1935 Tour de France

The 1935 Tour de France was the 29th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 4 to 28 July. It consisted of 21 stages over 4,338 km (2,696 mi). Although the French team was favourite, Belgian Romain Maes took the lead in the first stage, and never gave it away. Halfway the race, Romain Maes' biggest threat, Antonin Magne, had to abandon after he was hit by a car.

1935 Tour de France
Route of the 1935 Tour de France followed clockwise, starting in Paris
Route of the 1935 Tour de France followed clockwise, starting in Paris
Race details
Dates4–28 July
Stages21, including six split stages
Distance4,338 km (2,696 mi)
Winning time141h 32' 00"
Winner  Romain Maes (BEL) (Belgium)
  Second  Ambrogio Morelli (ITA) (Italian individuals)
  Third  Félicien Vervaecke (BEL) (Belgium)

  Mountains  Félicien Vervaecke (BEL) (Belgium)
  Team Belgium
← 1934
1936 →

In the eighth stage, Spanish cyclist Francisco Cepeda fell while he was descending at high speed, and died while he being transported to the hospital.

Innovations and changesEdit

This was the first Tour that had a stage finish and start in a city that was not in France, when Geneva was visited in the fifth stage.

The prize money increased in 1935, and for the first time it was more than one million Francs.[1]


As was the custom since the 1930 Tour de France, the 1935 Tour de France was contested by national teams. Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany and France each sent teams of 8 cyclists. Each country also sent four cyclists who rode as individuals, but could take over the place of another cyclist if they dropped out. Spain only sent three cyclists, and Switzerland sent four individual cyclists even though they did not have a national team, so 23 individual cyclists were racing. Finally, there was the touriste-routiers category, in which 30 cyclists participated. In total this made 93 cyclists. Split up in nationalities, there were 41 French, 13 Italian, 12 Belgian, 12 German, 11 Spanish and 4 Swiss cyclists.[2]

The French team looked very strong, as it contained the three winners of the last five Tours, Antonin Magne, Georges Speicher and André Leducq, in addition to climber René Vietto and Maurice Archambaud, who had led the general classification for a long time in 1933. In addition, they had Roger Lapébie and Charles Pélissier riding as individuals, which meant that they could take the place of a French team member dropping out.[3]

Of the other teams, the Belgian and Italian teams seemed most likely to challenge the French.[3]

The teams entering the race were:

  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • France
  • Belgium Individuals
  • Italy Individuals
  • Spain Individuals
  • Germany Individuals
  • France Individuals
  • Switzerland Individuals

Route and stagesEdit

Stages 5, 13, 14, 18, 19 and 20 are retroactively seen as split stages, always between a standard mass-start stage and a time trial stage. In 1935, the mass-start stages were seen as a normal stage, and the time trial stages were not numbered.

Stages 5b, 14b and 18b were individual time trials, while stages 13b, 19b and 20b where team time trials. In the team time trials in 1935, cyclists started together in teams, but unlike current team time trials it was the individual time that counted; the team time trial was not won by a team but by a cyclist.

The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,556 m (8,386 ft) at the summit tunnel of the Col du Galibier mountain pass on stage 7.[4][5]

