Laurent Gadou

Biography

Laurent Gadou was born in Montreal Quebec on August 18, 1912. In true Canadian tradition Laurent started to participate in sports as a hockey player. But by sixteen years old Laurent was riding for the Club Quilicot under the advice and support of Luigi Quilicot. Quilicot had a bicycle shop on Saint-Denis, Les Bicycles Quilicot. Luigi also started the very successful Club Quilicot, and was the coach and trainer to many of the top Canadian and Quebec cycling champions. Under Luigi's tutelage many Quebec racers became professional six-day racers including: Joe Laporte, Henri Lepage, Jules Audy, Zenon St-Laurent, Laurent Gachon, Rene12/26/2021 Cyr, Bob Lacourse, Laurent Tessier, Rene Paquin, Guy Morin and Laurent Gadou. Laurent was given the nickname 'Tibi' because of his quick cat like reaction and bike handling skills.

Laurent Gadou was a professional racer from 1930-1948. He had 39 six-day race starts and had eight podium placings including a victory in the Montreal 1933 (b.) six-day race with the American Frank Bartell as a partner.


The following is the Canadian Press Dispatch from Montreal October 16, 1933:

Youngsters Win Bicycle Grind - Laurent Gadou and Frank Bartell Score Surprise Win in Montreal Race

Two young riders Sunday held a surprise victory in Montreal's ninth semi-annual six-day bicycle race. They were Laurent Gadou, Montreal and Frank Bartell, Czechoslovakia, who came from behind Saturday night to grab and hold a lead of a single lap over four other teams. The fifth and sixth teams to finish were two more laps behind. While the teams of Piet Van Kempen, Holland and Polly Parrott, Victoria B.C.; Torchy Peden, Victoria and Jules Audy, Montreal; Letourneur, France and Henri Lepage, Montreal, were struggling for top position, the youthful winners stole a march on the field to take the lead. But the drama of the final hour was centered about a fall by Van Kempen, his first of the race. His team was tied with Gadou and Bartell in distance, holding a sufficient margin of spring points to ensure victory. But Peden and Audy started a desperate attempt for the tying lap and had almost secured the needed circuit to draw level in distance and ahead on points. Suddenly Van Kempen went down, the race stopped and Peden and Audy lost their chance to gain the lap.

Final Standings:

  1. Gadou-Bartell 2468 miles 5 laps 401 points
  2. Peden-Audy 2468 miles 4 laps 1320 points
  3. Letourneur-Lepage 2468 miles 4 laps 125 points
  4. Van Kempen-Parrott 2468 miles 4 laps 817 points
  5. Gachon-Ottevarie 2468 miles 4 laps 346 points
  6. Fielding-McDonald 2468 miles 2 laps 802 points

Winnipeg Free Press, Monday October 18, 1933

As a teenager Gadou had already made a tremendous start to his six-day career by taking two podium placings in his first two six day races:

  • 1930 Montreal Six-Day Bicycle Race (b.) with Marcel Boogmans (Bel), 3rd place
  • 1931 Montreal Six-Day Bicycle Race (b.) with George Dempsey (Aus) 3rd place

Because Laurent was small in stature his partners had difficultly with the seat or pocket sling. So in 1933 his partner Frank Bartell started to use the hand sling to get Laurent launched into the jam. This proved very successful and led to other riders using the hand sling. By the late 1930s Torchy Peden was pushing the racers to all use the hand sling instead of the pocket sling.

During a race in 1935 Gadou was run over by a truck and four of his toes were amputated at the Notre Dame Hospital. Being a courageous, determined racer Laurent took only 1 1/2 years of rehabilitation and training before he was back in shape as a professional 6-day racer.

An example of his courage occurred at the Philadelphia Six-Day Bicycle race in 1937. Laurent was partnered with Reggie Fielding of Toronto. It was Laurent's eighth six-day race since January and he was in excellent condition. On Day 5 some bad luck hit Reggie and he went down hard during a sprint at a time when he and Laurent were tied for the lead. Reggie was banged up heavily and retired to his cabin. Laurent rode alone for hours keeping the team on the same laps with the leaders. A sports reporter described when Fielding joined Gadou on the track:

For a couple of sprints, the gritty Englishman did very well, but then came disaster. Riding around one of the turns slowly after being temporarily relieved by Gadou, Fielding again crashed to the boards for no reason at all. Again he struck his head, and this time he was completely out. It was then that Gadou proved his metal. Single-handedly he carried the burden for his team, and actually took second in one of the remaining sprints. Thereafter, until daybreak, he did practically all of the riding and kept in step with the other leaders.

