Critérium des Porteurs de Journaux

The Early Years: 1895-1925

Documention of the event during this era is erratic. Most of the information here so far has been gleaned from articles concerning the 1926 event, and there are substantial holes in the data (actually more holes than data...). in 1897, the event took the name "Brassard de Estafettes". It is unknown how long this name prevailed.

date

winner

course

winning time

notes

1895 (a)

Emile Karm Paris-Versailles

1895 (b)

Charles Hommey Lac Daumesnil circuit

50 km

1896

Charles Hommey

1897

Paul Bourotte

1900

Paul Bourotte

1906

Morel

1907

Weill

1908

Moins

1909

Libeaud

1910

Zimmer

1911

Maupas

1912

Maupas

1913

Gerbaud

1914

Lorgeon

1920

Fay

1921?

Flahaut

31 Jul 1921

Fay Paris-Pavillion sous Bois

The rue Lepic years: 1926-1936

During these years, the event came into its own, and ran as a free-form race with 8 controls along the route, where riders were required to exchange their load, pick up a token, or perhaps even jettison part of their load - and then gradually evolved into a fixed course rather than a test of navigation and decision-making (more out of the fact that there was only one obvious route between the checkpoints than out of any mandatory routing...). The 8 controls were: Place Clichy, Porte Maillot, Grenelle-La Motte-Picquet, Place d'Italie, Place de la Nation, Carref. Belleville-Temple, Villette-Jean-Jaur¸s and Place Blanche.

The race started on the rue Montmartre just south of the rue Réaumur, and, as routing was up to the racers, the logical path followed the Blvd. Faubourg Montmartre and the rue Notre Dame de Lorette on the way to Place Clichy. From there, the riders generally followed the old fortifications of the city (from the time of Louis XVI), then finally deviating from them up the rue Lepic and around its cobbled curves, past the Moulin de la Galette and then through the rue Norvins into Place du Tertre.

You can check out how the finishing climb of Rue Lepic looks now in some pictures i took in Nov 2004 - itÕs pretty much the same road - I'm sure many of those cobblestones were ridden over by the riders listed below...

I've also recently discovered that there were independant, smaller messenger races, for instance, the "Critérium des Messageries Hachette". I know that this event was held "recently" before the 1932 Critérium des Porteurs de Journaux, but am not sure of a date. It is also somewhat likely that the event i have listed below from 14 Oct 1928 may be one of these smaller events. I am currently attempting to ferret this out - if anyone has period magazines from Jan-Mar 1928, i would love it if you could hunt through them for potentially relevant articles.

date

winner

winning time

notes

31 Jan 1926

Albert Flahaut
(men)

Suzanne Trebis
(women)
59m 18s
(men)
organized by l'Intransigeant, l'Echo Des Sports and La Pedale

100+ entrants

12 Feb 1927

Albert Birot
(men)

Suzanne Trebise
(women)

Lorgeau
(veterans)

Crost
(injured)

Paris-Sport
(team - Challenge Petit Parisien)
57m 19s
(men)
organized by l'Intransigeant, l'Echo Des Sports and La Pedale

150 entrants, 144 finishers

30 Jan 1928

Lenoir
(men)

Mme Conrad
(women)
56m 35s
(men)

20 Jan 1929

Gilman
(men)

Athenase
(women)

Lorgeon
(veteran)

Morlet
(injured)
55m 32s
(men)

1h 15m
(women)
organized by l'Intransigeant and l'Echo Des Sports

25 Jan 1930

Dutot
(men)

Athenase
(women)
56m 34s
(men)
150+ entrants

08 Feb 1931

Etienne Tissot
(men, Paris-Sport)

Conrad
(women)

Gosset
(injured)

Paris-Sport
(team - Challenge Petit Parisien)
59m 31 1/5s
(men)
organized by l'Intran and l'Echo des Sports

21 Mar 1932

Soulimant
(l'Intransigent)
54m 54s
(men)
151 entrants

26 Feb 1933

Roger Jamin
(Paris-Sport)

180 entrants

18 Feb 1934

Roger Jamin
(Paris-Sport)
47m 42s organized by l'Intransigeant

172 entrants

27 Jan 1935

Roger Jamin
(Paris-Sport)


Hachette-Paris-Soir
(team - Challenge Petit Parisien)
54m organized by l'Intransigeant

86 entrants, 58 finishers

02 Feb 1936

Chimberg
(Paris-Sport)

Hachette-Paris-Soir
(team - Challenge Petit Parisien)
49m 16s 3/5 organized by l'Intransigeant

The Tour de Paris years: 1937-1965?

In 1937, the ~37 km Tour de Paris course used for the Championnat des Triporteurs was adopted, which changed the character of the race. Many of the old checkpoints were dropped, which made for a more speed-centered race, though the riders still had to complete the new, longer course, which followed the exterior boulevards of the city along a more recent set of the city's walls and through the various gates into central Paris, while carrying the traditional 15 kg of newspapers. The papers thought that this format was more sporting, and noted the effect on traffic that the chaos of the earlier format had as the number of riders increased.

