François Faber

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François Faber Road cycling
François Faber (1913)
François Faber (1913)
To person
Nickname Colosse de Colombes
Date of birth January 26, 1887
date of death May 9, 1915
nation LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg
discipline Street
Last updated: May 21, 2020

François Faber (born January 26, 1887 in Aulnay-sur-Iton , France ; † May 9, 1915 at Carency , France) was a Luxembourgish cyclist . He won the Tour de France in 1909 , making him the first non-French to win this stage race.


Origin and family

François Faber was born in France; his parents were from Luxembourg. At first he has French citizenship, which he gave up in 1909, presumably in order not to have to do military service in France. His mother worked as a servant in households, before François was born she had two illegitimate children and lived in poor conditions. In 1885 she married Jean-Pierre Faber, with whom she had another child, François. From 1889 the family lived in Colombes . François Faber left school at the age of 13 and then worked in various professions, including as a waiter in a bistro and as a dock worker . He spent his free time in a café where cycling was a topic of conversation. Faber was fascinated by the Tour de France , saved up on a bicycle and trained as a bicycle mechanic. In 1913 he married and bought a villa in Colombes, which he called "Pour Elle" ("For her").

Athletic career

In 1906 Faber began his career as a cyclist and became a professional cyclist the following year. Faber achieved a total of 19 stage wins on the tour. In addition to his tour victory in 1909 , he took second place in 1908 and 1910 . His stature of around 90 kilograms and a height of 1.80 meters earned him the nickname Colosse de Colombes .

Stele in Mont-Saint-Éloi

Faber was also very successful in one-day races . In 1909 he won the Lombardy Tour and in 1913 Paris – Roubaix . He celebrated further successes with Paris – Tours (1909, 1910), Paris – Brussels (1909) and Bordeaux – Paris (1911). In his victory at Paris-Roubaix, he wins with an average speed of 35.333 kilometers per hour , a new record speed that was only broken 18 years later. In 1913 he took part in the Tour of Belgium , won the stage that led to Luxembourg and was then received by Minister of State Paul Eyschen . This was one of three times Faber visited Luxembourg. At the Tour de France 1914 , which began on June 28, the day on which the fatal shots fell on Archduke Franz Ferdinand , he won two stages and finished ninth; it was Faber's last bike race.

Death in war

On August 22, 1914, François Faber volunteered for the Foreign Legion - a surprising decision after he had previously managed to evade military service. When his reasoning was later rumored that France had brought him luck, therefore he had to defend France. On August 23, 1914, Henri Desgrange wrote in L'Auto about a parade of legionnaires: “... at the head of this procession, which greeted France with dignity before they set out to die for the country, I saw in the front row François Faber. He walked like a young god (...) Well, like his comrades, he was determined to deal a heavy blow to the Boches . And he felt that he owed it to France, he, a Luxembourger who a month earlier had been celebrated by millions of people on the streets of France (...). "

After two months of training, Faber went to the front. On May 9, 1915, the Loretto Battle began at La Bassée and Arras , one of the most costly events of the war. He fell on the first day of the offensive and was one of 1,800 legionnaires who were buried in a mass grave days later. He is said to have been shot while trying to help an injured soldier.


In the basilica of the French national cemetery Notre-Dame-de-Lorette , a marble plaque commemorates François Faber. In 2015 a plaque in his honor was unveiled in Mont-Saint-Éloi, France ; he fell near the village in 1915. His body was never found. The Grand Prix François Faber has been held in Contern (with interruptions) since 1919 .


Grand Tour 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914
Vuelta a España
Maglia Rosa Giro d'Italia
Yellow jersey Tour de France DNF 7th 2 1 2 DNF 14th 5 9
Legend: DNF: did not finish , abandoned or withdrawn from the race due to timeout.


  • Pascal Leroy: François Faber, you Tour de France au champ d'honneur (=  Espaces et Temps du sport ). Éditions L'Harmattan, Paris 2006, ISBN 978-2-296-00847-2 (French).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Verlag der Radwelt (ed.): Sport album of the Rad world . Strauss-Verlag, Berlin 1911, p. 42-44 .
  2. ^ A b c d e f Marc Thill: François Faber (1887 - 1915): He no longer turned around. Never more ... In: October 3, 2015, accessed May 22, 2020 .
  3. ^ Mont-Saint-Éloi: François Faber, ou la renaissance d'un champion mort au front. In: June 17, 2015, accessed May 21, 2020 (French).