Today in Transportation History – 1940: A Road Racer Starts His First Stage

Professional road bicycle racer Roger Pingeon was born in the commune of Hauteville-Lompnes in eastern France. As a teenager, Pingeon initially took up cross-country skiing as his favorite means of mobility and recreational activity. He eventually refocused his time and attention on bicycling instead.

Pingeon developed a strong interest in a career in bicycle racing by the time he was 17. Due to the couple of years he spent in military service, however, Pingeon did not launch his professional cycling career until comparatively late in life. He raced as a professional between 1964 and 1974, establishing himself as a tenacious competitor in both his native France and elsewhere.

Raymond Poulidor leading Roger Pingeon, the eventual winner, in the Galibier stage, Tour de France, 1967.

Pingeon’s major career wins included finishing first in the Tour de France in 1967. He completed this 2,970-mile race in 136 hours, 53 minutes, and 50 seconds. Pingeon pedaled to victory three minutes and 40 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Julio Jiménez of Spain.

Two years later, Pingeon achieved another huge triumph when he won the long-distance bicycle stage race Vuelta a España as a member of the Peugeot-BP-Michelin team. Pingeon completed the course for this 18,150-mile competition, which is Spain’s premier multi-day bicycle racing event and one of the three European cycling grand tours (along with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia), in 73 hours, 18 minutes, and 45 seconds. Pingeon finished one minute and 54 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Luis Ocaña of Spain.

Pingeon died on March 19, 2017. He suffered a fatal heart attack only about four months before the golden anniversary of his Tour de France victory.

For more information about Roger Pingeon, please check out

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