1970 Tour de France
The 1970 Tour de France was the 57th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 27 June and 19 July, with 23 stages covering a distance of 4,254 km (2,643 mi). It was the second victory for Belgian Eddy Merckx, who also won the mountains classification, and nearly won every major jersey for a 2nd year in a row but finished second in the points classification behind Walter Godefroot by five points. The previous year only one rider was able to keep him within 20:00 and in 1970 a mere four other riders were within 20:00, with only debutant Joop Zoetemelk finishing inside 15:00 of Merckx.
Route of the 1970 Tour de France
|Dates||27 June – 19 July|
|Stages||23 + Prologue, including five split stages|
|Distance||4,254 km (2,643 mi)|
|Winning time||119h 31' 49"|
The Tour de France started with 15 teams, of 10 cyclists each, from five different countries. A few days before the Tour started, it became known that Paul Gutty had failed a doping test when he won the French national road championship. Gutty was removed from his Frimatic team, and replaced by Rene Grelin.
The teams entering the race were:
After his dominating victory in the previous year, Merckx was the major favourite. The main competition was expected from Luis Ocaña and Bernard Thévenet. Early in the race, 86 journalists predicted who would be in the top five of the Tour. 85 of them expected Merckx to be in the top five; Ocana was named by 78, Poulidor by 73. Merckx had already won important races in 1970, including Paris–Roubaix, Paris–Nice, the Giro d'Italia and the Belgian national road championship. Luis Ocaña, who had won the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré and the Vuelta a España, suffered from bronchitis, but still started the Tour, unable to seriously challenge Merckx.
Route and stagesEdit
The 1970 Tour de France started on 27 June, and had no rest days. After the financial success of the split stages in the 1969 Tour de France, even more split stages were used in the 1970 Tour. The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,115 m (6,939 ft) at the summit of the Col du Tourmalet mountain pass on stage 19.
|P||27 June||Limoges||7.4 km (4.6 mi)||Individual time trial||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|1||27 June||Limoges to La Rochelle||224.5 km (139.5 mi)||Plain stage||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)|
|2||28 June||La Rochelle to Angers||200 km (120 mi)||Plain stage||Italo Zilioli (ITA)|
|3a||29 June||Angers||10.7 km (6.6 mi)||Team time trial||Faemino–Faema|
|3b||Angers to Rennes||140 km (87 mi)||Plain stage||Marino Basso (ITA)|
|4||30 June||Rennes to Lisieux||229 km (142 mi)||Plain stage||Walter Godefroot (BEL)|
|5a||1 July||Lisieux to Rouen||94.5 km (58.7 mi)||Plain stage||Walter Godefroot (BEL)|
|5b||Rouen to Amiens||223 km (139 mi)||Plain stage||Jozef Spruyt (BEL)|
|6||2 July||Amiens to Valenciennes||135.5 km (84.2 mi)||Plain stage||Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL)|
|7a||3 July||Valenciennes to Forest (Belgium)||120 km (75 mi)||Plain stage||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|7b||Forest (Belgium)||7.2 km (4.5 mi)||Individual time trial||José Antonio González (ESP)|
|8||4 July||Ciney (Belgium) to Felsberg (Saar) (West Germany)||232.5 km (144.5 mi)||Plain stage||Alain Vasseur (FRA)|
|9||5 July||Saarlouis (West Germany) to Mulhouse||269.5 km (167.5 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Mogens Frey (DEN)|
|10||6 July||Belfort to Divonne-les-Bains||241 km (150 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|11a||7 July||Divonne-les-Bains||8.8 km (5.5 mi)||Individual time trial||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|11b||Divonne-les-Bains to Thonon-les-Bains||139.5 km (86.7 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Marino Basso (ITA)|
|12||8 July||Thonon-les-Bains to Grenoble||194 km (121 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|13||9 July||Grenoble to Gap||194.5 km (120.9 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Primo Mori (ITA)|
|14||10 July||Gap to Mont Ventoux||170 km (110 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|15||11 July||Carpentras to Montpellier||140.5 km (87.3 mi)||Plain stage||Rini Wagtmans (NED)|
|16||12 July||Montpellier to Toulouse||160 km (99 mi)||Plain stage||Albert Van Vlierberghe (BEL)|
|17||13 July||Toulouse to Saint-Gaudens||190 km (120 mi)||Plain stage||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|18||14 July||Saint-Gaudens to La Mongie||135.5 km (84.2 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)|
|19||15 July||Bagnères-de-Bigorre to Mourenx||185.5 km (115.3 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Christian Raymond (FRA)|
|20a||16 July||Mourenx to Bordeaux||223.5 km (138.9 mi)||Plain stage||Rolf Wolfshohl (FRG)|
|20b||Bordeaux||8.2 km (5.1 mi)||Individual time trial||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|21||17 July||Ruffec to Tours||191.5 km (119.0 mi)||Plain stage||Marino Basso (ITA)|
|22||18 July||Tours to Versailles||238.5 km (148.2 mi)||Plain stage||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)|
|23||19 July||Versailles to Paris||54 km (34 mi)||Individual time trial||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|Total||4,254 km (2,643 mi)|
The big favourite Merckx won the opening prologue, but he decided not to try to keep this leading position during the entire race. In the next stage, Merckx' team chased back all the escapees, so the stage ended in a bunch sprint, and Merckx kept the lead. In the second stage, a few cyclists escaped, and two of Merckx' teammates, Italo Zilioli and Georges Vandenberghe, joined the escape. Merckx' teammate Zilioli was ranked highest amongst the escaped cyclists, and none of them were considered competitors for the general classification, so Guillaume Driessens, Merckx's team leader, allowed the breakaway to work, and told Zilioli and Vandenberghe to give their best. Merckx however chased his own teammates. The group stayed away, Zilioli won the sprint and became the new leader, 4 seconds ahead of Merckx. After the stage, Merckx was angry at his team leader, because he had allowed Zilioli to "steal" Merckx' yellow jersey, but Driessens explained him that the other teams had spent energy to chase Zilioli, and the argument was over. Merckx team won the team time trial, and controlled the next stages, keeping Zilioli the leader with Merckx in second place.
