DISRAELI DOCUMENTS

Miroir-Sprint

Miroir-Sprint was a sports weekly that was founded in Paris, France in May 1946. It continued publishing until 1971.

Its first editor was Guy de Boysson, who was a leading figure in the FTP, a communist organisation that fought alongside the French Resistance. Miroir-Sprint was, to some extent, created by French Communists to compete with L'Équipe, at the time a new magazine that was formed in February 1946 by the staff of L'Auto. L'Auto had, arguably, been the leading French sports magazine before the war. It was closed in 1944, by the new French government as punishment for collaborating with the Nazis, something that the staff blamed on the German owners. Many on the left, however, considered that the L'Auto staff themselves had much to answer for, and that the new L'Équipe should not be supported.

This tussle between the left and the right extended to the question of what was going to happen to the Tour de France. Before the Second World War the Tour had been organised by L'Auto, but when this magazine was closed its assets, including the rights to the Tour, were seized by the government. Both Miroir-Sprint and L'Équipe wanted to be granted control of the famous race, and in 1946 both organised stage races in an attempt to convince the govenment to give them the franchise for the Tour.

Miroir-Sprint organised a five stage race called the 'Ronde de France', which ran from 10 to 14 July 1946. L'Équipe organised an alternative five stage race that they called 'La Course du Tour de France' and that ran from 23 July to 28th July 1946, starting a barely a week after the end of the 'Ronde de France'. Miroir-Sprint and other left-wing press refused to use the name 'La Course du Tour de France' as they did not think L'Équipe had the right to use the words 'Tour de France'. The left-wing press called L'Équipe's race the 'Monaco-Paris'.

Arguably L'Équipe had better connections with the government, and, unarguably, the Ronde de France was, regrettably, won by an Italian, Guilio Bresci, whereas La Course du Tour de France was, heroically, won by a Frenchman, Apo Lazaridès. There has been many a discussion in many a Paris bar, all filled with the pungent, curling, smoke of Gauloises Bleu, about exactly how and why it happened, but, from 1947, the greedy, capitalist, L'Équipe was able to muscle aside the honest, proletarian Miroir-Sprint and take control of the future of the Tour de France, bla, bla, bla... (note that blah is spelled without an 'h' in French).

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