Paris–Tours is a French one-day classic road cycling race held every October from the outskirts of Paris to the cathedral city of Tours. It is a predominantly flat course through the Chevreuse and Loire valleys; the highest point is 200 m, at Le Gault-du-Perche. It is known as a "Sprinters' Classic" because it frequently ends in a bunch sprint at the finish, in Tours. For several decades the race arrived on the 2.7 km long Avenue de Grammont, one of cycling's best-known finishing straits, particularly renowned among sprinters. Since 2011 the finish was moved to a different location because a new tram line was built on the Avenue de Grammont.[1]

Race details
RegionChevreuse to Loire, France
CompetitionUCI ProSeries
OrganiserAmaury Sport Organisation
Web Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1896 (1896)
Editions117 (as of 2023)
First winner Eugène Prévost (FRA)
Most wins
Most recent Riley Sheehan (USA)

History edit

Paris–Tours was first run for amateurs in 1896, making it one of the oldest cycling races in the world. It was organised by the magazine Paris-Vélo, which described that edition won by Eugène Prévost as, "A crazy, unheard of, unhoped for success". It was five years before the race was run again and a further five years (1906) before it became an annual event for professionals, with L'Auto as organiser. L’Auto ran the Tour de France (TDF) and Paris–Tours is still run by the Tour organiser, Amaury Sport Organisation.

The race was part of the UCI Road World Cup from 1989 to 2004, and the UCI ProTour from 2005 to 2007. From 2008 to 2019 it was part of the UCI Europe Tour before joining the UCI ProSeries in 2020.

Paris–Tours now starts in Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines 50km south-west of Paris, runs south-west towards Tours crossing the Loire at Amboise, then over several small climbs before the finish on the Avenue de Grammont in Tours

The route edit

Paris–Tours has had many route changes although the distance has remained about 250 km. The start was moved out of Paris in the early days, first to Versailles, then to at Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines. Since 2009, the route has started in the Department of Eure-et-Loir.[2] A loop through Chinon was added between 1919 and 1926 to make the approach to Tours hilly lanes on the south bank of the Loire and the total distance 342 km. Sprinters continued to dominate and in 1959 the organisers added three ascents of the Alouette Hill. It made little difference.

In 1965 dérailleurs were banned and riders were limited to two gears. The race was won by Dutch first-year professional Gerben Karstens who chose 53/16 and 53/15, covering 246 km at a record 45.029 km/h. The experiment was judged a failure when the 1966 race ended the same way as 1964.

The course was reversed and the route constantly changed between 1974 and 1987. It was sometimes known as the Grand Prix d'Automne and sometimes by the names of the start and finish towns. For many the event lost character as the race was run between Tours and Versailles (1974–75) Blois and Chaville (1976–77 and 1979–84), Blois to Autodrome de Montlhéry (1978) and Créteil to Chaville (1985–87). In 1988 the race reverted to its original Paris–Tours route.

The wind can often be hostile; in 1988 Peter Pieters averaged just 34kmh, slowest for 57 years. However, Paris–Tours becomes the fastest classic when the wind is behind the riders, Óscar Freire winning in 2010 at 47.730kmh. It gave him the Ruban Jaune or "Yellow Riband" for the fastest speed in a classic, in fact the Ruban Jaune has been awarded nine times (as of 2016) to riders winning Paris–Tours and posting the fastest time in a professional race.

The route for the 2018 edition of the race was changed radically with the race starting in Chartres and incorporating 12.5 kilometres' of unpaved gravel tracks inside the final 60 kilometres as the race winds it way around vineyards in the Tours area. Seven new punchy climbs were also included in the finale of the race which was reduced to a distance of 211 kilometres to compensate for the additional difficulties.[3]

Classic races and riders edit

The 1921 edition had blizzards. Half the field abandoned in Chartres. The winner, Francis Pélissier, punctured late in the race; his hands frozen, he tore the tyre off the rim with his teeth. Riding on the rim, he caught Eugène Christophe and soloed to the finish. Rik Van Looy won the 1959 race, the first to feature the Alouette Hill. One of the best sprinters of his day, Van Looy dropped two others on the second ascent and won alone.

The record for the most victories is three, held by Gustave Danneels (1934, 1936, 1937), Paul Maye (1941, 1942, 1945), Guido Reybrouck (1964, 1966, 1968) and Erik Zabel (1994, 2003, 2005).

Eddy Merckx never won Paris–Tours; he could have triumphed in 1968 but handed victory to teammate Guido Reybrouck, pulling out of the sprint, to thank him for help earlier in the season. Later, Noël Vantyghem (winner of the 1972 edition) said "Together with Eddy Merckx, I won all classics races that could be won. I won Paris-Tours, he the rest."[4]

Erik Zabel took his first big victory at Paris–Tours in 1994. He won Paris–Tours again in 2003 and 2005. Jacky Durand, Andrea Tafi, Marc Wauters, Richard Virenque, Erik Dekker and Philippe Gilbert (two times) have all won solo or from a small group, denying sprinters a chance. Virenque had just returned from a drugs ban. He broke away with Durand shortly after the start and stayed away despite Durand's dropping back outside Tours.

The Autumn Double edit

The Autumn Double refers to Paris–Tours and the Giro di Lombardia, considered cycling's most important classics in Autumn, run within a week of each other in October. The races are different – Lombardia is for climbers – making the double difficult. Only four have achieved it in the same year: Belgians Philippe Thys in 1917 and Rik Van Looy in 1959, Dutchman Jo de Roo twice (1962–1963) and Belgian Philippe Gilbert in 2009.

Results edit

List of winners edit

Avenue de Grammont in October, scene of the finish of Paris-Tours until 2010
Year Country Rider Team
1896   France Eugène Prévost individual
1901   France Jean Fischer individual
1906   France Lucien Petit-Breton Peugeot
1907   France Georges Passerieu Peugeot–Wolber
1908   France Omer Beaugendre Peugeot–Wolber
1909   Luxembourg François Faber Alcyon–Dunlop
1910   Luxembourg François Faber Alcyon–Dunlop
1911   France Octave Lapize La Française–Diamant
1912   Belgium Louis Heusghem Alcyon–Dunlop
1913   France Charles Crupelandt La Française–Diamant
1914    Switzerland Oscar Egg Peugeot–Lion
1917   Belgium Philippe Thys Peugeot–Wolber
1918   France Charles Mantelet individual
1919   Belgium Hector Tiberghien individual
1920   France Eugène Christophe individual
1921   France Francis Pélissier J.B. Louvet
1922   France Henri Pélissier J.B. Louvet
1923   Belgium Paul Deman O. Lapize
1924   Belgium Louis Mottiat Alcyon–Dunlop
1925   Belgium Denis Verschueren Wonder
1926    Switzerland Heiri Suter Olympique–Wolber
1927    Switzerland Heiri Suter Olympique–Wolber
1928   Belgium Denis Verschueren J.B. Louvet
1929   Luxembourg Nicolas Frantz Alcyon–Dunlop
1930   France Jean Maréchal Colin–Wolber
1931   France André Leducq Alcyon–Dunlop
1932   France Jules Moineau France Sport–Dunlop
1933   France Jules Merviel Colin–Wolber
1934   Belgium Gustave Danneels Alcyon–Dunlop
1935   France René Le Grevès Alcyon–Dunlop
1936   Belgium Gustave Danneels Alcyon–Dunlop
1937   Belgium Gustave Danneels Alcyon–Dunlop
1938   Italy Jules Rossi Alcyon–Dunlop
1939   Belgium Frans Bonduel Dilecta–Wolber
1941   France Paul Maye Alcyon–Dunlop
1942   France Paul Maye Alcyon–Dunlop
1943   France Gabriel Gaudin Peugeot–Dunlop
1944   France Lucien Teisseire France Sport–Dunlop
1945   France Paul Maye Alcyon–Dunlop
1946   Belgium Alberic Schotte Alcyon–Dunlop
1947   Belgium Alberic Schotte Alcyon–Dunlop
1948   France Louis Caput Olympia–Dunlop
1949   Belgium Albrecht Ramon Bertin–Wolber
1950   France André Mahé Stella–Dunlop
1951   France Jacques Dupont Peugeot–Dunlop
1952   France Raymond Guegan Gitane
1953   Belgium Jozef Schils Bianchi–Pirelli
1954   France Gilbert Scodeller Mercier–BP–Hutchinson
1955   France Jacques Dupont La Perle–Hutchinson
1956   France Albert Bouvet Mercier–BP–Hutchinson
1957   Belgium Fred De Bruyne Carpano–Coppi
1958   Belgium Gilbert Desmet Faema
1959   Belgium Rik Van Looy Faema
1960   Netherlands Jo de Haan Rapha–Gitane
1961   Belgium Joseph Wouters Solo–Terrot–Van Steenbergen
1962   Netherlands Jo de Roo Saint-Raphaël–Helyett–Hutchinson
1963   Netherlands Jo de Roo Saint-Raphaël–Gitane-Geminiani
1964   Belgium Guido Reybroeck Flandria–Romeo
1965   Netherlands Gerben Karstens Televizier
1966   Belgium Guido Reybroeck Romeo–Smith's
1967   Belgium Rik Van Looy Willem II–Gazelle
1968   Belgium Guido Reybroeck Faema
1969   Belgium Herman Van Springel Dr.Mann–Grundig
1970   West Germany Jürgen Tschan Peugeot–BP–Michelin
1971   Belgium Rik van Linden Hertekamp–Magniflex–Novy
1972   Belgium Noël Vantyghem Novy–Dubble Bubble
1973   Belgium Rik van Linden Rokado
1974   Italy Francesco Moser Filotex
1975   Belgium Freddy Maertens Flandria–Carpenter
1976   Belgium Ronald Dewitte Brooklyn
1977   Netherlands Joop Zoetemelk Gan–Mercier
1978   Netherlands Jan Raas TI–Raleigh
1979   Netherlands Joop Zoetemelk Gan–Mercier
1980   Belgium Daniel Willems IJsboerke–Warncke
1981   Netherlands Jan Raas TI–Raleigh
1982   Belgium Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke La Redoute
1983   Belgium Ludo Peeters TI–Raleigh
1984   Ireland Sean Kelly Skil–Sem
1985   Belgium Ludo Peeters Kwantum Hallen
1986   Australia Phil Anderson Panasonic
1987   Netherlands Adri van der Poel PDM–Concorde
1988   Netherlands Peter Pieters TVM–Van Schilt
1989   Netherlands Jelle Nijdam Superconfex–Yoko–Opel–Colnago
1990   Denmark Rolf Sørensen Ariostea
1991   Belgium Johan Capiot TVM–Sanyo
1992   Belgium Hendrik Redant Lotto–Mavic–MBK
1993   Belgium Johan Museeuw GB–MG Maglificio
1994   Germany Erik Zabel Team Telekom
1995   Italy Nicola Minali Gewiss-Ballan
1996   Italy Nicola Minali Gewiss-Playbus
1997   Ukraine Andrei Tchmil Lotto–Mobistar–Isoglass
1998   France Jacky Durand Casino–Ag2r
1999   Belgium Marc Wauters Rabobank
2000   Italy Andrea Tafi Mapei–Quick-Step
2001   France Richard Virenque Domo–Farm Frites
2002   Denmark Jakob Piil CSC–Tiscali
2003   Germany Erik Zabel Team Telekom
2004   Netherlands Erik Dekker Rabobank
2005   Germany Erik Zabel T-Mobile Team
2006   France Frédéric Guesdon Française des Jeux
2007   Italy Alessandro Petacchi Team Milram
2008   Belgium Philippe Gilbert Française des Jeux
2009   Belgium Philippe Gilbert Silence–Lotto
2010   Spain Oscar Freire Rabobank
2011   Belgium Greg Van Avermaet BMC Racing Team
2012   Italy Marco Marcato Vacansoleil–DCM
2013   Germany John Degenkolb Argos–Shimano
2014   Belgium Jelle Wallays Topsport Vlaanderen–Baloise
2015   Italy Matteo Trentin Etixx–Quick-Step
2016   Colombia Fernando Gaviria Etixx–Quick-Step
2017   Italy Matteo Trentin Quick-Step Floors
2018   Denmark Søren Kragh Andersen Team Sunweb
2019   Belgium Jelle Wallays Lotto–Soudal
2020   Denmark Casper Pedersen Team Sunweb
2021   France Arnaud Démare Groupama–FDJ
2022   France Arnaud Démare Groupama–FDJ
2023   United States Riley Sheehan Israel–Premier Tech

Multiple winners edit

Riders in italics are still active

Wins Rider Nationality Editions
3 Gustave Danneels   Belgium 1934 + 1936 + 1937
Paul Maye   France 1941 + 1942 + 1945
Guido Reybrouck   Belgium 1964 + 1966 + 1968
Erik Zabel   Germany 1994 + 2003 + 2005
2 François Faber   Luxembourg 1909 + 1910
Denis Verschueren   Belgium 1925 + 1928
Heiri Suter    Switzerland 1926 + 1927
Briek Schotte   Belgium 1946 + 1947
Jacques Dupont   France 1951 + 1955
Rik Van Looy   Belgium 1959 + 1967
Jo de Roo   Netherlands 1962 + 1963
Rik Van Linden   Belgium 1971 + 1973
Joop Zoetemelk   Netherlands 1977 + 1979
Jan Raas   Netherlands 1978 + 1981
Ludo Peeters   Belgium 1983 + 1985
Nicola Minali   Italy 1995 + 1996
Philippe Gilbert   Belgium 2008 + 2009
Matteo Trentin   Italy 2015 + 2017
Jelle Wallays   Belgium 2014 + 2019
Arnaud Démare   France 2021 + 2022

Wins per country edit

Wins Country
42   Belgium
33   France
12   Netherlands
9   Italy
5   Germany (including   West Germany)
4   Denmark
3   Luxembourg
1   Australia
  United States

Tours–Paris edit

In 1917 and 1918 a race was held from Tours–Paris as well as Paris–Tours.

The winners of Tours–Paris were:

Year Country Rider Team
1917   Belgium Charles Deruyter
1918   Belgium Philippe Thys

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Paris-Tours' last showdown on the Avenue de Grammont". October 10, 2010.
  2. ^ "Paris Tours 2013". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  3. ^ Gives details of 2018 route changes.
  4. ^ "70 Feitjes over jarige kannibaal Eddy Merckx" (in Dutch). Sportnieuws. 17 June 2015.

References edit

External links edit