Paris–Tours logo.png
Race details
Date Mid-October
Region Chevreuse to Loire, France
Competition UCI Europe Tour
Type One-day
Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation
Web site Edit this at Wikidata
First edition 1896 (1896)
Editions 114 (as of 2020)
First winner  Eugène Prévost (FRA)
Most wins
Most recent  Casper Pedersen (DEN)

Paris–Tours is a French one-day classic cycling race held every October from the outskirts of Paris to the cathedral city of Tours. It is a predominantly flat course through the Chevreuse and Loire valleys; the highest point is 200 m, at Le Gault-du-Perche. It is known as a "Sprinters' Classic" because it frequently ends in a bunch sprint at the finish, in Tours. For several decades the race arrived on the 2.7 km long Avenue de Grammont, one of cycling's best-known finishing straits, particularly renowned among sprinters. Since 2011 the finish was moved to a different location because a new tram line was built on the Avenue de Grammont.[1]


Paris–Tours was first run for amateurs in 1896, making it one of the oldest cycling races in the world. It was organised by the magazine Paris-Vélo, which described that edition won by Eugène Prévost as, “A crazy, unheard of, unhoped for success”. It was five years before the race was run again and a further five years (1906) before it became an annual event for professionals, with L'Auto as organiser. L’Auto ran the Tour de France (TDF) and Paris–Tours is still run by the Tour organiser, Amaury Sport Organisation.

The race was part of the UCI Road World Cup from 1989 to 2004, and the UCI ProTour from 2005 to 2007. Since 2008 it is part of the UCI Europe Tour.

Paris–Tours now starts in Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines 50km south-west of Paris, runs south-west towards Tours crossing the Loire at Amboise, then over several small climbs before the finish on the Avenue de Grammont in Tours

The route

Paris–Tours has had many route changes although the distance has remained about 250 km. The start was moved out of Paris in the early days, first to Versailles, then to at Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines. Since 2009, the route has started in the Department of Eure-et-Loir.[2] A loop through Chinon was added between 1919 and 1926 to make the approach to Tours hilly lanes on the south bank of the Loire and the total distance 342 km. Sprinters continued to dominate and in 1959 the organisers added three ascents of the Alouette Hill. It made little difference.

In 1965 dérailleurs were banned and riders were limited to two gears. The race was won by Dutch first-year professional Gerben Karstens who chose 53/16 and 53/15, covering 246 km at a record 45.029 km/h. The experiment was judged a failure when the 1966 race ended the same way as 1964.

The course was reversed and the route constantly changed between 1974 and 1987. It was sometimes known as the Grand Prix d'Automne and sometimes by the names of the start and finish towns. For many the event lost character as the race was run between Tours and Versailles (1974–75) Blois and Chaville (1976–77 and 1979–84), Blois to Autodrome de Montlhéry (1978) and Créteil to Chaville (1985–87). In 1988 the race reverted to its original Paris–Tours route.

The wind can often be hostile; in 1988 Peter Pieters averaged just 34kmh, slowest for 57 years. However, Paris–Tours becomes the fastest classic when the wind is behind the riders, Óscar Freire winning in 2010 at 47.730kmh. It gave him the Ruban Jaune or "Yellow Riband" for the fastest speed in a classic, in fact the Ruban Jaune has been awarded nine times (as of 2016) to riders winning Paris–Tours and posting the fastest time in a professional race.

The route for the 2018 edition of the race was changed radically with the race starting in Chartres and incorporating 12.5 kilometres' of unpaved gravel tracks inside the final 60 kilometres as the race winds it way around vineyards in the Tours area. Seven new punchy climbs were also included in the finale of the race which was reduced to a distance of 211 kilometres to compensate for the additional difficulties.[3]

Classic races and riders

The 1921 edition had blizzards. Half the field abandoned in Chartres. The winner, Francis Pélissier, punctured late in the race; his hands frozen, he tore the tyre off the rim with his teeth. Riding on the rim, he caught Eugène Christophe and soloed to the finish. Rik Van Looy won the 1959 race, the first to feature the Alouette Hill. One of the best sprinters of his day, Van Looy dropped two others on the second ascent and won alone.

The record for the most victories is three, held by Gustave Danneels (1934, 1936, 1937), Paul Maye (1941, 1942, 1945), Guido Reybroeck (1964, 1966, 1968) and Erik Zabel (1994, 2003, 2005).

Eddy Merckx never won Paris–Tours; he could have triumphed in 1968 but handed victory to team mate Guido Reybrouck, pulling out of the sprint, to thank him for help earlier in the season. Later, Noël Vantyghem (winner of the 1972 edition) said "Together with Eddy Merckx, I won all classics races that could be won. I won Paris-Tours, he the rest."[4]

Erik Zabel took his first big victory at Paris–Tours in 1994. He won Paris–Tours again in 2003 and 2005. Jacky Durand, Andrea Tafi, Marc Wauters, Richard Virenque, Erik Dekker and Philippe Gilbert (two times) have all won solo or from a small group, denying sprinters a chance. Virenque had just returned from a drugs ban. He broke away with Durand shortly after the start and stayed away despite Durand's dropping back outside Tours.

The Autumn Double

The Autumn Double refers to Paris–Tours and the Giro di Lombardia, considered cycling's most important classics in Autumn, run within a week of each other in October. The races are different – Lombardia is for climbers – making the double difficult. Only four have achieved it in the same year: Belgians Philippe Thys in 1917 and Rik Van Looy in 1959, Dutchman Jo de Roo twice (1962–1963) and Belgian Philippe Gilbert in 2009.


List of winners

Avenue de Grammont in October, scene of the finish of Paris-Tours until 2010
Year Country Rider Team
1896  France Eugène Prévost individual
1901  France Jean Fischer individual
1906  France Lucien Petit-Breton Peugeot
1907  France Georges Passerieu Peugeot-Wolber
1908  France Omer Beaugendre Peugeot-Wolber
1909  Luxembourg François Faber Alcyon-Dunlop
1910  Luxembourg François Faber Alcyon-Dunlop
1911  France Octave Lapize La Française-Diamant
1912  Belgium Louis Heusghem Alcyon-Dunlop
1913  France Charles Crupelandt La Française-Diamant
1914   Switzerland Oscar Egg Peugeot-Lion
1917  Belgium Philippe Thys Peugeot-Wolber
1918  France Charles Mantelet individual
1919  Belgium Hector Tiberghien individual
1920  France Eugène Christophe individual
1921  France Francis Pélissier J.B. Louvet
1922  France Henri Pélissier J.B. Louvet
1923  Belgium Paul Deman O. Lapize
1924  Belgium Louis Mottiat Alcyon-Dunlop
1925  Belgium Denis Verschueren Wonder
1926   Switzerland Heiri Suter Olympique-Wolber
1927   Switzerland Heiri Suter Olympique-Wolber
1928  Belgium Denis Verschueren J.B. Louvet
1929  Luxembourg Nicolas Frantz Alcyon-Dunlop
1930  France Jean Maréchal Colin-Wolber
1931  France André Leducq Alcyon-Dunlop
1932  France Jules Moineau France Sport-Dunlop
1933  France Jules Merviel Colin-Wolber
1934  Belgium Gustave Danneels Alcyon-Dunlop
1935  France René Le Grèves Alcyon-Dunlop
1936  Belgium Gustave Danneels Alcyon-Dunlop
1937  Belgium Gustave Danneels Alcyon-Dunlop
1938  Italy Jules Rossi Alcyon-Dunlop
1939  Belgium Frans Bonduel Dilecta-Wolber
1941  France Paul Maye Alcyon-Dunlop
1942  France Paul Maye Alcyon-Dunlop
1943  France Gabriel Gaudin Peugeot-Dunlop
1944  France Lucien Teisseire France Sport-Dunlop
1945  France Paul Maye Alcyon-Dunlop
1946  Belgium Alberic Schotte Alcyon-Dunlop
1947  Belgium Alberic Schotte Alcyon-Dunlop
1948  France Louis Caput Olympia-Dunlop
1949  Belgium Albrecht Ramon Bertin-Wolber
1950  France André Mahé Stella-Dunlop
1951  France Jacques Dupont Peugeot-Dunlop
1952  France Raymond Guegan Gitane
1953  Belgium Jozef Schils Bianchi-Pirelli
1954  France Gilbert Scodeller Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1955  France Jacques Dupont La Perle-Hutchinson
1956  France Albert Bouvet Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1957  Belgium Fred De Bruyne Carpano-Coppi
1958  Belgium Gilbert Desmet Faema
1959  Belgium Rik Van Looy Faema
1960  Netherlands Jo de Haan Rapha-Gitane
1961  Belgium Joseph Wouters Solo-Terrot-Van Steenbergen
1962  Netherlands Jo de Roo Saint-Raphael-Helyett-Hutchinson
1963  Netherlands Jo de Roo Saint-Raphael-Gitane-Geminiani
1964  Belgium Guido Reybroeck Flandria-Romeo
1965  Netherlands Gerben Karstens Televizier
1966  Belgium Guido Reybroeck Romeo-Smith's
1967  Belgium Rik Van Looy Willem II-Gazelle
1968  Belgium Guido Reybroeck Faema
1969  Belgium Herman Van Springel Dr.Mann-Grundig
1970  Germany Jürgen Tschan Peugeot-BP-Michelin
1971  Belgium Rik van Linden Hertekamp-Magniflex-Novy
1972  Belgium Noël Vantyghem Novy-Dubble Bubble
1973  Belgium Rik van Linden Rokado
1974  Italy Francesco Moser Filotex
1975  Belgium Freddy Maertens Flandria-Carpenter
1976  Belgium Ronald Dewitte Brooklyn
1977  Netherlands Joop Zoetemelk Gan-Mercier
1978  Netherlands Jan Raas Ti Raleigh
1979  Netherlands Joop Zoetemelk Gan-Mercier
1980  Belgium Daniel Willems IJsboerke - Warncke
1981  Netherlands Jan Raas Ti Raleigh
1982  Belgium Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke La Redoute
1983  Belgium Ludo Peeters Ti Raleigh
1984  Ireland Sean Kelly Skil-Sem
1985  Belgium Ludo Peeters Kwantum Hallen
1986  Australia Phil Anderson Panasonic
1987  Netherlands Adri van der Poel PDM-Concorde
1988  Netherlands Peter Pieters TVM–Van Schilt
1989  Netherlands Jelle Nijdam Superconfex–Yoko–Opel–Colnago
1990  Denmark Rolf Sørensen Ariostea
1991  Belgium Johan Capiot TVM–Sanyo
1992  Belgium Hendrik Redant Lotto–Mavic–MBK
1993  Belgium Johan Museeuw GB–MG Maglificio
1994  Germany Erik Zabel Team Telekom
1995  Italy Nicola Minali Gewiss-Ballan
1996  Italy Nicola Minali Gewiss-Playbus
1997  Ukraine Andrei Tchmil Lotto–Mobistar–Isoglass
1998  France Jacky Durand Casino–Ag2r
1999  Belgium Marc Wauters Rabobank
2000  Italy Andrea Tafi Mapei–Quick-Step
2001  France Richard Virenque Domo-Farm Frites
2002  Denmark Jakob Piil CSC–Tiscali
2003  Germany Erik Zabel Team Telekom
2004  Netherlands Erik Dekker Rabobank
2005  Germany Erik Zabel T-Mobile Team
2006  France Frédéric Guesdon Française des Jeux
2007  Italy Alessandro Petacchi Team Milram
2008  Belgium Philippe Gilbert Française des Jeux
2009  Belgium Philippe Gilbert Silence–Lotto
2010  Spain Oscar Freire Rabobank
2011  Belgium Greg Van Avermaet BMC Racing Team
2012  Italy Marco Marcato Vacansoleil–DCM
2013  Germany John Degenkolb Argos–Shimano
2014  Belgium Jelle Wallays Topsport Vlaanderen–Baloise
2015  Italy Matteo Trentin Etixx–Quick-Step
2016  Colombia Fernando Gaviria Etixx–Quick-Step
2017  Italy Matteo Trentin Quick-Step Floors
2018  Denmark Søren Kragh Andersen Team Sunweb
2019  Belgium Jelle Wallays Lotto–Soudal
2020  Denmark Casper Pedersen Team Sunweb

Multiple winners

Riders in italics are still active

Wins per country

Wins Country
42  Belgium
31  France
12  Netherlands
9  Italy
5  Germany
4  Denmark
3  Luxembourg
1  Australia


In 1917 and 1918 a race was held from Tours–Paris as well as Paris–Tours.

The winners of Tours–Paris were:

Year Country Rider Team
1917  Belgium Charles Deruyter
1918  Belgium Philippe Thys