1987 Tour de France
The 1987 Tour de France was the 74th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 1 to 26 July. It consisted of 25 stages over 4,231 km (2,629 mi). It was the closest three-way finish in the Tour until the 2007 Tour de France, and was won by Stephen Roche, the first and so far only Irishman to do so.
Route of the 1987 Tour de France
|Stages||25 + Prologue|
|Distance||4,231 km (2,629 mi)|
|Winning time||115h 27' 42"|
Following Stage 1, Poland's Lech Piasecki became the first rider from the Eastern Bloc to lead the Tour de France. He was one of eight different men to wear yellow, a new record for the Tour.
The teams entering the race were:
- Carrera Jeans–Vagabond
- Vétements Z–Peugeot
- Système U
- RMO–Cycles Méral–Mavic
- Caja Rural–Orbea
- Café de Colombia–Varta
- Del Tongo
- Supermercati Brianzoli–Chateau d'Ax
Shortly before the Tour, on 20 April 1987, the defending champion Greg LeMond was accidentally shot by his brother-in-law while hunting turkeys. He was unable to start the 1987 Tour, and because Bernard Hinault (second placed in 1986, and the only rider to seriously challenge LeMond in 1986) had retired, the Tour started without a clear favourite.
Only one previous winner started in the 1987 Tour: Laurent Fignon, winner in 1983 and 1984. Since then, Fignon had struggled with his form, but in the first months of 1987, Fignon had finally shown some good results. LeMond's place as leader of the Toshiba team was now taken by Jean-François Bernard. He had finished in twelfth place in the previous year as helper of LeMond and Hinault, so more was expected from him now. The Carrera team was led by Stephen Roche. For Roche, the months before the 1987 Tour had gone well, having won the 1987 Giro d'Italia. In the recent Tours, Pedro Delgado had shown improving results, and he had some talented helpers in his PDM team, so he was also considered a contender.
Route and stagesEdit
In 1985, it was announced that the 1987 Tour would start in West-Berlin, to celebrate that it was 750 years ago that the city was founded. The 1987 Tour de France started on 1 July, and had one rest day, in Avignon. There were 25 stages (and a prologue), more than ever before.
|P||1 July||West Berlin (West Germany)||6 km (3.7 mi)||Individual time trial||Jelle Nijdam (NED)|
|1||2 July||West Berlin (West Germany)||105 km (65 mi)||Plain stage||Nico Verhoeven (NED)|
|2||2 July||West Berlin (West Germany)||41 km (25 mi)||Team time trial||Carrera Jeans–Vagabond|
|3||4 July||Karlsruhe (West Germany) to Stuttgart (West Germany)||219 km (136 mi)||Plain stage||Acácio da Silva (POR)|
|4||5 July||Stuttgart (West Germany) to Pforzheim (West Germany)||79 km (49 mi)||Plain stage||Herman Frison (BEL)|
|5||5 July||Pforzheim (West Germany) to Strasbourg||112 km (70 mi)||Plain stage||Marc Sergeant (BEL)|
|6||6 July||Strasbourg to Épinal||169 km (105 mi)||Plain stage||Christophe Lavainne (FRA)|
|7||7 July||Épinal to Troyes||211 km (131 mi)||Plain stage||Manuel Jorge Domínguez (ESP)|
|8||8 July||Troyes to Épinay-sous-Sénart||206 km (128 mi)||Plain stage||Jean-Paul van Poppel (NED)|
|9||9 July||Orléans to Renazé||260 km (160 mi)||Plain stage||Adrie van der Poel (NED)|
|10||10 July||Saumur to Futuroscope||87 km (54 mi)||Individual time trial||Stephen Roche (IRE)|
|11||11 July||Poitiers to Chaumeil||206 km (128 mi)||Hilly stage||Martial Gayant (FRA)|
|12||12 July||Brive to Bordeaux||228 km (142 mi)||Plain stage||Davis Phinney (USA)|
|13||13 July||Bayonne to Pau||219 km (136 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Erik Breukink (NED)|
|14||14 July||Pau to Luz Ardiden||166 km (103 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Dag Otto Lauritzen (NOR)|
|15||15 July||Tarbes to Blagnac||164 km (102 mi)||Plain stage||Rolf Gölz (GER)|
|16||16 July||Blagnac to Millau||216 km (134 mi)||Hilly stage||Régis Clère (FRA)|
|17||17 July||Millau to Avignon||239 km (149 mi)||Hilly stage||Jean-Paul van Poppel (NED)|
|18 July||Avignon||Rest day|
|18||19 July||Carpentras to Mont Ventoux||37 km (23 mi)||Mountain time trial||Jean-François Bernard (FRA)|
|19||20 July||Valréas to Villard-de-Lans||185 km (115 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Pedro Delgado (ESP)|