Stage characteristics and winners[6][7][8][9]
Stage Date Course Distance Type[a] Winner
1 4 July Paris to Lille 262 km (163 mi)   Plain stage   Romain Maes (BEL)
2 5 July Lille to Charleville 192 km (119 mi)   Plain stage   Charles Pélissier (FRA)
3 6 July Charleville to Metz 161 km (100 mi)   Plain stage   Rafaele di Paco (ITA)
4 7 July Metz to Belfort 220 km (140 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Jean Aerts (BEL)
5a 8 July Belfort to Geneva, Switzerland 262 km (163 mi)   Plain stage   Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
5b Geneva to Evian 58 km (36 mi)   Individual time trial   Rafaele di Paco (ITA)
9 July Evian Rest day
6 10 July Evian to Aix-les-Bains 207 km (129 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   René Vietto (FRA)
7 11 July Aix-les-Bains to Grenoble 229 km (142 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Francesco Camusso (ITA)
8 12 July Grenoble to Gap 102 km (63 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Jean Aerts (BEL)
9 13 July Gap to Digne 227 km (141 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   René Vietto (FRA)
10 14 July Digne to Nice 156 km (97 mi)   Plain stage   Jean Aerts (BEL)
15 July Nice Rest day
11 16 July Nice to Cannes 126 km (78 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Romain Maes (BEL)
12 17 July Cannes to Marseille 195 km (121 mi)   Plain stage   Charles Pélissier (FRA)
13a 18 July Marseille to Nîmes 112 km (70 mi)   Plain stage   Vasco Bergamaschi (ITA)
13b Nîmes to Montpellier 56 km (35 mi)   Individual time trial   Georges Speicher (FRA)
14a 19 July Montpellier to Narbonne 103 km (64 mi)   Plain stage   René Le Grevès (FRA)
14b Narbonne to Perpignan 63 km (39 mi)   Individual time trial   Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
15 20 July Perpignan to Luchon 325 km (202 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Sylvère Maes (BEL)
21 July Luchon Rest day
16 22 July Luchon to Pau 194 km (121 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Ambrogio Morelli (ITA)
23 July Pau Rest day
17 24 July Pau to Bordeaux 224 km (139 mi)   Plain stage   Julien Moineau (FRA)
18a 25 July Bordeaux to Rochefort 158 km (98 mi)   Plain stage   René Le Grevès (FRA)
18b Rochefort to La Rochelle 33 km (21 mi)   Individual time trial   André Leducq (FRA)
19a 26 July La Rochelle to La Roche sur Yon 81 km (50 mi)   Plain stage   René Le Grevès (FRA)
19b La Roche sur Yon to Nantes 95 km (59 mi)   Individual time trial   Jean Aerts (BEL)
20a 27 July Nantes to Vire 220 km (140 mi)   Plain stage   René Le Grevès (FRA)
20b Vire to Caen 55 km (34 mi)   Individual time trial   Ambrogio Morelli (ITA)
21 28 July Caen to Paris 221 km (137 mi)   Plain stage   Romain Maes (BEL)
Total 4,338 km (2,696 mi)[10]

Race overviewEdit

Belgian Romain Maes entering the Parc des Princes on the final stage, winning it and the general classification

In the first stage, Belgian Romain Maes was lucky as he passed a train crossing just before it closed, while the rest had to wait. Romain Maes was one minute ahead, and although he was chased, the others could not capture him.[3] In the second stage, Romain Maes was less lucky, as several flat tires put him nine minutes behind the peloton. The Belgian team chased for 70 km to get him back with the rest. The stage was won by French sprinter Charles Pélissier. Romain Maes and Charles Pélissier were now ranked first and second, but nobody expected them to remain on top of the general classification.[3]

On the fourth stage, the French team performed poorly; the first French cyclist came in tenth place, and Romain Maes increased his leading margin to over five minutes.[3] In the second part of the fifth stage, Romain Maes performed unexpectedly well, as he lost only 38 seconds to Magne, a time trial specialist. Magne was in second place in the general classification, about four minutes behind Romain Maes.[3]

The sixth stage, the first in the Alps, was perfect for a climber like Vietto, and he indeed took the victory solo. Magne was still about four minutes behind Romain Maes.[3] In the seventh stage, Magne was hit by a car, and had to abandon the race.[3] Later in that stage, Spanish cyclist Francisco Cepeda died after he fell going down the Galibier.[6] One of his tires peeled off his rim, causing him to crash at a high speed.[11] Because Magne was out of the race, Vasco Bergamaschi became the new number two of the general classification, more than twelve minutes behind Romain Maes.[3] In the ninth stage, Bergamaschi lost half an hour, and was out of contention for the victory. René Vietto won the stage, with Francesco Camusso a few seconds behind him. Romain Maes lost almost ten minutes,[12] and Camusso jumped to second place in the general classification, three and a half minutes behind Romain Maes.[3]

In the tenth, eleventh and twelfth stage, Romain Maes won some time on Camusso. The second part of the thirteenth stage was a team time trial, in which the French team beat the Belgian team by 27 seconds, and put Speicher within 9 minutes of Maes in the general classification. In the second part of the fourteenth stage, however, Romain Maes finished in second place, thereby increasing his lead in the general classification to more than ten minutes on Speicher, who had jumped to second place.[6][3]

The fifteenth stage was fought on the Pyrenees. Belgian cyclists Felicien Vervaecke and Sylvère Maes led and beat the others by minutes. The first three places in the general classification were now all occupied by Belgian cyclists; Romain Maes, Vervaecke and Sylvère Maes.[3]

In the sixteenth stage Romain Maes ran into trouble for the first time in 1935. The Belgian team controlled the race over the first three mountains, but on the fourth, the Aubisque, Italians Ambrogio Morelli and Orlando Teani escaped. Morelli won the stage and took the time bonus, and Romain Maes needed his teammates to keep his losses small. Vervaecke and Jules Lowie helped him to keep it to only six minutes, and Romain Maes was still ahead in the general classification, although only two and a half minute ahead of Morelli.[3]

