40 YEARS OF HISTORY

Rédigé par Enrico ALBERINI

On a glorious autumn day in 1970, during the hard climb up to the beautiful Col du Luitel, near Grenoble in the Alps, the idea of our Fellowship was born. In fact this place was the innocent witness to the dream of a cyclist who loved  the mountains.

By the evocative Lake Luitel and its surrounding peat beds, Jean Perdoux proposed a toast to Daniel Legat (Cent Cols No. 6), Georges Ducatillon (Cent Cols No. 434), Pierre Fructus (Cent Cols No. 69) and Henri Voiron , his fellow riders that day, in celebration of a small event.

In Chamrousse, he announced with emotion and pride, he had just climbed his 100th (different) col! One of his companions, Daniel, added that he had done better because he had already counted at least 150 climbs!

It was a beautiful morning: the idea of ​​the ”Club des Cent Cols” had just been born!

At the time, Jean Perdoux was a member of the Administrative Council of the French Federation for Cycletourism (FFCT). In 1971, he published an ad in the federal magazine asking if other cyclists were equally passionate about climbing mountain passes. He received nearly 200 replies.

Amazed by this enthusiasm, accompanied by encouragement and suggestions, he drafted in 1972 a set of“club rules”which has remained the same for more than 40 years.

Simplicity, friendship, the sharing of a common passion, and the exchange of information, were written into the spirit of the Club from the outset. These are the ideas that we all defend and cultivate today.

 The first ones to join the Fellowship were from the mountains: some Pyreneans, but especially Savoyards. Jacques Faizant(n ° 7), however, came from Paris, and was very proud to be in the first 10 registered members.  It was he whodesignedthe first covers of our annual Review.

1973, the first official bulletin of the club appears with Jean Perdoux as its editor. Marcel Bioud offers to the Club’s members an initial list of the road and off-road cols of the Northern Alps, followed in 1974 by the list of Pyrenean cols established by Francis Marty.

In the autumn of 1974, above Lake Annecy, at the top of the beautiful and steep Col du Forclaz de Montmin, the Club’s first national gatheringis organised . Eighty of the 150 signed-up members arepresent. Marcel Bioud, a teacher in Voiron, arouses admiration and envy. Imagine, he had just crossed his 842nd different col. He becomes the Club’s first Grand Master, and issucceeded by another great cyclist : Elie Bordat.
Few realise that it was our Club that invented, in 1974, the millimetre coordinates of the cols on the maps. The idea was later taken up by Michelin and IGN maps.

 1975, August 7th, the Club’s second annual gathering is held on the summit pastures of the Port de Bales in the Pyrenees, a favourite of organiser Pierre Roques. Although the road will not be surfaced until the 1980’s, the day is a great success. The next day the local press reports ”…seldom have we had the chance to climb in such a majestic setting. It was, however, a real gutbuster, sometimes almost impossible, and unrelentingly hard. So hard that, at the top, only the leaders of the CCC were there, waiting to catch unsuspecting cyclists and condemn them to a life of endless climbing…”.Michel Verhaeghe joins the Club – he has today climbed over 10,000 different cols.

1976, Michel Perrodin is the author of the published list of alpine cols outside France and Claude Carle weaves the first 100 Cols embroidered crest.

1977, TF1 broadcasts, in prime time, an excellent programme about the Club. Many of th Club pioneers are present for the filming that  day, on the slopes of the Col de l’Arpettaz: Jo Routens, Robert Chauvot, Daniel Legat, Georges Ducatillon, Henri Bouchez, Elie Bordat and many, many others. The programme surprises and provokes plenty of questions from the general public.The same year, thanks to the information collected from by the Club’s specialists, Jean Perdoux establishes the first list of road cols in France (1368 cols). The Club’s annual Revueis revised and grows to 70 pages.

1978, the first list of Swiss cols, prepared by Jean-Pierre Mérot, is published.

1979, publication of the list of 101 Algerian cols.

1980, as the Club reaches the milestone of 1000 members, Robert Chauvot, helped by his wife Monique, invents the ‘Bible’, a complete directory of all the cols of France, an extraordinary  reference work that lasts unchanged until 1987, when François Rieu takes on the taskof its update.It is also in 1980 that Jean Perdoux, who still produces the Review (now 80 pages), passes the post of secretary to Henri Bouchez for a year. Henri Dusseau succeeds him in 1981.

1982, the Club is 10 years old.It now has more than 1231 members, including 94 women and 40 foreigners from 8 nations.

1983, the 1471 centcolists are now ledby Henri Dusseau who leaves the presidency ofthe Vélo-Club d’Annecy (V.C.A.) and becomes “General-Secretary” of the Club. The Club remains, however, under the legal responsibility ofthe V.C.A.

1984, the Club reaches 2000 members and the first regional gatheringis organised in the Adour-Pyrenees. Regional delegates are appointed throughout  France, and abroad. TheReview contains its first black and white photo.

