Apo Lazaridès, French, 1925 - 1998
In 1946 Apo Lazaridès won ‘La Course du Tour de France’, a stage race organised by the group who went on to run the subsequent Tours de France. The race lasted five days and ran from Monaco to Paris. All of which kind-of qualifies it as the first post-war Tour.
It is easy to underestimate the achievement of organising a stage race in the the chaos of France in 1946. For example, it is now generally accepted that, during and immediately after the liberation of France, 10,000 French people were summarily executed for collaborating with the Nazis, with a further 6,000 formally sentenced to death by the courts. L’Auto, the newspaper that invented the Tour and ran the pre-war Tours, had been taken over by Germans and had taken a pro-German collaborationist line during the Occupation. For the crime of collaborating, L’Auto was immediately closed down on liberation. In this feverish atmosphere, the now unemployed, French, L’Auto journalists formed a new paper, L’Équipe, and set about trying to recreate the famous race - starting with the 1946 ‘La Course du Tour de France’.
This is a particularly fine photograph of Apo Lazaridès in Luchon in the 1949 Tour de France. The text on the back says something like:
“In Luchon, Apo Lazaridès shows a fan the ankle injury caused by contact, which was a little too rough, with a following car on the descent of the Peyresourde.”
You would have to say that, on the basis of this photo, our Apo does not quite have the thighs of Sir Chris Hoy.
In terms of derailleurs, I believe that Apo Lazaridès won ‘La Course du Tour de France’ using a Simplex Champion du Monde Type 46.