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Philippe Thys

Philippe Thys (October 8, 1890 - January 16, 1971) was a Belgian cyclist and three-time winner of the Tour de France.

Born in Brussels, in 1910 he won Belgium's first national cyclo-cross championship. He went on to win the Tour de France in 1913 and 1914, but the race was cancelled during World War I. Thys came back to win the Tour for his third and final time in 1920.

Thys broke the record of Lucien Petit-Breton, who had won two Tours. It would not be until 1955 that Louison Bobet would equal Thys' record, and 1963 that Jacques Anquetil would break it with four wins.

Asked for his memories well into retirement, Thys recalled that he had been asked by his manager, Alphonse Baugé, to wear a yellow jersey to pick him out as leader of the Tour de France. His recollections are so detailed that the Tour de France organisation says they are hard to dismiss, even though the first yellow jersey is more usually attributed to the Frenchman Eugène Christophe many years later.

The Tour's own historian, Jacques Augendre, said Thys was an intelligent and thoughtful man never given to boasting or fantasising. His memories should be respected as possibly genuine, he says, although there are no newspaper stories to justify them.


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