1939 Tour de France
| Route of the 1939 Tour de France|
Followed counterclockwise, starting in Paris
|Stages||18, including eight split stages|
|Distance||4,224 km (2,625 mi)|
|Winning time||132h 03' 17"|
|Winner||Sylvère Maes (BEL)||(Belgium)|
|Second||René Vietto (FRA)||(France)|
|Third||Lucien Vlaemynck (BEL)||(Belgium B)|
|Mountains||Sylvère Maes (BEL)||(Belgium)|
The 1939 Tour de France was the 33rd edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 10 to 30 July. The total distance was 4,224 km (2,625 mi).
Taking place on the eve of World War II, there was already much animosity in Europe. Italy, Germany and Spain all declined to send teams to the race, so the 1938 Italian champion Gino Bartali would not be defending his title. To fill out the ranks, Belgium sent two teams, and France had five teams. This would be the final Tour for eight years, until 1947.
The race was won by Belgian Sylvère Maes who also won the mountains classification.
Changes from the previous Tour
For the first time, a mountain time trial was scheduled: stage 16b. A rule was added to make it more difficult to finish the race: from the second stage to the seventh stage, the last rider in the classification was to be removed from the race.
Because Italy, Germany and Spain did not send teams, the Tour organisation were short on participating cyclists. To solve this, they allowed Belgium to send two teams, and France to send four additional regional teams.
The French cyclists had been successful in the 1930s, but their Tour winners were absent in 1939: 1930 and 1932 winner André Leducq had retired in 1938, as had 1931 and 1934 winner Antonin Magne; 1933 winner Georges Speicher did not ride, and 1937 winner Roger Lapébie was injured. This all made the Belgian team favourite.
The teams entering the race were:
- Belgium B
- France North-East/Île de France
- France West
- France South-West
- France South-East
Route and stages
|1||10 July||Paris to Caen||215 km (134 mi)||Plain stage||Amédée Fournier (FRA)|
|2a||11 July||Caen to Vire||64 km (40 mi)||Individual time trial||Romain Maes (BEL)|
|2b||Vire to Rennes||119 km (74 mi)||Plain stage||Éloi Tassin (FRA)|
|3||12 July||Rennes to Brest||244 km (152 mi)||Plain stage||Pierre Cloarec (FRA)|
|4||13 July||Brest to Lorient||174 km (108 mi)||Plain stage||Raymond Louviot (FRA)|
|5||14 July||Lorient to Nantes||207 km (129 mi)||Plain stage||Amédée Fournier (FRA)|
|6a||15 July||Nantes to La Rochelle||144 km (89 mi)||Plain stage||Lucien Storme (BEL)|
|6b||La Rochelle to Royan||107 km (66 mi)||Plain stage||Edmond Pagès (FRA)|
|7||17 July||Royan to Bordeaux||198 km (123 mi)||Plain stage||Raymond Passat (FRA)|
|8a||18 July||Bordeaux to Salies-de-Béarn||210 km (130 mi)||Plain stage||Marcel Kint (BEL)|
|8b||Salies-de-Béarn to Pau||69 km (43 mi)||Individual time trial||Karl Litschi (SUI)|
|9||19 July||Pau to Toulouse||311 km (193 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Edward Vissers (BEL)|
|10a||21 July||Toulouse to Narbonne||149 km (93 mi)||Plain stage||Pierre Jaminet (FRA)|
|10b||Narbonne to Béziers||27 km (17 mi)||Individual time trial||Maurice Archambaud (FRA)|
|10c||Béziers to Montpellier||70 km (43 mi)||Plain stage||Maurice Archambaud (FRA)|
|11||22 July||Montpellier to Marseille||212 km (132 mi)||Plain stage||Fabien Galateau (FRA)|
|12a||23 July||Marseille to Saint-Raphaël||157 km (98 mi)||Plain stage||François Neuens (LUX)|
|12b||Saint-Raphaël to Monaco||122 km (76 mi)||Plain stage||Maurice Archambaud (FRA)|
|13||24 July||Monaco to Monaco||101 km (63 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Pierre Gallien (FRA)|
|14||25 July||Monaco to Digne||175 km (109 mi)||Plain stage||Pierre Cloarec (FRA)|
|15||26 July||Digne to Briançon||219 km (136 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Sylvère Maes (BEL)|
|16a||27 July||Briançon to Briançon||126 km (78 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Pierre Jaminet (FRA)|
|16b||Bonneval to Bourg-Saint-Maurice||64 km (40 mi)||Mountain time trial||Sylvère Maes (BEL)|
|16c||Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Annecy||104 km (65 mi)||Plain stage||Antoon van Schendel (NED)|
|17a||29 July||Annecy to Dôle||226 km (140 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||François Neuens (LUX)|
|17b||Dôle to Dijon||59 km (37 mi)||Individual time trial||Maurice Archambaud (FRA)|
|18a||30 July||Dijon to Troyes||151 km (94 mi)||Plain stage||René Le Grevès (FRA)|
|18b||Troyes to Paris||201 km (125 mi)||Plain stage||Marcel Kint (BEL)|
|Total||4,224 km (2,625 mi)|
In the first stage, regional Amedée Fournier won the sprint of a group of nine cyclists, and was the first cyclist in 1939 to wear the yellow jersey. In the next stage, Romain Maes, who had finished in the same group as Fournier, won the time trial, and captured the lead. He lost it in the second part of that stage, when a group got away. Three regional riders were now on top of the general classification, led by Jean Fontenay.
