Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An alternative history of the Tour de France by numbers

Yesterday, Cyclingnews.com posted an interesting little piece on the history of the Tour de France in numbers. It explores all the fastest, bestest and mostest of the world's most famous (cycling) race.

While that's all grand, I thought it's also worth looking at the other side of the coin; the slowest, worstest and leastest. And I assure you, this is not to belittle those who've won with the lowest average speed or come last most often - indeed, it could be said that these are the cyclists who have had to fight the most courageously, and some for very little recognition.

Wim Vansevenant - a champion (at coming last)


Most Lanternes Rouge* by nation

France 49
Belgium 13
Italy 10
Netherlands 7
Switzerland, Spain 3
Germany, Luxembourg, UK, Austria 2
Australia, Algeria, Belarus 1

Most Lanternes Rouge*

3: Wim Vansevenant (BEL) - 2006-08
2: Jimmy Casper (FRA) - 2001 & 2004
2: Mathieu Heermans (NED) - 1987 & 1989
2: Gerhard Schönbacher (AUT) - 1979-80
2: Daniel Masson (BEL) - 1922-23

*The Lanterne Rouge is awarded to the the rider who finishes last overall. Contrary to other sports, this is actually a somewhat distinguished position as it usually means the cyclist has had to fight to avoid time-cuts or the temptation of abandoning the race.

Lowest average speed of a Tour winner

24.1 kph: Philippe Thys (BEL) 1921
24.1 kph: Firmin Lambot (BEL) 1919
24.2 kph: Henri PĂ©lissier (FRA) 1923
24.2 kph: Firmin Lambot (BEL) 1922

Firmin Lambot - 1st (of 11 finishers), 1919 Tour de France

Highest attrition rate

84%: 1919 (69 starters, 11 finishers)
83%: 1906 (84 starters, 14 finishers)
81%: 1920 (113 starters, 22 finishers)**

**Half the field withdrew from stage 4 in protest of race director Desgrange's management style.

Longest Tour

5,745 km: 1926
5,485km: 1921
5,476km: 1928

1 comment:

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