Championnat des Transports Utilitaires - 1941

From Le Miroir Des Sports (France), 17 Nov 1941:

The powerful Boda lost his load... and Tanneveau won the race of the trailers

The racing champions at the start of the trailer race. One will recognize, in the 1st row, from left to right, Maréchal, Louviot and Laurent.
The old Championnat des Triporteurs is transformed: it has adapted to circumstances, to the present needs. At one time contested by the triporteurs, on three wheels, it is enriched today by innovations, creations born of the scarcity of means of transport. The triporteur has been replaced by a trailer pulled by a bicycle. The sporting evolution follows the technical evolution. The Championnat des Triporteurs has become the Championnat des Transports Utilitaires.

Sunday, on the traditional Tour of Paris, a circuit borrowing the exterior boulevards and whose start and finish were on the quai de Grenelle, at the steps of the Vel' d' Hiv, the trailers were more numerous than the triporteurs. The new construction dethroned the old one; all the interest, all the curiousity of the spectators went to the competition of the bicycles with trailers!

Was the scarcity of road races organized this season; or rather the attraction of the new? But the road champions who, until now, had scorned the bicycles of transport were found in considerable numbers on the quai de Grenelle, among the entrants.

The start of the triporteurs. Legrand, who won, is on the right, in the 2nd row.
Louviot, Thiétard, Laurent. Maréchal, Idée and Tanneveau, who already won a race of this kind last year, were there among the competitors. Although the efforts of the porteur are quite different from those of the racer who does not have to pull behind him a dead weight, it was in this batch of confirmed professionals that one hoped for a champion of the transports utilitaires.

Indeed, it was a racer, and not one of these hard specialists of bicycle transport, which won Sunday. He who crosses the finish line first was the amateur Boda, a robust strapping man, who was veritably the most powerful and most willful, over the entire course of the exterior boulevards of the capital. But the championship of the "transporteurs" has a utilitarian goal. Consequently, it comes with a Draconian fee. 40 kilos of load are requires in each trailer at the start. After the finish, at the weighing, these are 40 kilos that the commissaires expect to find in the baggage of each racer.

The unfortunate Boda thus transported a load, like all the other competitors, of small sand bags. The route included some roughly cobbled passages and, along the way, Boda lost a part of his load. After a fashion, he effectively remedied this small loss by adding a cobblestone to his cargo. But although he crossed the finishing line first, he was not declared winner. His cargo was not the same as at the start. Thus Tanneveau, who finished second, profited from the relegation of Boda. It is a pity that the second place of Tanneveau was not acquired with all desirable honesty. In the sprint, Tanneveau, threatened by Beck, made a variation, obliging him to brake to avoid a crash.

Thus the Championnat des Transports Utilitaires, while arguably very sporting, does not have an equally sporting result. For those who, like us, followed the race from beginning to end; for those who participated in the battle which delivered Idee, Beck, Tanneveau and Boda, the racer who merited the victory, because he was the author of all the escape attempts, because he could exhaust its adversaries and still arrive at the finish, is the young amateur racer Boda. Because he pedaled, with force, with calm, first Idée, then Beck and Tanneveau finally gave up. Boda could be beaten only by Idée. This one having been a victim of an mechanical failure - a broken trailer wheel - at the porte Chaumont, Boda only had two adversaries remaining. He found time to stop and to add a cobblestone to his trailer, and rejoined Beck and Tanneveau, escaped, and finished sole, as we know.

To be a true champion, it is not enough to be physically the strongest, it is also necessary to know and respect the rules of the race. Boda made an unhappy test of this. The next time, he will take the necessary precautions, as wise Tanneveau did, today champion of the transporteurs.

After the three racers which we have noted, Tanneveau, Beck and the relegated Boda, the competitors most in view were: Thiétard, who placed 4th, courageous and regular according to his habit; then Hacquet, and the winner of Bordeaux-Paris, Marcel Laurent. Other champions; Louviot and Jean Maréchal, made an honest race, nothing more. Transport, with 40 kilos load - the weight imposed on the trailers - when it is not absolutely necessary, is definitely not their speciality.

Boulevard Lefebvre, the four best roll at the front. From left to right: Boda, Beck, Tanneveau, who would win, and Idée

The revenge of the triporteur

Eclipsed by the new trailers, the triporteurs, which were only eight at the start, are not without merit. They had to support a serious handicap. It was not 40 kilos, but 70 that they had to carry all around Paris. Heavier, less nimble, like robust men with Pecherons hitched for a hard ploughing, thus they were compared to the light trailers. And almost nobody paid them the least attention. This was an error. At the finish, the winner of the triporteur category, the well-known specialist Lucien Legrand, had completed the Tour of Paris in same time as Tanneveau, the victor of the category of bicycles with trailers. The old "tri" is avenged. For all its weight and awkwardness, it has all the quickness of the modern bicycle hitched to the lighter trailer. This is all to the glory of the rider Lucien Legrand.

More spectators than actors! Such is the impression that one could get, Sunday, at the exit of the tunnel of the Porte du Clichy, with the passage of the championship of the bicycles with trailers. One sees on the right, Boda riding in front of Tanneveau, who will win, and Beck.
Bicycles with trailers: 1. Tanneveau, 1h21m10s; 2. Beck; 3. Thiétard; 4. Hacquet; 5. Laurent; 6. Guillier; 7. Tixidre; *. Maréchal; 9. Louviot, etc

Triporteurs: 1. L. Legrand, 1h21m10s; 2. Bodiguel; 3. Grillo; 4. Pouessel; 5. Altazin, etc.

Article scan courtesy of Aldo Ross.

photographs from the PALLAS archive (Belgium)

back to the main Championnat des Triporteurs page home

back to the main history page home