1958 Tour de France

1958 Tour de France
Route of the 1958 Tour de France followed anticlockwise, starting in Brussels and finishing in Paris
Route of the 1958 Tour de France followed anticlockwise, starting in Brussels and finishing in Paris
Race details
Dates 26 June – 19 July
Stages 24
Distance 4,319 km (2,684 mi)
Winning time 116h 59' 05"
Winner  Charly Gaul (LUX) (Netherlands/Luxembourg)
  Second  Vito Favero (ITA) (Italy)
  Third  Raphaël Géminiani (FRA) (Centre-Midi)

Points  Jean Graczyk (FRA) (Centre-Midi)
  Mountains  Federico Bahamontes (ESP) (Spain)
  Combativity  Federico Bahamontes (ESP) (Spain)
  Team Belgium
←  1957
1959 →

The 1958 Tour de France was the 45th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 26 June to 19 July. The total race distance was 24 stages over 4,319 km (2,684 mi).

The yellow jersey for the leader in the general classification changed owner a record 11 times, and only at the penultimate stage in the time trial the decision was made, when Gaul created a margin of more than three minutes. In the final sprint, sprinter André Darrigade, who had already won five stages, collided with a stage official, who eleven days later died because of his injuries.


In 1958, 120 cyclists entered, divided into 10 teams of 12 cyclists each. France, Italy, Belgium and Spain each sent a national team. The Netherlands and Luxembourg had a combined team, as had Switzerland and West Germany. There was also one "Internationals" team, consisting of cyclists from Austria, Portugal, Great Britain and Denmark. There were also three regional French teams: Centre-Midi, West/South-West and Paris/North-East.[1]

The teams entering the race were:[1]

  • France
  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Netherlands/Luxembourg
  • Switzerland/West Germany
  • Internationals
  • Centre-Midi
  • West/South-West
  • Paris/North-East

Pre-race favourites

The French team had had some problems with the selection, as Jacques Anquetil, the winner of the 1957 Tour de France, did not want to share leadership with Louison Bobet, winner in 1953, 1954 and 1955.[2] Anquetil had been so superior in 1957, that he did not want Bobet and Géminiani both in his team. The French team selector then chose to include Bobet in the national team.[3] Raphael Géminiani, who had been in the French national team since 1949, was demoted into the regional Centre-Midi team. Géminiani was not pleased, and sent the French team director Marcel Bidot a "jack-ass" named "Marcel" to express his displeasure.[2]

Charly Gaul, part of the Dutch/Luxembourgian team, anticipated so little help from his teammates that he announced that he would not share prizes. His teammates then refused to support him, so Gaul was on his own.[3]

Route and stages

The 1958 Tour de France started on 26 June.[4] Whereas there had been two rest days in recent years, the 1958 Tour had no rest days at all.[5] For the first time, the first mountain climbs were broadcast live on television.[6] The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,360 m (7,740 ft) at the summit of the Col d'Izoard mountain pass on stage 20.[7][8]

Stage characteristics and winners [5] [4] [9] [10]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
1 26 June Brussels (Belgium) to Ghent (Belgium) 184 km (114 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
2 27 June Ghent (Belgium) to Dunkirk 198 km (123 mi) Plain stage  Gerrit Voorting (NED)
3 28 June Dunkirk to Mers-les-Bains 177 km (110 mi) Plain stage  Gilbert Bauvin (FRA)
4 29 June Le Tréport to Versailles 205 km (127 mi) Plain stage  Jean Gainche (FRA)
5 30 June Versailles to Caen 232 km (144 mi) Plain stage  Tino Sabbadini (FRA)
6 1 July Caen to Saint-Brieuc 223 km (139 mi) Plain stage  Martin van Geneugden (BEL)
7 2 July Saint-Brieuc to Brest 170 km (110 mi) Plain stage  Brian Robinson (GBR)
8 3 July Châteaulin 46 km (29 mi) Individual time trial  Charly Gaul (LUX)
9 4 July Quimper to Saint-Nazaire 206 km (128 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
10 5 July Saint-Nazaire to Royan 255 km (158 mi) Plain stage  Pierino Baffi (ITA)
11 6 July Royan to Bordeaux 137 km (85 mi) Plain stage  Arrigo Padovan (ITA)
12 7 July Bordeaux to Dax 161 km (100 mi) Plain stage  Martin van Geneugden (BEL)
13 8 July Dax to Pau 230 km (140 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Louis Bergaud (FRA)
14 9 July Pau to Luchon 129 km (80 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Federico Bahamontes (ESP)
15 10 July Luchon to Toulouse 176 km (109 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  André Darrigade (FRA)
16 11 July Toulouse to Béziers 187 km (116 mi) Plain stage  Pierino Baffi (ITA)
17 12 July Béziers to Nîmes 189 km (117 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
18 13 July Bédoin to Mont-Ventoux 21 km (13 mi) Mountain time trial  Charly Gaul (LUX)
19 14 July Carpentras to Gap 178 km (111 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Gastone Nencini (ITA)
20 15 July Gap to Briançon 165 km (103 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Federico Bahamontes (ESP)
21 16 July Briançon to Aix-les-Bains 219 km (136 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Charly Gaul (LUX)
22 17 July Aix-les-Bains to Besançon 237 km (147 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  André Darrigade (FRA)
23 18 July Besançon to Dijon 74 km (46 mi) Individual time trial  Charly Gaul (LUX)
24 19 July Dijon to Paris 320 km (200 mi) Plain stage  Pierino Baffi (ITA)
Total 4,319 km (2,684 mi)[11]

Race overview

Charly Gaul (left) wearing the race leader's yellow jersey, leading the combined Netherlands and Luxembourg team at the end of the Tour

The first stage left in Brussels, to celebrate Brussel's World Fair.[3] In the first stages, Luxembourgian climber Charly Gaul struggled, and lost considerable time in flat stages.[2] During a break in the sixth stage, Anquetil and Bobet were left behind. Géminiani was in the leading group, and gained more than ten minutes on his rivals. After the sixth stage, Gerrit Voorting was in first place, followed by François Mahé from the French national team, and Géminiani.[3] In the seventh stage, Arrigo Padovan won the sprint from Brian Robinson. The jury however relegated Padovan to second place for irregular sprinting, and Robinson became the first British winner of a stage.[3]

The ninth stage again saw a large breakaway, this time including Darrigade. Darrigade won the sprint, and because the next group was more than 10 minutes behind, he became the new leader.[3] Géminiani and the French national team were still on bad terms. When Gastone Nencini, a threat to both, had escaped and the national team members asked Géminiani to help them to get Nencini back, Géminiani refused.[3]

The Pyréneés were visited in stage 13. Darrigade was not able to keep up with the leaders, and lost the lead. Bahamontes had tried to escape but failed, and later Gaul tried to escape, but he also failed. The favourites finished together, and Géminiani became the new leader; Vito Favero was only three seconds behind him.[3] In the fourteenth stage, also in the Pyrenees, Bahamontes escaped again, and this time he managed to stay away and win. Géminiani finished in the next group, but because Favero won the sprint for the second place, he received 30 seconds bonification time, and became the new leader.[3] In the fifteenth stage, Favero again finished second, and extended his lead again by 30 seconds.[3]

In the eighteenth stage, a mountain time trial, Gaul won back time, and jumped from sixth place to third place in the general classification.[2] Géminiani jumped back to the first place in that stage.[3] In the nineteenth stage, over the Alps, Gaul had mechanical problems, and lost ten minutes. Second-placed rider Favero was now at a margin of more than three minutes.[3] In the twentieth stage, again in the Alps, Bahamontes finished first. Gaul lost a few seconds to Géminiani in that stage, so after the twentieth stage, Gaul was more than sixteen minutes behind Géminiani.[12] With only a few stages left, Géminiani appeared to be able to win the race.

In stage 21, the weather conditions were bad. Before the stage started, Gaul told Bobet that he would attack on the first climb of the day, which he did. Bahamontes followed him, but let himself drop back because the weather was too bad and the finish was still far away. Gaul continued on his own, and his margin with the next cyclist kept growing.[12] Géminiani now asked the French national team to help him, but they could not help and did not want to help. Géminiani forgot to take food in the food zone, and was hungry in the last part of the stage.[3] In the end, Gaul won the stage almost 8 minutes ahead of the next rider. Favero came in third, more than ten minutes later, and Géminiani seventh more than 14 minutes behind. Favero was again first in the general classification, with Géminiani only 39 seconds behind in second place and Gaul 67 seconds behind in third place.[2][13] After that stage, Géminiani accused the French team of treason, because he said it was due to their attacks that he lost the lead.[14] Because of the extraordinary circumstances, the time limits were not enforced that stage. Second-placed rider Favero was now at a margin of more than three minutes.[3]

Stage 22 was flat, and the favourites stayed together. This meant that the time trial in stage 23 would be decisive. In that time trial, Gaul was the first of these three to start. Gaul set the winning time, and Géminiani and Favero lost more than three minutes, so Gaul took the lead in the general classification.[2] Anquetil, who felt sick and was behind in the general classification, did not start that stage.[3]