From 1987 onwards, René Poty keeps the “Chauvot” up to date, develops the Topo Guides (some in collaboration with M. de Brébisson), and prepareslists of cols of many countries.

1988, the Club has 3000 members, and the first gatherings outside France (in Belgium and Switzerland) are organised.

1989, no national gathering. The Club’s rules become known as the “Règle du Jeu” (Rules of the Game).

1990, Michel Verhaeghe’s list of cols exceeds 3000.

1991, the Club comes officially under the umbrella of the Fédération Française de Cyclotourisme (FFCT).Publication of the new corrected edition of the catalogue of road cols in France (+ Andorra, Belgium and Switzerland). Lists of cols of the following countries are now available to members: Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Norway, Germany, Spain, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia.The Club is joined by Régis Paraz who will be elected president in 2009.

1992, the Club is 20 years old, and celebrates with a national gatheringat the Col du Luitel and an original cover for the Revue designed by Jacques Faizant.

1993, first publication of the Roll of Honour (“Tableau d’Honneur”) in the annual Revue.

1994, sees the creation of specially designed Cent Cols badges and T-shirts.Creation of the “Tour de France of the Hundred Cols” by Henri Gomez and organisation of  two “Randonnées Permanentes” (permanent long-distance routes, each including at least 100 cols):”100 Cols in the Alps”, traced by René Poty, and “100 Cols in the Pyrenees”, traced by Alain Gillodes.Alain also organises a joint gathering in the Pyrenees between the Club des Cent Cols and the Order of the Cols Durs .

1995, the Club has 4024 members.The first colour photos appear in the Revue n ° 23 and the Club holds its first “séjour” (week-long holiday) in Buis-les-Baronnies.

1996, Marc Liaudon presents the Club with his digital notebook of French cols. A new edition of the ‘Bible’ is published, and a new line of 100 Cols clothing is produced.
Many members from all over the world start wearing the club outfit. The iconic jersey is now recognised and loved!

1997, for administrative reasons, it becomes necessary to create a newAssociation autonomous from the Vélo Club d’Annecy, which had been the administrative support for more than 25 years. From this date on, the Club is affiliated to the French Federation of Cyclotourism and issues their memberships. Our president is Jean Perdoux, secretary Henri Dusseau, assistant secretary René Poty and treasurer Nicole Faverot.

1998, creation of the 1000 cols medal. The Revuehas 80 colour pages and contains  75 articles written by members.The cycling champion Eddy Merckx is admitted to the Club,  with the award of his diploma in Belgium by Jean Perdoux and Henri Dusseau.

1999, the first Italian gathering of the Club is heldin Montefiorino, organised by Gianni Solenni. First publication of an alphabetical list of members. Publication of the list of road and off-road cols over 2000 m in Europe. The annual subscription goes from 50 francs to 8 euros.The Club’s first website is launched: http://www.centcols.org, designed, produced and managed by Philippe Carrez with editorial direction by René Poty.

2001, the Revue expands and includes 96 colour pages and 100 articles. Creation of the first CERP (Commission of Ethics, Reflection and Proposals).

2002, the Club’s constitution is reformed, at the General Assembly (AG) of 12 January, to give each member new voting rights. There is a change of the management team, at the extraordinary General Assembly on March 9th. The new team is composed as follows: President – Claude Bénistrand, Secretary – René Poty, Treasurer – Michel Mathieu, Vice President – Bernard Vieillard,  Assistant Secretary – Philippe Carrez.The CERP is renewed, and Guy Bodoin becomes its leader.The first network of national and foreign Territorial Delegates is established. The first IGN-France tracings are put online by Mario Labelle.

2003, The Club has 5721 registered members.Jean Perdoux is proclaimed Founding President and Honorary President, Henri Dusseau is proclaimed President “Honoris Causa”.
Claude Bénistrand (assisted by his wife Cathie) takes charge of the annual Review.

 2004, creation of new Randonnées Permanentes (Corsica, Drôme, Alps, Pyrenees, LPE Atlantic-Mediterranean)The club takes on a new  clothing supplier,  Bernard Thévenet.
New catalogues for Catalonia, Liguria, and the USA are published.

2005, creation of further new Randonnées Permanentes (Haut-Languedoc and Ardèche). Publication of the catalogues of the road cols of France and the cols of the British Isles.
The Club’s internet site is renewed, and “Cent Col News” is established.After new elections, the same management team is re-elected. The CERP is renewed, with Guy Bodoin still in charge.

2006, new catalogues are published: Austria, Germany, Sardinia, Romania, Navarre, North-East Italy, and North-West Italy.Creation of a new Randonnée Permanente: “100 Cols in the French Riviera”.

