1951 Began Supplying Cycling Clothing to the Tour de France in 1951
The collared shirt worn by 1951 champion Hugo Koblet is a wool cycling jersey with large pockets in the front.
The three-colored Le Coq Sportif logo is on the collar’s inside.
That year, Le Coq Sportif received an order to produce cycling jerseys for the Tour de France. Product development got off to a very bumpy start.
First we looked at Jean Robic’s jersey from the year before. He had won the first Tour de France to be held after World War II.
The jersey withstood exposure to strong sunlight, rain and sweat, and after many cycles in a washing machine it shrunk and looked like a child’s jersey.
A comfortable jersey would give the athletes unrestricted movement while protecting them from rain, wind, sunlight and sweat. We assembled our experienced team and collaborated with Sofil to develop the right material.
Le Coq Sportif supplied uniforms to 128 riders from 12 teams: seven national teams from Italia and elsewhere, plus four teams from northeastern France, such as the Paris team,
and a team from North Africa.
Of those, 66 cyclists finished the race. They all had high praise for the jerseys, for its basic functionality and even the soft texture.
A Man of Divine Beauty They Called “Apollo on a Bike”. Ahead of the Pack, All Alone and Graceful**
Swiss cyclist Hugo Koblet had great success that year. He was such a tall and handsome man, people compared him to a Greek god. He was a dandy who kept a comb in his breast pocket and would fix his hair to keep it back during a race.
But there was much more to Koblet than his appearance.
He was the first non-Italian to win the Giro d’Italia.
The next year, 1951, he helped overwhelm the Italian national team, including Fausto Coppi, which had been the favorite team to win.
At 37 km into Stage 11, Koblet attacked. He zoomed past the riders ahead and kept ahead of the pack, all alone, until the end.
It was a very hot day, so nobody thought anyone in the group could do such a thing, and that the rest of the riders would catch up before long.
But Koblet kept zipping along to the end, even managing to extend his lead. The wind is a terrible foe in a road bicycle race, making it exceedingly difficult to keep riding solo ahead of the rest.
That’s why it is almost impossible for anyone to win the race riding alone. Furthermore, from Stage 15 onward, Koblet wore the maillot jaune until the end, where he secured the win with a lead of 22 minutes.