The Tour de Hongrie was first organized in 1925, nine decades ago the start was on 27 June, the time of it was 4 A.M., truly early morning and riders left from the Gellert Hotel, which is in a wonderful part of Budapest.
First winner: Karoly Jerzsabek
„The Hungarian Tour de France is a very unique cycling event in the history of Hungarian sport, it was organized so perfectly, absolutely considering the sports professional, public relations and propaganda parts of the race. No doubt, organization was more accurate and detailed than even Germans can do” – wrote the Nemzeti Sport, Hungarian daily sport newspaper in 1925.
Every cyclist knows what Tour de France is. There is no need for any explanation. So many of us cannot wait those 3 weeks of the summer when the focus is on the Tour de France. It is amazing to „explore” the different parts of the route and follow the cyclists day after day and see how the very bests do it. Just imagine! In a hot sunny day, with a good, cold drink we are having discussions about the actual stage, the performance of Nibali, Valverde or Froome. Is it familiar? A cyclist also knows what Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana are. Knows that in every country its national cycling race is the „big thing”. Every rider wants to win these Tours. Being the overall winner is such a huge honor and prestige. Hungary sometimes had, sometimes had not its own Tour. The Hungarian „ancestors”, long time ago, did in a very different way, that time the Western style and mode of those tours were strange for them (having a 1-2 week long race). Then, in 1925 they did it, how the „bigs” have done.
Tour de Hongrie
Start: 27 june 1925. Lenght of the stage: 510,5 km.
Part of Hungary: Dunantul. The lenght is still the same nowadays. Just imagine, that time, to those support cars it was really not easy to make the stage with consistent tempo. Well, Hungarian rider, Karoly Jerzsabek did it and he became the 1st winner of Tour de Hongrie. „The Hungarian Tour de France is a very unique cycling event in the history of Hungarian sport, it was organized so perfectly, absolutely considering the sports professional, public relations and propaganda parts of the race. No doubt, organization was more accurate and detailed than even Germans can do” – wrote the Nemzeti Sport, Hungarian daily sport newspaper in 1925. The time of the start was at 4 AM, truly early morning and riders left from a the Gellert Hotel. Jerzsabek (his club was MTK) accomplished the distance in 22 hours 10 minutes. The route was: Budapest-Gyor-Szombathely-Budapest.
The longest Tour de Hongrie: 1393km
The start was difficult. The early history of the race was difficult, however, until the 2nd World War, Hungary had its own Tour every year. No. Just almost every year! There were breaks 2 times. In 1928 when Hungary hosted the Road Cycling World Championships and in 1936, but that year it was caused by political reasons. Because of the Olympics in Berlin: for the great results Hungarians must have skipped the race. However, no one requested it as Tour de Hongrie had such a huge prestige even that time, too.
Finish in 1964
The World War could not stop the mass of the Tour de Hongrie either. The route was created carefully and detailed, cyclist were competing in safe parts of the country. They just rode as they would have felt that the end or big break would come. Until 1965 we had the race but after this there was a quarter-century break without our Tour. Those days, Hungarian bests were able to follow the world’s cycling sport only from newspapers they received from Vienna. But! Hungary had really great riders that time as well!
In 1993 the ice was broken! Finally! Tour de Hongrie was organized by the Hungarian Cycling Federation, the main organiser was Janos Sipos. Then, after a 2-year break a new main organiser started the work, former cyclist, Karoly Eisenkrammer became the President of the LOC of TDH and on 12 July 2001 we could celebrate the 28th winner of the Tour the Hongrie in the finish of Budapest. Overall winner was Mikos Rnakovic from Yugoslavia. A year later, Hungarian Zoltan Vanik (club: Postas-Matav SE) got the victory, in 2003 the Slovakian citizen, but Hungarian Zoltan Remak became the winner.
Zoltan Bebto, winner in 1997 (middle)
Zoltan Remak, living is Szepsi, made history in 2004: after Laszlo Vida and Gyozo Torok he was the 3rd, and the 1st one not living in Hungary, who could defend his title and TDH victory. In 2005 Tamas Lengyel won, until now he has been the last Hungarian winner of our event!
Between 2006 and 2008 the event’s name was DCG Tour de Hongrie, organized by Kerekparsport 2000 Alapitvany (special foundation). In 2007 and 2008 1-1 stage was held in Slovakia too. After the finish in 2008 we were waiting for the continuation. Finally, in 2015 cyclists of Tour de Hongrie circled in Hungary again! In 2015 the overall winner was Tom Thill from Luxembourg, in 2016 Estonian Mihkel Raim, in 2017 Colombian Daniel Jaramillo became the champion and in 2018 Italian Manuel Belletti won the Tour de Hongrie.