1949 Tour de France

The 1949 Tour de France was the 36th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 30 June to 24 July. It consisted of 21 stages over 4,808 km (2,988 mi).

1949 Tour de France
Route of the 1949 Tour de France followed counterclockwise, starting and finishing in Paris
Route of the 1949 Tour de France followed counterclockwise, starting and finishing in Paris
Race details
Dates30 June – 24 July 1949
Distance4,808 km (2,988 mi)
Winning time149h 40' 49"
Winner  Fausto Coppi (ITA) (Italy)
  Second  Gino Bartali (ITA) (Italy)
  Third  Jacques Marinelli (FRA) (Île-de-France)

  Mountains  Fausto Coppi (ITA) (Italy)
  Team Italy
← 1948
1950 →

The Italian team had internal problems, because Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi could both be the team leader. During the selection procedure, Coppi almost refused to start the race, but he was convinced to start. During the race, Coppi almost pulled out, because he felt he did not have full support from the team captain. In the Alps, Coppi recovered. The race was won by Coppi, with second place taken by teammate Bartali, the winner of the previous year. Coppi also won the mountains classification, while his Italian team won the team classification.

Innovations and changesEdit

The 1949 Tour de France marked the first time that the Tour de France had a stage finish in Spain, when it stopped in San Sebastian in the ninth stage.[1] While the mountains had been categorised into two categories in 1948, in 1949 the third category was added.[2]


Belgian team in Paris, 1949 (collection KOERS. Museum of Cycle Racing)

As was the custom since the 1930 Tour de France, the 1949 Tour de France was contested by national and regional teams. The three major cycling countries in 1949, Italy, Belgium and France, each sent a team of 12 cyclists. Other countries sent teams of 6 cyclists: Switzerland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Spain. Italy and Belgium also sent two extra teams of young riders of 6 cyclists each. The French regional cyclists were divided into four teams of 12 cyclists: Île-de-France, West/North, Centre/South-West and South-East. Altogether this made 120 cyclists. There were 57 French cyclists, 22 Italian, 18 Belgian, 6 Dutch, 6 Luxembourg, 6 Spanish, 6 Swiss and 1 Polish cyclist.[3]

The teams entering the race were:[3]

  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Italy Cadets
  • Belgium Aiglons
  • Île-de-France
  • West/North
  • Centre/South-West
  • South-East

Pre-race favouritesEdit

In the previous year, Fausto Coppi refused to enter the Tour de France because of personal problems with his teammate Gino Bartali. Bartali had won the previous Tour, and was trying to equal Philippe Thys by winning the Tour three times.[4] Coppi had won the 1949 Giro d'Italia, and wanted to be the first one to achieve the Tour-Giro double in one year. The Italian team manager Alfredo Binda convinced them two weeks before the start of the race to join forces, so both Italians were in the race.[2]

Route and stagesEdit

The 1949 Tour de France started on 30 June, and had four rest days, in Les Sables-d'Olonne, Pau, Cannes and Aosta.[2] The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,770 m (9,090 ft) at the summit of the Col de l'Iseran mountain pass on stage 17.[5][6]

Stage characteristics and winners[4][2][7][8]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
1 30 June Paris to Reims 182 km (113 mi)   Plain stage   Marcel Dussault (FRA)
2 1 July Reims to Brussels (Belgium) 273 km (170 mi)   Plain stage   Roger Lambrecht (BEL)
3 2 July Brussels (Belgium) to Boulogne-sur-Mer 211 km (131 mi)   Plain stage   Norbert Callens (BEL)
4 3 July Boulogne-sur-Mer to Rouen 185 km (115 mi)   Plain stage   Lucien Teisseire (FRA)
5 4 July Rouen to Saint-Malo 293 km (182 mi)   Plain stage   Ferdinand Kübler (SUI)
6 5 July Saint-Malo to Les Sables-d'Olonne 305 km (190 mi)   Plain stage   Adolphe Deledda (FRA)
6 July Les Sables-d'Olonne Rest day
7 7 July Les Sables-d'Olonne to La Rochelle 92 km (57 mi)   Individual time trial   Fausto Coppi (ITA)
8 8 July La Rochelle to Bordeaux 262 km (163 mi)   Plain stage   Guy Lapébie (FRA)
9 9 July Bordeaux to San Sebastián (Spain) 228 km (142 mi)   Plain stage   Louis Caput (FRA)
10 10 July San Sebastián (Spain) to Pau 192 km (119 mi)   Plain stage   Fiorenzo Magni (ITA)
11 July Pau Rest day
11 12 July Pau to Luchon 193 km (120 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Jean Robic (FRA)
12 13 July Luchon to Toulouse 134 km (83 mi)   Plain stage   Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL)
13 14 July Toulouse to Nîmes 289 km (180 mi)   Plain stage   Emile Idée (FRA)
14 15 July Nîmes to Marseille 199 km (124 mi)   Plain stage   Jean Goldschmidt (LUX)
15 16 July Marseille to Cannes 215 km (134 mi)   Plain stage   Désiré Keteleer (BEL)
17 July Cannes Rest day
16 18 July Cannes to Briançon 275 km (171 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Gino Bartali (ITA)
17 19 July Briançon to Aosta 257 km (160 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Fausto Coppi (ITA)
20 July Aosta Rest day
18 21 July Aosta to Lausanne 265 km (165 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Vincenzo Rossello (ITA)
19 22 July Lausanne to Colmar 283 km (176 mi)   Stage with mountain(s)   Raphaël Géminiani (FRA)
20 23 July Colmar to Nancy 137 km (85 mi)   Mountain time trial   Fausto Coppi (ITA)
21 24 July Nancy to Paris 340 km (211 mi)   Plain stage   Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL)
Total 4,808 km (2,988 mi)[9]

