Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Desvres, Pas-de-Calais, France, he was only 20 years old when he won the Tour de France. The race was marred by a multitude of problems including irate spectators throwing nails on the road in the final stage that forced Henri Cornet to ride the last 40 kilometers with two flat tires. After many complaints about widespread cheating, the top four finishers were eventually all disqualified by the French cycling union. The dethroned winner was suspended from competition for two years and the second place finished was banned for life. Although his overall time was three hours behind the first place rider, race officials declared Henri Cornet the winner. Such was the commotion over the 1904 race that Tour founder Henri Desgrange declared it was most likely the last time the race would ever be run.
After that initial victory, Henri Cornet never again had any great success in the race, abandoning the following year's event in the 4th stage. After winning his second major cycling event in 1906, the Paris-Roubaix race, he was unable to proceed at the start of the 1906 Tour de France , had to abandon it again in 1907, but did manage a very respectable 8th place finish in 1908. Extremely fast in what today are called time trials, he won the final leg of the 1908 race. A special timed lap run at a velodrome racetrack in Paris, the event was not counted as an official stage or towards the overall classification.
Cornet competed in his last Tour de France in 1912, finishing 28th. He passed away in 1941 in Prunay-le-Gillon , Eure-et-Loir.
Henri Cornet remains the youngest winner in the history of the Tour de France.
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