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Race details
Date Mid-October
Region Chevreuse to Loire, France
Type Classic one-day race
Organiser ASO
First edition 1896
Editions 102 (as of 2008)
First winner France Eugène Prévost
Most wins 3 wins:
Belgium Gustave Danneels
France Paul Maye
Belgium Guido Reybroeck
Germany Erik Zabel
Most recent Belgium Philippe Gilbert

Paris–Tours is a French single-day classic cycling race every October from the outskirts of Paris to the cathedral city of Tours It is a fairly flat course through the Chevreuse and Loire valleys; the highest point is 200m, at Le Gault-du-Perche. It is known as the “Sprinters Classic” because it frequently ends in a bunch sprint on the 3 km Avenue du Grammont, in Tours.



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.

Paris-Tours now starts in St-Arnould-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 du Grammont in Tours.

The route

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 and then to the present start at St-Arnould-en-Yvelines. 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 53x16 and 53x15, covering 246 km at a record 45.029kmh. 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, Erik Zabel winning in 2003 at 47.550kmh. It gave him the Ruban Jaune or "Yellow Riband" for the fastest speed in a classic.

Classic races and riders

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 Gustaf Daneels (1934, 1936, 1937), Paul Mayé (1941, 1942, 1945), Guido Reybroeck (1964, 1966, 1968) and Erik Zabel (1994, 2003, 2005).

Eddy Merckx never won Paris–Tours; he should have triumphed in 1968 but handed victory to team mate Guido Reybrouck, pulling out of the sprint, to thank him for help earlier in the season. Erik Zabel took his first big victory at Paris–Tours in 1994. Zabel won the Tour de France green jersey six times. He won Paris–Tours again in 2003 and 2005. Jacky Durand, Andrea Tafi, Marc Wauters, Richard Virenque and Erik Dekker 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

The Autumn Double refers to Paris–Tours and the Giro di Lombardia, run within a week of each other. The races are different - Lombardia is for climbers - making the double difficult. Only four have achieved it: Philippe Thys (Belgium) in 1917, van Looy in 1959, Dutchman Jo de Roo twice (1962-1963) and Belgian Philippe Gilbert in 2009.


