A medieval knight? No, he is a world champion cyclist. Today was the birthday of the French cyclist Louis Darragon (6 February 1883 – 28 April 1918) who won the UCI Motor-paced World Championships in 1906 and 1907. He also finished the race in second place twice, in 1909 and 1911.

Louis Darragon
Louis Darragon. This type of outfit and helmet was common at the motor-paced races at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Born in Vichy to a baker’s father, Louis Darragon discovered cycling at the age of seventeen and quickly started dominating regional and national competitions. In 1901, he participated in the six-day races in the United States. He raced against Robert Walthour Senior (1 January 1878 – 1 September 1949), one of the best American professional cyclists of his era; Georges Sérès (6 April 1887 – 26 June 1951), a French professional cyclist who mainly specialized in motor-paced racing; and Paul Guignard, (10 May 1876 – 15 February 1965), a French professional cyclist also mainly specialized in motor-paced racing. Darragon was twice the world champion and also the champion of France in 1906 and 1907.

He volunteered as soon as the First World War has begun. He was a motorist. During the war, he broke an arm. After the war, he immediately went back to cycling, managed by André Trialoux.

Louis Darragon died accidentally on April 28, 1918, during the “Grand Prix de l’Heure” race behind big motorbikes, organized at the Winter Vélodrome. His pedal got broken while riding at 75 km/h, he fell and died.

Louis Darragon behind a motorbike
Louis Darragon behind a motorbike. He was the master of motor-paced racing.


M. Özgür Nevres

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