The cycling champions during the First World War
With the democratization of the bicycle, cycling is before the War, the most popular sport in the France.
But the conflict will severely affect this sport. For example, the Tour de France that started on June 28th 1914 will not happen again until June 29th 1919.
The most famous French cyclists: Lucien Petit-Breton, François Faber and Octave Lapize, 3 winners of the Tour but also many other champions, known and unknown, professionals or not, were killed during this war.
Some champions as Marius Tea, Georges Lutz, Paul Rugère, Albert Delrieu and Emile Quaissard were shot during aircraft battles on the German lines.
Paul Gombault, also killed in aerial combat in June 1915, Emile Maitrot, Champion Amateurs Speed World in 1901, the English Tom Gascoyne, Léon Flameng, Olympic champion in 1896, victim of a plane crash in early 1917, and the promising Albert Tournié, shot 6 September 1918 during a dogfight.
Another famous cyclist Georges Boillot who won 60 to 65 races became the best world racer, was killed in a battle on May 19th 1916 near Verdun.
Roland Garros, became the first French school cycling champion at the university in 1906. He was shot down in his airplane on October 5th 1918 in Vouziers where his grave may be seen.
On German side, the list of famous cyclists killed during the 1st WW appears shorter, this is due to a deliberate policy of the German General Staff that sent less famous athletes on the front.
German cyclists killed:
- Demke Bruno killed on August 1916, Willy Honeman, Albert Rizenhaler, Willy Theiss, Josef Rieder, Paul Lüders, Opel Ludwig