1973 Tour de France
The 1973 Tour de France was the 60th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 30 June and 22 July, with 20 stages covering a distance of 4,090 km (2,541 mi). Eddy Merckx, winner of the previous four editions, did not start the 1973 Tour, partly to avoid angry French fans and partly to please his sponsor; instead he rode and won the 1973 Vuelta a España and the 1973 Giro d'Italia. In his absence, Luis Ocaña dominated the race by winning four mountain stages and two time trials. The end result being a margin of victory exceeding 15 minutes.
Route of the 1973 Tour de France
|Dates||30 June – 22 July|
|Stages||20 + Prologue, including six split stages|
|Distance||4,090 km (2,541 mi)|
|Winning time||122h 25' 34"|
In 1973, a new team classification was added: the team points classification, calculated by adding the three best stage rankings per team; it would be calculated until 1988.
The teams entering the race were:
The winner of the previous four editions, Eddy Merckx had changed sponsors to the Italian Molteni. His contract said that he had to start in the 1973 Vuelta a España and the 1973 Giro d'Italia, and Merckx thought it was impossible to start in three grand tours in one year, so he stayed away from the Tour. Ocaña, who was in great shape, was now the main favourite, with Fuente, Poulidor and Thévenet as his biggest threats. Ocaña was not the clear favourite; he had already crashed out of the Tour three times, and he was seen as fragile. Zoetemelk had changed teams, because he did not have the full support of his team leader. Among the Italian riders absent were world champion Marino Basso and former Tour winner Felice Gimondi.
Route and stagesEdit
After the 1972 Tour de France, there were rumours that the 1973 Tour would become easier, to suit French cyclist Cyrille Guimard better. However, when the 1973 Tour route was announced in December 1972, the organisation had included three more mountains compared to 1972. The race started on 30 June, and had two rest days, in Divonne-les-Bains and Bolquères Pyrenees 2000. The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,556 m (8,386 ft) at the summit tunnel of the Col du Galibier mountain pass on stage 8.
|P||30 June||Scheveningen (Netherlands)||7.1 km (4.4 mi)||Individual time trial||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)|
|1a||1 July||Scheveningen (Netherlands) to Rotterdam (Netherlands)||84 km (52 mi)||Plain stage||Willy Teirlinck (BEL)|
|1b||Rotterdam (Netherlands) to Sint-Niklaas (Belgium)||137.5 km (85.4 mi)||Plain stage||José Catieau (FRA)|
|2a||2 July||Sint-Niklaas (Belgium)||12.4 km (7.7 mi)||Team time trial||Watney–Maes Pils|
|2b||Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) to Roubaix||138 km (86 mi)||Plain stage||Eddy Verstraeten (BEL)|
|3||3 July||Roubaix to Reims||226 km (140 mi)||Plain stage||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)|
|4||4 July||Reims to Nancy||214 km (133 mi)||Plain stage||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)|
|5||5 July||Nancy to Mulhouse||188 km (117 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Walter Godefroot (BEL)|
|6||6 July||Mulhouse to Divonne-les-Bains||244.5 km (151.9 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)|
|7 July||Divonne-les-Bains||Rest day|
|7a||8 July||Divonne-les-Bains to Gaillard||86.5 km (53.7 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|7b||Gaillard to Méribel||150.5 km (93.5 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)|
|8||9 July||Moûtiers to Les Orres||237.5 km (147.6 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|9||10 July||Embrun to Nice||234.5 km (145.7 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Vicente López Carril (ESP)|
|10||11 July||Nice to Aubagne||222.5 km (138.3 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Michael Wright (GBR)|
|11||12 July||Montpellier to Argelès-sur-Mer||238 km (148 mi)||Plain stage||Barry Hoban (GBR)|
|12a||13 July||Perpignan to Thuir||28.3 km (17.6 mi)||Individual time trial||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|12b||Thuir to Bolquères Pyrenees 2000||76 km (47 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)|
|14 July||Bolquères Pyrenees 2000||Rest day|
|13||15 July||Bourg-Madame to Luchon||235 km (146 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|14||16 July||Luchon to Pau||227.5 km (141.4 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Pedro Torres (ESP)|
|15||17 July||Pau to Fleurance||137 km (85 mi)||Plain stage||Wilfried David (BEL)|
|16a||18 July||Fleurance to Bordeaux||210 km (130 mi)||Plain stage||Walter Godefroot (BEL)|
|16b||Bordeaux||12.4 km (7.7 mi)||Individual time trial||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)|
|17||19 July||Sainte-Foy-la-Grande to Brive-la-Gaillarde||248 km (154 mi)||Plain stage||Claude Tollet (FRA)|
|18||20 July||Brive-la-Gaillarde to Puy de Dôme||216.5 km (134.5 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|19||21 July||Bourges to Versailles||233.5 km (145.1 mi)||Plain stage||Barry Hoban (GBR)|
|20a||22 July||Versailles||16 km (9.9 mi)||Individual time trial||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|20b||Versailles to Paris||89 km (55 mi)||Plain stage||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)|
|Total||4,090 km (2,541 mi)|
Zoetemelk won the opening prologue, one second ahead of Poulidor. In the first part of the next stage, Teirlinck won and took over the lead. Ocaña and Herman Van Springel fell down when a dog crossed the road, but both suffered no serious damage. In the second part of that stage, Van Springel bridged the gap to Catieau, who had escaped. Van Springel did all the work to stay away, while Catieau did not help his team captain's rival. They stayed away until the end of the stage, where Catieau won the sprint, and Van Springel became the new race leader.
In the third stage, a group with Guimard and Ocana escaped. Van Springel, Zoetemelk, Fuentes, Thévenet and Poulidor were not in that group, and had to chase them. The group stayed away, Guimard won the sprint and Catieau became the race leader. More important for the final result was that Ocaña won more than two minutes on Zoetemelk, and more than seven minutes on Fuente.
