1955 Tour de France

1955 Tour de France
Route of the 1955 Tour de France
Followed clockwise, starting in Le Havre and finishing in Paris
Race details
Dates 7–30 July
Stages 22
Distance 4,495 km (2,793 mi)
Winning time 130h 29' 26"
Winner  Louison Bobet (FRA) (France)
Second  Jean Brankart (BEL) (Belgium)
Third  Charly Gaul (LUX) (Luxembourg/Mixed)

Points  Stan Ockers (BEL) (Belgium)
Mountains  Charly Gaul (LUX) (Luxembourg/Mixed)
Team France

The 1955 Tour de France was the 42nd Tour de France, taking place from 7 to 30 July. It consisted of 22 stages over 4,495 km (2,793 mi). The race was won by Louison Bobet, the last of his three consecutive wins.


The 1955 Tour de France saw the introduction of the photo finish.[1]


For a more comprehensive list, see List of teams and cyclists in the 1955 Tour de France.

As was the custom since the 1930 Tour de France, the 1955 Tour de France was contested by national and regional teams. Eight national teams were sent, with 10 cyclists each from France, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and a mixed team consisting of Luxembourgian, Austrian, German and Australian cyclists. France additionally sent five regional teams from 10 cyclists each, divided into Center-North East France, West France, South East France, Île-de-France and South West France.[1][2] In total, 120 cyclists started the race.[1] The mixed team included cyclists from West-Germany, which was the 1955 Tour was the first since the Second World War that German cyclists rode the Tour.[3] The Great Britain team was the first British team in Tour history.[4]

The teams entering the race were:

  • France
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Great Britain
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg/Internationals (combined)
  • Switzerland
  • France Île-de-France
  • France North-East/Centre
  • France West
  • France South-East
  • France South-West

Pre-race favourites

Louison Bobet, the winner of the 1953 Tour de France and the 1954 Tour de France, had done an aggressive preparation in the early season before the Tour de France, aiming for his third victory.[5] Bobet was the main favourite, also because he was the world champion.[4]

Route and stages

Stage characteristics and winners[1][3][6]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
1a 7 July Le Havre to Dieppe 102 km (63 mi) Plain stage  Miguel Poblet (ESP)
1b Dieppe 12.5 km (8 mi) Team time trial  Netherlands
2 8 July Dieppe to Roubaix 204 km (127 mi) Plain stage  Antonin Rolland (FRA)
3 9 July Roubaix to Namur (Belgium) 210 km (130 mi) Plain stage  Louison Bobet (FRA)
4 10 July Namur (Belgium) to Metz 225 km (140 mi) Plain stage  Willy Kemp (LUX)
5 11 July Metz to Colmar 229 km (142 mi) Plain stage  Roger Hassenforder (FRA)
6 12 July Colmar to Zürich (Switzerland) 195 km (121 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
7 13 July Zürich (Switzerland) to Thonon-les-Bains 267 km (166 mi) Plain stage  Jos Hinsen (NED)
8 14 July Thonon-les-Bains to Briançon 253 km (157 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Charly Gaul (LUX)
9 15 July Briançon to Monaco 275 km (171 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Raphaël Géminiani (FRA)
10 16 July Monaco to Marseille 240 km (149 mi) Plain stage  Lucien Lazaridès (FRA)
11 18 July Marseille to Avignon 198 km (123 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Louison Bobet (FRA)
12 19 July Avignon to Millau 240 km (149 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Alessandro Fantini (ITA)
13 20 July Millau to Albi 205 km (127 mi) Plain stage  Daan de Groot (NED)
14 21 July Albi to Narbonne 156 km (97 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Louis Caput (FRA)
15 22 July Narbonne to Ax-les-Thermes 151 km (94 mi) Plain stage  Luciano Pezzi (ITA)
16 24 July Ax-les-Thermes to Toulouse 123 km (76 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL)
17 25 July Toulouse to Saint-Gaudens 250 km (155 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Charly Gaul (LUX)
18 26 July Saint-Gaudens to Pau 205 km (127 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jean Brankart (BEL)
19 27 July Pau to Bordeaux 195 km (121 mi) Plain stage  Wout Wagtmans (NED)
20 28 July Bordeaux to Poitiers 243 km (151 mi) Plain stage  Jean Forestier (FRA)
21 29 July Châtellerault to Tours 68.6 km (43 mi) Individual time trial  Jean Brankart (BEL)
22 30 July Tours to Paris 229 km (142 mi) Plain stage  Miguel Poblet (ESP)
Total 4,495 km (2,793 mi)[7]

Race overview

Louison Bobet (pictured in 1951), winner of the general classification

The first part of the first stage was won by Miguel Poblet, who became the first Spanish cyclist to wear the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification.[4] The second and third stage saw small groups escaping from the peloton. In both stages, Wout Wagtmans and Antonin Rolland, one of Bobet's team mates, were present. Wagtmans became leader of the general classification, with Rolland in second place.[4]

The first attack that was important for the general classification was in the fourth stage. Rolland was part of a group of nine cyclist, that finished seven minutes before the rest. Rolland was the best-placed cyclist of those nine, and took the lead.[5]

In the seventh stage, Rolland briefly lost that lead, because a group including Wim van Est escaped and took more than seventeen minutes, which was just enough for Van Est to take over the lead. Van Est was sure to lose it in the next stage, which included high mountains.[4]

In that eighth stage, Charly Gaul attacked early in the stage. Gaul was more than 23 minutes behind in the general classification, but got over the mountains quickly and won with 13 minutes, which put him in third place.[5][8] In the ninth stage, Gaul tried to do the same again, and got over the first three mountains alone. But because of a crash on the second mountain he lost time, and did not win the stage; instead he even lost a few minutes.[4] During the eleventh stage, French cyclist Jean Malléjac collapsed and remained unconscious for 15 minutes. The Tour doctor who helped recognized that Malléjac's symptoms were the same as after taking too much amphetamine, and told the team doctors to be more careful with doping.[9] In that stage, Bobet got away on the Mont Ventoux and nobody was able to follow him. He reached the top alone, and from there descended to the finish, 6 minutes ahead of Rolland, who was still the race leader. Bobet jumped to the second place in the general classification.[5]

The next challenge for the general classification were the Pyrénees mountains. In stage 17, Gaul made the pace, and most cyclists could not follow. Bobet could hold on for a long time, but at the finish lost 84 seconds to Gaul. Because Rolland lost more than seven minutes, Bobet took the lead.[5]

In the eighteenth stage, it was again Gaul who attacked. This time, a small group including Bobet could follow him all the way. Rolland finished two minutes later, but was still in second place in the general classification.[10] The time trial in the 21st stage was won by Jean Brankart, who jumped to second place in the general classification. Rolland lost more than nine minutes, and dropped to the fifth place in the general classification.[11]

Bobet remained the leader, and his lead was not challenged in the last stage. Bobet became the first person in the Tour de France to win three Tours in a row.[5]

Classification leadership

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.

The points classification was calculated in the same way as in 1954, following the calculation method from the Tours de France from 1905 to 1912. Points were given according to the ranking of the stage: the winner received one points, the next cyclist two points, and so on. These points were added, and the cyclist with the least points was the leader of the points classification. In 1955, this was won by Stan Ockers.[1]

Points for the mountains classification were earned by reaching the mountain tops first. The system was almost the same as in 1954: 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 6 points to the first cyclist, and the easiest ones, in category 3, gave 3 points. Charly Gaul won this classification.[1]

The team classification was calculated as the sum of the daily team classifications, and the daily team classification was calculated by adding the times in the stage result of the best three cyclists per team. It was won by the French team. The British team and the regional South West France team finished with only two cyclists, so they were not eligible for the team classification.

In every stage, a jury gave points for the most combative cyclist. These votes were added in the combativity classification. At the end of the Tour de France, Charly Gaul won the classification.[3]

Classification leadership by stage
Stage Winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification Team classification
1a Miguel Poblet Miguel Poblet Miguel Poblet no award Île-de-France
1b Netherlands Wout Wagtmans Italy
2 Antonin Rolland Wout Wagtmans Île-de-France
3 Louison Bobet Belgium
4 Willy Kemp Antonin Rolland France
5 Roger Hassenforder Vincent Vitetta
6 André Darrigade
7 Jos Hinsen Wim van Est
8 Charly Gaul Antonin Rolland Charly Gaul
9 Raphaël Géminiani Miguel Poblet
10 Lucien Lazaridès Wout Wagtmans
11 Louison Bobet
12 Alessandro Fantini
13 Daan de Groot Wim van Est
14 Louis Caput
15 Luciano Pezzi Stan Ockers
16 Rik Van Steenbergen
17 Charly Gaul Louison Bobet
18 Jean Brankart
19 Wout Wagtmans
20 Jean Forestier
21 Jean Brankart
22 Miguel Poblet
Final Louison Bobet Stan Ockers Charly Gaul France

Final standings

General classification

Final general classification (1–10)[1]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Louison Bobet (FRA) France 130h 29' 26"
2  Jean Brankart (BEL) Belgium + 4' 53"
3  Charly Gaul (LUX) Luxembourg/Mixed + 11' 30"
4  Pasquale Fornara (ITA) Italy + 12' 44"
5  Antonin Rolland (FRA) France + 13' 18"
6  Raphaël Géminiani (FRA) France + 15' 01"
7  Giancarlo Astrua (ITA) Italy + 18' 13"
8  Stan Ockers (BEL) Belgium + 27' 13"
9  Alex Close (BEL) Belgium + 31' 10"
10  François Mahé (FRA) France + 36' 27"

Points classification

Final points classification (1–10)[12]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Stan Ockers (BEL) Belgium 322
2  Wout Wagtmans (NED) Netherlands 399
3  Miguel Poblet (ESP) Spain 409
4  Wim van Est (NED) Netherlands 415
5  Gilbert Bauvin (FRA) North East/Center France 483
6  Antonin Rolland (FRA) France 503
7  Alfred De Bruyne (BEL) Belgium 563
8  Alessandro Fantini (ITA) Italy 573.5
9  Bruno Monti (ITA) Italy 638.5
10  Raymond Impanis (BEL) Belgium 652.5

Mountains classification

Final mountains classification (1–10)[2][12]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Charly Gaul (LUX) Luxembourg/Mixed 84
2  Louison Bobet (FRA) France 70
3  Jean Brankart (BEL) Belgium 44
4  Antonio Gelabert (ESP) Spain 31
5  Giancarlo Astrua (ITA) Italy 30
6  Jesús Loroño (ESP) Spain 28
7  Jan Nolten (NED) Netherlands 24
7  Pasquale Fornara (ITA) Italy 24
9  Raphaël Géminiani (FRA) France 23
10  Gilbert Scodeller (FRA) North East/Center France 18

Team classification

Final team classification[12]
Rank Team Time
1 France 389h 10' 14"
2 Italy + 47' 33"
3 Belgium + 1h 54' 07"
4 Netherlands + 3h 11' 42"
5 North East/Center France + 3h 46' 48"
6 Spain + 4h 35' 38"
7 South East France + 5h 57' 07"
8 West France + 6h 06' 55"
9 Switzerland + 6h 45' 13"
10 Luxembourg/Mixed + 6h 49' 08"
11 Île-de-France + 7h 09' 08"

Combativity classification

Final combativity classification (1–5)[13]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Charly Gaul (LUX) Luxembourg/Mixed 256
2  Louison Bobet (FRA) France 220
3  Roger Hassenforder (FRA) North East/Center France 114
4  Jean Brankart (BEL) Belgium 112
5  Jean Stablinski (FRA) North East/Center France 107


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "42ème Tour de France 1955" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Tour-Giro-Vuelta". Tour-Giro-Vuelta.net. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  3. 1 2 3 Historical guide 2016, p. 46.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2006). The Story of the Tour De France. dog ear publishing. pp. 207–212. ISBN 978-1-59858-180-5. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Boyce, Barry (2004). "Bobet Times Three". Cyclingrevealed. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  6. Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCCBike.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  7. Historical guide 2016, p. 109.
  8. "42ème Tour de France 1955 - 8ème étape" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  9. Dimeo, Paul (2007). A history of drug use in sport 1876-1976: beyond good and evil. Routledge. p. 59. ISBN 0-415-35772-1.
  10. "42ème Tour de France 1955 - 17ème étape" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  11. "42ème Tour de France 1955 - 21ème étape" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  12. 1 2 3 "1955: 42e editie". Tourdefrance.nl. 30 December 2003. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  13. "Klassementen" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 1 August 1955. Retrieved 16 December 2009.


External links

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