___Race Snippets


18th Tour de France 1924


By Barry Boyce CyclingRevealed Historian













The Tour of Suffering

Henri Desgrange, the race director of the Tour de France described his vision for the great demands of this grand race, “The ideal Tour would be a Tour in which only one rider survives the ordeal.” It was this ideal that Desgrange meant to inspire the riders to greatness, not unduly restrict them with harsh conditions and strict rules enforcement.

Journalist from the newspaper “Petit Parisian” named Albert Londres described the 1924 Tour as “Le Tour de Souffrance” (the Tour of suffering). The center of controversy in 1924 came back to defending champion Henri Pelissier.

The independent thinking Pelissier had a dubious relationship with the authoritarian Desgrange and battled his inane rules on a yearly basis. The rules very specifically banned the discarding of clothing or equipment along the race route. Somewhere near the Town of Coutances Pelissier shed his long sleeve, woolen jersey. When the race official confronted Pelissier mid-way through the stage, they threatened to penalize him for the rules infraction. The emotional Frenchman became enraged and immediately retired from race.

Albert Londres found Pelissier shortly after his abandonment, and the information received in the interview gave Londres enough to write the Tour's legendary “Les forcatsde la route” (Slaves of the Road) article. The clamoring for change began to escalate. However, the stubborn Desgrange steadfastly resisted any changes to his ideal Tour.

Pelissier brothers abandoned the Tour (photo Archive)

Pelissier brothers meet with Albert Londres (photo Archive)

SPECIAL NOTE: The first drug revelations came when Pelissier and his brother Francis quit. 'Do you want to see how we keep going?' Henri Pelissier asks the journalist Albert Londres, taking a flask out of his bag. 'That's cocaine to go in our eyes, chloroform for our gums, and do you want to see the pills? We keep going on dynamite. In the evenings we dance around our rooms instead of sleeping.'

With Pelissier out of the race Italian sensation Ottavio Bottecchia quickly became the race favorite. Bottecchia grabbed the Maillot Jaune (race leader's Yellow Jersey) on stage 1 and kept it all the way to the finish in Paris (Parc des Princes).

SPECIAL NOTE: Several records were set with this dominating TdF performance. This was the first victory by an Italian, and Ottavio Bottecchia was the first rider to wear the Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey) after every stage.

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Stage 1 PARIS-LE HAVRE, 381 km Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 2 LE HAVRE-CHERBOURG, 371 km Romain Bellenger (Fra) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 3 CHERBOURG-BREST, 405 km Theo Beeckman (Bel) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 4 BREST-LES SABLES D'OLONNE, 412 km Felix Goethals (Bel) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 5 L'SABLES D'OLONNE-BAYONNE, 482 km Omer Huyse (Bel) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 6 BAYONNE-LUCHON, 326 km Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 7 LUCHON-PERPIGNAN, 323 km Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 8 PERPIGNAN-TOULON, 427 km Louis Mottiat (Bel) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 9 TOULON-NICE, 281 km Philippe Thys (Bel) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 10 NICE-BRIANCON, 274 km Giovanni Brunero (Ita) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 11 BRIANCON-GEX, 307 km Nicolas Frantz (Lux) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 12 GEX-STRASBOURG, 360 km Nicolas Frantz (Lux) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 13 STRASBOURG-METZ, 300 km Arsene Alancourt (Fra) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 14 METZ-DUNKERQUE, 433 km Romain Bellenger (Fra) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
Stage 15 DUNKERQUE-PARIS/Parc des Princes, 343 km Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita) Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)

TdF June 22-July 20, 1924
5,425 Km

1. Ottavio BOTTECCHIA (Ita) 226h18'21"

2. Nicolas Frantz (Lux) +35'36"

3. Lucien Buysse (Bel) +1h32'13"

Starters: 157
Finishers: 60
Average Speed: 24.250 km/h

TdF 1923

TdF 1925

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