The longest Tour


The minutes ticked on by. An hour after Buysse had finished, only ten riders had appeared. Did the organisers begin to panic? To do so was not in Desgrange's character, but cars were sent out to look for the survivors. By midnight, just 54 riders had made it to Luchon.

The longest Tour of all time: not only did the poor riders have to complete the now traditional coastal route right round the borders of France, but by starting outside Paris for the first time, they had to complete the ride up the eastern border twice - once at the beginning, and then, several weeks later, at the end of the race. But whatever the vagaries of the route, Automoto once again came out on top of their battle with Alcyon, with Lucien Buysse winning with a comfortable margin from the Alcyon men Nicolas Frantz and the Italian climber Bartolomeo Aymo, who had been Bottecchia's closest rival in 1925.

Just one stage was sufficient for Buysse to win the race. At midnight in Bayonne seventy-six riders set out to conquer the "circle of death": Osquich, Aubisque, Soulor, Tourmalet, Aspin, Peyresourde. At nearly quarter past five the following afternoon, Lucien Buysse struggled into Luchon, wet and bedraggled after a horrendous ride through snow, rain and fog. The minutes ticked by. More than seventeen hours in the saddle! By way of contrast, Philippe Thys won the same stage in 1913 in less than fourteen. Back to 1926: at nearly twenty to six, Bartolomeo Aymo arrived. Four more minutes passed, then Léon Devos struggled in. The minutes ticked on by. An hour after Buysse had finished, only ten riders had appeared. Did the organisers begin to panic? To do so was not in Desgrange's character, but cars were sent out to look for the survivors. By midnight, just 54 riders had made it to Luchon. Twenty-two others sat scattered over two hundred miles of Pyreneen road, shivering in houses and bars. They were gathered up and bought back to Luchon, safe, but out of the race. The race, meanwhile, was dead. Buysse took eighteen more minutes from Frantz on the Perpignan stage, winning from his brother and team-mate Jules and, despite Aymo and Frantz clawing some time back in the Alps, the Tour was won.

Stage winners

 StageWinnerOverall Leader
Stage 1Evian - Mulhouse, 373kmJules BuysseJules Buysse
Stage 2Mulhouse - Metz, 334kmAimé DosscheJules Buysse
Stage 3Metz - Dunkerque, 433kmGustaaf Van SlembrouckGustaaf Van Slembrouck
Stage 4Dunkerque - Le Havre, 361kmFélix SellierGustaaf Van Slembrouck
Stage 5Le Havre - Cherbourg, 357kmAdelin BenoîtGustaaf Van Slembrouck
Stage 6Cherbourg - Brest, 405kmJoseph Van DamGustaaf Van Slembrouck
Stage 7Brest - Les Sables d'Olonne, 412kmNicolas FrantzGustaaf Van Slembrouck
Stage 8Les Sables d'Olonne - Bordeaux, 285kmJoseph Van DamGustaaf Van Slembrouck
Stage 9Bordeaux - Bayonne, 189kmNicolas FrantzGustaaf Van Slembrouck
Stage 10Bayonne - Luchon, 323kmLucien BuysseLucien Buysse
Stage 11Luchon - Perpignan, 323kmLucien BuysseLucien Buysse
Stage 12Perpignan - Toulon, 427kmNicolas FrantzLucien Buysse
Stage 13Toulon - Nice, 280kmFrantzLucien Buysse
Stage 14Nice - Briançon, 275kmBartolomeo AymoLucien Buysse
Stage 15Briançon - Evian, 303kmJoseph Van DamLucien Buysse
Stage 16Evian - Dijon, 321kmCamille Van De CasteeleLucien Buysse
Stage 17Dijon - Paris, 341kmAimé DosscheLucien Buysse

In a nutshell

Results

Overall

1st: Lucien Buysse, (Belgium), Automoto-Hutchinson, 5745km in 238h 44' 25" (24.273km/h)
2nd: Nicolas Frantz, (Luxembourg), Alcyon-Dunlop, @ 1h 22' 25"
3rd: Bartolomeo Aymo, (Italy), Alcyon-Dunlop, @ 1h 22' 51"
4th: Théophile Beeckman, (Belgium), Armor-Dunlop, @ 1h 43' 54"
5th: Félix Sellier, (Belgium), Alcyon-Dunlop, @ 1h 49' 13"
6th: Albert Dejonghe, (Belgium), J.B.Louvet-Wolber, @ 1h 56' 15"
7th: Léon Parmentier, (Belgium), Jean Louvet-Hutchinson, @ 2h 09' 20"
8th: Georges Cuvelier, (France), Meteore-Wolber, @ 2h 28' 32"
9th: Jules Buysse, (Belgium), Automoto-Hutchinson, @ 2h 37' 03"
10th: Marcel Bidot, (France), Thomann-Dunlop, @ 2h 53' 54"

(41st: André Drobecq, (France), Touriste-Routier, @ 25h 59' 03")