___Race Snippets

 

10th Tour de France 1912

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

The Belgium Coalition

The international prestige of the Tour de France soared under the direction of Henri Desgranges. This brought great Belgian teams that were produced in the early days of bicycle racing started their decade long dominance of the TdF.

Octave Lapize and Gustave Garrigou were the pre-race favorites, but young, Tour of Belgium winner Odiel Defraye came with great fitness. Defraye gained the stage 2 win and grabbed the overall leader on stage 3. At this point of the race an interesting set of circumstances occurred. Belgian riders, regardless of team affiliation, began to take pride in a fellow countryman having the lead in the TdF. Much to the dismay of race director Desgranges, the Belgian coalition had been indirectly and unofficially formed. Stage nine, the first day in the Pyrenees Mountains , Lapize, riding aggressively in the lead group, but found himself constantly outnumbered by Belgian riders. Midway on the climb of the Portet d'Aspet, a frustrated Lapize surrendered the battle. He reversed his direction and rode back down the mountain. After the stage a furious La Francaise team abandoned in protest. All the Belgians are riding together! said an emotional Lapize later that evening. Henri Desgranges would struggle for year trying to find ways to encourage individual efforts for each racer. When the modern day term “domistique” (a rider hired to sacrifice individual goals and help with the team effort) was first used, it was a derogatory term.

After the Pyrenees stages Odiel Defraye and the Belgians were not seriously challenged for the overall classification. Odiel Defraye scored the first ever Tour de France victory for Belgium.

SPECIAL NOTE: The margin of victory did not reflect the entire story of the race. Had the race been decided on time instead of points; Christophe would have ridden into Paris with the race lead, a fact that didn't go without race director Desgranges' notice. Henri Desgranges struggled with this fact and during the off-season he contemplated changes for the 1913 Tour.

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Stage 1 Paris-Dunkerque, 351 km

Charles Crupelandt (Fra)

Charles Crupelandt (Fra)

Stage 2 Dunkerque-Longwy, 388 km

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Vicenzo Borgarello (Ita)

Stage 3 Longwy-Belfort, 331 km

Eugene Christophe (Fra)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 4 Belfort-Chamonix, 344 km

Eugene Christophe (Fra)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 5 Chamonix-Grenoble, 366 km

Eugene Christophe (Fra)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 6 Grenoble-Nice, 323 km

Octave Lapize (Fra)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 7 Nice-Marseille, 334 km

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 8 Marseille-Perpignan, 335 km

Vincenzo Borgarello (Ita)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 9 Perpignan-Luchon, 289 km

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 10 Luchon-Bayonne, 326 km

Louis Mottiat (Bel)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 11 Bayonne-La Rochelle, 379 km

Jean Alavoine (Fra)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 12 La Rochelle-Brest, 470 km

Louis Heusghem (Bel)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 13 Brest-Cherbourg, 405 km

Jean Alavoine (Fra)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 14 Cherbourg-Le Havre, 361 km

Vincenzo Borgarello (Ita)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

Stage 15 Le Havre-Paris/ Parc des Princes, 317 km

Jean Alavoine (Fra)

Odiel Defraye (Bel)

 

TdF June 30-July 28, 1912
5,319 Km

1. Odiel DEFRAYE (Bel) 49 pts

2. Eugene Christophe (Fra) 108 pts

3. Gustave Garrigou (Fra) 140 pts

Starters: 131
Finishers: 41
Average Speed: 27.894 km/h

 

 

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