1956 Tour de France
|Dates||5–28 July 1956|
|Distance||4,498 km (2,795 mi)|
|Winning time||124h 01' 16"|
|Winner||Roger Walkowiak (France)||(Northeast-Center France)|
|Second||Gilbert Bauvin (France)||(France)|
|Third||Jan Adriaensens (Belgium)||(Belgium)|
|Points||Stan Ockers (Belgium)||(Belgium)|
|Mountains||Charly Gaul (Luxembourg)||(Luxembourg/Mixed)|
There was no previous Tour winner competing for the 1956 Tour, which had only previously happened in 1903 and 1927. An unknown rider from a regional team, Roger Walkowiak on the Northeast-Center French team, ended up winning the Tour. Many Tour fans dismissed the win as being lucky or unworthy at the time, which Walkowiak took hard; this made him not often speak of his win.
The Tour was ridden at the fastest average speed so far, over 36 km/h. Walkowiak became only the second rider, after Firmin Lambot in the 1922 Tour de France, to win without taking a single stage, and is the only Tour de France winner to date who never won a stage in any year.
Changes from the 1955 Tour de France
In the previous years, a flat tyre had to be repaired, but from 1956 on, it was allowed to change wheels.
As was the custom since the 1930 Tour de France, the 1956 Tour de France was contested by national and regional teams. Seven national teams were sent, with 10 cyclists each from France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Luxembourg/Mixed (the latter a combined team of seven Luxembourgian cyclists added with one Portuguese, on British and one Italian cyclist). France additionally sent five regional teams from 10 cyclists each, divided into Center-North East France, South East France, West France, Ile de France and South West France. In total, 120 cyclists started the race.
The winner of the three previous editions, Louison Bobet, was absent because he had surgery. Because there were less climbs and no mountain top finishes, cycling experts expected this edition to be too easy. No other former Tour de France winner started the race. This was the third time in history that the race started without former winners, after the initial 1903 Tour de France and the 1927 Tour de France. Because Bobet was not there, the race was open, and there were many riders thought able to win the Tour. The most favourite of these was probably Charly Gaul, who had won the 1956 Giro d'Italia, although he was in a weak team, and would also be aiming for the mountains classification.
The first stage was won by André Darrigade, one of the best sprinters of that time. In the third stage, a small group escaped and finished with a margin of fifteen minutes; Gilbert Desmet became the new leader.
The time trial of stage four was won by Gaul. In the second part of the fourth stage, Roger Hassenforder escaped, and a took a group with him, including Darrigade. Desmet was not in that group, and lost more than 15 minutes, which made Darrigade leader again.
In the seventh stage, the peloton broke in two, and a large group of 31 cyclists finished more than 18 minutes ahead. This group included Roger Walkowiak, who had also been in the escaped group in the fourth stage, and became the new leader. Walkowiak's team manager, Sauveur Ducazeaux, advised Walkowiak that it would be too tough to try to remain the leader for the rest of the race, and suggested that Walkowiak lose the first place, and aim to regain it later in the race.
In the tenth stage, Walkowiak lost time, and Gerrit Voorting who had also been part of the large breakaway group in stage seven, became the new leader. Voorting lost the lead in the next stage to Darrigade, who himself lost the lead to Jan Adriaensens in the twelfth stage.
In the fifteenth stage, the entire Belgian team was weak. Most Tour followers thought it was due to a doping practice that went wrong, but officially it was attributed to food poisoning. Adriaensens lost more than nine minutes, which made Wout Wagtmans the new leader. During the seventeenth stage, there was yet another escape, which included leader Wagtmans and Walkowiak, in fifth position in the general classification. The riders in second, third and fourth place were not in the escape, so Walkowiak moved up to the second place, more than four minutes behind Wagtmans. The eighteenth stage was the last chance for the climbing specialists to win back time, and so Gaul, Bahamontes and Ockers were aiming to win back time. Gaul escaped, and won the stage alone, with Ockers in second place. During the last climb, Bahamontes dismounted and threw his bike down the ravine, wanting to stop the race. The Spanish team was able to retrieve the bike, and convince Bahamontes to continue. Bahamontes finished the race in the group behind Ockers. The surprise of the day was that Walkowiak had been able to remain with Bahamontes, whereas Wagtmans (normally a decent climber) lost eight minutes more. Walkowiak took the first place in the general classification, with a margin of almost 4 minutes to Gilbert Bauvin.
