Starting in Amsterdam, the 1954 Tour de France had two strong Swiss riders in place: Ferdi Kübler and Fritz Schär, both hoping to take glory and put Switzerland on the cycling map. With Frenchmen Louison Bobet and Gilbert Bauvin on their tails, as well as Dutchman Wout Wagtmans, the race for the Yellow Jersey was going to be a tough one.
Starting off the strongest was Wout Wagtmans, he took the Sprint in the initial stage and set the pace for the race. Wagtmans looked a favourite up until the fourth stage, where he was beaten by the time trial and the French team took the lead. This team time trial stage was new to the Tour de France and meant that the overall team score counted in this stage.
Back in the standard stages and Jean Robic collided with a photographer and had to leave any hopes of winning behind. To make this a race of calamities, Wagtmans also fell down somewhere along the eleventh stage, managing to keep his lead for another stage, but his spirit, passion and hunger were by then diminished.
Taking advantage of Wagtmans’ weakness, Gilbert Bauvin chased up the disheartened Dutchman and other strong riders began to get on his tail and slowly demoralise him. With Bauvin now in first position, the race to the end was brutal and quick. The Swiss riders were attacking and attacking and started to tire. By the end of the heated 23 stages, it was Frenchman Louison Bobet who left the Swiss brigade behind.