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Remembering the 1934 Tour de France: The Race That Modified Highway Biking Endlessly

With the times and weeks racing by, we’ll quickly be saying goodbye to 2023 and hey to 2024, whereas reflecting on one other stellar yr for aggressive biking.

Quite a lot of important anniversaries will likely be celebrated in 2024, however maybe none extra poignant and landscape-changing than the 1934 Tour de France. That is a race that, no query, would change the dynamic of team-based biking eternally.

So what was so particular about that individual Grand Tour?

Aggressive Sacrifice
As of late, it’s taken as learn {that a} crew will devise methods to make sure that their finest riders have the optimum probability of success – usually on the expense of their colleagues.

That explains why Jonas Vingegaard (5/6) and Tadej Pogacar (11/5) are such sizzling favourites within the betting on-line for the 2024 Tour de France – a betting calculator confirming {that a} £10 wager on both would return £18.33 and £32 respectively.

Jumbo-Visma and Workforce Emirates will do every thing of their energy to make sure that their stars are in prime place to win the Yellow Jersey. The duo’s teammates will likely be tasked with supporting them to glory, with mechanical favouritism additionally given to the principle protagonists.

However that hasn’t at all times been the case and definitely not within the early days of the Tour de France – till Rene Vietto modified the sport in 1934.

Earlier than the industrial team-based competitors we all know immediately, the Tour de France was primarily contested by nationwide groups – the French squad of 1934 amongst the favourites for glory on residence soil.

Antonin Magne was the crew’s designated chief, but it surely was Vietto who romped into prominence with a present of chic talent and brute drive within the mountains, profitable 4 levels within the center part of the race.

With Magne struggling mechanical issues along with his bike, Vietto was left with a alternative – strike out on his personal or double again to help his teammate. The Frenchman settled for the latter; sacrificing his personal entrance wheel to make sure Magne would go on to say the Yellow Jersey.

There’s footage (albeit grainy in black and white) of Vietto sat on a wall and crying, ready for the assist automotive to choose him up – he knew his probabilities of profitable have been over.

However what he didn’t realize it on the time was that he had blazed a path for the ‘beau geste’ strategy that might inform crew biking to at the present time.

The Warmth is On
The 1934 version of the Tour de France was notable for one more key cause.

This was the yr that the person time trial was launched for the primary time – a classification that has confirmed so standard it has barely been dropped from the itinerary of the race since.

The inspiration got here from the Grand Prix des Nations, a person time path race first held in 1932. Tour officers appreciated what they noticed – notably the successes of French riders within the self-discipline – and they also tweaked the format of their very own race to implement an ITT part.

It was thought-about a controversial transfer on the time, however the place would aggressive biking be now with out particular person time trials?





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