Have you heard of Amélie le Gall? This pretty girl from
, in North-West Brittany , was a phenomenal athlete during the 1890s. Here she
is in 1896, riding her French-made Gladiator bicycle. France
In 1896, she set the women’s world record for 100 kilometres at the Aquarium,
, Westminster . Amélie also won the Women’s World Championship road race in London Paris in 1896.
Sadly, at the time, many people still did not recognise women's cycle racing as a legitimate sport. It was considered improper for women to take part.
But Amélie spent a lot of time in
, where she adopted the ‘stage name’ of Lisette (some say 'Lisette Marton') and became a celebrity. She raced on tracks, often against men. She was said to
be trained in London by ‘Choppy Warburton’ – a Svengali-like notorious sporting entrepreneur, but at least this connection must have propelled her into
public view. She participated in six-day races in London and also in Westminster . Apparently, like Mark Cavendish, she had an amazing sprint finish. Paris
The story is that Amélie eventually retired from racing, got married and settled on a ranch in