The last stage traditionally saw no problems for the leader, and Gaul became the first Luxembourgian cyclist since 1928 to win the Tour.[2] In the final sprint in the last stage in the Parc des Princes, André Darrigade was in first position when he collided with Constant Wouters, the 70-year-old sécrétaire-général of the stadium, who was attempting to prevent photographers encroaching on the track. Darrigade needed five stitches, but Wouters injuries were more serious, and he died eleven days later.[15]

Classification leadership and minor prizes

The time that each cyclist required to finish each stage was recorded, and these times were added together for the general classification. If a cyclist had received a time bonus, it was subtracted from this total; all time penalties were added to this total. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey.[16]The yellow jersey changed hands eleven times, the most ever.[4][17] Gaul had an average speed of 36.919 km/h, which was a new record. Of the 120 cyclists that started the 1958 Tour de France, 78 finished the race.[5]

The points classification was calculated by adding the stage ranks of each cyclist.[18]

The mountains classification was calculated by adding the points given to cyclists for reaching the highest point in a climb first.[19]

The team classification was calculated as the sum of the daily team classifications, and the daily team classification was calculated by adding the times in the stage result of the best three cyclists per team.[20] It was won by the Belgian team, with a large margin over the Italian team.

In addition, there was a combativity award given after each mass-start stage to the cyclist considered most combative. The decision was made by a jury composed of journalists who gave points. The cyclist with the most points from votes in all stages led the combativity classification.[21] Federico Bahamontes won this classification, and was given overall the super-combativity award.[4] The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given in honour of Tour founder Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col du Lautaret on stage 21. This prize was won by Piet van Est.[22]

Classification leadership by stage [23] [24]
Stage Winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification[a] Team classification Combativity Bad luck award
Award Classification
1 André Darrigade André Darrigade André Darrigade no award Belgium Jef Planckaert Jef Planckaert Piero Polo
2 Gerrit Voorting Jos Hoevenaers Jos Hoevenaers Jean Graczyk André Darrigade
3 Gilbert Bauvin Wim van Est Jean Graczyk Netherlands/Luxembourg Jean Stablinski Jef Planckaert
4 Jean Gainche Belgium François Mahé Gianni Ferlenghi
5 Tino Sabbadini Gilbert Bauvin France Louison Bobet Nicolas Barone
6 Martin van Geneugden Gerrit Voorting François Mahé François Mahé Marcel Janssens
7 Brian Robinson Brian Robinson Giuseppe Fallarini
8 Charly Gaul Charly Gaul Maurice Lavigne
9 André Darrigade André Darrigade Jean Graczyk Jean Graczyk Seamus Elliott
10 Pierino Baffi Armand Desmet Noël Foré
11 Arrigo Padovan Piet van Est no award
12 Martin van Geneugden no award Pino Cerami
13 Louis Bergaud Raphaël Géminiani Federico Bahamontes Louis Bergaud Carmelo Morales
14 Federico Bahamontes Vito Favero Federico Bahamontes Toni Gräser
15 André Darrigade no award Martin van der Borgh
16 Pierino Baffi Jean Dacquay Gilbert Bauvin
17 André Darrigade Federico Bahamontes Federico Bahamontes Rik Luyten
18 Charly Gaul Raphaël Géminiani Belgium Charly Gaul Marcel Rohrbach
19 Gastone Nencini Raphaël Géminiani Georges Gay
20 Federico Bahamontes Antonino Catalano Louison Bobet
21 Charly Gaul Vito Favero France Charly Gaul Salvador Botella
22 André Darrigade André Darrigade Alves Barbosa
23 Charly Gaul Charly Gaul Belgium Charly Gaul Jean Dotto
24 Pierino Baffi no award André Darrigade
Final Charly Gaul Jean Graczyk Federico Bahamontes Belgium Federico Bahamontes André Darrigade

Final standings

General classification

Final general classification (1–10) [25]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Charly Gaul (LUX) Netherlands/Luxembourg 116h 59' 05"
2  Vito Favero (ITA) Italy + 3' 10"
3  Raphaël Géminiani (FRA) Centre-Midi + 3' 41"
4  Jan Adriaensens (BEL) Belgium + 7' 16"
5  Gastone Nencini (ITA) Italy + 13' 33"
6  Jozef Planckaert (BEL) Belgium + 28' 01"
7  Louison Bobet (FRA) France + 31' 39"
8  Federico Bahamontes (ESP) Spain + 40' 44"
9  Louis Bergaud (FRA) France + 48' 33"
10  Jos Hoevenaers (BEL) Belgium + 58' 26"