In the sixth stage, Zilioli had a flat tire. Normally, if the leader in the Tour de France suffers a flat tire, a teammate would offer his wheel, and some teammates would stay with him to help him get back into the peloton. However, this time Merckx was considered more important, and Zilioli was given no help. Zilioli finished the stage one minute behind, and Merckx was the new leader.
The seventh stage was split in two. Merckx won the first stage with a solo break, and finished second in the second part, a time trial. In that time trial, run during the rain, Roger de Vlaeminck, third in the general classification, took too much risk, fell down and left the race in an ambulance. Merckx saw De Vlaeminck lying on the street during his race, and decided to take less risks, allowing José Antonio González Linares to win the stage by three seconds. Because Roger de Vlaeminck had left the race, his team Mars needed a new captain. Debutant Joop Zoetemelk was the highest ranked cyclist, and became the new captain.
In the ninth stage, Mogens Frey and Joaquim Agostinho, teammates, broke away together. They worked together to stay away, but near the end of the stage Frey stopped working and had Agostinho do all the work, even after his team manager told him to help. In the sprint, Agostinho expected his teammate to give him the victory because he had done all the work, but to his surprise Frey started to come around him. Agostinho then grabbed Frey's handlebars, and crossed the finish line first. The race jury did not allow this, and gave the victory to Frey, putting Agostinho in second place.
In the tenth stage, when the first medium mountains showed up, Merckx won the stage, and only three cyclists were able to stay with him, including Zoetemelk. Zoetemelk then rose to the second place, and he became the most important rival for Merckx.
Zoetemelk said that he would focus on defending his second place, because he thought Merckx was better than the rest of the world.
In the two Pyrenéan stages, Merckx did not win. He was suffering from stomach problems, and changed bicycles several times. The young Bernard Thévenet won the first, showing his potential as a future Tour winner.
Merckx was the third cyclist to win the Tour-Giro double in one year; Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil had done it before. Coppi and Anquetil were over thirty years old at their doubles, Merckx was only 25. The margin with the second placed cyclist was less than the year before; according to J.B. Wadley, the difference was that Merckx stopped attacking in 1970 after the Mont Ventoux; had he been inclined to win more time, he probably would have been able to.
Classification leadership and minor prizesEdit
There were several classifications in the 1970 Tour de France, three of them awarding jerseys to their leaders. The most important was the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification is considered the winner of the Tour.
Additionally, there was a points classification, where cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.
There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorised some climbs as either first, second, third, or fourth-category; points for this classification were won by the first cyclists that reached the top of these climbs first, with more points available for the higher-categorised climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, but was not identified with a jersey in 1970.
The fifth individual classification was the intermediate sprints classification. This classification had similar rules as the points classification, but only points were awarded on intermediate sprints. In 1970, this classification had no associated jersey.
For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time. The riders in the team that led this classification wore yellow caps.
The intermediate sprints classification, sponsored by Miko, was also named "hot spot". In addition, there was a combativity award given after each mass-start stage to the cyclist considered most combative. The split stages each had a combined winner. The decision was made by a jury composed of journalists who gave points. The cyclist with the most points from votes in all stages led the combativity classification. Roger Pingeon won this classification, and was given overall the super-combativity award. The new rider classification was first calculated in 1970. It is not the same as the young rider classification, introduced in 1975. The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given in honour of Tour founder Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col d'Aubisque on stage 19. This prize was won by Raymond Delisle.