In the first half of the eighteenth stage, Morelli lost ten minutes. Jean Aerts crossed the finish line first in that stage, but he was set to second place by the jury because he had sprinted irregularly.[13] Maes finished second in the second part of that stage, and increased his lead even more.[3] Initially Jean Fontenay was declared winner of that stage, but he got a penalty of five minutes after the jury found out he had been helped by a car.[14] Romain Maes finished the Tour by escaping in the last stage, and finishing alone in Paris.[3]

Classification leadership and minor prizesEdit

The time that each cyclist required to finish each stage was recorded, and these times were added together for the general classification. If a cyclist had received a time bonus, it was subtracted from this total; all time penalties were added to this total. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey.

For the mountains classification, 15 mountains were selected by the Tour organisation. On the top of these mountains, ten points were given for the first cyclist to pass, nine points to the second cyclist, and so on, until the tenth cyclist who got one point.

The team classification was calculated in 1935 by adding up the times of the best three cyclists of a team; the team with the least time was the winner. Individuals that ranked higher than team members could be put in the team. This happened with the Belgian team: individual Sylvère Maes ranked higher than the third Belgian team member Jean Aerts, so his time was used for the calculation. If this rule would have not been in place, the French team would have won the team classification. It also happened with the Spanish team, which had only two cyclists left at the end of the race; Spanish individual Vicente Bachero was added to the team. The Italian team had no cyclists left at the end of the race. There were two Italians in the individual category that were then added for the team calculation, but they still lacked a third team member. For that case there was a rule that said that an imaginary cyclist would be added to the team, that had the time of the final cyclist plus one hour penalty time.

Second-placed Morelli was the best cyclist who had started in the "individuals" category, while ninth-placed Ruozzi became the winner of the "touriste-routiers" category.[15] However, in 1935 Morelli was considered to have been included in the Italian team, while Sylvère Maes and Jules Lowie are considered to have been included in the Belgian team, which made Charles Pélissier the best placed individual cyclist.[16]

Classification leadership by stage[17]
Stage Winner General classification
Mountains classification[b] Team classification Classification for individuals Classification for touriste-routiers
1 Romain Maes Romain Maes no award France Charles Pélissier René Bernard
2 Charles Pélissier
3 Rafaele di Paco
4 Jean Aerts Félicien Vervaecke Eugenio Gestri
5a Maurice Archambaud
5b Rafaele di Paco Jules Lowie
6 René Vietto
7 Francesco Camusso
8 Jean Aerts François Neuville
9 René Vietto Bruno Roth Gabriel Ruozzi
10 Jean Aerts Charles Pélissier
11 Romain Maes
12 Charles Pélissier
13a Vasco Bergamaschi
13b Georges Speicher
14a René Le Grevès
14b Maurice Archambaud
15 Sylvère Maes
16 Ambrogio Morelli
17 Julien Moineau
18a René Le Grevès
18b André Leducq
19a René Le Grevès
19b Jean Aerts
20a René Le Grevès
20b Ambrogio Morelli
21 Romain Maes
Final Romain Maes Felicien Vervaecke France Charles Pélissier Gabriel Ruozzi

Final standingsEdit

General classificationEdit

Final general classification (1–10)[19]
Rank Rider Team Time
1   Romain Maes (BEL) Belgium 141h 32' 00"
2   Ambrogio Morelli (ITA) Italian individuals + 17' 52"
3   Félicien Vervaecke (BEL) Belgium + 24' 06"
4   Sylvère Maes (BEL) Belgian individuals + 35' 24"
5   Jules Lowie (BEL) Belgian individuals + 51' 26"
6   Georges Speicher (FRA) France + 54' 29"
7   Maurice Archambaud (FRA) France + 1h 09' 28"
8   René Vietto (FRA) France + 1h 21' 03"
9   Gabriel Ruozzi (FRA) Touriste-routier + 1h 34' 02"
10   Oskar Thierbach (GER) Germany + 2h 00' 04"

