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Maurice Brocco
Maurice Brocco.jpg
Personal information
Full name Maurice Brocco
Nickname Coco
Date of birth January 28, 1885(1885-01-28)
Date of death June 26, 1965 (aged 80)
Country  France
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Major wins
Paris-Brussels (1910)
One stage Tour de France
Infobox last updated on:
June 9, 2008

Maurice Brocco (Fismes, 28 January 1885 – Erigné, 26 June 1965) was a French professional road bicycle racer between 1906 and 1927. In 1911 he won a stage in the Tour de France. He participated six times in the Tour de France, but finished the race only once. In his later career he was successful in six-day races.

In the 1911 Tour de France, Brocco did not finish the ninth stage. Brocco then profited from a rule that allowed riders who did not finish a stage to continue racing, without competing for the general classification. The next stage was won by Brocco. Brocco was the only cyclist to profit from that rule, as it was abolished afterwards. He would eventually be disqualified and lost his stagewin.

Contents

Origin of 'domestique'

A domestique in cycling is a rider employed to sacrifice his own chances for those of his leader. That is an accepted role today but was against the rules in the first decades of the Tour de France, when riders had to ride for themselves and not help or be helped by others. The word was first used in cycling as an insult for Brocco, [1], in 1911. It happened on the stage he won in 1911.

Brocco's chances ended when he lost time on the day to Chamonix. Unable to win, he next day offered his services to other riders, for which he had a reputation[1] François Faber was in danger of being eliminated for taking too long and the two came to a deal. Brocco waited for Faber and paced him to the finish. Henri Desgrange, the organiser and chief judge, wanted to disqualify him for breaking the rules. But he had no proof and feared Brocco would appeal to the national cycling body, the Union Vélocipédique Française. He limited himself to scorn in his newspaper, L'Auto, writing: "He is unworthy. He is no more than a domestique."

Next morning Brocco greeted Desgrange with: "Today, monsieur, we are going to settle our accounts." He won the day by 34 minutes. Desgrange followed him and the yellow jersey, Gustave Garrigou as they climbed the Tourmalet. "So, am I forbidden to ride with him?", Brocco shouted. On the following mountain, the Aubisque, he dropped Garrigou, passed Paul Duboc, who had been poisoned and was in agony beside the road, and took the lead with Émile Georget. Desgrange was still watching.

"Alors, quoi," Brocco shouted, "do I have the right to stay with him?" And then he rode off alone and won. He had made two points to Desgrange. The first was that he was a talented rider and not a servant. The second was that he had so much talent that his poor riding with Faber could only have been through a commercial arrangement. Desgrange said that any rider with such flair had clearly been selling the race.[2],

"He deserves his punishment," Desgrange wrote. "Immediate disqualification."

  • Domestiques had long been accepted in other races. Desgrange believed the Tour should be a race of individuals and fought repeatedly with the sponsors, bicycle factories, who saw it otherwise. Desgrange got rid of the factories' influence only by reorganising the Tour for national teams in 1930, with the effect that he thereby acknowledged teamwork and therefore domestiques.

Palmarès

1908
Hervé - Tienen - Hervé
Rennes - Brest
1910
Paris-Brussels
1911
Tour de France:
Winner stage 10
1914
Paris-Nancy
1920
Six days of New York
1921
Six days of New York
1923
Six days of Chicago
1924
Six days of New York

References

  1. ^ a b Chany, Pierre, (1988), La Fabuleuse Histoire du Tour de France, La Martinière, France, p131
  2. ^ Chany, Pierre, (1988), La Fabuleuse Histoire du Tour de France, La Martinière, France, p132

External links

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