- During the stages when Merckx was leading the general classification and the points classification, Merckx wore the yellow jersey and the number two of the points classification was wearing a black/green jersey. When Merckx was leading the general classification and the combination classification, the number two of the combination classification wore a black/white jersey.
|Denotes the winner of the general classification||Denotes the winner of the points classification|
|Denotes the winner of the combination classification|
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Faemino–Faema||119h 31' 49"|
|2||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||+ 12' 41"|
|3||Gösta Pettersson (SWE)||Ferretti||+ 15' 54"|
|4||Martin Vandenbossche (BEL)||Molteni||+ 18' 53"|
|5||Rini Wagtmans (NED)||Willem II–Gazelle||+ 19' 54"|
|6||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||+ 20' 34"|
|7||Raymond Poulidor (FRA)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||+ 20' 35"|
|8||Antoon Houbrechts (BEL)||Salvarani||+ 21' 34"|
|9||Francisco Galdós (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||+ 21' 45"|
|10||Georges Pintens (BEL)||Dr. Mann–Grundig||+ 23' 23"|
|1||Walter Godefroot (BEL)||Salvarani||212|
|2||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Faemino–Faema||207|
|3||Marino Basso (ITA)||Molteni||161|
|4||Jan Janssen (NED)||Bic||151|
|5||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||138|
|6||Rini Wagtmans (NED)||Willem II–Gazelle||116|
|7||Daniel Van Rijckeghem (BEL)||Dr. Mann–Grundig||100|
|8||Harry Steevens (NED)||Caballero–Laurens||77.5|
|9||Luis Ocaña (ESP)||Bic||75|
|10||Mogens Frey (DEN)||Frimatic–de Gribaldy||73|
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Faemino–Faema||128|
|2||Andrés Gandarias (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||94|
|3||Martin Vandenbossche (BEL)||Molteni||85|
|4||Silvano Schiavon (ITA)[b]||Salvarani||68|
|5||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||65|
|6||Primo Mori (ITA)||Salvarani||64|
|7||Gösta Pettersson (SWE)||Ferretti||59|
|8||Raymond Delisle (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||57|
|9||Luis Zubero (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||52|
|10||Guerrino Tosello (ITA)||Molteni||32|
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Faemino–Faema||4|
|2||Martin Vandenbossche (BEL)||Molteni||21.5|
|3||Rini Wagtmans (NED)||Willem II–Gazelle||23|
|4||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||25.5|
|5||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||32.5|
Intermediate sprints classificationEdit
|1||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||67|
|2||Giancarlo Polidori (ITA)||Scic||48|
|3||Jaak De Boever (BEL)||Flandria–Mars||22|
|4||Pieter Nassen (BEL)||Flandria–Mars||20|
|5||Rolf Wolfshohl (FRG)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||18|
|6||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||12|
|7||Raymond Riotte (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune||10|
|8||José Catieau (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune||9|
|9||Jozef Spruyt (BEL)||Faemino–Faema||8|
|10||Evert Dolman (NED)||Willem II–Gazelle||8|
|1||Salvarani||354h 22' 56"|
|2||Kas–Kaskol||+ 1' 14"|
|3||Faemino–Faema||+ 9' 45"|
|4||Sonolor–Lejeune||+ 29' 21"|
|5||Dr. Mann–Grundig||+ 34' 23"|
|6||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||+ 35' 35"|
|7||Molteni||+ 45' 35"|
|8||Bic||+ 51' 17"|
|9||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||+ 59' 39"|
|10||Frimatic–de Gribaldy||+ 1h 04' 11"|
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Faemino–Faema||366|
|2||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)||Frimatic–de Gribaldy||340|
|3||Raymond Delisle (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||273|
|4||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||252|
|5||Andrés Gandarias (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||176|
|6||Primo Mori (ITA)||Salvarani||172|
|7||Gilbert Bellone (ESP)||Sonolor–Lejeune||164|
|8||Raymond Riotte (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune||148|
|9||Attilio Benfatto (ITA)||Scic||125|
|10||Pierre Ghisellini (FRA)||Frimatic–de Gribaldy||122|
New rider classificationEdit
|1||Mogens Frey (DEN)||Frimatic–de Gribaldy||77|
|2||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||67|
|3||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||36|
|4||Nemesio Jiménez (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||34|
|5||José Antonio González (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||33|
|6||Tomas Pettersson (SWE)||Ferretti||31|
|7||Luis Zubero (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||27|
|8||Gösta Pettersson (SWE)||Ferretti||22|
|9||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||21|
|10||Jan Van Katwijk (NED)||Willem II–Gazelle||18|
Merckx had been so dominant during the entire Tour, that the organisation was afraid the race would become dull. The director Félix Lévitan announced that rule changes were considered to break the power of Merckx's team, that he was considering to return to national teams, and to reduce the number of time trials in the Tour. The 1971 Tour did not see major changes in rules, but the number of individual time trials decreased from five to two.
- No jersey was awarded to the leader of the mountains classification until a white jersey with red polka dots was introduced in 1975.
- Schiavon did not finish the race, but left the race after the last mountain stage. In 1970, the rules were such that Schiavon was still listed in the mountains classification.
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