It's the cyclists who have written the most beautiful pages of the Luxembourg sport.
Among them, four have won the Tour de France until today: François Faber (1909), Nicolas Frantz (1927 et 1928), Charly Gaul, nicknamed the "Angel of the mountain" (1958) and Andy Schleck (2010). Many othes have won stages or donned the yellow jersey. The most recent are: Kim Kirchen, Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck.
Luxembourgish Tour de France winners
In the 20th century, three names are without doubt linked to the Tour de France: Charly Gaul, François Faber and Nicolas Frantz.
In 1090, François Faber (1887-1915) was the first foreign cyclist to win the Tour de France. He won a total of 19 stages of the Tour.
Nicolas Frantz (1899-1985) won the Tour de France in 1927 and 1928. To this day, he is the only cyclist to have worn the yellow jersey from the first stage to the last. He won a total of 20 stages and wore the yellow jersey during 37 days (14 days in 1927, 22 in 1928 and 1 in 1929).
Dubbed the ‘Angel of the Mountain’, Charly Gaul delighted thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers with his heroic breakaways in the Alps and the Pyrenees during the 1950s. Charly Gaul won the Tour de France in 1958. Between 1955 and 1961 he also won 10 stages of the Tour de France.
In 2010, Andy Schleck finished second overall, but a decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport declared him the winner of the 2010 Tour de France.
Stage winners of the Tour de France and wearers of the yellow jersey
Until the late 1960s, Luxembourg was represented fairly well on the roads of the Tour, as well as in the other classic races.
Other Luxembourgish stage winners of the Tour de France include François Neuens (1912-1985), Arsène Mersch (1913-1980), Jean Majerus (1914-1983), Mathias Clemens (1915-2001), Jean 'Bim' Diederich (1922-2012), Jean Goldschmit (1924-1994), Willy Kemp (b. 1925) and Jempy Schmitz (b. 1932).
In 1966, Edy Schütz (b. 1941) won what was to be the last Luxembourgish stage victory for forty years.
After 1984, and the last participation of Lucien Didier (b. 1950), it was not until the 2000s, that another Luxembourger participated in the Tour de France.
The 2000s: a new generation of cyclists!
The 2008 edition of the Tour de France was particularly riveting for Luxembourgish cyclism, as Kim Kirchen and Andy Schleck bore the yellow and green jerseys for mutliple stages during the Tour, and Andy Schleck was eventually awarded Best Young Rider of the Tour.
Frank Schleck won two stages of the Tour (in 2006 and 2009). He finished 5th in the general individual time classification in 2009 and 3rd in 2011.
His younger brother Andy Schleck finished 2nd in the general individual time classification in 2009 and 2011, and 1st in 2010. For three consecutive years, (2008, 2009 and 2010), he was also Best Young Rider of the Tour. He also won three stages of the Tour, two in 2010 and one in 2011.
Kim Kirchen was especially successful in the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Tour: in every year he won one stage and finished 7th and 8th respectively in the general individual time classification.
The Grand Duchy and the Tour
- 1947: for the first time in its history, the Tour de France is in Luxembourg, the arrival of one stage being in the velodrome in Luxembourg-Belair (3rd stage of the 34th Tour de France).
- 1989: The Grand Départ of the Tour de France is in Luxembourg (3 stages)
- 1992: a 'European' Tour de France leads through Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Italy.
- 2002: Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Luxembourg
- 2006: stage Esch-sur-Alzette (L) – Valkenburg (NL)
- Since 1997, the Gala Tour de France, an invitation-only criterium for elite and young riders, organised by the ACC Contern, has been taking place in Luxembourg every year in July, a few days after the end of the Tour de France.