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 photo, from the cover of Miroir-Sprint from 30th July 1946, shows Apo Lazaridès (also called Jean Lazaridès) riding to victory in the 1946 ‘La Course du Tour de France’ (also called Monaco-Paris) using a Simplex Champion du Monde Type 46 derailleur (also called a Simplex Champion du Monde 46).