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The front page of L'Équipe on 4 July 2011
|Owner(s)||Éditions Philippe Amaury|
L'Équipe (pronounced [lekip] , French for "the team") is a French nationwide daily newspaper devoted to sport, owned by Éditions Philippe Amaury. The paper is noted for coverage of association football, rugby, motorsport and cycling. Its predecessor was L'Auto, a general sports paper whose name reflected not any narrow interest but the excitement of the time in car racing.
L'Auto originated the Tour de France cycling stage race in 1903 as a circulation booster. The race leader's yellow jersey (French: maillot jaune) was instituted in 1919, probably to reflect the distinctive yellow newsprint on which L'Auto was published. The competition that would eventually become the UEFA Champions League was also the brainchild of a l'Équipe journalist, Gabriel Hanot.
L'Auto and therefore L'Équipe owed its life to a 19th-century French scandal involving soldier Alfred Dreyfus - the Dreyfus affair. With overtones of antisemitism and post-war paranoia, Dreyfus was accused of selling secrets to France's old enemy, the Germans.
As different sides of society insisted he was guilty or innocent – he was eventually cleared but only after rigged trials had banished him to an island prison camp – the split came close to civil war and still has its echoes in modern French society.
France's largest sports paper, Le Vélo , mixed sports coverage with political comment. Its editor, Pierre Giffard, believed Dreyfus innocent and said so, leading to acrid disagreement with his main advertisers. Among them were the automobile-maker the Comte de Dion and the industrialists Adolphe Clément and Édouard Michelin.
Frustrated at Giffard's politics, they planned a rival paper. The editor was a prominent racing cyclist, Henri Desgrange, who had published a book of cycling tactics and training and was working as a publicity writer for Clément. Desgrange was a strong character but lacked confidence, so much doubting the Tour de France founded in his name that he stayed away from the pioneering race in 1903 until it looked like being a success.
Three years after the foundation of L'Auto-Vélo in 1900, a court in Paris decided that the title was too close to its main competitor, Giffard's Le Vélo. Thus reference to 'Vélo' was dropped and the new paper became simply L'Auto. It was printed on yellow paper because Giffard used green.
Circulation was sluggish, however, and only a crisis meeting called "to nail Giffard's beak shut", as Desgrange phrased it, came to its rescue. Then, on the first floor of the paper's offices in the rue du Faubourg-Montmartre in Paris, a 26-year-old cycling and rugby writer called Géo Lefèvre suggested a race round France, bigger than any other paper could rival and akin to six-day races on the track.
The Tour de France proved a success for the newspaper; circulation leapt from 25,000 before the 1903 Tour to 65,000 after it; in 1908 the race boosted circulation past a quarter of a million, and during the 1923 Tour it was selling 500,000 copies a day. The record circulation claimed by Desgrange was 854,000, achieved during the 1933 Tour.
Desgrange died in 1940 and ownership passed to a consortium of Germans.The paper began printing comments favourable to the occupying Nazis and so its doors were nailed shut with the return of peace, like all other papers that had printed under the Germans.
In 1940 Jacques Goddet succeeded Desgrange as editor and nominal organiser of the Tour de France (although he refused German requests to run it during the war, see Tour de France during the Second World War). Jacques Goddet was the son of L'Auto's first financial director, Victor Goddet. Goddet defended his paper's role in a court case brought by the French government but was never wholly cleared in the public mind of being close to the Germans or to the Head of the French State, Philippe Pétain.
Goddet could point, however, to clandestine printing of Resistance newspapers and pamphlets in the L'Auto print roomand so was allowed to publish a successor paper called L'Équipe. It occupied premises across the road from where L'Auto had been, in a building that had actually been in owned by L'Auto, although the original paper's assets had been sequestrated by the state. One condition of publication imposed by the state was that L'Équipe was to use white paper rather than yellow, which was too closely attached to L'Auto.
The new paper published three times a week from 28 February 1946.Since 1948 it has been published daily. The paper benefited from the demise of its competitors, L'Élan, and Le Sport. Its coverage of car racing hints at the paper's ancestry by printing the words L'Auto at the head of the page in the gothic print used in the main title of the prewar paper.
L'Équipe is published in broadsheet format.
In 1968 L'Équipe was bought by Émilien Amaury, founder of the Amaury publishing empire. Among L'Équipe's most respected writers have been Pierre Chany, Antoine Blondin and Gabriel Hanot.
The death of Émilien Amaury in 1977 led to a six-year legal battle over inheritance between his son and daughter. This was eventually settled amicably with Philippe Amaury owning the dailies while his sister owned magazines such as Marie-France and Point de Vue. Philippe then founded Éditions Philippe Amaury (EPA), which included L'Équipe, Le Parisien and Aujourd'hui . At Philippe's death in 2006, the group passed to his widow, Marie-Odile, and their children.
The biggest-selling issue was 13 July 1998, the day after the France national football team won the World Cup. It sold 1,645,907 copies. The second best was on 3 July 2000 after France won the European Football Championship and the paper sold 1,255,633 copies.
The Tour de France is an annual men's multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. Like the other Grand Tours, it consists of 21 day-long stages over the course of 23 days. It has been described as "the world’s most prestigious and most difficult bicycle race."
