Old Bloke On An Old Bike

The story of the restoration of a 1950s classic bicycle for a Land's End – John O'Groats charity ride in aid of Alzheimer's Society

21 Dec 2016: The 1951 Tour de France

I recently managed to find a Tour de France souvenir from my birthyear, 1951. It’s a map of the route with a border of caricatures of the great coureurs who competed that year, printed on a very delicate linen scarf. It’s just come back from the framers, who made a wonderful job of it…


The 1951 TdF was a classic – the first time the Tour included Mont Ventoux and the Auvergne. The maillot jaune was won by Hugo Koblet – one of the most stylish riders of that era (the “pédaleur de charme”).

koblet_combKoblet beat a remarkably strong field, including Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet. And he rode possibly the greatest stage ever – stage 11 from Brive to Agen, when he sustained a lone breakaway from only 42km to take the stage by a margin of 3 min 35 sec.

hugo_koblet_1951-aSadly, Koblet never achieved that level of performance again. He died, aged only 39, in a car crash that may have been suicide.


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This entry was posted on December 21, 2016 by in 1951 and tagged , , .
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