A belated happy birthday to Nicolas Frantz, who was born on November 4, 1899 and died on November 8, 1985.
The Luxembourg rider competed in his first Tour de France in 1924, finishing an impressive second behind the Ottavio Bottecchia of Italy, and second again the following year behind Lucien Buysse of Belgium.
From there, Frantz would go on to win back-to-back victories in the French Grand Tour in 1927 and 1928, ahead of Belgians Maurice Dewaele and Julien Vervaecke and Andre Leduc of France and Maurice Dewaele of Belgium, respectively.
Frantz wore the yellow jersey from the first to last stage in the 1928 Tour, the only rider since Ottavio Bottecchia to have done so.
As legend has it, Frantz’s bike broke during that race on a level-crossing during the 19th stage with 100 kilometers, forcing him to borrow an undersized, women’s bicycle and was helped back into the race by his Alcyon domestiques. He later exchanged it for another team bike, which he rode to victory in Paris ahead of teammates Andre Leduc and De Waele.
As far as the one-day races went, Frantz was 2nd in the 1929 World Championship Road Race behind Georges Ronsse of Belgium, and finished 3rd in the 1932 World Championships Italians Alfredo Binda and Remo Bertoni.
After winning stage seven of the 1929 Tour in Bordeaux, Frantz was one of three yellow jerseys on the same time in general classification with Leducq and Victor Fontan. However, the following day, Gaston Rebry ended the embarrassment of multiple leaders. Despite leading the race at one point in stage 10, a puncture cost him the yellow jersey before the end of day and he eventually finished the Tour in fifth place. His last chance of a podium finish was gone and he entered the Tour only once more, in 1932 when he finished in a lowly 45th place.
Frantz won Paris–Brussels in 1927 and Paris–Tours in 1929. He also won the championship of Luxembourg for 12 consecutive years (1923-1934. After racing, he became directeur sportif of the Luxembourg and Luxembourg Mixed teams in the Tour de France from 1949 to 1957. He was the first national team manager of Charly Gaul in the Tour de France. Frantz was succeeded by Jean Goldschmit.
Frantz was a taciturn man. He retired to the village of Mamer and died there in 1985.
Vill Gléck fir däi Gebuertsdag Nicolas!
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