Race overviewEdit

Roger Lambrecht winning the second stage ahead of Jacques Marinelli at Heysel Stadium in Brussels

In the early stages, Bartali and Coppi both lost time. Before the fifth stage, Coppi and Bartali both were not in the top fifteen of the general classification.[10]

In that fifth stage, Coppi escaped together with the leader of the general classification, Jacques Marinelli. When they were leading by 6 minutes, Coppi and Marinelli fell in Mouen.[1] Marinelli was not hurt and could continue, but Coppi's bike was broken. The Italian team car offered him a new one, but Coppi refused because he wanted his personal spare bike, and threatened to quit the race.

When Bartali reached Coppi, he saw the problem, and waited. Even later, the Italian team captain Binda arrived with Coppi's spare bike, and Bartali and Coppi started to ride. Coppi started to slow down, complaining he was hungry and exhausted. Bartali decided he could not wait anymore, and rode away from Coppi. Coppi came in 18 minutes late that stage.[10] Later that night, it became clear that Coppi had been angry because the team leader had not been following him, even though he was in the leading group. Coppi did not want to race in a team where Bartali and not he was the leader. Binda tried to convince Coppi that he had been delayed, and he succeeded in keeping Coppi in the race.[10]

In the Alps, Coppi recovered. In the sixteenth stage, Coppi escaped, and only Bartali followed him. It was Bartali's 35th birthday, and Coppi gave Bartali the stage victory.[11] After that stage, Bartali was first in the general classification, with Coppi in second place, 82 seconds behind. In stage 17, Bartali and Coppi again were leading together. Around 40 km into the stage, Bartali punctured. Coppi waited for Bartali, but when Bartali later fell and twisted his ankle, team leader Binda allowed Coppi to take off alone.[1] Coppi did so, won the stage, and decided the race.[12]

That seventeenth stage finished in the Italian town Aosta. Many Italians had come to see the Tour de France, to cheer on their Italian heroes Coppi and Bartali but also to express their anger against the French cyclists, specifically Jean Robic, who had said in an interview that he could beat those Italians easily. Insults were shouted against non-Italians in the Tour, and some windows of French cars were smashed. For safety, and because there were not enough telephone connections for the journalists, most Tour officials and journalists decided to spend the night in Switzerland.[13]

When the Tour returned to France in the nineteenth stage to Colmar, some French spectators took revenge by throwing tomatoes and rocks towards the Italian cyclists and followers. The organisation apologised for this behavior, and the Italian cyclists accepted this apology.[14]

In the rest of the race, Coppi's lead was not endangered; Coppi won the mountain time trial in stage 20, and won the Tour with a margin of more than ten minutes over Bartali.

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.[15] Of the 120 cyclists, 55 finished the race.

Points for the mountains classification were earned by reaching the mountain tops first.[16] There were two types of mountain tops: the hardest ones, in category 1, gave 10 points to the first cyclist, the easier ones, in category 2, gave 5 points to the first cyclist, and the easiest ones, in category 3, gave 3 points.

The team classification was calculated by adding the times in the general classification of the best three cyclists per team.[17] The Italy Cadets and Switzerland finished with two cyclists each, so they were not eligible for this classification.

The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given in honour of Tour founder Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass a point by his final residence, the "Villa Mia" in Beauvallon, Grimaud, on the French Riviera on stage 15. This prize was won by Paul Giguet.[18][19] The special award for the best regional rider was won by third-placed Jacques Marinelli.[2]

Classification leadership by stage[20]
Stage Winner General classification
Mountains classification[a] Team classification
1 Marcel Dussault Marcel Dussault no award Belgium
2 Roger Lambrecht Roger Lambrecht
3 Norbert Callens Norbert Callens
4 Lucien Teisseire Jacques Marinelli France
5 Ferdinand Kübler Île-de-France
6 Adolphe Deledda
7 Fausto Coppi
8 Guy Lapébie
9 Louis Caput
10 Fiorenzo Magni Fiorenzo Magni
11 Jean Robic Fausto Coppi Italy
12 Rik Van Steenbergen
13 Emile Idée
14 Jean Goldschmidt
15 Désiré Keteleer Île-de-France
16 Gino Bartali Gino Bartali Italy
17 Fausto Coppi Fausto Coppi
18 Vincenzo Rossello
19 Raphaël Géminiani
20 Fausto Coppi
21 Rik Van Steenbergen
Final Fausto Coppi Fausto Coppi Italy

