Lucky Lambot becomes the Tour's oldest winner

Riders stop to change gear on the Col d'Izoard
1922 saw the first crossing of the Col de Vars and the Col d'Izoard. Some impression of the toughness of those early competitors can be gained from this picture on the Izoard, where two riders stop to change to a higher gear for the descent.

Once again Firmin Lambot ran out in Paris as the overall victor of the Tour, though as in 1919 he could probably count himself lucky. Still, luck in cycling is earned the hard way, and the fact remains that Lambot, a double Tour winner, was good enough to be in a position to benefit when luck smiled his way.

The early running was made by Robert Jacquinot, one of the great animators of the twenties, and then subsequently by the indefatigable Eugène Christophe. Across the Pyrenees, however, it was another veteran, the great climber Jean Alavoine who leapfrogged into the lead after three successive stage wins: a sprint victory at Bayonne, then a solo win of no less than seventeen minutes in Luchon after the "Circle of Death" and another sprint from a small group in Perpignan. Significantly, Lambot who had been 48 minutes behind Christophe in Les Sables d'Olonne finished with Alavoine in Bayonne and Perpignan, and, though 31 minutes behind in Luchon, he was nonetheless third on the stage, and way ahead of such luminaries as Christophe, Hector Heusghem and Philippe Thys.

Alavoine's lead looked secure across the south of France; all the more so when he increased it to over 22 minutes in Briançon after the Tour's first ever crossing of the Vars and Izoard. But on the stage to Geneva (where, incidentally, Christophe's forks snapped yet again, resulting in his running down the Galibier to find another forge), the cold and a series of mechanical problems got to Alavoine. Whereupon it was not Lambot who attacked, but Heusghem, second for the previous two years. This time he finally appeared to have the race sown up, until his bike broke on the way to Metz. Heusghem made an illicit bike change to stay in contention; too much for the rules of the day, and he was docked one hour, dropping him to fourth overall. Once again Lambot picked up the pieces in Dunkerque, Tour winner at the ripe old age of 37 and the first laureate to win the Tour without winning a stage.

Stage winners

 StageWinnerOverall Leader
Stage 1Paris - Le Havre, 381kmRobert JacquinotRobert Jacquinot
Stage 2Le Havre - Cherbourg, 364kmRomain BellengerRobert Jacquinot
Stage 3Cherbourg - Brest, 405kmRobert JacquinotRobert Jacquinot
Stage 4Brest - Les Sables d'Olonne, 412kmPhilippe ThysEugène Christophe
Stage 5Les Sables d'Olonne - Bayonne, 482kmJean AlavoineEugène Christophe
Stage 6Bayonne - Luchon, 326kmJean AlavoineEugène Christophe
Stage 7Luchon - Perpignan, 323kmJean AlavoineJean Alavoine
Stage 8Perpignan - Toulon, 411kmPhilippe ThysJean Alavoine
Stage 9Toulon - Nice, 281kmPhilippe ThysJean Alavoine
Stage 10Nice - Briançon, 274kmPhilippe ThysJean Alavoine
Stage 11Briançon - Geneva, 260kmEmile Masson SrJean Alavoine
Stage 12Geneva - Strasbourg, 371kmEmile Masson SrHector Heusghem
Stage 13Strasbourg - Metz, 300kmFederico GayFirmin Lambot
Stage 14Metz - Dunquerque, 432kmFélix SellierLambot
Stage 15Dunquerque - Paris, 325kmPhilippe ThysFirmin Lambot

In a nutshell



1st: Firmin Lambot, Belgium, 5375km in 222h 08' 06" (24.488km/h)
2nd: Jean Alavoine, France, @ 41' 15"
3rd: Félix Sellier, Belgium, @ 43' 02"
4th: Hector Heusghem, Belgium, @ 43' 56"
5th: Victor Lenaers, Belgium, @ 45' 32"
6th: Hector Tiberghien, Belgium, @ 1h 11' 35"
7th: Léon Despontin, Belgium, @ 2h 24' 29"
8th: Eugène Christophe, France, @ 3h 25' 39"
9th: Jean Rossius, Belgium, @ 3h 26' 06"
10th: Federico Gay, Italy, @ 3h 51' 59"

(38th: Daniel Masson, France, @ 65h 53' 41")