SportsMeat, sugar, wine, bananas, wheels ... this is how the Tour returned...

Meat, sugar, wine, bananas, wheels … this is how the Tour returned after the Second World War


The Netherlands team, shortly before the 1947 Tour starts.

To Jacques Goddet, who was accused of collaborating with the Nazis for having continued to publish in the newspaper L’Auto during the occupation some articles titled Savoir viteHe was saved by the fact that the printing press of his newspaper secretly made pamphlets for the Resistance. But the newspaper could not get out again. Appear L’Equipe, which is installed in an apartment in front of the offices of L’Auto. Two people, the prefect of Paris, André Kaouza, and the main inspector of Customs, Jean Capdeville, responsible for guarding the goods of the seized newspaper, will be key to the return of the Tour.

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Capdeville authorizes Goddet to return to the old offices. Then, he listens to their arguments: “If the Tour is not organized as quickly as possible, it will leave the bosom of L’Auto forever”. Kaouza sends that message to the government, which knows how important the race is for France. Finally, the authorities lift the seizure of the assets; the Tour can be reborn. This time three entities will be in charge of the organization: the society of the Park of the Princes, the newspaper L’Equipe Y Le Parisien Libéré, the newspaper created on August 22, 1944, three days before the liberation of Paris, by Émilien Amaury, a member of the Resistance. André Kaouza is appointed president.

Of course the problems are there. Two years have passed since the end of the War, but the French still use the ration card. The country is undergoing reconstruction, many roads remain unusable, but the organization continues to move forward. A budget of 500 million francs is proposed and the departure is set for June 25, 1947. Henri Manchon is appointed sports director and receives confirmation from Paul Ramadier, president of the Council of the Republic, that the Tour will not lack media.

The Tour asks and the authorities grant. First, 150 bikes. Manchon gets a ton of meat for the cyclists, 800 kilos of sugar and bananas, 30 hectoliters of wine, 250 pairs of wheels, 2,000 tubes, 350 pairs of sunglasses, 6,000 cans and 150 bags. In addition, it provides enough fuel for two daily plane trips: the one in the morning to transport the distinguished guests and the daily newspapers; and that of the night, to return the guests to Paris and transport the photographic reels that would be developed during the flight to deliver them to the newspapers for printing.

Manchon becomes the winner of the Tour and also obtains the loan of 30 cars, nine motorcycles, seven trucks, a bus, a Red Cross ambulance and a tanker truck. The days before departure, in L’Equipe the runners come to collect their things: accommodation vouchers, suitcases, T-shirts, glasses and caps. They fill out a form in which they indicate their marital status and their measurements, and then they go to the Winter Velodrome, where the Nazis concentrated the Jews before sending them to the death camps, and there they were given a bicycle and some tubulars. On June 25, 1947 the Tour returned.

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