DESPITE Harris, Patterson and Bunker, the biggest hero of all at the Parc des Princes on Sunday was Ferdi Kubler, who, in the course of the afternoon, roared on to the track behind a "Derny" and beat Van Est by five seconds to win the 365-mile Bordeaux-Paris — the Derby of the Road.
Although Van Est narrowly failed to bring off his third win in the classic event, Kubler's biggest victory was not over the Dutchman, but over Francis Pelissier. Pelissier, who won the race in 1922 and 1924, is now directeur sportif of La Perle Cycles, who had engaged Kubler to ride under their colours in the Derby. Pelissier, however, was not satisfied with the thoroughness of Kubler's preparation, and when the Swiss rider found it impossible to be released from a track engagement at Zurich on the Thursday night, Pelissier announced La Perle would have nothing more to do with Kubler, and withdrew their support.
Furious, Kubler hurriedly arranged for his Swiss marque Tebag to sponsor him. "If ever I have a bad time during the race, just say 'Pelissier' to me, and I'll soon recover," said Kubler to his chief pace-maker Ferdinand Wambst.
The race started at 1.30 a.m., and the eight competitors rode unpaced for the first 253 kms. to Chatellerault, where the Derny pacemakers took over. The last 125 kms. saw a furious battle between Van Est and Kubler, and when the Swiss failed to get away, pacemaker Wambst advised Kubler to reserve his effort for the final sprint. This he did, and beat Van Est (and Pelissier) at the Parc des Princes. Average speed for the whole race was 24 m.p.h., and for the final 319 kms. behind pace, 27 m.p.h.
The field of eight was the smallest in the 53 years the race has been run. The “Derby" has always been run in May or June until this year, when the organisers changed the date until September in an attempt to relieve the overcrowded calendar.
Result 1953 - 52nd Bordeaux-Paris
1. Kubler 14h. 56m. 35s
2, Van Est at 5 seconds
3, De Santi at 5m. 3s
4, Ockers at 6m. 11s
5, Cieliczka at 8m. 50s
6, Diot at 12m. 18s
7, Stablinsky at 22m. 43s