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Iddo 'Snowy' Munro

Iddo 'Snowy' Munro

Inducted 2024

Even before creating history by riding alongside Don Kirkham as the first Australians to race the Tour de France in 1914, Iddo "Snowy" Munro had already established himself as a record breaker.

In the early days of Australian cycling, the iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool was often ridden the other way, Warrnambool to Melbourne.

Riding on rough roads, often gravel, and with no gears, the big challenge was how would riders measure up against the train that would leave Warrnambool when the top riders did.

In 1909, 21-year-old Munro turned in arguably the greatest ride in the race's long history, causing a nationwide sensation by setting a record time that would stand until 1931.

His time of seven hours, 12 minutes and 51 seconds proved an embarrassment for the Victorian Railways Commission as he pulled into Melbourne five minutes before the steam train.

Munro, drew level with the train at Werribee and put a gap of five minutes between it and himself over the last 20 miles in the famous 1909 race.

Fitting for a man born in Warrnambool, but who would later move to the Melbourne suburb of Coburg.

Not content with making history on home soil, Iddo joined his mate Kirkham and four other Australians on a seven-week boat trip to Europe in a bid to ride the 12th edition of the Tour de France.

Munro and Kirkham emerged from the travelling group of six to become the first Australians to ride Le Tour.

They were selected by the French Phebus-Dunlop team as domestiques for Frenchman Georges Passerieu, who finished second in the 1906 Tour.

There were 143 starters of the race in 1914 when it got underway in Paris.

5,380km later the race returned to finish in the French capital and Munro marked himself as one of the world’s best, finishing 20th overall.

Munro and Kirkham were the only non-Europeans among the 54 finishers.

Snowy then had a lifelong association with cycling, including as an administrator and being one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Sun Tour in 1952, which for almost 50 years was the premier road tour in Australia.

Snowy Munro’s legacy is one that set the wheels in motion for Australian cyclists taking on the world.

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