Tour de France memorabilia collection
All of these items contain authentic signatures. Many of the early items in this collection were
obtained directly from the great-granddaughter of  Henri Desgrange's personal secretary
An original signed and dated
letter from
Henri Desgrange, the  
father of the Tour de France.
Though the concept of the TdF
was not his, Henri Desgrange
brought the idea of the epic race
to life and was it's director from
its inception until 1936.
Jacques Goddet,  seen here in his
trademark khakis,succeeded
Desgrange as Tour director and
held the post until  1987, when
current Tour boss Jean Marie
Leblanc took over the
directorship of the Tour de France.
One of the legends of cycling,
Eugene Christophe was the first to
wear the coveted yellow jersey
signifying the race's leader. One of
the sport's most oft told stories
involves Christophe breaking his
forks on a mountain descent during
the 1913 edition. He walked 14 km
to a village forge to repair his
forks, and under the watchful eye
of Desgrange proceeded with the
repairs. Christophe asked a young
boy to operate the bellows, for
which Desgrange penalized
Christophe ten minutes for
receiving outside assistance, a
rules violation., in addition to the 4
hours Christophe lost while
repairing his forks.The race was
eventually won by Phillipe Thy
s. In
the 1919 Tour, Christophe once
again broke his forks while wearing
the new maillot jaune, with another
long walk to a forge and another
catastrophic drop in standings.
Jean-Marie Leblanc in
his racing days for
Team BIC
Eugene Christophe, first rider to wear the 'maillot
jaune' or yellow jersey signifying the race leader of
the Tour de France
Philippe Thys, winner of the
Tour de France, 1913, 1914, 1920
Rene Vietto holds a special place in Tour de France
lore with his act of selfless gallantry and team
For the 1934 Tour de France, the French team
included Georges Speicher, the 1933 TdF winner
and World Champion, Roger Lapebie, who would
win the Tour in 1937, and previous tour winner
Antonin Magne. Rene Vietto, just 20 years old and
a hotel busboy before turning pro, was a
controversial selection to the powerful French
team despite his proven climbing abilities. His role
was to be a domestique, or “servant” to the captain
of the team. Antonin Magne, wearing the yellow
jersey signifying the leader of the Tour, crashed on
Rene Vietto watches as the race
continues without him after giving a
wheel to team leader Magne
stage 15, badly wrecking his front wheel. Vietto dutifully stopped to give Magne his
front wheel and waited for the team support car to bring him a replacement wheel as
Magne continued on. The following day saw another big stage in the mountains;
Vietto was the first over the first two passes, slowing on the descents to allow his
team leader to catch up. Magne, however, had crashed once again. Vietto continued
on, unaware of Magne’s predicament, and the resulting time gap allowed him to
become the de facto race leader.  A course marshal on a motorcycle raced up to
Vietto to inform him that his team captain was on the side of the road, with
teammate Lapabie ahead, and the other teammates hopelessly behind the yellow
jersey.  In one of the most selfless acts of loyalty and sportsmanship ever seen in
any team sport, Vietto turned his bike around and rode back up the mountain into
the pack of descending riders, back to his fallen team leader in order to give Magne
his bike. Magne mounted Vietto’s bike and with the help of  a waiting Lapabie,
managed to close the gap to preserve his overall race lead and win the 1934 Tour.
Had Vietto continued to ride ahead the race lead would have been his, and would not
have been faulted in doing so, for there were six other teammates behind Magne
when he crashed. Rene Vietto would wear the yellow jersey in future races, but
would never go on to win the Tour de France. He would, however hold a special place
in the hearts of all those who admire true acts of sportsmanship and class
Antonin Magne, winner of
the 1934 Tour de France
Andre Leducq, 1930, 1932 Tour
de France winner
Roger Lapebie, 1937 Tour de
France winner
Georges Speicher, 1933 Tour
de France winner
Nicholas Frantz, 1927 and 1928
Tour de France winner
Romain Maes,
1935 Tour de
France winner
Leon Scieur, 1921 Tour de France winner