In the time trial of stage 20, Bauvin performed very well, finishing in fifth place. Walkowiak ended in 24th place, but this was enough to keep a 1'25" lead.
The 1956 Tour de France started on 5 July, and had two rest days, in Bordeaux and Aix-les-Provence.
|1||5 July||Reims – Liège||Plain stage||223 km (139 mi)||André Darrigade (FRA)|
|2||6 July||Liège – Lille||Plain stage||217 km (135 mi)||Fred De Bruyne (BEL)|
|3||7 July||Lille – Rouen||Plain stage||225 km (140 mi)||Arigo Padovan (ITA)|
|4a||8 July||Rouen – Circuit des Essarts||Individual time trial||15.1 km (9 mi)||Charly Gaul (LUX)|
|4b||Rouen – Caen||Plain stage||125 km (78 mi)||Roger Hassenforder (FRA)|
|5||9 July||Caen – Saint-Malo||Plain stage||189 km (117 mi)||Joseph Morvan (FRA)|
|6||10 July||Saint-Malo – Lorient||Plain stage||192 km (119 mi)||Fred De Bruyne (BEL)|
|7||11 July||Lorient – Angers||Plain stage||244 km (152 mi)||Alessandro Fantini (ITA)|
|8||12 July||Angers – La Rochelle||Plain stage||180 km (112 mi)||Miguel Poblet (ESP)|
|9||13 July||La Rochelle – Bordeaux||Plain stage||219 km (136 mi)||Roger Hassenforder (FRA)|
|10||15 July||Bordeaux – Bayonne||Plain stage||201 km (125 mi)||Fred De Bruyne (BEL)|
|11||16 July||Bayonne – Pau||Stage with mountain(s)||255 km (158 mi)||Nino Defilippis (ITA)|
|12||17 July||Pau – Luchon||Stage with mountain(s)||130 km (81 mi)||Jean-Pierre Schmitz (LUX)|
|13||18 July||Luchon – Toulouse||Stage with mountain(s)||176 km (109 mi)||Nino Defilippis (ITA)|
|14||19 July||Toulouse – Montpellier||Plain stage||231 km (144 mi)||Roger Hassenforder (FRA)|
|15||20 July||Montpellier – Aix-en-Provence||Plain stage||204 km (127 mi)||Joseph Thomin (FRA)|
|16||22 July||Aix-en-Provence – Gap||Stage with mountain(s)||203 km (126 mi)||Jean Forestier (FRA)|
|17||23 July||Gap – Turin||Stage with mountain(s)||234 km (145 mi)||Nino Defilippis (ITA)|
|18||24 July||Turin – Grenoble||Stage with mountain(s)||250 km (155 mi)||Charly Gaul (LUX)|
|19||25 July||Grenoble – Saint-Étienne||Stage with mountain(s)||173 km (107 mi)||Stan Ockers (BEL)|
|20||26 July||Saint-Étienne – Lyon||Individual time trial||73 km (45 mi)||Miguel Bover (ESP)|
|21||27 July||Lyon – Montluçon||Stage with mountain(s)||237 km (147 mi)||Roger Hassenforder (FRA)|
|22||28 July||Montluçon – Paris||Plain stage||331 km (206 mi)||Gastone Nencini (ITA)|
||Mountains classification||Team classification|
|1||André Darrigade (FRA)||André Darrigade (FRA)||no award||Luxembourg/Mixed|
|3||Gilbert Desmet (BEL)||Antonin Rolland (FRA)|
|4B||André Darrigade (FRA)||Roger Hassenforder (FRA)||France|
|6||Daan de Groot (NED)|
|7||Roger Walkowiak (FRA)||Fernand Picot (FRA)||Belgium|
|8||Daan de Groot (NED)||West France|
|10||Gerrit Voorting (NED)||Belgium|
|11||André Darrigade (FRA)||André Darrigade (FRA)||Vincent Huot (FRA)|
|12||Jan Adriaensens (BEL)||Fernand Picot (FRA)|
|15||Wout Wagtmans (NED)||Belgium|
|18||Roger Walkowiak (FRA)||Stan Ockers (BEL)|
|19||Charly Gaul (LUX)|
|Final||Roger Walkowiak (FRA)||Stan Ockers (BEL)||Charly Gaul (LUX)||Belgium|
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. Of the 120 cyclists that started the 1956 Tour de France, 88 finished the race.
