Lapébie wins after the Belgians withdraw

Roger Lapebie in the sunshine of France, 1937
After a tempestuous Tour, it was Roger Lapébie who emerged victorious to continue the French domination of the Tour in the 1930s.

The return of the Italians heralded the arrival of one of the great talents in the sport, that year's Giro winner Gino Bartali. It didn't take long for Bartali to make his mark: by Geneva, he was third overall, though some twelve minutes down on leader Erich Bautz, who owed his position to a four minute solo win at Belfort (ahead of Bartali) and a system of bonuses which doubled any time gaps a solo winner could accrue. On the stage to Grenoble, it was Bartali's turn to win alone, turning a twelve minute deficit into a seemingly-comfortable nine minute lead over Ward Vissers. Bartali's joy was short lived, however: once again the descent of the north face of the Galibier was to claim a high profile victim. Bartali got up to finish the stage and save his yellow jersey, but was to retire a few days later.

Meanwhile, at Digne it was Roger Lapébie who won, but once again the yellow jersey was placed on the shoulders of Belgian Sylvère Maes, with Mario Vicini and Lapébie close behind. The Pyrenees resulted in a stalemate, and though Lapébie had closed to within just 25 seconds after finishing in a group 1 minutes ahead of Maes at Bordeaux, it looked like Maes would be safe, especially with another team time trial to come. However, on the way to Bordeaux, Maes had punctured, and two Belgian "Individuels" - not part of the national team - had waited to pace him back to the field. For this offence, Maes was penalized fifteen seconds; tempers flared and Maes and the entire Belgian team walked out. Thereafter Lapébie was able to steadily increase his lead all the way back to Paris.

This Tour also saw a mixed British / Canadian team ride. The Canadian, Gachon, retired on the first day, and of the two Britons, Bill Burl had retired on stage two. However, the remaining Briton, Charlie Holland, rode with distinction through the Alpes, finishing in the same group as Lapébie and René Le Grèves at Aix-les-Bains, and again with Le Grèves and that year's World Champion Eloi Meulenberg at Grenoble. He was still in the race until the triple stage from Perpignan to Luchon; finally left behind on the Col de Port after a series of punctures, he arrived at Luchon to find the finish packed up and gone, as if he had been forgotten. It was to be 1955 before another Briton started on Le Grand Boucle.

Stage winners

 StageWinnerOverall Leader
Stage 1Paris - Lille, 263kmJean MarjerusJean Marjerus
Stage 2Lille - Charleville, 192kmMaurice ArchambaudMarjerus
Stage 3Charleville - Metz, 161kmWalter GeneratiMarcel Kint
Stage 4Metz - Belfort, 220kmErich BautzErich Bautz
Stage 5 ABelfort - Lons-le-Saunier, 175kmHenri PuppoBautz
Stage 5 BLons-le-Saunier - Champagnole, 34km TTTSylvère Maes *Bautz
Stage 5 CChampagnole - Geneva, 93kmLéo AmbergBautz
Stage 6Geneva - Aix-les-Bains, 180kmGustaaf DeloorBautz
Stage 7Aix-les-Bains - Grenoble, 228kmGino BartaliGino Bartali
Stage 8Grenoble - Briançon, 194kmOtto WeckerlingBartali
Stage 9Briançon - Digne, 220kmRoger LapébieSylvère Maes
Stage 10Digne - Nice, 251kmFélicien VervaeckeMaes
Stage 11 ANice - Toulon, 169kmEloi MeulenbergMaes
Stage 11 BToulon - Marseille, 65km TTTGustaaf Daneels **Maes
Stage 12 AMarseille - Nîmes, 112kmAlphonse AntoineMaes
Stage 12 BNîmes - Montpellier, 51kmRené PedroliMaes
Stage 13 AMontpellier - Narbonne, 103kmFrancesco CamussoMaes
Stage 13 BNarbonne - Perpignan, 63kmMeulenbergMaes
Stage 14 APerpignan - Bourg Madame, 99kmMeulenbergMaes
Stage 14 BBourg Madame - Ax-les-Thermes, 59kmMariano CañardoMaes
Stage 14 CAx-les-Thermes - Luchon, 59kmMeulenbergMaes
Stage 15Luchon - Pau, 194kmJulien BerrenderoMaes
Stage 16Pau - Bordeaux, 235kmPaul ChocqueMaes
Stage 17 ABordeaux - Royan, 123kmBautzRoger Lapébie
Stage 17 BRoyan - Saintes, 37kmAdolf Braeckeveldt and Heniz Wengler, equalLapébie
Stage 17 ASaintes - La Rochelle, 67kmLapébieLapébie
Stage 18 ALa Rochelle - La Roche-sûr-Yon, 81km TTTRoger Lapébie ***Lapébie
Stage 18 BLa Rochelle - Rennes, 172kmChocqueLapébie
Stage 19 ARennes - Vire, 114kmRaymond PassatLapébie
Stage 19 BVire - Caen, 59km TTLéo AmbergLapébie
Stage 21Caen - Paris, 234kmWard VissersLapébie

* Sylvère Maes, Albert Hendrickx, Gustaaf Daneels, Jules Lowie, Marcel Kint, Albertin Disseaux
** Daneels, Maes, Vervaecke, Lowie, Disseaux
*** Roger Lapébie, Sylvain Marcaillou, Paul Chocque, Robert Tanneveau



1st: Roger Lapébie, France, 4415km in 138h 58' 31" (31.768km/h)
2nd: Mario Vincini, Italy (Individuel, incorporated into national team on stage 18A), @7' 17"
3rd: Léo Amberg, Switzerland, @26' 13"
4th: Francesco Camusso, Italy, @26' 53"
5th: Sylvain Marcaillou, France, @36' 36"
6th: Ward Vissers, Belgium (Individuel), @38' 13"
7th: Paul Chocque, France, @1h 05' 19"
8th: Pierre Gallien, France (Individuel), @1h 06' 33"
9th: Erich Bautz, Germany, @1h 06' 41"
10th: Jean Fréchaut, France (Individuel), @1h 24' 34"

(46th: Aloïs Klensch, Luxembourg, @6h 39' 25")


1st: Félicien Vervaecke, Belgium, 114
2nd: Mario Vicini, Italy (Individuel), 96
3rd: Sylvère Maes, Belgium, 90

At that time, you did not have to finish the Tour to claim the climbers' prize.


1st: France 418h 36' 28"
2nd: Italy @2h 54' 18"
3rd: Germany @3h 12' 22"