Le Cri des Travailleurs des A.M. July 1937 -
"Tours" D'Hier et "Tours" D'Aujourdh'ui

Le Cri des Travailleurs des A.M. - Tours D'Hier et Tours D'Aujourdh'ui main image

This article is from a special Tour de France edition of 'Le Cri des Traivailleurs des A.M.' (the Alpes-Maritimes Workers Cry) - the newspaper of the French Communist party in the Alpes-Maritimes region. The special edition was produced on the 11th July 1937 to celebrate the arrival of the Tour in Nice. Stage 10 that year was a mountainous 251km jaunt from Digne to Nice. The 12th of July was a rest day in Nice.

The article itself is a review of the 1937 Tour, so far, by Fernand Fayolle, an experienced Tour rider in the early 1930s.

1937 was the first year that the main categories of riders were allowed to use derailleurs in the Tour. The three paragraphs at the top of the second column read something like:

"I am now going to talk about the derailleur, which is this year's great innovation, although I have used one myself for the last fifteen years.

When, in my first Tours de France, people saw me with this device, everyone laughed!... What mechanical drag!... It's unnecessary weight!... I would never want one!... The chain will jump and kill you...

Now everyone has come around to it. The derailleur favours the individual who is the only one to use it, but if the derailleur is generally used, everyone is equal: only the class of the rider counts, and the average speed increases."

In 1937 the Tour de France was contested by national teams, with France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the UK represented (the UK team had only one rider - Charles Holland). Given that this was 1937 this highlit some interesting issues. Elsewhere in this special edition, there is a photograph of a letter signed by the Spanish team, declaring that they represent Republican Spain (NOT Nationalist Spain). This Tour came just two and a half months after the bombing of Guernica by the Condor Legion (on 26th April 1937), and while this Tour was progressing the Republicans were suffering catastrophic losses in the Battle of Brunete. Not obviously the best time for a cycle ride.

(Source gallica.bnf.fr/ Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Le Cri des Travailleurs des A.M. - Tours D'Hier et Tours D'Aujourdh'ui main image