|1||Roger Walkowiak (FRA)||North East-Center||124h 01'16"|
|2||Gilbert Bauvin (FRA)||France||+1'25"|
|3||Jan Adriaensens (BEL)||Belgium||+3'44"|
|4||Federico Bahamontes (ESP)||Spain||+10'14"|
|5||Nino Defilippis (ITA)||Italy||+10'25"|
|6||Wout Wagtmans (NED)||Netherlands||+10'59"|
|7||Nello Lauredi (FRA)||South East France||+14'01"|
|8||Stan Ockers (BEL)||Belgium||+16'52"|
|9||René Privat (FRA)||France||+22'59"|
|10||Antonio Barbosa (POR)||Luxembourg/Mixed||+26'03"|
|Final general classification (11–88)|
|11||Gerrit Voorting (NED)||Netherlands||+27'16"|
|12||Jean Forestier (FRA)||France||+30'15"|
|13||Charly Gaul (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||+32'14"|
|14||Brian Robinson (GBR)||Luxembourg/Mixed||+33'54"|
|15||Daan De Groot (NED)||Netherlands||+38'40"|
|16||André Darrigade (FRA)||France||+39'51"|
|17||Alex Close (BEL)||Belgium||+41'47"|
|18||Fernand Picot (FRA)||West France||+42'28"|
|19||Jean Dotto (FRA)||South East France||+47'19"|
|20||Alfred De Bruyne (BEL)||Belgium||+49'53"|
|21||Gilbert Desmet (BEL)||Belgium||+50'56"|
|22||Gastone Nencini (ITA)||Italy||+54'56"|
|23||Bruno Monti (ITA)||Italy||+56'58"|
|24||Pasquale Fornara (ITA)||Italy||+59'58"|
|25||Maurice Quentin (FRA)||West France||+1h 03'53"|
|26||Arrigo Padovan (ITA)||Italy||+1h 07'25"|
|27||Agostino Coletto (ITA)||Italy||+1h 09'13"|
|28||Jan Nolten (NED)||Netherlands||+1h 09'27"|
|29||Jesus Lorono (ESP)||Spain||+1h 22'24"|
|30||Leo Van der Pluym (NED)||Netherlands||+1h 24'10"|
|31||Pierre Beuffeuil (FRA)||South West France||+1h 24'58"|
|32||Marcel Janssens (BEL)||Belgium||+1h 25'15"|
|33||Raymond Impanis (BEL)||Belgium||+1h 25'59"|
|34||Jean Malléjac (FRA)||France||+1h 26'32"|
|35||Antonin Rolland (FRA)||France||+1h 29'52"|
|36||Jean-Pierre Schmitz (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||+1h 32'57"|
|37||Joseph Thomin (FRA)||West France||+1h 34'02"|
|38||Nicolas Barone (FRA)||Ile de France||+1h 39'57"|
|39||Jean Brankart (BEL)||Belgium||+1h 41'06"|
|40||Raymond Hoorelbeke (FRA)||Ile de France||+1h 43'41"|
|41||Angelo Conterno (ITA)||Italy||+1h 45'55"|
|42||Pietro Giudici (ITA)||Italy||+1h 46'58"|
|43||Mario Bertolo (ITA)||North East-Center||+1h 48'51"|
|44||Francis Siguenza (FRA)||Ile de France||+1h 49'25"|
|45||Richard Van Genechten (BEL)||Belgium||+1h 51'32"|
|46||Pierre Barbotin (FRA)||France||+1h 53'38"|
|47||Max Schellenberg (SUI)||Switzerland||+1h 55'40"|
|48||Alessandro Fantini (ITA)||Italy||+1h 57'20"|
|49||Raphaël Géminiani (FRA)||France||+1h 57'32"|
|50||Roger Hassenforder (FRA)||West France||+1h 59'20"|
|51||Marcel Ernzer (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||+2h 06'19"|