In stage seven, when the first mountains were climbed, Ocaña attacked, and only Zoetemelk could follow. A few kilometers from the summit, Zoetemelk had to let Ocaña go, and Ocaña finished solo. Ocaña became the new race leader, almost three minutes ahead of Zoetemelk. In the eighth stage, Ocaña and Fuente both attacked. Ocaña and Fuente did not like each other, and when Fuente stopped working, Ocaña was angry, especially when Fuente passed him just before the top of the Izoard to steal the points for the mountain classification. When Fuente had a flat tire, Ocaña did not wait for him, and left him behind, beating him by one minute at the finish line. All the others were far behind: Thévenet and Martinez followed after seven minutes, the other pre-race favourites after twenty minutes.
In the thirteenth stage, Poulidor crashed, and was taken away with a helicopter. In the sixteenth stage, the cyclists were slower than expected, and finished one hour after the latest time schedule. The train that they should have taken had already left, and they had to use buses.
In the time trial in stage 17, Fuente lost his second place in the general classification to Thévenet. Fuente tried to take it back in the mountain stage 18, but he failed and even lost some time.
Three cyclists tested positive during the 1973 Tour de France: Barry Hoban, after the 9th stage; Claude Baud, after the 13th stage; and Michel Roques, after the 18th stage. All three received a fine of 1000 Swiss Francs, one-month suspension and ten minutes penalty time in the general classification.
Classification leadership and minor prizesEdit
There were several classifications in the 1973 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 1973.
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 1973, 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 were identified by yellow caps. For the first time, there was also a team points classification. Cyclists received points according to their finishing position on each stage, with the first rider receiving one point. The first three finishers of each team had their points combined, and the team with the fewest points led the classification. The riders of the team leading this classification wore green caps.
In addition, there was a combativity award, in which a jury composed of journalists gave points after certain stages to the cyclist they considered most combative. The split stages each had a combined winner. At the conclusion of the Tour, Luis Ocaña won the overall super-combativity award, also decided by journalists. The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given to the first rider to pass the memorial to Tour founder Henri Desgrange near the summit of the Col du Galibier on stage 8. This prize was won by Ocaña.
|Denotes the winner of the general classification||Denotes the winner of the points classification|
|Denotes the winner of the combination classification|
|1||Luis Ocaña (ESP)||Bic||122h 25' 34"|
|2||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||+ 15' 51"|
|3||José Manuel Fuente (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||+ 17' 15"|
|4||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Gitane–Frigécrème||+ 26' 22"|
|5||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor||+ 30' 20"|
|6||Herman Van Springel (BEL)||Rokado–De Gribaldy||+ 32' 01"|
|7||Michel Périn (FRA)||Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson||+ 33' 02"|
|8||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)||Bic||+ 35' 51"|
|9||Vicente López Carril (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||+ 36' 18"|
|10||Régis Ovion (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||+ 36' 59"|
|1||Herman Van Springel (BEL)||Rokado–De Gribaldy||187|
|2||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Gitane–Frigécrème||168|
|3||Luis Ocaña (ESP)||Bic||145|
|4||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||139|
|5||Walter Godefroot (BEL)||Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano||139|
|6||Barry Hoban (GBR)||Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson||110|
|7||Gerard Vianen (NED)||Gitane–Frigécrème||110|
|8||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor||109|
|9||Mariano Martínez (FRA)||Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson||89|
|10||Jacques Esclassan (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||89|
|1||Pedro Torres (ESP)||La Casera–Peña Bahamontes||225|
|2||José Manuel Fuente (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||216|
|3||Luis Ocaña (ESP)||Bic||192|
|4||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||119|
|5||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor||107|
|6||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Gitane–Frigécrème||83|
|7||Vicente López Carril (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||80|
|8||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)||Bic||46|
|9||Francisco Galdós (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||46|
|10||Mariano Martínez (FRA)||Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson||38|
|1||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Gitane–Frigécrème||20|
|2||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor||26|
|3||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||33|
|4||Herman Van Springel (BEL)||Rokado–De Gribaldy||50|
|5||Fernando Mendes (POR)||Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano||55|
|6||José Catieau (FRA)||Bic||82|
Intermediate sprints classificationEdit
|1||Marc Demeyer (BEL)||Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano||105|
|2||Barry Hoban (GBR)||Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson||70|
|3||Willy Teirlinck (BEL)||Sonolor||60|
|4||Raymond Riotte (FRA)||Sonolor||34|
|5||Fernando Mendes (POR)||Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano||18|
|Robert Mintkiewicz (FRA)||Sonolor|
|7||Régis Delépine (FRA)||Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson||13|
|8||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Gitane–Frigécrème||12|
|9||Jacques Esclassan (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||11|
|10||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor||10|
|Vicente López Carril (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol|
|1||Bic||369h 31' 55"|
|2||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||+ 20' 23"|
|3||Kas–Kaskol||+ 20' 42"|
|4||Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson||+ 23' 04"|
|5||Rokado–De Gribaldy||+ 1h 40' 42"|
|6||Sonolor||+ 1h 45' 56"|
|7||Gitane–Frigécrème||+ 1h 58' 57"|
|8||La Casera–Peña Bahamontes||+ 2h 01' 50"|
|9||Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano||+ 2h 09' 21"|
|10||De Kova–Lejeune||+ 3h 09' 21"|
Team points classificationEdit
|9||La Casera–Peña Bahamontes||2338|
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- Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–455.
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- Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 454.
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- van den Akker, Pieter (2018). Tour de France Rules and Statistics: 1903–2018. Self-published. ISBN 978-1-79398-080-9.
Media related to 1973 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons