"Le Roi René" and the regionals

Maes underlined his dominance with a four-minute victory in the Tour's first mountain TT, taking ten more minutes from Vietto.

For one last time before the War changed cycling for ever, the Belgians emerged victorious from the Tour. However, once again, perhaps, René Vietto stole the hearts of the French populace. Not until Raymond Poulidor was a runner-up as popular as "le Roi René".

As in 1938 there were no individual riders; instead ten eight-man teams lined up in Paris: Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France and Belgium B, along with the newest innovation - French Regional teams representing the Nord-est - Ile de France (led by Maurice Archambaud), the Ouest (with René Le Grèves), the Sud-Ouest (with Paul Maye) and the Sud-Est, led by Vietto. And it was Vietto who got off to the best start, after making the winning break at Lorient, he found himself in the lead by a slender six seconds. Only twelfth in the Béarn time trial, he nevertheless extended his lead slightly. Next came a single mighty Pyreneen stage. The Belgian Ward Vissers was a clear solo winner, but Vietto meanwhile was in the chasing group with Sylvère Maes and now led by all but three minutes from Maes and over six from Lucien Vlaemynck, riding for the Belgian B team. All across the Midi Vietto held his lead, until the crucial stage from Digne-les-Bains. Just as in the previous year, Bartali had built his victory on a crushing performance on the Allos - Vars - Izoard trilogy, so Maes was to do this year. With no real team support, Vietto lost seventeen minutes and all hope in the race. Maes underlined his dominance with a four-minute victory in the Tour's first mountain TT, taking ten more minutes from Vietto. As if to torment his adversaries, Maes broke away on the final stage, allowing his team-mate Marcel Kint to take the victory whilst, in second place, he could savour the applause of the crowd. A dominant performance saw Maes also take the climbers' prize, whilst the second Belgian team was declared winner for teams, whilst poor Vietto could only speculate on what might have been He was not to have another chance until 1947, and as we shall see, that year did not work out well for him either.

Stage winners

 StageWinnerOverall Leader
Stage 1Paris - Caen, 215kmAmédée FournierAmédée Fournier
Stage 2 ACaen - Vire, 63.5km TTRomain MaesRomain Maes
Stage 2 BVire - Rennes, 119.5km TTEloi TassinJean Fontenay
Stage 3Rennes - Brest, 244km TTPierre CloarecFontenay
Stage 4Brest - Lorient, 174km TTRaymond LouviotRené Vietto
Stage 5Lorient - Nantes, 207kmFournierVietto
Stage 6 ANantes - La Rochelle, 144kmLucien StormeVietto
Stage 6 BLa Rochelle - Royan, 107kmEdmond PagèsVietto
Stage 7Royan - Bordeaux, 198kmRaymond PassatVietto
Stage 8 ABordeaux - Salies-de-Béarn, 210.5kmMarcel KintVietto
Stage 8 BSalies-de-Béarn - Pau, 68.5km TTKarl LitschiVietto
Stage 9Pau - Toulouse, 311kmWard VissersVietto
Stage 10Toulouse - Narbonne, 148.5kmPierre JaminetVietto
Stage 10 BNarbonne - Beziers, 27km TTMaurice ArchambaudVietto
Stage 10 CBeziers - Montpellier, 70.5kmArchambaudVietto
Stage 11Montpellier - Marseille, 212kmFabien GalateauVietto
Stage 12 AMarseille - St Raphaél, 157kmFrançois NeuensVietto
Stage 12 BSt Raphaél - Monaco, 121.5kmArchambaudVietto
Stage 13Monaco - Monaco, 101.5kmPierre GallienVietto
Stage 14Monaco - Digne-les-Bains, 284kmPierre CloarecVietto
Stage 15Digne-les-Bains - Briançon, 219kmSylvère MaesSylvère Maes
Stage 16 ABriançon - Bonneval-sûr-Arc, 126kmPierre JaminetMaes
Stage 16 BBonneval-sûr-Arc - Bourg-St Maurice, 64.5km TTS. MaesMaes
Stage 16 CBourg-St Maurice - Annecy, 103.5km TTAntoon Van SchendelMaes
Stage 17 AAnnecy - Dôle, 226kmNeuensMaes
Stage 17 BDôle - Dijon, 59km TTArchambaudMaes
Stage 18 ADijon - Troyes, 151kmRené Le GrèvesMaes
Stage 18 BTroyes - Paris, 201kmKintMaes



1st: Sylvère Maes, Belgium A, 4224km in 132h 03' 17" (31.986km/h)
2nd: René Vietto, France (Sud-Ouest), @30' 38"
3rd: Lucien Vlaemynck, Belgium B, @32' 08"
4th: Matt Clemens, Luxembourg, @36' 09"
5th: Ward Vissers, Belgium A, @38' 05"
6th: Sylvain Marcaillou, France, @45' 16"
7th: Albertin Disseaux, Belgium B, @46' 54"
8th: Jan Lambrichts, The Netherlands, @48' 01"
9th: Albert Ritserveldt, Belgium B, @48' 27"
10th: Cyriel Vanoverberghe, Belgium B, @49' 44"

(49th: Armand Le Moal, France (Ouest), @4h 26' 39")


1st: Sylvère Maes, Belgium A, 85
2nd: Edward Vissers, Belgium A, 84
3rd: Albert Ritserveldt, Belgium B, 71


1st: Belgium B 398h 17' 20"
2nd: France @35' 47"
3rd: Belgium A @36' 18"