Marianne Martin – First Tour de France Women’s Winner

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The Guardian has a nice article on Marianne Martin, the first women’s winner of the Tour de France.  It was interesting to me because I had never heard a lot of what was in the article.  Of course I was following it as it was happening.  I was hanging in Boulder and the Daily Camera had daily articles on the race.

I’m not exactly sure when I first met Marianne.  It must have been when she first started racing. She was on the US National Team and thus we did a few training camps together, plus all the other various stuff.  We sort of shared an alley apartment in Boulder, which we had a little squabble about, but it was nothing.   She moved out to Santa Monica California for a bit and I used to ride from La Jolla up to her apartment one day, then back to La Jolla the next when I was training early season.

Anyway, It was a big deal when Marianne won the inaugural women’s TDF.  It really put women’s cycling, in Europe, on the big stage.

Marianne mentions me in the article.  I remember loaning her some money because it was such a last minute deal.  I think it might have been $400.  But even after she won, it wasn’t all that lucrative to race bicycles.   My brother Kris travelled a bit with her around Europe.  I don’t remember if that was right after this race or another time.

Anyway, click on the link above.  It is great cycling history and a good story about a super person.

 

Both of these photos were taken by Grahm Watson, a great cycling photgrapher.  He has an awesome website that has current Tour photos, plus music to accompany them.  

Marianne and Patty Peoples. I know them both still.

Marianne and Patty Peoples. I know them both still.

 

Fignon and Marianne. The first race I did in Europe on US National Team, I raced with Fignon virtually the whole trip. In France, then in Italy. I was surprised when he signed professional for Greg Lemond's team. Renault-Elf was very dominate for quite a while.

Fignon and Marianne. The first race I did in Europe on US National Team, I raced with Fignon virtually the whole trip. In France, then in Italy. I was surprised when he signed professional for Greg Lemond’s team. Renault-Elf was very dominate for quite a while.

Tucker starting his "creepy walk", coming up on a bird, or butterfly.

Tucker starting his “creepy walk”, coming up on a bird, or butterfly.

13 thoughts on “Marianne Martin – First Tour de France Women’s Winner

  1. Mike Rodose

    That’s an incredible story. It seems she had only a few years of bicycle racing under her belt before winning the 1984 Tour?! A very belated congratulations to Marianne and the American team!

    The article mentions she left the sport in 1986 due to a health-realted issue – what happened?

     
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      1. Emacdo

        Wow, long memory. Whatever happened to this? All the guilty were punished and the records set straight?

        Hahaha. Fat chance.

        Still though, it’s a really interesting article.

         
      2. Krakatoa East of Java

        What happened was the creation of WADA and USADA, thus taking the power to overlook such conduct away from the likes of USOC and NGBs. Prior to this, nobody had the authority to “force” anyone to take doping seriously. The only reason that Alexi Grewal’s spot on the team was even revealed to be in jeopardy was that he wasn’t exactly “liked” by management. I’m sure Eddie B. would have been very happy to see him get a suspension, but USOC wanted to win medals and the management of USCF knew that Grewal was hella fit.

        Also, we have to remember that back then, we didn’t consider all “positives” to be created equal. Steroids were considered bad, m-kay? Right Cyndi? Stimulants were considered to be a rather minor form of cheating, m-kay? Right Alexi? Now we’ve gotten pretty universally consistent. ‘Roids and pseudoephedrine are going to get you the same ban.

         
  2. Bolas Azules

    A few years and she wins the women’s TdF? I’ll never understand the staunch ‘equal pay / equal prize’ crowd. For years women’s racing was a few fit women riding tempo at the front as lesser riders pealed off the back mile-after-mile. And in fact, comparing it as second level to men’s racing is a huge stretch as lower level men’s (multiple categories) and junior’s racing are faster and more competitive. Equal pay? Get in line there are a few groups ahead of you.

     
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    1. davidh

      Sorry you have to live in a world where women compete in sports, dude. Might want to work on acceptance instead of denial.

       
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    2. Fausto

      And women’s periods attract bears which is a problem in the mountains, ass clown. Thirty years ago I watched Connie Carpenter, Beth Heiden, Sarah Doctor, Betsy King win plenty of women’s races and then ride the men’s category 1&2 races for training and they had no issues hanging with the big boys. When Eddy Merckx rode was it boring compared to now because he road slower on a 10 speed steel vs 22 speed carbon. A little slower doesn’t mean not deserving of equal.

       
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  3. numbnuts

    money in racing? I don’t think there is much money in racing, esp not mtbing. I remember chatting with Jeremiah Bishop ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Bishop ) some years back and I don’t think he was making much racing for Trek… just enough to survive. I was also chatting with an Exterra world racer, can’t recall her name, at La Ruta… she was making 100k a year racing but then came down the cancer. Many succumb to injury, illness, or life happens events.
    Its a lot of work. As Chris Eatough stated, yah really gotta love the sport ( http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/too-tough-chris-eatough-wraps-up-storied-career/ ).

    amazes me that it doesn’t pay out more. I think a hot dog eating events pay out more…
    ( http://majorleagueeating.com/contests.php?more=1 )
    and, many other sports pay out way more (ie football)

    yah really gotta have a love for the sport is key.

     
    Reply
  4. Bolas Azules

    Fausto you are beyond delusional – “Thirty years ago I watched Connie Carpenter, Beth Heiden, Sarah Doctor, Betsy King win plenty of women’s races and then ride the men’s category 1&2 races for training and they had no issues hanging with the big boys.”

    Yeah and we shredded them with gear restrictions as Juniors and slugged it out with them as Intermediates in our 44×15’s when they mixed the classes. Remember too in those days Juniors were often winning Cat. 1 races in the area you referenced with our 53×15’s.

    Hanging at the back of a second rate senior 30 mile crit was hardly the same as competing with Juniors as none of them would have cracked the top 10 thirty years ago.

    I’m surprised some of the experts here didn’t argue the claim that the big strategy was to ride tempo and peel women off the back and wait for the 3-up sprint.

     
    Reply

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