Mountains classificationEdit

Mountains in the mountains classification[6][20]
Stage Rider Height Mountain range Winner
4 Ballon d'Alsace 1,178 metres (3,865 ft) Vosges Felicien Vervaecke
6 Aravis 1,498 metres (4,915 ft) Alps René Vietto
7 Galibier 2,556 metres (8,386 ft) Alps Gabriel Ruozzi
8 Côte de Laffrey 900 metres (3,000 ft) Alps Gabriel Ruozzi
9 Vars 2,110 metres (6,920 ft) Alps Felicien Vervaecke
9 Allos 2,250 metres (7,380 ft) Alps Felicien Vervaecke
11 Braus 1,002 metres (3,287 ft) Alps-Maritimes Gabriel Ruozzi
11 La Turbie 555 metres (1,821 ft) Alps-Maritimes Orlando Teani
15 Puymorens 1,920 metres (6,300 ft) Pyrenees Felicien Vervaecke
15 Col de Port 1,249 metres (4,098 ft) Pyrenees Felicien Vervaecke
15 Portet d'Aspet 1,069 metres (3,507 ft) Pyrenees Felicien Vervaecke
16 Peyresourde 1,569 metres (5,148 ft) Pyrenees Felicien Vervaecke
16 Aspin 1,489 metres (4,885 ft) Pyrenees Felicien Vervaecke
16 Tourmalet 2,115 metres (6,939 ft) Pyrenees Sylvère Maes
16 Aubisque 1,709 metres (5,607 ft) Pyrenees Ambrogio Morelli
Final mountains classification (1–10)[6][21][22]
Rank Rider Team Points
1   Félicien Vervaecke (BEL) Belgium 118
2   Sylvère Maes (BEL) Belgian individuals 92
3   Jules Lowie (BEL) Belgian individuals 71
4   Gabriel Ruozzi (FRA) Touriste-routier 62
5   Romain Maes (BEL) Belgium 58
6   Ambrogio Morelli (ITA) Italian individuals 49
7   Francesco Camusso (ITA) Italy 47
8   René Vietto (FRA) France 42
9   Orlando Teani (ITA) Italian individuals 41
10   Leo Amberg (SUI) Swiss individuals 33

Team classificationEdit

Final team classification (1–5)[23][24][25]
Rank Team Time
1 Belgium 425h 36' 09"
2 France + 2h 24' 51"
3 Germany + 9h 57' 17"
4 Italy + 12h 13' 22"
5 Spain + 13h 16' 21"


Felicien Vervaecke, who had finished in third place, felt that he could have won this Tour by more than one hour, if he had not been helping his teammate Romain Maes, when Maes was suffering.[26]


  1. ^ In 1935, there was no distinction in the rules between plain stages and mountain stages; the icons shown here indicate whether the stage was run as a time trial, the stage was flat or the stage included mountains that counted towards the mountains classification.
  2. ^ No jersey was awarded to the leader of the mountains classification until a white jersey with red polka dots was introduced in 1975.[18]


  1. ^ Thompson 2006, p. 41.
  2. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1935 – The starters". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o McGann & McGann 2006, pp. 120–125.
  4. ^ Augendre 2016, pp. 177–178.
  5. ^ Gautier-Chaumet, Louis (6 July 1935). "Ohé! Zoé!" [Ahoy! Zoe!]. Match (in French). p. 6 – via Gallica.
  6. ^ a b c d e "29ème Tour de France 1935" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  7. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 33.
  8. ^ Arian Zwegers. "Tour de France GC top ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
  9. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1935 – The stage winners". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  10. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 108.
  11. ^ Thompson 2006, p. 210.
  12. ^ "29ème Tour de France 1935 - 9ème étape" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  13. ^ "29ème Tour de France 1935 - 18ème étape (a)" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  14. ^ "29ème Tour de France 1935 - 18ème étape (b)" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  15. ^ "l'Historique du Tour - Année 1934" (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Romano Maes giunge solo al Parco dei Principi". Il Littoriale (in Italian). Biblioteca Digitale. 29 July 1935.
  17. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Informatie over de Tour de France van 1935" [Information about the Tour de France from 1935]. TourDeFranceStatistieken.nl (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  18. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 454.
  19. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1935 – Stage 21 Caen > Paris". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  20. ^ Augendre 2016, pp. 175–192.
  21. ^ Michiel van Lonkhuyzen. "Tour-giro-vuelta". Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  22. ^ "Clasificación final del Premio de la Montaña" (in Spanish). El mundo deportivo. 24 July 1935. p. 1. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  23. ^ "Como una justa revàlida, Romain Maes, el vencedor del 'Tour', llega destacado en Paris". Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 29 July 1935. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 July 2012.
  24. ^ "De Tour de France" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 29 July 1935. p. 14. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  25. ^ Tom James (15 August 2003). "1935: Maes from beginning to end". Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  26. ^ Cornillie & Vanwalleghem 2006, p. 120.


External linksEdit

  Media related to 1935 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons