Belgian victory foreshadows problems to come

The peloton of the Tour de France races through northern France
The peloton of the Tour de France races through northern France. A fashion note: bar bags and flat caps seem de rigeur!

The victory of Belgian Odile Defraye looks far more crushing than in reality it was. With the race decided on points, the Belgian riders - whatever their team affiliations - were suspected of banding together to ensure victory for one of their own. The stiffest challenge came from Eugène Christophe but he was no sprinter, and the Belgian hegemony held. Only when Christophe could drop the pack did he finish ahead of Defraye. That he was successful in this feat as often as he was (including the Tour's longest ever successful solo break, of 315 kilometres to Grenoble) speaks volumes for Christophe's strength. Alas, however, it was not enough, and Defraye won easily enough on points. Had the race been decided on time, the result would have been much closer; indeed Christophe would have lead the race until the final stage, when he sat up in disgust and allowed a group to ride up the road for the stage placings.

Two things changed as a result of this Tour. Firstly, for the 1913 Tour, the classification reverted to one based on time. The issue of the domination of the race by teams against a better, but weakly supported, rider, taxed Desgrange for many years, but it wasn't until 1930 that he did something about it, and then, perhaps, not with the results he had intended. But that is another story...

Stage winners

 StageWinnerOverall Leader
Stage 1Paris - Dunkerque, 351kmCharles CrupelandtCharles Crupelandt
Stage 2Dunkerque - Longwy, 388kmOdile DefrayeVicenzo Borgarello
Stage 3Longwy - Belfort, 331kmEugène ChristopheOdile Defraye
Stage 4Belfort - Chamonix, 344kmEugène ChristopheOdile Defraye
Stage 5Chamonix - Grenoble, 366kmEugène ChristopheOdile Defraye and Eugène Christophe, tied
Stage 6Grenoble - Nice, 323kmOctave LapizeOdile Defraye and Octave Lapize, tied
Stage 7Nice - Marseille, 334kmOdile DefrayeOdile Defraye
Stage 8Marseille - Perpignan, 335kmVicenzo BorgarelloOdile Defraye
Stage 9Perpignan - Luchon, 289kmOdile DefrayeOdile Defraye
Stage 10Luchon - Bayonne, 326kmLouis MottiatOdile Defraye
Stage 11Bayonne - La Rochelle, 379kmJean AlavoineOdile Defraye
Stage 12La Rochelle - Brest, 470kmLouis HeusghemOdile Defraye
Stage 13Brest - Cherbourg, 405kmJean AlavoineOdile Defraye
Stage 14Cherboyrg - Le Havre, 361kmVicenzo BorgarelloOdile Defraye
Stage 15Le Havre - Paris, 317kmJean AlavoineOdile Defraye

In a nutshell



1st: Odile Defraye, (Belgium), Alcyon, 5344km at 27.894km/h, 49 points
2nd: Eugène Christophe, (France), Armor, 108
3rd: Gustave Garrigou, (France), Alcyon, 140
4th: Marcel Buysse, (Belgium), Peugeot, 147
5th: Jean Alavoine, (France), Armor, 148
6th: Philippe Thys, (Belgium), Peugeot, 148
7th: Hector Tiberghien, (Belgium), Griffon, 149
8th: Henri Devroye, (Belgium), Le Globe, 163
9th: Félicien Salmon, (Belgium), Peugeot, 166
10th: Alfons Spiessens, (Belgium), J.B. Louvet, 157

(41st: Maurice Dartigue, (France), "Isole", 612)