The Hero Of Albi


In the Tour of 1955 there was a Dutch debutant.
His name was Daan de Groot and he was only 21 years old.
It was the time of Gaul, Bobet, Kübler
and the Dutch riders van Est and Voorting.
Daan, born and raised in Amsterdam, was now riding with them.
Daan was not a troublemaker, but a calm and nice guy.
In the 13th stage to Albi on the 20th of July it was really hot.
Also Daan was suffering a lot because of the heat.
With a couple of riders he was dropped from the peloton.
To cool off a bit he picked some cabbage leaves
in a field and put them around his neck and head.
After 50 kilometres he returned in the peloton.
On the recommendation of his teammate Nolten, he attacked immediately.
None of the other riders could follow and soon Daan
had a lead of ten minutes, but still with 150 kilometres to go.
He drank and he ate and it became a long and beautiful solo.
Eventually he arrived in Albi and entered the circuit for the last rounds.
The speaker said that he had ‘treize’ minutes on the peloton.
Daan did not know any word of French.
He thought that the peloton was right behind him,
so he accelerated and started to ride like crazy.
He won the stage with more than 20 minutes on the peloton.
Daan was the glorious hero of the day.
A year later he became 15th in the general classification.
In 1961 he quit cycling and became a taxi driver in Amsterdam.
Together with his wife he got a daughter.
That daughter did not only get a daughter herself, but also a son.
That son was named after his grandfather, Daan.
The life of Daan ended in a tragic way.
In 1971 his wife passed away and Daan got depressed.
On the 8th of January 1982 he was found dead.
Daan did not want to live anymore.
He was only 48 years old.
Daan de Groot, a great rider.
He will always be remembered as the hero of Albi.

The Dutch team on their way to the Tour of 1955
with on the right Daan de Groot.

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