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Philippe Thys
Personal information
Full name Philippe Thys
Date of birth October 8, 1890(1890-10-08)
Date of death January 16, 1971 (aged 80)
Country  Belgium
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Major wins
Tour de France (3x)
Infobox last updated on:
May 23, 2008

Philippe Thys (October 8, 1890 - January 16, 1971) was a Belgian cyclist and a three-time champion of the Tour de France. He was born in Brussels.


Professional career

In 1910, Thys won Belgium's first national cyclo-cross championship. The following year he was victorious in the Circuit Francais Peugeot followed by stage races from Paris to Toulouse and Paris to Turin. He was rewarded with a professional contract which gave him the opportunity to compete in the Tour de France.

Thys went on to win the Tour de France in 1913. During the race, his bicycle fork broke and he convinced a bicycle shop owner to fix it for him en route. Although the repair cost him a 10 minute penalty, he was still able to prevail in Paris with a lead of just under nine minutes.[1] When Eugene Christophe broke his fork on the way to Luchon, he rode awat to win the stage and take over the overall lead. However, it all looked lost when Marcel Buysse overtook him the following day in the general classification. Another broken fork on the way to Nice gifted Thys the lead once more but the drama continued when he fell on the penultimate stage from Longwy to Dunkirk. Despite being knocked out cold and being penalised for receiving help from his teammates to repair his bike, he finished 8 minutes and 37 seconds ahead of second-placed Gustave Garrigou with Buysse finishing third.

In 1914 his win owed more to his own attacking efforts than to the equipment failure of others as he took his first stage victory to Le Havre, holding the race from start to finish despite incurring a thirty minute penalty for an unauthorised wheel change on the penultimate stage. However, with his lead cut to less than two minutes ahead of Henri Pelissier, his victory looked less than certain. 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 regain the title.

In 1917, Thys won Paris-Tours and the Giro di Lombardia. In 1918, he also captured the second and last Tours-Paris event, a race that was held from Tours to Paris in addition to the usual Paris to Tours race.

After World War I, Thys won for a third and final time in 1920. After taking the lead after the second stage, he again held it until the bitter end with 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.

Known as an intelligent and thoughtful man who maintained a grueling training regimen, 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 to identify himself as the leader of the Tour, although that distinction is more commonly attributed to the Frenchman Eugène Christophe.

Major achievements

BelgiumBelgium National Cyclo-cross Championships
1913 Tour de FranceJersey yellow.svg1st overall and 1 stage win
1914 Tour de FranceJersey yellow.svg1st overall and 1 stage win
Giro di Lombardia
Tours-Paris (see race notes for details)
1920 Tour de FranceJersey yellow.svg1st 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 timeline

1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1924
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)
DSQ Disqualified
N/A Race/classification not held
NR Not Ranked in this classification

External links


  1. ^ "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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