René Vietto, leader of the regional South-East team, was in second place. In the fourth stage, Vietto got into the winning break, and took over the lead, closesly followed by Mathias Clemens on six seconds.
In the ninth stage, the single Pyrénées stage of 1939, Edward Vissers attacked instead of helping his team leader Sylvère Maes. Vissers won the stage, but Vietto was able to stay with Maes. Maes climbed to the second place in the general classification, three minutes behind Vietto.
Maes was able to win back a little time, and just before the Alps were climbed from stage 15 on, Vietto was still leading, with Maes still in second place, two minutes behind. Sylvère Maes attacked on that stage, and Vietto was not able to follow. Vietto finished 17 minutes behind Maes, and lost the lead. The next stage was split in three split stages. In the first part, Vietto was able to stay close to Maes, but in the second part, the individual mountain time trial, Maes won ten minutes on Vietto. Maes was now leading with a margin of 27 minutes, and the victory seemed secure.
In the last stages, Maes was able to extend his lead with a few more minutes. Maes became the winner, with a margin of more than half an hour.
The time that each cyclist required to finish each stage was recorded, and these times were added together for the general classification. If a cyclist had received a time bonus, it was subtracted from this total; all time penalties were added to this total. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey. Of the 79 cyclists that started the race, 49 finished.
For the mountains classification, 10 mountains were selected by the Tour organisation. The mountains classification in 1939 was won by Sylvère Maes. The first cyclist to reach the top received 10 points, the second cyclist 9 points, and so on until the tenth cyclist who received 1 point.
The team classification was calculated in 1939 by adding up the times of the best three cyclists of a team; the team with the least time was the winner. In 1939, there were ten teams of eight cyclists. There were the national teams of Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and France. Belgium also sent a second team, "Belgium B". Finally, there were four regional French teams: North-East, West, South-West and South-East. The South-West team was registered with eight cyclist, but only seven cyclists started the race. Only two of the South-West cyclists finished the race, so they were not in the team classification.
|Stage||Winner|| General classification
||Mountains classification||Team classification|
|1||Romain Maes||Amédée Fournier||no award||Belgium A|
|2a||Éloi Tassin||Romain Maes|
|2b||Pierre Cloarec||Jean Fontenay||France-West|
|4||Amédée Fournier||René Vietto|
|7||Marcel Kint||Belgium B|
|9||Pierre Jaminet||Edward Vissers|
|15||Sylvère Maes||Sylvère Maes|
|16b||Sylvère Maes||Sylvère Maes|
|16c||Antoon van Schendel|
|18a||René Le Grevès|
|Final||Sylvère Maes||Sylvère Maes||Belgium B|
|1||Sylvère Maes (BEL)||Belgium||132h 03' 17"|
|2||René Vietto (FRA)||South-East||+ 30' 38"|
|3||Lucien Vlaemynck (BEL)||Belgium B||+ 32' 08"|
|4||Mathias Clemens (LUX)||Luxembourg||+ 36' 09"|
|5||Edward Vissers (BEL)||Belgium||+ 38' 05"|
|6||Sylvain Marcaillou (FRA)||France||+ 45' 16"|
|7||Albertin Disseaux (BEL)||Belgium B||+ 46' 54"|
|8||Jan Lambrichs (NED)||Netherlands||+ 48' 01"|
|9||Albert Ritserveldt (BEL)||Belgium B||+ 48' 27"|
|10||Cyriel Vanoverberghe (BEL)||Belgium B||+ 49' 44"|
|Final general classification (11–49)|
|11||Dante Gianello (FRA)||France||+ 55' 55"|
|12||Raymond Passat (FRA)||South-West||+ 57' 23"|
|13||Auguste Mallet (FRA)||France||+ 1h 02' 05"|
|14||Maurice Archambaud (FRA)||Ile de France/North East||+ 1h 06' 24"|
|15||Albert van Schendel (NED)||Netherlands||+ 1h 10' 01"|
|16||Pierre Gallien (FRA)||Ile de France/North East||+ 1h 10' 22"|
|17||Louis Thiétard (FRA)||Ile de France/North East||+ 1h 13' 33"|
|18||Christophe Didier (LUX)||Luxembourg||+ 1h 19' 07"|
|19||Georges Naisse (FRA)||France||+ 1h 23' 53"|
|20||Pierre Clemens (LUX)||Luxembourg||+ 1h 24' 48"|
|21||Albert Perikel (BEL)||Belgium B||+ 1h 26' 59"|
|22||Fabien Galateau (FRA)||South-East||+ 1h 28' 59"|
|23||Edmond Pagès (FRA)||South-West||+ 1h 35' 24"|
|24||Oreste Bernardoni (FRA)||South-East||+ 1h 46' 01"|
|25||Victor Cosson (FRA)||France||+ 1h 47' 47"|
|26||Albert Hendrickx (BEL)||Belgium||+ 2h 04' 42"|
|27||François Neuville (BEL)||Belgium||+ 2h 15' 24"|
|28||André de Korver (NED)||Netherlands||+ 2h 15' 34"|
|29||Raymond Louviot (FRA)||France||+ 2h 16' 58"|
|30||Josef Wagner (SUI)||Switzerland||+ 2h 18' 38"|
|31||Pierre Cloarec (FRA)||West||+ 2h 19' 48"|
|32||Éloi Tassin (FRA)||West||+ 2h 21' 19"|
|33||Charles Berty (FRA)||South-East||+ 2h 23' 45"|
|34||Marcel Kint (BEL)||Belgium||+ 2h 24' 35"|
|35||Lucien Le Guével (FRA)||France||+ 2h 37' 54"|
|36||Trino Yelamos (FRA)||South-East||+ 2h 38' 04"|
|37||Joseph Aureille (FRA)||South-East||+ 2h 46' 15"|
|38||Antoon van Schendel (NED)||Netherlands||+ 2h 51' 06"|
|39||Jozef Dominicus (NED)||Netherlands||+ 2h 53' 19"|
|40||Victor Codron (FRA)||Ile de France/North East||+ 3h 07' 02"|
|41||Théo Perret (SUI)||Switzerland||+ 3h 14' 40"|
|42||François Neuens (LUX)||Luxembourg||+ 3h 15' 54"|
|43||Jean Fontenay (FRA)||West||+ 3h 16' 59"|
|44||René Pedroli (SUI)||Switzerland||+ 3h 19' 33"|
|45||René Le Grevès (FRA)||West||+ 3h 35' 53"|
|46||Janus Hellemons (NED)||Netherlands||+ 3h 44' 16"|
|47||Amédée Fournier (FRA)||Ile de France/North East||+ 4h 01' 56"|
|48||Joseph Soffietti (FRA)||South-East||+ 4h 18' 46"|
|49||Armand Le Moal (FRA)||West||+ 4h 26' 39"|
Although he did not win the race, René Vietto became a popular cyclist. He was the most popular runner-up in France until Raymond Poulidor.
The sales of the organising newspaper l'Auto had dropped to 164000, and the newspaper was sold to Raymond Patenôtre. A few months after Germany had conquered France in the Second World War, Patenôtre sold l'Auto to the Germans.
Directly after the Tour, the organisation announced the 1940 Tour de France would be run in 20 stages and five rest days. But the Second World War made it impossible to hold a Tour de France in the next years, although some replacing races were held. Only in 1947 would the Tour be held again, and Vietto would again play an important role then, holding the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification for 15 of the 21 stages.
Notes and references
- Evanno, Yves-Marie (2013). "Du cliquetis des pédales au bruit des bottes : un été cycliste perturbé en Bretagne (juillet-septembre 1939)" (PDF) (in French). En Envor, revue d'histoire contemporaine en Bretagne. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "33ème Tour de France 1939" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
- McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2006). The Story of the Tour De France. dog ear publishing. pp. 144–147. ISBN 978-1-59858-180-5. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- Applegate, Elizabeth A.; Grivetti, Louis E. (1997). "Search for the Competitive Edge: A History of Dietary Fads and Supplements". The Journal of Nutrition. 127 (5): 869S–873S. PMID 9164254.
- Bowen, Wayne H (2006). Spain during World War II. University of Missouri Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-8262-1658-7.
- James, Tom (15 August 2003). "1939: "Le Roi René" and the regionals". VeloArchive. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- Historical guide 2016, p. 37.
- Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- Historical guide 2016, p. 108.
- "De Ronde van Frankrijk – Sylver Maes winnaar" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 31 July 1939. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
- Historical guide 2016, pp. 175–192.
- Van Lonkhuyzen, Michiel. "Tour-Giro-Vuelta". Retrieved 14 October 2009.
- Thompson, Christopher S. (2008). The Tour de France: A Cultural History (2 ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-25630-1.
- Thompson, Christopher S. (2006). The Tour de France: A Cultural History (1 ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24760-4.
- "Novita per l'edizione 1940". Il littoriale (in Italian). Biblioteca digitale. 31 July 1939. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- James, Tom (15 August 2003). "1947: Robic snatches it at the death". VeloArchive. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "21 juli 1969. Eddy Merckx wint zijn eerste Tour" (in Dutch). De Standaard. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
Media related to 1939 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons