Philippe Thys

Philippe Thys (Thijs)
Personal information
Full name Philippe Thijs
Nickname Le basset (The Basset Hound)[1]
Born (1889-10-08)8 October 1889
Anderlecht, Belgium
Died 16 January 1971(1971-01-16) (aged 81)
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
General Classification (1913, 1914, 1920)
13 Stages

One-day races and Classics

Giro di Lombardia (1917)
Paris–Tours (1917, 1918)
Infobox last updated on
23 May 2008

Philippe Thys (pronounced: [fi.lip tis]; Dutch: Philippe Thijs; 8 October 1889 16 January 1971) was a Belgian cyclist and three times winner of the Tour de France.

Professional career

In 1910, Thys won Belgium's first national cyclo-cross championship. The following year he won the Circuit Français Peugeot, followed by stage races from Paris to Toulouse and Paris to Turin. He turned professional to ride the Tour de France.

Thys won the Tour in 1913 despite breaking his bicycle fork and finding a bicycle shop to mend it. The repair cost him a 10-minute penalty but he won by just under nine minutes.[2] Thys took the stage and the race lead when Eugène Christophe broke his fork on the way to Luchon. Marcel Buysse overtook him in the results the following day. Another broken fork on the way to Nice gave Thys the lead again but drama continued when he fell on the penultimate stage from Longwy to Dunkirk. Despite being knocked out and being penalised for help from teammates to repair his bike, he won 8 minutes and 37 seconds ahead of Gustave Garrigou, with Buysse third.

In 1914, he took his first stage victory, to Le Havre, holding the race from start to finish despite a 30-minute penalty for an unauthorised wheel change on the penultimate stage. His victory looked uncertain, his lead cut to less than two minutes ahead of Henri Pélissier. Ironically, on the final stage from Dunkirk to Paris, the Frenchman's supporters along the route who were expecting victory over the Belgian were the reason he was prevented from launching a breakaway. He won the stage but Thys finished on his wheel to win the Tour.

In 1917, Thys won Paris–Tours and the Giro di Lombardia. In 1918, he also won the second and last Tours–Paris. After World War I, Thys won the Tour a third and final time in 1920. He led from the second stage, Henri Desgrange writing "France is not unaware that, without the war, the crack rider from Anderlecht would be celebrating not his third Tour, but his fifth or sixth".

Not until 1955 did Louison Bobet equal Thys's record, and not until 1963 did Jacques Anquetil break it with four wins. Thys also rode in the 1922 Tour, winning five stages, and in the 1924 Tour, winning two stages.

Thys was one of a generation of cyclists whose careers were disrupted by the First World War. After retiring, he recalled that he had been asked by his manager, Alphonse Baugé, to wear a yellow jersey as leader of the Tour, although that distinction is more commonly attributed to Eugène Christophe.

Career achievements

Major results

BelgiumNational cyclo-cross championship
1913 Tour de France 1st overall and 1 stage win
1914 Tour de France 1st overall and 1 stage win
Giro di Lombardia
Paris–Tours (see race notes for details)
1920 Tour de France 1st overall and 4 stage wins
Critérium des As
1922 Tour de France 5 stage wins
1924 Tour de France 2 stage wins (one tied with Théophile Beeckman)

Grand Tour results

1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925
Stages won
Tour 6 1 1 N/A N/A N/A N/A DNF-1 1 DNF-2 14 DNF-9 11 DNF-9
Stages won 0 1 1 0 4 0 5 0 2 0
Vuelta N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Stages won
1 Winner
2–3 Top three-finish
4–10 Top ten-finish
11– Other finish
DNE Did Not Enter
DNF-x Did Not Finish (retired on stage x)
DNS-x Did Not Start (no started on stage x)
DSQ Disqualified
N/A Race/classification not held
NR Not Ranked in this classification


  1. Vergne, Laurent (22 July 2015). "Cannibale, Chéri-pipi, Wookie, Andy torticolis… le Top 20 des surnoms mythiques du cyclisme" [Cannibal, Chéri-pipi, Wookie, Andy Torticollis... the Top 20 mythical nicknames of cycling]. Eurosport (in French). Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  2. "11ème Tour de France 1913" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
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