Initially, the start was moved to place de la Nation, and the finish line was at Vincennes, but by the war's end it had returned to its typical place in the heart of the newspaper district, at the corner of rues Montmartre and Réaumur. This preserved the route up rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette to Place Clichy, and followed simlar routing along Batignolles and Courcelles past l'Arc de Triomphe on to the porte Maillot, but instead of turning in towards the Eiffel Tower at this point, continued around the exterior boulevards (Lannes, Suchet, Lefebvre, Brune, Jourdan, Kellermann, Masséna, Poniatowski, Soult, Devout, Mortier, Sérurier) before deviating along bd Sérurier over the butte Chaumont (often a deciding point in the race) and turning inwards on Jean-Jaurès at porte de Pantin. At Villette-Jean-Jaurès, it was back to the interior boulevards along Chapelle, Rochechouart and Clichy until the base of Montmartre. In 1944, the rue Lepic was still used as the finish, but by 1947 the race continued along the boulevard de Clichy and took a right up rue Caulaincourt to the avenue Junot, and the climb of the back side of Montmartre, which made for a longer, if shallower climb than Lepic.

The package swaps and token pickups of the earlier version were also mostly done away with, reduced to a single exchange of packet at the porte d'Orleans, which, however, often made for a good opportunity to grab some extra time.

The start at rues Réumur and Montmartre is pretty much the same - in this photo (taken in 2006), looking south on rue Montmartre across the intersection with the rue Réaumur, you can see the large tan building in the right of the picture at 111, rue Réaumur, which used to house the headquarters of the N.M.P.P. (seen clearly in this photo, taken from roughly the same location) - at the start, the racers would be barrelling straight at you here. The yellow awning on the west side of the rue Montmartre (between the two white awnings, and below the "Tabac" sign) is the Café Voltigeur, which is clearly visible in photos taken at the start line during these years of the event. The finish line at avenue Junot, is pretty much the same as well (compare to this photo) - the line itself would have been near the entrance to the impasse Girardon.

date

winner

winning time

notes

28 Feb 1937

Legrand 37m 47s organized by Messageries Hachettes

1938




1939?




The War Years: 1940 - 1944

I lack information on the race during these years - for a while I had assumed that it was not held, and perhaps supplanted by the Championnat des Transports Utilitaires, but I have recently discovered otherwise.

date

winner

winning time

notes

1940?




29 Jun 1941

Ribeyre

1942

Roger Mace

1943?




12 Mar 1944

Laroulandie
(Paris-Soir)
1h 4m 27s
The Post-War Years - 1945-1965?

After WW2, the event continued on into the mid-1960s. Though i have not yet been able to find anything past 1963, i suspicion it continued for at least a year or two beyond that. Newspaper couriers on bicycles were present in Paris until the 1980s, but were supplanted by motorized distribution, and doomed by the reduction in number of daily editions. Presently, bicycle courier services in Paris are minimal (but growing!), most courier services relying on scooters. I've started to track down what few former racers remain, and am collecting information this way, as I slowly exhaust my access to vintage print media.

date

winner

winning time

notes

24 Feb 1945

Jean Lauk

24 Mar 1946

Ribeyre

16 Nov 1947

Guy Solente
126 entrants

14 Nov 1948

Jean Friedrich
(Ce Soir/cycles Roger Andre/tires Hutchinson)

Andrée Régnier
(women, Sport-Complet/cycles Dupriez/tires Hutchinson)

Ce Soir
(team - Coupe du Grillon d'Or/Challenge René-Verdière)
55m

16 Oct 1949

Lucien Cathelin
(Sport-Complet/cycles Olympia)

Andrée Régnier
(women)

Ce Soir
(team - Coupe Cinzano/Challenge René-Verdière)
57m 17s

15 Oct 1950

Jean Pieters
(France-Soir/cycles Vanoli)

Andrée Régnier
(women)

Information
(team - Coupe Route et Piste/Challenge René-Verdière)
57m 13s 60 entrants

14 Oct 1951

Roger Dupont
(N.M.P.P.)

Andrée Régnier
(women)


12 Oct 1952

Jean Friedrich
(Ce Soir)


1953

Pierre Vittupier
(France-Soir)

France-Soir
(team)


14 Nov 1954

Jean Friedrich
(men, Paris-Presse)

Andrée Régnier
(women, l'Information)


20 Nov 1955

Louis Saroca
(men, N.M.P.P.)

Andrée Régnier (women)


04 Nov 1956

Bernard Carr´
(men, Sport-Complet)

Andrée Régnier
(women, Sport-Complet)

Sport-Complet
(team)
1h 38s

1957




13 Apr 1958

Malcuit
(men, Paris-Presse)

Andrée Régnier
(women, Sport-Complet)


1959




1960




1961




1962




1963

?
(men, l'Équipe)


1964




1965

Michel Gourillon
(men, Paris Jour?)


Some as yet undated photos of the Critérium des Porteurs de Journaux


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