|52||Pierre Scribante (FRA)||North East-Center||+2h 10'24"|
|53||Vincent Vitteta (FRA)||South East France||+2h 11'01"|
|54||Louis Bergaud (FRA)||France||+2h 16'36"|
|55||Pierino Baffi (ITA)||Italy||+2h 17'54"|
|56||Louis Caput (FRA)||West France||+2h 20'53"|
|57||Jean Lerda (FRA)||South East France||+2h 22'47"|
|58||René Marigil (ESP)||Spain||+2h 23'57"|
|59||Claude Le Ber (FRA)||West France||+2h 29'28"|
|60||Jean-Claude Gret (SUI)||Switzerland||+2h 29'56"|
|61||Valentin Huot (FRA)||South West France||+2h 30'45"|
|62||Remo Pianezzi (SUI)||Switzerland||+2h 31'07"|
|63||Joseph Morvan (FRA)||West France||+2h 32'40"|
|64||Claude Frei (SUI)||Switzerland||+2h 34'09"|
|65||Salvador Botella (ESP)||Spain||+2h 34'28"|
|66||Alfred Tonello (FRA)||Ile de France||+2h 38'49"|
|67||Maurice Lampre (FRA)||South West France||+2h 47'30"|
|68||Nicolas Morn (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||+2h 47'37"|
|69||Raymond Meyzencq (FRA)||South East France||+2h 48'08"|
|70||Bernardo Ruiz (ESP)||Spain||+2h 50'24"|
|71||Adolphe Deledda (FRA)||North East-Center||+2h 52'37"|
|72||Jean Skerl (FRA)||Ile de France||+2h 55'51"|
|73||Robert Gibanel (FRA)||South West France||+2h 57'18"|
|74||Miguel Bover (ESP)||Spain||+2h 59'16"|
|75||Joseph Mirando (FRA)||South East France||+3h 02'03"|
|76||Amand Audaire (FRA)||West France||+3h 03'33"|
|77||Carmelo Morales (ESP)||Spain||+3h 05'19"|
|78||Albert Dolhats (FRA)||South West France||+3h 07'01"|
|79||Marcel Guitard (FRA)||South West France||+3h 09'12"|
|80||Camille Huyghe (FRA)||North East-Center||+3h 11'07"|
|81||Jose Serra (ESP)||Spain||+3h 16'56"|
|82||Roger Chupin (FRA)||North East-Center\||+3h 19'07"|
|83||Willy Kemp (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||+3h 23'06"|
|84||Tino Sabbadini (FRA)||South West France||+3h 38'29"|
|85||Philippe Agut (FRA)||South West France||+3h 52'47"|
|86||Jef Lahaye (NED)||Netherlands||+4h 02'22"|
|87||Werner Arnold (SUI)||Switzerland||+4h 07'53"|
|88||Roger Chaussabel (FRA)||South East France||+4h 10'18"|
The points classification in 1956 was calculated in the same way as since the introduction in 1953, following the calculation method from the Tours de France from 1905 to 1912. Points were given according to the ranking of the stage: the winner received one points, the next cyclist two points, and so on. These points were added, and the cyclist with the least points was the leader of the points classification. In 1956, this was won by Stan Ockers with 280 points. Over 22 stages (including one split stage), this meant that his average stage finish was approximately place 13.