Final standingsEdit

General classificationEdit

Final general classification (1–10)[21]
Rank Rider Team Time
1   Fausto Coppi (ITA) Italy 149h 40' 49"
2   Gino Bartali (ITA) Italy + 10' 55"
3   Jacques Marinelli (FRA) Île-de-France + 25' 13"
4   Jean Robic (FRA) West/North + 34' 28"
5   Marcel Dupont (BEL) Belgium Aiglons + 38' 59"
6   Fiorenzo Magni (ITA) Italy Cadets + 42' 10"
7   Stan Ockers (BEL) Belgium + 44' 35"
8   Jean Goldschmit (LUX) Luxembourg + 47' 24"
9   Apo Lazaridès (FRA) France + 52' 28"
10   Pierre Cogan (FRA) West/North + 1h 08' 55"

Mountains classificationEdit

Final mountains classification (1–9)[22]
Rank Rider Team Points
1   Fausto Coppi (ITA) Italy 81
2   Gino Bartali (ITA) Italy 68
3   Jean Robic (FRA) West/North 64
4   Apo Lazaridès (FRA) France 48
5   Lucien Lazaridès (FRA) France 29
6   Stan Ockers (BEL) Belgium 22
7   Giuseppe Tacca (FRA) Île-de-France 16
  Jacques Marinelli (FRA) Île-de-France
9   Raphaël Géminiani (FRA) France 14
  André Brulé (FRA) Île-de-France

Team classificationEdit

Final team classification[1][23]
Rank Team Time
1 Italy 450h 35' 23"
2 West/North + 2h 10' 21"
3 Luxembourg + 2h 18' 16"
4 France + 2h 33' 08"
5 Île-de-France + 2h 41' 36"
6 Belgium + 3h 00' 13"
7 Belgium Aiglons + 3h 21' 25"
8 South-East + 5h 49' 25"
9 Centre/South-West + 8h 15' 30"


As Coppi had also won the 1949 Giro d'Italia, he became the first person to achieve the Giro-Tour double.[1]

After the unrest in Aosta and Colmar, there were doubts if the Italian cyclists would return in 1950, and if that Tour should pass through Italy again.[24] At the start of the 1950 Tour de France, the Italian team was present and the Tour was scheduled to go through Italy, but after further incidents the Italian team left the race, and the stage through Italy was rerouted.

Coppi would go on to repeat the Giro-Tour double in 1952.


  1. ^ No jersey was awarded to the leader of the mountains classification until a white jersey with red polka dots was introduced in 1975.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e James, Tom (14 August 2003). "1949: Coppi's double". Veloarchive. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Augendre 2016, p. 40.
  3. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1939 – The starters". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b "36ème Tour de France 1949" [36th Tour de France 1949]. Mémoire du cyclisme (in French). Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  5. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 178.
  6. ^ "Bartali-Coppi onweerwolk boven Tour de France" [Bartali-Coppi storm cloud above Tour de France]. de Volkskrant (in Dutch). 30 June 1949. p. 3 – via Delpher.
  7. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC top ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  8. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1939 – The stage winners". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  9. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 109.
  10. ^ a b c McGann & McGann 2006, pp. 159–165.
  11. ^ "Rider biographies - Fausto Coppi". Cycling hall of fame. Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  12. ^ "The Tour - Year 1949". Amaury Sport Organisation. 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  13. ^ "De ronde van Frankrijk: wanorderlijke taferelen" [Tour de France: disorderly scenes]. Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (in Dutch). Delpher. 21 July 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  14. ^ "De Fransen: oog om oog, tand om tand" [The French: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth]. De Gooi- en Eemlander (in Dutch). 23 July 1949. p. 5. Retrieved 5 March 2018 – via Delpher.
  15. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–453.
  16. ^ a b Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 454.
  17. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 455.
  18. ^ "Apo Lazaridès verovert 12 minuten op Bartali en Coppi" [Apo Lazaridès conquers 12 minutes on Bartali and Coppi]. De Volkskrant (in Dutch). 18 July 1949. p. 3 – via Delpher.
  19. ^ Seray & Lablaine 2006, p. 84.
  20. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Informatie over de Tour de France van 1949" [Information about the Tour de France from 1949]. TourDeFranceStatistieken.nl (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  21. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1949 – Stage 21 Nancy > Paris". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Coppi è il drappo svettante di una baniera impugnata da Bartali" [Coppi and the towering drape of a basket held by Bartali]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 25 July 1949. p. 2. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Terminó la Vuelta a Francia" (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 25 July 1947. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 March 2016.
  24. ^ "Geminiani en Goasmat brachten vuur in etappe naar Colmar" [Geminiani and Goasmat put fire into the stage to Colmar]. De Gooi- en Eemlander (in Dutch). 23 July 1949. p. 5. Retrieved 5 March 2018 – via Delpher.


External linksEdit

  Media related to 1949 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons