The finish of Roger Jamin, winner of the Critérium des Porteurs de Journaux, Place du Tertre, Montmartre
The Critérium des Porteurs de Journaux, contested Sunday morning, across the streets of the capital, from Réaumur to Montmartre, was won by Roger Jamin (Paris-Sport), who is an old hand at the event.
We have, as in previous years; considering that all along the course, an amused, enthusiastic and vaguely worried crowd gathers; noticed extraordinary congestion at the nerve-centers of the route, and especially once more admired the exceptional audacity of the competitors.
This race is a grand festival for the valiant cycloporteurs, and it well shows that the Parisian public, which has the occassion to see them work on a daily basis, comes that day in recognition, to testify their affectionate sympathy to them in great numbers. The newspaper courier, isn't he one of those thousands of picturesque figures upon which the capital is so dependant, that our eye has the habit to follow out of interest, indulgence, and sometimes clairity?
But the Critérium des Porteurs de Journaux is no innocent, tranquil festival. Ah, no! It is, strictly speaking, a challenge, a challenge to the laws of the conservation of human life. Many are the attractions of the circus, of sensational reputation, which do not reach the emotion of this incredible competition; with the mocking smile, carefree attitude, and fatalism of Gavroche, with the "roule-toujours" there is heart to perform a sparkling demonstration of their talents. To affirm that these popular acrobats skirt disaster with every turn of the wheel does not seem an overused image, in their daily work, the cycloporteurs make us quiver when, with a whistle pinched between their lips, they zigzag with insane audacity between cars, trucks, buses and pedestrians, ensuring the balance of their heavily loaded machines with little movements of the small of their backs, stopping abruptly before an unforseen obstacle, setting out again into the world with their whistle parting the lines, laughing at the treacherous mud, the slippery asphalt, the battered roadway. The day of their race, the newspaper couriers want to do still better, they are encouraged to compete out of ardor, audacity and agility; and as the bicycle they are perched on is their daily work machine, the load they carry (15 kilos) is no more than their daily load, and the new obstacles they meet are neither fewer or less dangerous than the familiar ones, you can see how this aggressive fever can give like attitudes to the fans!
Sometimes, with a quick deceleration of the tightly-packed caravan of cars, a competitor is inserted brutally into the thundering mass of cars. One thinks he might be caught between two of them, or slip under a wheel. Stay alert! A few seconds later, our strapping man emerges at the end of the line, Free, released, casual, as if it had passed through the whole body, the whole head.
Sunday, the battle was particularly sharp amongst the 180 entrants, but after many adventures the solid Jamin, who stayed away around the Trocadero, arrived clearly in the lead at Place du Tertre, 17 seconds in advance of Tessieur (Paris-Sport), Dutot (Paris-Sport), Bourbon (Paris-Sport), Joan (Hachette), Jouel (Paris-Sport), Petet (Hachette), Tison (Intransigent), Klein, Cornil, etc...
Critérium des Porteurs de Journaux - The start from the offices of l'Intransigeant of the popular and sportive cycle race.
Roger Jamin, winner of the race at the speed of 37.780 km/h, completely away
Albert Préjean, race starter, sings on the hill, accompanied by the choir of the Free Commune of Old Montmartre
They completed the course with an average speed of 34.780 km/h. And we saw a road racer , a newspaper courier, but who remains nevertheless one of the good hopes of next road season, declare himself conquered on the climb of the rue Lepic.
Does this mean that working the routes of the porteurs should let them believe that they can, some day, surpass confirmed racers? It does not. It is not the same thing. And the racer whom i spoke to for an hour was not conquered by the climb. He was by the 15 kg of newspapers which he carried in front of him on his wheel. That is the work. Because I think that bikes are, as a whole, very similar to the bikes of the messengers. Heavier tires undoubtedly, a rougher frame, that is all. But there are these 15 kg demons on the front. It is only much practice that makes them acceptable. There is a special task that allows them to be moved. And habit takes care of the rest.
The winner had run the race several times with various bad luck. One time, having escaped, he was misled; another time, under the same circumstances, crashed. But always he had appeared in the top places in the results.
Jamin boxes; he is a very good middleweight. [Il comprit à temps, travailla, et se en remit au hasard de le mettre en compétition un hasard que le Intransigeant fait naitre une fois par an.] He had, on velodromes, his seconds of glory; he had on Sunday, at place dud Tertre, some minutes of pure joy. It was paid back by a single blow.
He and his team, that of Paris-Sport, were definitely superior. There were seven of the team in the top ten. One cannot do better. The first of l'Intran, Tison, was eighth. Faulty training of the team, doubtless; methodical training in the team of Paris-Sport. Team spirit, competitive spirit, perfect training ensured the complete victory.
The race organized by I' Intran obtained, on its course, most complete success. The "roule-toujours" have a faithful clientele.
Average speed: 34.780 km/h. When we announced it, they refused to believe it. It was precise and, the word is not too strong, wonderful. Habit is, as it is said, second nature; but courage is a quality to which it is necessary to bow. All the porteurs possessed it.
unknown racers on the course, probably on the exterior boulevards
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