Rider Team
1896 France Prevost, EugeneEugène Prévost (FRA)
1901 France Fischer, JeanJean Fischer (FRA)
1906 France Petit-Breton, LucienLucien Petit-Breton (FRA)
1907 France Passerieu, GeorgesGeorges Passerieu (FRA)
1908 France Beaugendre, OmerOmer Beaugendre (FRA)
1909 Luxembourg Faber, FrancoisFrançois Faber (LUX)
1910 Luxembourg Faber, FrancoisFrançois Faber (LUX)
1911 France Lapize, OctaveOctave Lapize (FRA)
1912 Belgium Heusghem, LouisLouis Heusghem (BEL)
1913 France Crupelandt, CharlesCharles Crupelandt (FRA)
1914 Switzerland Egg, OscarOscar Egg (SUI)
1917 Belgium Thys, PhilippePhilippe Thys (BEL)
1918 France Mantelet, CharlesCharles Mantelet (FRA)
1919 Belgium Tiberghien, HectorHector Tiberghien (BEL)
1920 France Christophe, EugeneEugène Christophe (FRA)
1921 France Pelissier, FrancisFrancis Pélissier (FRA)
1922 France Pelissier, HenriHenri Pélissier (FRA)
1923 Belgium Deman, PaulPaul Deman (BEL)
1924 Belgium Mottiat, LouisLouis Mottiat (BEL)
1925 Belgium Verschueren, DenisDenis Verschueren (BEL)
1926 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1927 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1928 Belgium Verschueren, DenisDenis Verschueren (BEL)
1929 Luxembourg Frantz, NicolasNicolas Frantz (LUX)
1930 France Marechal, JeanJean Maréchal (FRA)
1931 France Leducq, AndreAndré Leducq (FRA)
1932 France Moineau, JulesJules Moineau (FRA)
1933 France Merviel, JulesJules Merviel (FRA)
1934 Belgium Danneels, GustaveGustave Danneels (BEL)
1935 France Greves, Rene LeRené Le Grèves (FRA)
1936 Belgium Danneels, GustaveGustave Danneels (BEL)
1937 Belgium Danneels, GustaveGustave Danneels (BEL)
1938 Italy Rossi, JulesJules Rossi (ITA)
1939 Belgium Bonduel, FransFrans Bonduel (BEL)
1941 France Maye, PaulPaul Maye (FRA)
1942 France Maye, PaulPaul Maye (FRA)
1943 France Gaudin, GabrielGabriel Gaudin (FRA)
1944 France Teisseire, LucienLucien Teisseire (FRA)
1945 France Maye, PaulPaul Maye (FRA)
1946 Belgium Schotte, AlbericAlberic Schotte (BEL)
1947 Belgium Schotte, AlbericAlberic Schotte (BEL)
1948 France Caput, LouisLouis Caput (FRA)
1949 Belgium Ramon, AlbertAlbert Ramon (BEL)
1950 France Mahe, AndreAndré Mahé (FRA)
1951 France Dupont, JacquesJacques Dupont (FRA)
1952 France Guegan, RaymondRaymond Guegan (FRA)
1953 Belgium Schils, JosJos Schils (BEL)
1954 France Scodeller, GilbertGilbert Scodeller (FRA)
1955 France Dupont, JacquesJacques Dupont (FRA)
1956 France Bouvet, AlbertAlbert Bouvet (FRA)
1957 Belgium Bruyne, Fred DeFred De Bruyne (BEL)
1958 Belgium Desmet, GilbertGilbert Desmet (BEL)
1959 Belgium Looy, Rik VanRik Van Looy (BEL)
1960 Netherlands Haan, Jo deJo de Haan (NED)
1961 Belgium Wouters, JosJos Wouters (BEL)
1962 Netherlands Roo, Jo deJo de Roo (NED)
1963 Netherlands Roo, Jo deJo de Roo (NED)
1964 Belgium Reybroeck, GuidoGuido Reybroeck (BEL)
1965 Netherlands Karstens, GerbenGerben Karstens (NED)
1966 Belgium Reybroeck, GuidoGuido Reybroeck (BEL)
1967 Belgium Looy, Rik vanRik van Looy (BEL)
1968 Belgium Reybroeck, GuidoGuido Reybroeck (BEL)
1969 Belgium Springel, Herman VanHerman Van Springel (BEL)
1970 Germany Tschan, JurgenJürgen Tschan (GER)
1971 Belgium Linden, Rik vanRik van Linden (BEL)
1972 Belgium Vantyghem, NoelNoël Vantyghem (BEL)
1973 Belgium Linden, Rik vanRik van Linden (BEL)
1974 Italy Moser, FrancescoFrancesco Moser (ITA)
1975 Belgium Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL)
1976 Belgium Dewitte, RonaldRonald Dewitte (BEL)
1977 Netherlands Zoetemelk, JoopJoop Zoetemelk (NED)
1978 Netherlands Raas, JanJan Raas (NED)
1979 Netherlands Zoetemelk, JoopJoop Zoetemelk (NED)
1980 Belgium Willems, DanielDaniel Willems (BEL)
1981 Netherlands Raas, JanJan Raas (NED)
1982 Belgium Vandenbroucke, Jean-LucJean-Luc Vandenbroucke (BEL)
1983 Belgium Peeters, LudoLudo Peeters (BEL)
1984 Republic of Ireland Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)
1985 Belgium Peeters, LudoLudo Peeters (BEL)
1986 Australia Anderson, PhilPhil Anderson (AUS)
1987 Netherlands Poel, Adri van derAdri van der Poel (NED)
1988 Netherlands Pieters, PeterPeter Pieters (NED)
1989 Netherlands Nijdam, JelleJelle Nijdam (NED)
1990 Denmark Sorensen, RolfRolf Sørensen (DEN)
1991 Belgium Capiot, JohanJohan Capiot (BEL)
1992 Belgium Redant, HendrikHendrik Redant (BEL)
1993 Belgium Museeuw, JohanJohan Museeuw (BEL)
1994 Germany Zabel, ErikErik Zabel (GER)
1995 Italy Minali, NicolaNicola Minali (ITA)
1996 Italy Minali, NicolaNicola Minali (ITA)
1997 Ukraine Tchmil, AndreiAndrei Tchmil (UKR)
1998 France Durand, JackyJacky Durand (FRA)
1999 Belgium Wauters, MarcMarc Wauters (BEL)
2000 Italy Tafi, AndreaAndrea Tafi (ITA)
2001 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA)
2002 Denmark Piil, JakobJakob Piil (DEN)
2003 Germany Zabel, ErikErik Zabel (GER)
2004 Netherlands Dekker, ErikErik Dekker (NED) Rabobank
2005 Germany Zabel, ErikErik Zabel (GER)
2006 France Guesdon, FredericFrédéric Guesdon (FRA)
2007 Italy Petacchi, AlessandroAlessandro Petacchi (ITA)
2008 Belgium Gilbert, PhilippePhilippe Gilbert (BEL) La Française des Jeux
2009 Belgium Gilbert, PhilippePhilippe Gilbert (BEL) Silence-Lotto


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

The winners of Tours-Paris were:

Rider Team
1917 Belgium Deruyter, CharlesCharles Deruyter (BEL)
1918 Belgium Thys, PhilippePhilippe Thys (BEL)


  • European Cycling (The Twenty Greatest Races) - Noel Henderson ISBN 0-941950-20-4
  • A Century of Cycling - William Fotheringham ISBN 1-84000-654-4

External links


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