Oscar Egg, Swiss, 1890 - 1961
Oscar Egg was born in Schlatt, Switzerland, in 1890. He was a phenomenal track cyclist and set the world hour record three times before the First World War. He not only rode the track, he also won five stages of the Tour de France. After the war, he became a regular star on the 6-day circuit.
Throughout his career he was an inveterate innovator and tinkerer, famously championing aerodynamic fairings and recumbent bicycles.
When he retired from professional cycling he opened a fashionable bicycle shop on the Avenue de la Grande-Armée, in Paris. He also founded Super Champion, and opened a factory in Levallois-Perret, also in Paris. His killer products were the Super Champion fork type derailleurs. Critically, he had the palmares, connections and charisma to get leading cyclists to use these new and slightly alien devices. More than anyone else he developed the idea of leading cyclists and leading cycling teams being sponsored, not just by bicycle companies, but also by component companies.
In the period 1934 to 1939, Super Champion equipped riders won 2 (out of a possible 3) Tours de France and 4 (out of a possible 5) World Road Race Championships.
After the Second World War fork type derailleurs (deservedly) fell out of fashion and Oscar Egg tried to offer alternatives to Simplex and Huret's guide pulley designs, but he was late to the party and his heart was not really in it.
This striking, and beautifully produced, photo dates from 1923, when Oscar was an established 6-day star.