The 2001 Tour de France was a multiple-stage bicycle race held from 7 to 29 July, and the 88th edition of the Tour de France. It has no overall winner—although American cyclist Lance Armstrong originally won the event, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced in August 2012 that they had disqualified Armstrong from all his results since 1998, including his seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005. The verdict was subsequently confirmed by the Union Cycliste Internationale.
The 2003 Tour de France was a multiple stage bicycle race held from 5 to 27 July, and the 90th edition of the Tour de France. It has no overall winner—although American cyclist Lance Armstrong originally won the event, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced in August 2012 that they had disqualified Armstrong from all his results since 1998, including his seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005; the Union Cycliste Internationale has confirmed this verdict.
The general classification is the most important classification, the one by which the winner of the Tour de France is determined. Since 1919, the leader of the general classification wears the yellow jersey.
Éditions Philippe Amaury (EPA), also known as Groupe EPA or the Groupe Amaury, is a French media group founded by Philippe Amaury, whose widow Marie-Odile Amaury owns a majority of the company.
The 1903 Tour de France was the first cycling race set up and sponsored by the newspaper L'Auto, ancestor of the current daily, L'Équipe. It ran from 1 to 19 July in six stages over 2,428 km (1,509 mi), and was won by Maurice Garin.
Marquis Jules Félix Philippe Albert de Dion de Wandonne was a pioneer of the automobile industry in France. He invented a steam-powered car and used it to win the world's first auto race, but his vehicle was adjudged to be against the rules. He was a co-founder of De Dion-Bouton, the world's largest automobile manufacturer for a time, as well as the French sports newspaper L'Équipe.
Henri Desgrange was a French bicycle racer and sports journalist. He set twelve world track cycling records, including the hour record of 35.325 kilometres (21.950 mi) on 11 May 1893. He was the first organiser of the Tour de France.
The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) is part of the French media group, EPA. It organises sporting events including the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Paris–Nice professional cycle road races, and the Dakar Rally.
The 1905 Tour de France was the third edition of the Tour de France, held from 9 to 30 July, organised by the newspaper L'Auto. Following the disqualifications after the 1904 Tour de France, there were changes in the rules, the most important one being the general classification not made by time but by points. The race saw the introduction of mountains in the Tour de France, and René Pottier excelled in the first mountain, although he could not finish the race. Due in part to some of the rule changes, the 1905 Tour de France had less cheating and sabotage than in previous years, though they were not completely eliminated. It was won by Louis Trousselier, who also won four of the eleven stages.
Philippe Amaury was a French publishing tycoon and entrepreneur who dominated the French media world. Amaury was the son of the publisher Émilien Amaury.
Géo Lefèvre (1877–1961) was a French sports journalist and the originator of the idea for the Tour de France.
Jacques Goddet was a French sports journalist and director of the Tour de France road cycling race from 1936 to 1986.
Félix Lévitan, a sports journalist, was the third organiser of the Tour de France, a role he shared for much of the time with Jacques Goddet. Lévitan is credited with looking after the financial side of the Tour while Goddet concentrated on the sporting aspect, but in the end Lévitan was fired while Goddet simply retired.
Pierre Giffard was a French journalist, a pioneer of modern political reporting, a newspaper publisher and a prolific sports organiser. In 1892, he was appointed Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'Honneur and in 1900 he was appointed an Officier (Officer) of the Légion d'Honneur.
The Tour de France was not held during World War II because the organisers refused German requests. Although a 1940 Tour de France had been announced earlier, the outbreak of the war made it impossible for it to be held. After that, some attempts were made by the Germans during the war to have a Tour de France to maintain the sense of normality, but l'Auto, the organising newspaper, refused. Some other races were run as a replacement.
Jacques Augendre is a French journalist and is the first journalist to have followed fifty Tours de France. Jacques Goddet covered 53 but from 1936 to 1986 he was also the race organiser. Pierre Chany would have been the first journalist to 50 Tours de France had he not died in 1996 within weeks of the start.
Le Vélo was the leading French sports newspaper from its inception on 1 December 1892 until it ceased publication in 1904. Mixing sports reporting with news and political comment, it achieved a circulation of 80,000 copies a day. Its use of sporting events as promotional tools led to the creation of the Paris–Roubaix cycle race in 1896, and the popularisation of the Bordeaux–Paris cycle race during the 1890s.
Émilien Amaury was a French publishing magnate whose company now organises the Tour de France. He worked with Philippe Pétain, head of the French government in the southern half of France during the second world war but used his position to find paper and other materials for the French Resistance. His links with Jacques Goddet, the organiser of the Tour de France, led to a publishing empire that included the daily sports paper, L'Équipe. Amaury died after falling from his horse; his will led to six years of legal debate.
The Souvenir Jacques Goddet is an award and cash prize in the Tour de France bicycle race that began in 2001. The Souvenir is named in honour of the historically second Tour de France director and French sports journalist Jacques Goddet. It is awarded to the first rider to reach the summit of the 2,115 m (6,939 ft)-high Col du Tourmalet mountain pass in the Pyrenees, apart from the 2002 Tour when the Col d'Aubisque was used. A monument to Goddet was erected at the summit soon after his death in 2000. Since 2003, the cash prize is €5,000. In 2019, Thibaut Pinot became the first repeat winner of the prize.