2007, creation of 3 new Randonnées Permanentes: the “Arc en Cimes”, the “Spanish Watershed Line”, and “100 Cols in the Black Forest”. The first General Assembly is held outside the Rhône-Alpes region, in Fontbonne, near Montauban.

2008, the Club holds its first spring séjourin Agay.  Creation of new Randonnées Permanentes: “100 Cols in Triveneto” (Gianni Solenni) and “100 Cols in the Pays de Savoie” (which will become “100 Cols in Savoie Mont Blanc”) (Régis Paraz).Publication of the catalogues of Poland, Hungary and Turkey.Roland Grimaud succeeds Jean-Marc Lefèvre in charge of the Randonnées Permanentes

2009, Le Chauvot is “revisited”, with cols now repositioned with GPS coordinates and Geoportal links enabling them to be seen online on 1/25000 maps (René Poty and Mario Labelle).Publication of the catalogue of the road cols of Spain.Elections are held at the AG in Yenne, organised by Roger Colombo and CT Yenne.A new ”Conseil d’Administration” (CA) is established with RégisParazelected as president, Gérard Birelli (vice-president), Thierry Labour (general secretary), Michel Mathieu (treasurer), Philippe Carrez (assistant secretary). Chantal Sala is appointed editor-in-chief of the Revue.A partnership is establishedwith the Councils of Savoie and Haute-Savoie to prepare the Randonnée Permanente “100 Cols in Savoie Mont-Blanc”.

 2010, a redivision of French Departments is outlined, to form a new network of regional delegates to organise regional events.Birth of a new Randonnée Permanente, the “Divisoria” (100 cols on the Atlantic-Mediterranean watershed).Publication of a new catalogue of European road cols of over 2000m., and a first catalogue of prohibited French cols made by Jean-Paul Zuanon.Two deaths particularly affect the Club: in spring, that of the national delegate for Belgium, Germain Geenens and, during the summer, that of Roland Grimaud, in charge of the Randonnées Permanentes. Rudy Pede replaces Germain Geenens and Roger Colombo succeeds Roland Grimaud.

2011, the first spring séjour is held outside France, organised in Ripoll, Catalonia, by Alain Gillodes and Chantal Sala.“Info Cent Cols” is put online, as are the voting arrangements for the statutory reports of the General Assembly.A working group is set up to prepare a catalogue of Moroccan cols (Bernard Giraudeau, Guy Harlé, Jean-Paul Zuanon and Bernard Pommel).

2012, the Clubis 40 years old.This anniversary is celebrated by a festive meal that closes the summer séjour in Lescheraines organised by Régis Paraz, and by a special General Assembly in Annecy organised by Jean Perdoux, Henri Dusseau and VC Annecy.It is also marked by the publication of the book by Jean Perdoux and Henri Dusseau, “1972 – 2012, 40 years of history!”.Alain Brault is co-opted to the CA.After thousands of hours of work, the Spain working group releases a catalogue of more than 15,000 Spanish cols.The Chauvot, with more than 10,500 French cols, is published in the form of a ring-binder. A 2-day seminar is held in Turin to form a working group for Italy to develop a unified catalogue of all the cols of that country.Member No7000 is inscribed, a cyclist who had lost his sight.

2013, establishment of the CoVal (Validation Committee of the Cols) which replaces the CERP with a smaller staff composed of members of the Board and expert members in the analysis and verification of the cols (Claude Bénistrand, Jean-Michel Clausse, Régis Paraz, Philippe Carrez, Michel Mathieu).A new CA is elected:President Régis Paraz, Secretary General Guy Harlé, Treasurer Michel Mathieu, Assistant Secretary Nathalie Mauret, Vice-President Mario Labelle (position vacated two months later, following his resignation).Chantal Sala is reappointed as editor of the Revue.

2014, establishment of the GT Info (an IT working group, composed of Patrick Schleppi, Daniel Bossard, Gerard Birelli, Philippe Carrez, Jean-Michel Clausse, Graham Cutting, Régis Paraz, Guy Ruffie, Chantal Sala) with new arrangements and responsibilities for IT policy and projects. The new collaborative arrangements are to ensure that projects are seen through, and to avoid the burden of work falling too much on one person’s shoulders.

2015, the creation and implementation of a new website, following the analysis and expression of the GT Info’s needs.A start is made on a unified database of cols, with all countries combined.  A partnership with Openrunner is established, which enhances the visibility of the Club on the Internet.With the death of Robert Chauvot in July, the Club sadly loses the author of its “Bible”, the catalogue of the cols of France.

In 2015 the Club has more than 7372 members, coming from about twenty different nations: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany,Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain,Sweden, Switzerland, theUnited States…

The Swiss, the Belgians and the Italians form the largest foreign contingents of the Club.

726 of active members have now crossed more than 1000 different cols.

This history was written partly from the book by Jean PERDOUX and Henri DUSSEAU, “40 years of history”.
Chantal Sala and Régis Paraz