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.
After World War II, l'Auto was closed for collaborating with the Germans. The rights to organise the Tour went to the French government. As two newspapers were interested in these rights, they each organised a small Tour of five stages; the race run by L'Équipe was considered the more successful, so L'Équipe was allowed to organise the 1947 Tour de France.
Already before the war, the political situation in Europe had its influence on the Tour de France. Political reasons caused Italy, Germany and Spain to refuse to send teams to France for the 1939 Tour de France.The 1938 Tour de France winner, Gino Bartali, was among those affected. Henri Desgrange, the original race organizer, and Jacques Goddet, his deputy and replacement, announced plans for a Tour de France in August 1940.
Henri Desgrange planned a Tour for 1940, after war had started but before France had been invaded. The route, approved by military authorities, included a route along the Maginot Line.Teams would have been drawn from military units in France, including the British, who would have been organised by a journalist, Bill Mills. The plans were dropped after the German invasion. The records and paperwork of the Tour were taken south to keep them safe but were never seen again. Desgrange died in August 1940, and his successor, Jacques Goddet, initially wanted to organise the Tour during the war, arguing that sport should remain neutral.
In 1941, the newspaper Paris-Soir , run by Germans, tried to persuade l'Auto to coorganize the Tour, but Goddet did not accept.
The German Propaganda Staffel wanted the Tour to be run and offered facilities otherwise denied, in the hope of maintaining a sense of normality.They offered to open the borders between German-occupied France in the north and the nominally independent Vichy France in the south, so that l'Auto could organize a Tour, together with La France Socialiste, but Goddet refused. He was, in any case, in little position to run a race of that scale because many of the staff had left L'Auto's office in Paris to go south.
La France Socialiste, run by Jean Leulliot, Goddet's former colleague at L'Auto, did not have the same reluctance, and organized the race on its own. Leulliot, who had been manager of the French team that won the Tour in 1937, had become head of sport at La France Socialiste which, despite its name, was a right-wing paper that sympathized with the Germans. Leulliot assembled sixty-nine riders for the race, the Circuit de France, which ran from 28 September to 4 October 1942. Over six stages and 1,650 kilometres (1,030 mi), it went from Paris to Paris via Le Mans, Poitiers, Limoges, Clermont-Ferrand, St-Étienne, Lyon and Dijon.
One of the riders, Émile Idée, told the writer and cyclist Jean Bobet that he had been threatened with the Gestapo if he did not take part.Bobet said: "I asked him to repeat it to see if I had understood. I was stunned [dans la tête ça fait tilt]!"
The Circuit de France was organized between 28 September 1942 and 4 October 1942by La France Socialiste in both the occupied zone and Vichy France, to give a feeling of nationality. The race had six multinational teams, and was won by François Neuville. The inexperience of the organizers, combined with bad weather and logistical problems, made the race a disaster. Although there were plans to hold the race again in 1943, it was never held.
The mountains classification was won by Pierre Brambilla.
The 1943 Tour de France was not held, but instead, L'Auto organized a readers' poll in 1943 to name the perfect team for a Tour de France, were one to be run. More than 10,000 took part.
In 1943, l'Auto ran what it called the "Grand Prix du Tour de France", the paper's assessment of the greatest riders calculated using their placings in single-day races, all organised by l'Auto.At the end of the season, a yellow jersey was given to the cyclist with the best overall classification. The winner was Jo Goutorbe. Even though The Grand Prix du Tour de France was organized by Jacques Goddet, he made it clear that it was not an official Tour de France. The Grand Prix du Tour de France 1943 consisted of the following races:
In 1944, the Grand Prix du Tour de France was done again, but it was not completed because the liberation of France stopped the races from being run.Maurice De Simpelaere was the leader at the time the races were interrupted.
After the liberation of France in 1944, L'Auto was closed and its belongings, including the Tour de France were sequestrated by the state for having published articles too close to the Germans.All rights to the Tour were therefore owned by the government. Jacques Goddet was allowed to publish another daily sports paper, L'Équipe, but there was a rival candidate to run the Tour: a consortium of the magazines Sports and Miroir Sprint. Each organised a candidate race. L'Équipe and Le Parisien Libéré had "La Course du Tour de France", ("The Race of the Tour de France" – as close as they dared come to calling the race by its original name), and Sports and Miroir Sprint had "La Ronde de France". Both were five-stage races, the longest the government would allow because of shortages.
From 10 July to 14 July 1946, the Ronde de France was organized. The cyclists were divided in commercial teams, but the commercial teams were each allowed to field two teams, one composed of French cyclists and one of foreign cyclists.It was won by Giulio Bresci, who also won two stages and the mountains classification.
The Course du Tour de France (English: Race of the Tour of France), also known as Monaco–Paris was organised in 1946 by Le Parisien Libéré together with l'Equipe . The race had many things familiar to the old Tours de France: there were six national teams and five regional French teams, and the leader in the race was also given a yellow jersey. The race was won by French cyclist Apo Lazarides. The mountains classification was won by Jean Robic.
