The "Assassins" send the race to the Pyrenees


Octave Lapize in an early publicity poster
Octave Lapize cashed in on his fame with a line of bicycles. Sadly he was not to survive the Great War; he was killed in airborn combat.
"Have crossed the Tourmalet on foot stop Road passable to vehicles stop No snow stop"

So, according to legend, read the telegram received by Henri Desgrange from Alphonse Steinès, after the latter had been sent to assess the practicalities of sending the Tour men around the "circle of death". Desgrange was delighted; his latest publicity stunt would go ahead as planned. Perhaps he wouldn't have been quite so happy had he realised the traumas undergone by Steinès to compose that report; a journey made on foot through deep snow drifts. On the otherhand, knowing Desgrange's views, perhaps he considered a snow-free Tourmalet too easy, if anything...

The race turned into an epic battle between the 1909 winner François Faber and Octave Lapize. When the race finally reached the Pyrenees, it was Gustave Garrigou who had the honour of being the first to cross the Tourmalet, but he said nothing to Desgrange and the other officials, who had been waiting with some anxiety to see if any rider made it over the Tourmalet and onto the Aubisque. 15 minutes later, Lapize appeared, covered in mud and pushing his bike. "Assassins" he spat, before riding on, eventually to win the stage. The circulation of l'Auto rose and rose as Lapize steadfastly clawed his way past Faber in the final few stages before Paris, and Desgrange saw that the Tourmalet was a winning formula; the Pyreneen giant has been included in the Tour more times than any other mountain. Another legend in the history of the Tour was born.

Stage winners

 StageWinnerOverall Leader
Stage 1Paris - Roubaix, 272kmCharles CrupelandtCharles Crupelandt
Stage 2Roubaix - Metz, 398kmFrançois FaberFrançois Faber
Stage 3Metz - Belfort, 259kmEmile GeorgetFrançois Faber
Stage 4Belfort - Lyon, 309kmFrançois FaberFrançois Faber
Stage 5Lyon - Grenoble, 311kmOctave LapizeFrançois Faber
Stage 6Grenoble - Nice, 345kmJulien MaitronFrançois Faber
Stage 7Nice - Nîmes, 345kmFrançois FaberFrançois Faber
Stage 8Nîmes - Perpignan, 216kmGeorges PaulmierFrançois Faber
Stage 9Perpignan - Luchon, 289kmOctave LapizeFrançois Faber
Stage 10Luchon - Bayonne, 326kmOctave LapizeFrançois Faber
Stage 11Bayonne - Bordeaux, 269kmErnest PaulFrançois Faber
Stage 12Bordeaux - Nantes, 391kmLouis TrousselierFrançois Faber
Stage 13Nantes - Brest, 321kmGustave GarrigouOctave Lapize
Stage 14Brest - Caen, 415kmOctave LapizeOctave Lapize
Stage 15Caen - Paris, 262kmErnesto AzziniOctave Lapize

In a nutshell

Results

Overall

1st: Octave Lapize, (France), Alcyon, 4728km at 28.680km/h, 63 points
2nd: François Faber, (Luxembourg), Alcyon, 67
3rd: Gustave Garrigou, (France), Alcyon, 86
4th: Cyrille Van Hauwaert, (Belgium), Alcyon, 97
5th: Charles Cruchon, (France), "Isole", 119
6th: Charles Crupelandt, (France), Le Globe, 148
7th: Ernest Paul, (France), "Isole", 154
8th: André Blaise, (Belgium), Alcyon, 166
9th: Julien Maitron, (France), Le Globe, 171
10th: Aldo Bettini, (Italy), Alcyon, 175

(41st: Constant Collet, (France), "Isole", 580)