|1||Stan Ockers (BEL)||Belgium||280|
|2||Fernand Picot (FRA)||West France||464|
|3||Gerrit Voorting (NED)||Netherlands||465|
|4||André Darrigade (FRA)||France||489|
|5||Gilbert Bauvin (FRA)||France||510|
|6||Daan de Groot (NED)||Netherlands||546|
|7||Gilbert Desmet (BEL)||Belgium||578|
|8||Nino Defilippis (ITA)||Italy||596|
|9||Nello Lauredi (FRA)||South East France||624|
|10||Antonio Barbosa (POR)||Luxembourg/Mixed||628|
Points for the mountains classification were earned by reaching the mountain tops first. The system was almost the same as in 1955: there were three types of mountain tops: the hardest ones, in category 1, gave 10 points to the first cyclist, the easier ones, in category 2, gave 6 points to the first cyclist, and the easiest ones, in category 3, gave 3 points. Charly Gaul won this classification.
|1||Charly Gaul (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||71|
|2||Federico Bahamontes (ESP)||Spain||67|
|3||Valentin Huot (FRA)||South West Franc||65|
|4||Stan Ockers (BEL)||Belgium||55|
|5||Richard van Genechten (BEL)||Belgium||30|
|6||Roger Walkowiak (FRA)||Northeast-Center France||22|
|7||Jean-Pierre Schmitz (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||15|
|8||Raymond Meyzencq (FRA)||South East France||14|
|9||Jean Forestier (FRA)||France||13|
|9||Jan Adriaensens (BEL)||Belgium||13|
|9||Bernardo Ruiz (ESP)||Spain||13|
The team classification was calculated as the sum of the daily team classifications, and the daily team classification was calculated by adding the times in the stage result of the best three cyclists per team. It was won by the Belgian team, with a large margin over the Italian team.
|1||Belgium||369h 47' 42"|
|2||Italy||+1h 01' 04"|
|3||Netherlands||+1h 13' 11"|
|4||France||+1h 24' 08"|
|5||West France||+1h 44' 12"|
|6||South East France||+1h 57' 39"|
|7||Spain||+3h 04' 35"|
|8||Luxembourg/Mixed||+3h 12' 59"|
|9||Northeast-Center France||+3h 55' 25"|
|10||South East France||+4h 43' 10"|
|11||Ile de France||+5h 33' 50"|
|12||Switzerland||+6h 41' 33"|
Every team finished with at least three cyclists, so all teams were included in the team classification.
|1||André Darrigade (FRA)||France||175|
|2||Roger Hassenforder (FRA)||West France||142|
|3||Charly Gaul (LUX)||Luxembourg/Mixed||119|
|4||Nino Defilippis (ITA)||Italy||118|
|5||Nicolas Barone (FRA)||Ile de France||106|
|6||Claude Le Ber (FRA)||West France||100|
|7||Roger Walkowiak (FRA)||Northeast-Center France||98|
|8||Raymond Elena (FRA)||South East France||92|
|9||Nello Lauredi (FRA)||South East France||83|
|10||Pierre Barbotin (FRA)||France||77|
The cycling fans had not been happy to see unknown Walkowiak win the race, and he was not cheered for when the race finished in the Parc des Princes. Walkowiak was considered an unworthy winner, and never again was able to repeat such a win. His name entered the French language in the phrase "á la Walko", which means "won by an undeserving or unknown rider". The press gave many reasons for Walkowiak's victory: the French national team had had internal problems, Gaul and Bahamontes had been occupied with the mountains classification and Ockers with the team classification. Not all considered him onworthy; Five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault praised his win saying: There are people who say that Walkowiak should not have won the Tour. They should have been on that Tour! He took the jersey, he lost it and he regained it. He was not a thief. The Tour is not a gift.
Walkowiak was unhappy about how the people reacted to his Tour win, and for many years did not want to discuss it.
The French team manager Marcel Bidot later criticized Darrigade for not helping Bauvin in the last stages; he thought that with the help of Darrigade, Bauvin might have been able to win back the 85 seconds on Walkowiak and win the race.
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