ^ Tom James (15 August 2003). "1935: Maes from beginning to end". Archived from the original on 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  15. ^ "Clasificación final del Premio de la Montaña" (in Spanish). El mundo deportivo. 24 July 1935. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  16. ^ "l'Historique du Tour - Année 1934" (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  17. ^ "Romano Maes giunge solo al Parco dei Principi". Il Littoriale (in Italian) (Biblioteca Digitale). 29 July 1935. 
  18. ^ Cornillie, Rik; Vanwalleghem, Rik (2006). Karel van Wijnendaele (in Dutch). Lannoo Uitgeverij. p. 120. ISBN 90-209-6547-6. 

Externals links[edit]

Media related to 1935 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons