July 9, 1925: in this historic photo, the legendary Italian cyclist Ottavio Bottecchia approaches to the finish line at Tour de France 1925 stage 13, a 275 km going from Nice to Briançon. The monster stage had featured three major ascents, all above two thousand meters: Col d’Allos (2,250 m), Col de Vars (2,108 m), and Col d’Izoard (2,360 m).

Fellow Italian Bartolomeo Aymo (sometimes written Bartolomeo Aimo), the Alcyon teammate of Bottecchia’s rival Nicolas Frantz won the stage in 13 hours 5 minutes, and 3 seconds. Bottecchia finished in second at 9 min 57 sec, 3 min 40 sec ahead of Frantz, who finished in third and reinforced his yellow jersey. Bottecchia, who had also won the previous year’s edition and became the first Italian to win the Tour de France, started the 1925 Tour by winning the first stage, then he won 6th and 7th stages, and made his Tour victory complete by also winning the last stage.

Ottavio Bottecchia arrives in Briançon, Tour de France 1925
Ottavio Bottecchia arrives in Briançon, Tour de France 1925. Image: Walter Vermeulen

It was a miserable day in the Alps: cold, rainy, muddy… The Italian sports fans who had flocked to the Tour to see their hero, Ottavio Bottecchia, had the pleasure of seeing their compatriot Bartolomeo Aymo be the first over both the Col de Vars and the Col d’Izoard as he rode to win the stage.

In the next stage, Frantz had a flat tire, and the Automoto team raced away from him. Frantz lost more than 37 minutes. This took Frantz completely out of contention for the victory, and Bottecchia’s victory seemed secure. Bartolomeo Aymo was the new runner-up, but with a margin of more than 55 minutes.

Lucien Buysse was only three minutes behind Aimo, and in the sixteenth stage, Buysse took off, trying to win back time on Aimo. Nicolas Frantz, Albert Dejonghe, and Hector Martin followed him, but Aimo missed that move and lost five minutes. Buysse was now in second place, with Frantz only three seconds behind him. In the seventeenth stage, Frantz missed the deciding escape, and Buysse and Aimo finished in the leading group, so Aimo was back in third place.

Ottavio Bottecchia won his second consecutive Tours, a feat that no other Italian managed to achieve to date.

Ottavio Bottecchia arrives in Briançon, Tour de France 1925.
Ottavio Bottecchia arrives in Briançon, Tour de France 1925. The colorized version of the image above. Colorization: hotpot.ai
M. Özgür Nevres

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