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Take Me Back to Montluçon

Stage 22, Montluçon to Paris, a long, flat stage - supposedly ceremonial

ChaptersLunch in the Heart of France (Almost)Twenty MenA Warm Welcome for WalkoClassement Lunch In The Heart of France (Almost) Bruère-Allichamps is the very heart of France. Its geographical centre. Like many towns of the region, it is a drive-through town. A place you stop if you’re unfortunate enough to run out of petrol, or if […]

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Leave Me Here In Montluçon, My Dear

Stage 21, Lyon to Montluçon, 331km - mostly flat with the Col de Luère the final opportunity for mountains points

Chapters The Heat and the ColdOne Crazy Last EscapadeLes Dames WalkowiakLeave Me Here in MontluçonSauveur Ducazeaux’s Long Night InLes IvrognesClassement Soundtrack Litanies Pour Un Retour, Jacques BrelL’Ivrogne, Jacques Brel The Heat and the Cold It is hot. It has been hot for weeks, now, at least in these parts. A Tour that started under grey […]

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Déjeuner sur l'herbe, or Walko's Time Trials

Stage 19, a time trial from Saint-Etienne to Lyon over 73km

Chapters30 Seconds’ SleepTime Trials – Not For EveryoneBienvenue au ButWondering About WalkoClassement SoundtrackLe Jour Le Plus Long – Annie Cordy 30 Seconds’ Sleep Sauveur knew that his rider had barely slept. He didn’t need to look at his pallid, drawn face, or the bloodshot eyes. He’d been asleep half the night listening to Walkowiak tossing […]

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The Crash, The Bandit, The Pursuit

Stage 19, Grenoble to Saint-Etienne, including the climb of the Oeillon

Chapters ConjectureCometh The MomentThe ChaseTop Gun & BidotClassement Soundtrack La Chasse aux Papillons, Georges Brassens Conjecture While Walko has been having his doubts, there are others who – whisper it – are not convinced that he could, or even should, win the Tour de France. Some reasons: The man is a water-carrier who got lucky […]

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The Attack They All Missed

Stage 18, Turin to Grenoble, including Mont-Cenis, col de la Croix de Fer, and the Luitel

ChaptersA Time To Say GoodbyeGaston’s CurseThe Attack They MissedWalko’s DoubtsClassement SoundtrackSa Jeunesses Entre Ses Mains, Charles Aznavour A Time To Say Goodbye There comes a time in every Tour to say goodbye. Yesterday, we said goodbye rather early on in the proceedings to Nello Laurédi, who was sharply and unceremoniously returned to the middling ambitions […]

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The Revival of Charly Gaul, and the Man Who Wasn't There

Stage 17, Gap to Turin, including the climbs of the Izoard, Mont Génèvre and Sestriere.

Chapters Welcome to IzoardLe Jeune VieuxThe Man Who Wasn’t ThereClassement Soundtrack La quete, Jacques Brel “The Tour de France is over. Now we’ve got a Six Day race…” Roger Hassenforder Welcome to Izoard Roger Hassenforder is not often quoted as a Tour de France sage. More of a goon, even though 1956 is proving to […]

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Dotto and Lerda Leave Laurédi In The Lurch

Stage 16, Aix-en-Provence to Gap, and the foothills of the Alps become the Alps themselves with three classified climbs

ChaptersThe Alps? Today?Nello’s IdiotsBahamontes Breaks FreeForestier’s PromiseClassement SoundtrackLe Diner de Cons, Vladimir Cosma & Philippe Catherine The Alps? Today? The Belgians needed the rest day perhaps more than anyone else. It is spoken in the corridors of the team hotels that fish was most definitely not on the menu that night, and indeed the Belgians […]

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The Physician, The Belgians, and the Fishy Excuses

Stage 15 - Montpellier to Aix-en-Provence, a transitional, flat stage across the south of France

Chapters Dumas Doesn’t UnderstandPills and BottlesTears of the Clown Soundtrack Je Suis Malade, Dalida Dumas Doesn’t Understand Pierre Dumas is not a cycling man. Four years ago, when on holiday climbing in the Alps, a call came. The Tour physician is sick. No, he couldn’t heal himself. Come quick. Damn, thought Dumas. I don’t care […]

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Little Louis and the Breakawee

Stage 14 - Toulouse to Montpellier, a break from the climbs of the Pyrenees and a flat stage for the sprinters

ChaptersP’tit Louis DecidesConstantine’s ErrorA Roger Hassenforder Type of DayCan I Not Have A Wazz?Hassen and De ClownClassement SoundtrackLes Copains D’Abord, Georges Brassens P’tit Louis Decides Louis Caput’s career is coming to an end. Mind you, they’ve been saying that for several years and despite these regular proclamations, ‘P’tit Louis’ rode over 30,000km last year including […]

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Treason Among The Tricolores

Stage 13, Luchon to Toulouse, including the climb of the Portet d'Aspet

ChaptersGilbert Bauvin, (Place Money Only)Belgium In ChargePunctures and FracturesClassement SoundtrackMon ami m’a trahi, Gilbert Becaud Gilbert Bauvin, (Place Money Only) Gilbert Bauvin. Were it not for Louison Bobet’s withdrawal and Jacques Anquetil’s decision not to ride the Tour, would Gilbert Bauvin have been in the French team at all? Probably not. He’d have been riding […]

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