|Pelissier in 1919, the year he won his first|
He also won the Giro di Lombardia three times, Paris-Roubaix twice, Milan-Torino, Milan-San Remo, Bordeaux-Paris, Paris-Tours and Paris-Brussels and used his exalted position to protest against the harsh conditions riders of his day were expected to endure and, as result, became embroiled in a long feud with Tour director Henri Desgrange - surprisingly, he didn't always enjoy popular support and many other riders apparently found him rather annoying. However, for all the concern he showed for their welfare he was by no means a likable man - his wife, Léonie, suffered much at his hands and entered a deep depression, leading to her suicide in 1933 when she shot herself with his revolver. Three years following her death, he took a new lover named Camille "Miette" Tharault, 20 years younger than he was. It appears that he treated her no better better - during a row one day, he attacked her with a knife and slashed her face. She, however, was made of sterner stuff than poor Léonie: she ran upstairs and grabbed the same gun but, instead of killing herself, took it back down to kitchen and shot him five times. After the killing was investigated, she was given a 12-month suspended sentence which, court officials said, was the closest they could come to releasing her without charge under the laws of the time. (For more on Pélissier, click here.)
On this day in 1998, Lance Armstrong married Kristin Richard - and thus set in motion several years of confusion for sports commentators, those of whom with little knowledge of cycling could never quite tell the difference between the new Kristin Armstrong and the one who won a total of five National and two World Road Race and Time Trial Championships and is not related to Lance in any way.