Profile Louison Bobet will be remembered as the dominant force in cycling in the 1950s. He was the first Frenchman to win the Tour de France three times.
Born on 12 March 1925 in Saint-Méen-le-Grand in the cycling-loving region of Brittany, Louison Bobet grew up the son of a baker. He helped his parents by making deliveries on a bike, thus laying the foundation for a glorious career in cycling. When he first ventured into the sport, it was clear he was exceptionally talented and he turned professional in 1947. The years before and those just after the war had been dominated by two Italians, Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, who had fought legendary duels while the French were made to wait for their next great champion. The 1948 Tour de France signalled his arrival as Bobet finished fourth in his first Tour.
Bobet took his first podium place in 1950, when he came third in the Tour de France. He also won the polka dot jersey that year, awarded to the “King of the Mountains”. By 1953, he had collected victories in Milano – San Remo, the Giro di Lombardia, Paris – Nice, the Critérium International (twice) and the Grand Prix des Nations. In 1953, Bobet started his triple of Tour de France victories, wrapping it up in 1955, and thus becoming the first rider to win the Tour three years in a row. In 1954, he cemented his status as the world’s best by winning the world championship. He also emerged victorious in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris – Roubaix and the Dauphiné Libéré to name just a few races. Bobet died in 1983, one day after celebrating his 58th birthday.