On 30th July 1939 the “Giants of the Road” made their stage for the first time in Troyes. They were two half-stages Dijon-Troyes and Troyes-Paris for this last day of the 33rd Tour de France.
Tens of thousands of spectators arrived very early to enjoy for the first time the legendary advertising caravan. It was composed of fifty vehicles driving in the city since 7:30 am.
The bunch left Dijon at 4:30 am. The 4000 km of race had overcome some thirty riders and it was a bunch of fifty survivors who crossed the Aube by the road of Bar-sur-Seine. Arriving at Troyes around 9:30, the arrival was judged on the boulevard of 14th July. Grevès won the stage by a tire’s width in front of Fournier and Neuville.
If the yellow jersey wearer, and final winner of the Tour, was the Belgian Sylvère Maes, the French René Vietto, second overall, was the most popular. The dressings covering the legs and arms of the survivors testified to the difficulty of the leg. Everyone had recognized Marcel Bidot who was busy signing autographs.
As soon as the line was crossed, the runners went to eat at the school of 14th July where a rich buffet was served. Cold meats, salads, Chaource, fruits, beers were on the menu.
But the jubilation was short-lived. At 10:30 am, the Mayor, René Plard, gave the start to the runners who rushed towards the final finish at the Parc des Princes. Many Aubois accompanied the riders until the exit of the department, making this first passage of the Great Boucle a historical event.
Texte Benoit Nayrac