The Course du Tour de France, L'Équipe's race, was better organised and appealed more to the public because it featured national teams which had been so successful before the war, when French cycling was at a high. In late 1946, both organisers intended to organise their race again in 1947, this time at the same time. The UCI then decided in December 1946 to give L'Équipe the right to organize the 1947 Tour de France. After their main rival Sports objected to this, the rights were instead given to La Societé du Parc du Princes, because this was thought to be a neutral choice. In early 1947, it became clear that the organisation of the Tour de France was difficult financially without a newspaper and, in June 1947, one month before the 1947 Tour de France would start, the Societé du Parc du Princes transferred the rights to L'Equipe.
Émile Besson, communist sports writer and a member of the Resistance from 1943 when he was 17, called L'Équipe's victory political. Besson, who was a member of the national study into French sport under the Occupation, set up by Marie-George Buffet when she was sports minister between 1997 and 2002, said:
It was a bit much to have given them the right to run the Tour again after all that [referring to L'Auto's pro-German attitude and closure]. Goddet had the keys to the Velodrome d'Hiver when [the Germans wanted it] in the round-up of Jews in July 1942. After the Liberation, the battle between Left and Right had the Tour as one of its prizes.
Goddet had to defend his wartime behaviour at an inquiry in Algiers. He pointed to the way he had allowed Resistance workers to print anti-German tracts at his newspaper and called Émilien Amaury in his defence. Amaury had a blameless record in the Resistance.He was also a right-wing businessman; his ideals close to Goddet's. It was with Amaury and his paper, Le Parisien Libéré, that Goddet ran La Course du Tour de France. It was Amaury's reputation that landed Goddet the Tour. That, says Besson, and because the rival candidate was two magazines with a communist background and President Charles de Gaulle was determined to limit communist influence. De Gaulle had spent much of his time during the war trying to prevent communist domination of the Resistance. Communists held many key positions in France just before and after Liberation but De Gaulle refused even to thank them for their work. Albert Bourlon, who won the 14th stage of the 1947 Tour de France, told Jean Bobet that he was convinced that his membership of the Communist Party denied him access to the race afterwards.
Amaury eventually took control of both the paper and the Tour de France, which the family still controls to this day with the family-owned Amaury Sport Organisation, since 2006 controlled by grandson Jean-Étienne Amaury.
Jean Leulliot was tried for his role in organising races under German patronage but he was cleared after fellow journalists, including Goddet, spoke in his favour.
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 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.
Louis "Louison" Bobet was a French professional road racing cyclist. He was the first great French rider of the post-war period and the first rider to win the Tour de France in three successive years, from 1953 to 1955. His career included the national road championship, Milan–San Remo (1951), Giro di Lombardia (1951), Critérium International, Paris–Nice (1952), Grand Prix des Nations (1952), world road championship (1954), Tour of Flanders (1955), Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1955), Tour de Luxembourg (1955), Paris–Roubaix (1956) and Bordeaux–Paris (1959).
L'Équipe 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.
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.
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. In 2008 it organised the Central Europe Rally, a rally raid endurance race in Romania and Hungary.
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.
The 1926 Tour de France was the 20th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 20 June to 18 July. It consisted of 17 stages with a total distance of 5745 km, ridden at an average speed of 24.064 km/h.
The 1961 Tour de France was the 48th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 25 June and 16 July, with 21 stages covering a distance of 4,397 km (2,732 mi). Out of the 132 riders who started the tour, 72 managed to complete the tour's tough course. Throughout the 1961 Tour de France, two of the French national team's riders, André Darrigade and Jacques Anquetil held the yellow jersey for the entirety 21 stages. There was a great deal of excitement between the second and third places, concluding with Guido Carlesi stealing Charly Gaul's second place position on the last day by two seconds.
The 1953 Tour de France was the 40th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 3 to 26 July. It consisted of 22 stages over 4,476 km (2,781 mi).
The 1948 Tour de France was the 35th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 30 June to 25 July. It consisted of 21 stages over 4,922 km (3,058 mi).
The 1947 Tour de France was the 34th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 25 June to 20 July. The total race distance was 21 stages over 4,642 km (2,884 mi). It was the first Tour since 1939, having been cancelled during World War II, although some Tour de France-like races had been held during World War II.
The 1919 Tour de France was the 13th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 29 June to 27 July over a total distance of 5,560 kilometres (3,450 mi). It was the first Tour de France after World War I, and was won by Firmin Lambot. Following the tenth stage, the yellow jersey, given to the leader of the general classification, was introduced, and first worn by Eugène Christophe.
The 1936 Tour de France was the 30th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 7 July to 2 August. It was composed of 21 stages with a total length of 4,442 km (2,760 mi). Because of health problems, Henri Desgrange stopped as Tour director, and was succeeded by Jacques Goddet.
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.
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.
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.