Summary

A trophy presented to Hubert Opperman as a gift by the "Australian Colony France" in recognition of his victory in the 1931 Paris-Brest-Paris road cycling race in France.

The 1931 race was held in poor weather conditions over 3 days (4-6 September), with drenching rain and headwinds on the outward journey to Brest, which improved for the return leg. Opperman's victory was the first for a non-French rider. He also broke the course record, finishing in a time of 49 hours 23.5 mins.

The race was first held in 1891. It was held only once every 10 years and this was its fifth edition. Raced over a distance of approximately 750 miles, it began in Paris with 38 starters and finished back in Paris at Velodrome Buffalo with just 15 riders, before a reported crowd of 50,000 spectators. Opperman was at the rear of a group of five riders as they entered the velodrome. He finished two bicycle lengths ahead of the Belgian rider, Leon Louyet. After his victory, Opperman was reported as saying that "It is the hardest bicycle race in the world".

Hubert Opperman was already a well renowned cyclist when he competed in this race and he started as the favourite, wearing the number one on the back of his jersey and on the frame of his bicycle. He had many international fans, particularly in France, who had already admired his effort in the 1928 Bol D'Or 24 hour track race. In a measure of the esteem held for him, the French newspaper "L'Auto" referred to him as "This lithe Australian knight of the road." Opperman had flagged his ambition of competing in the race as early as 1930 when he called France the home of long distance racing and the Paris-Brest race, the "blue ribbon" of cycling.

This object is currently on display in "The changing face of Victoria" exhibition in the Dome Gallery at the State Library of Victoria until 4 Dec 2018.

Physical Description

Sterling silver cup with two handles. Engraved with inscription.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Sir Hubert Opperman Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Leisure

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Sir Hubert Opperman, 06/1979

  • Awarded To

    Mr Hubert F. Opperman, Victoria, Australia, 1931

  • Place & Date of Event

    Paris, France, 1931

  • Place & Date of Event

    Brest, France, 1931

  • Maker of Item Depicted

    Mappin & Webb Ltd, 1930
    Dated based on hallmark from Sheffield Assay office.

  • Inscriptions

    On cup: ' HUBERT OPPERMAN / FROM / THE AUSTRALIAN COLONY FRANCE / PARIS-BREST-PARIS ' On base, around edge: [Hallmark of Mappin & Webb] ' M & W ' [crown] [lion passant] [lowercase n] On base, inside: ' MAPPIN & WEBB / PARIS '

  • Classification

    Sport, Cycle racing, Awards

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    Technology

  • Type of item

    Object

  • Overall Dimensions

    120 mm (Width), 74 mm (Depth), 110 mm (Height), 84.6 g (Weight)

  • References

    1930 'Cycling and Cyclists', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 4 January, p. 10 1931 'Paris-Brest', Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. : 1922 - 1954), 29 August, p. 4 1931 'OPPERMAN WINS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 7 September, p. 7 1931 'OPPERMAN'S VICTORY IN PARIS-BREST-PARIS RACE', Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954), 12 September, p. 65

  • Keywords

    Cup Trophies, Sporting Awards