With Fielding somewhat restored on Saturday, the harassed team did very well, considering their condition. Late in the day they lost a lap to the leaders, and another when the winning Audy and Lepage team stole a circuit on the entire field in the evening, ("A Rider Who Wouldn't Surrender").

After World War II, at 35 years old Laurent Gadou participated in the revival of six-day racing in North American riding in races in New York, Chicago, Cleveland and Buffalo. Typical of the Canadian hard men Gadou raced in 39 six-day bicycle races. He finished 27 and abandoned 12.

This writer sincerely hopes that Laurent Gadou will be recognized in the near future by the Le Temple de la Renommee du Cyclisme Quebecois for the contribution that he has made to Quebec and Canadian track cycling

Arnold Devlin

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Palmares

  1. Montreal October 26 - November 1, 1930 - Marcel Boogmans, 3rd place
  2. Montreal April 19-25, 1931 - George Dempsey, 3rd place
  3. Milwaukee January 6-12, 1932 - Henri Lepage, 6th place
  4. Montreal April 17-23, 1932 - Pierre Gachon, DNF
  5. Toronto May 2-7, 1932 - Freddy Zach, 6th place
  6. Atlantic City July 1932 - Harry Horan, 4th place
  7. Vancouver August 1932 - Al Crossley, 4th place
  8. Montreal October 17-13, 1932 - Anthony Beckman, 6th place
  9. Toronto October 1932 - Anthony Beckman, 3rd place
  10. Cleveland January 20-26, 1933 - Cecil Walker, 4th place
  11. Saint Louis February 8-14, 1933 - Reg McNamara, 5th place
  12. Montreal April 16-22, 1933 - William Torchy Peden, 2nd place
  13. Montreal October 8-14, 1933 - Frank Bartell, 1st place
  14. Toronto October 23-29, 1933 - Anthony Beckman, 5th place
  15. New York February 25 - March 2, 1934 - Freddy Zach, DNF
  16. Chicago March 13-19, 1934 - Freddy Zach, DNF
  17. Montreal April 15-21, 1934 - Anthony Beckman, 7th place
  18. Toronto May 6-11, 1934 - Reggie Fielding, 3rd place
  19. Montreal October 15-21, 1934 - Frank Bartell, 3rd place
  20. Montreal April 13-19, 1936 - Al Crossley, 4th place
  21. Toronto April 27-May 3, 1936 - Borris, DNF
  22. Cleveland January 11-17, 1937 - Fred Spencer, 6th place
  23. Milwaukee January 22-28, 1937 - Albert Heaton, 6th place
  24. Saint Louis February 2-8, 1937 - Henry 'Hank' Sima, DNF
  25. Indianapolis February 15-20, 1937 - Cecil Behringer, 6th place
  26. Kansas City March 17-23, 1937 - Dominick Camastro, 4th place
  27. Pittsburgh April 1-7, 1937 - Gustuv Killian, 3rd place
  28. Louisville April 15-21, 1937 - Dominick Camastro, 5th place
  29. Philadelphia April 25 - May 5, 1937 - Reggie Fielding, 4th place
  30. Toronto September 28 - October 3, 1937 - Jimmy Walthour, 2nd place
  31. Montreal October 10-16, 1937 - Jerry Rodman, 5th place
  32. New York September 19-25, 1938 - Eddy Testa, DNF
  33. Montreal October 9-15, 1938 - Fred Ottevarie, DNF
  34. Montreal September 27- October 3, 1942 - Jerry Rodman, 4th place
  35. Cleveland December 7-13, 1947 - Oscar Juner, DNF
  36. New York February 26 - March 2, 1948 - Bill Jacoby, DNF
  37. Buffalo October 5-11, 1948 - Mickey Francoise, DNF
  38. Chicago October 31 - November 6, 1948 - Ted Smith, DNF
  39. New York November 14-20, 1948 - Stanley Bransgrove (Aus), DNF
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