The Pyrenees Art Deco Prints Collection
The Inspiration Behind Our Pyrenees Collection
I have always been fascinated with the 1910 Tour de France and wanted to create a collection of Art Deco Prints that would capture these five iconic mountains. I contacted Sara Ray, who is a very talented artist, and worked with her to produce a collection of cycling inspired art prints in honor of stage 10 of the 1910 Tour de France Race.
In the words of a 2016 Pro Rider:
“The Pyrenees, this mountain range, more brutal than the Alps, so people say. You can see it, just by looking at the name, Pyrenees, longer, sharper and uglier. This is when riders give up and meet their limits. No hiding in a bunch and no drafting along. Pain is amplified like a stadium concert. The enjoyment of easy days evaporates into the clouds that are suddenly closer. The Pyrenees will break you down with no concern for loss of soul or life.”
The 1910 Tour de France race was the eighth edition of the Tour de France, taking place from the 3rd to 31st July. It consisted of 15 stages over 4,734 km (2,942 miles), ridden at an average speed of 28.680 km/h. It was the first Tour to ever enter the Pyrenees Mountains. The two main riders for the victory were 1909 winner François Faber, a sprinter, and Octave Lapize, a climber, both rode for the strong and decisive Alcyon team. Because of the points system, their chances for the overall victory were approximately equal on paper. The race was not decided until the final stage, after which Lapize had won by a difference of only four points.
These five infamous mountains took centre stage in the 1910 Tour de France and became known as the Circle of Death! The Tour de France first arrived at the high mountains in 1910. Stage ten in that year included five tortures climbs in the Pyrenees Mountains. The first ever Tour climbs of the Col de Peyresourde, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin, Col d’Aubisque and Col du Soulor. Journalists from across Europe wrote of the routes into the wilderness of the Pyrenees as dangerous, bizarre, and even suicidal.
The Tour director Henri Desgrange published the anticipation for months in his own newspaper the l’Auto and the French population eagerly awaited the reports from the mountain stages. Francois Faber held the race lead from stage 2. A tremendous battle evolved with his teammate, Octave Lapize. Desgrange elevated the anxiety and excitement everyday through articles in L’Auto. Nobody knew what to expect as the race moved forwards into the wild mountains. There were riders who refused to take part in the stage as the organisers of Le Tour had made no provisions to protect them from bears. This was much to the delight and excitement of race director Desgrange and his sponsoring newspaper L’Auto.
The “Circle of Death” was documented as being one the hardest Tour de France stages in the Pyrenees. These mountains are a place where the Tour is often won or lost. In more modern times it has been a 200 km stage from Luchon to Pau. In the year 1910 it was a stage of some 326 km from Luchon to Bayonne.
Please note: We strive for a high degree of image accuracy. However, in some cases, the visual representation may be approximate, or print colours may vary from those displayed on your screen.
The Pyrenees prints are copyright © Sara Ray. All rights reserved. Reproduction or re-sale in any form is prohibited.