|20||21 July||Villard-de-Lans to Alpe d'Huez||201 km (125 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Federico Echave (ESP)|
|21||22 July||Le Bourg-d'Oisans to La Plagne||185 km (115 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Laurent Fignon (FRA)|
|22||23 July||La Plagne to Morzine||186 km (116 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Eduardo Chozas (ESP)|
|23||24 July||Saint-Julien-en-Genevois to Dijon||225 km (140 mi)||Plain stage||Régis Clère (FRA)|
|24||25 July||Dijon||38 km (24 mi)||Individual time trial||Jean-François Bernard (FRA)|
|25||26 July||Créteil to Paris (Champs-Élysées)||192 km (119 mi)||Plain stage||Jeff Pierce (USA)|
|Total||4,231 km (2,629 mi)|
The prologue was won by specialist Jelle Nijdam, and none of the favourites lost much time. The second place in the prologue was for Polish cyclist Lech Piasecki, and when he was part of a break-away in the first stage that won a few seconds, he became the new leader in the general classification, the first time that an Eastern-European cyclist lead the Tour de France. Piasecki kept his lead in the team time trial of stage 2, but lost it in the third stage when a break-away gained several minutes. Erich Maechler became the new leader. Maechler kept the lead for several stages. After stage nine, Maechler was still leading. The mass-start stages were dominated by break-aways of cyclists who were not considered relevant for the final victory; sixth-placed Charly Mottet was the only cyclist in the top 15 who had real chances of finishing high.
The tenth stage was an individual time trial, and the first real test for the favourites. It was won by Stephen Roche, with Mottet in second place; Mottet became the new leader of the general classification. After a successful escape in the eleventh stage, Martial Gayant became the new leader. The twelfth stage ended in a bunch sprint that did not change the general classification. The Tour arrived in the Pyrenees in the thirteenth stage. Non-climbers, such as Gayant lost more than fifteen minutes, and so the non-climbers were removed from the top positions of the general classification; the new top three was Mottet – Bernard – Roche, all serious contenders for the final victory.
The eighteenth stage was an individual time trial, with a finish on the Mont Ventoux. It was won with a great margin by Jean-François Bernard, who became the new leader of the general classification, and the new hope of the French cycling fans. Bernard was a good climber and a good time-trialist, and had the support of a good team, so he could be able to stay leader until the end of the race. But already in the next stage, Bernard lost considerable time. He had a flat tire just before the top of a climb, and lost contact with the other riders while he had to wait for repairs, and had to spend energy to get back. His rivals Mottet and Roche had made a plan to attack in the feed zone, where cyclists could get their lunch. Mottet and Roche had packed extra food at the start of the stage, and attacked while Bernard was at the back of the peloton. Bernard chased them, but was not able to get back to them, and lost four minutes in that stage, which made Roche the new leader, closely followed by Mottet and Delgado.
In the twentieth stage, the riders went through the Alps, to finish on the Alpe d'Huez. Roche finished in fifteenth place, and lost the lead to Delgado. The pivotal stage was stage 21. In the first part of this stage, the Colombian cyclists of the "Cafe de Colombia" team (including Luis Herrera and Fabio Parra, fifth and sixth in the general classification) kept a high pace, and many cyclists were dropped. Roche, Delgado and Mottet decided to work together to get rid of the Colombian cyclists on the descent of the Galibier, out of fear that Herrera and Parra would leave them behind in the next climbs. Their plan worked, but Delgado's team mates were also dropped. Roche saw this opportunity and escaped, climbing the Madeleine in a small breakaway group. Somewhat later, Delgado's team mates got back to Delgado, and together they chased Roche, and caught him just before the climb of La Plagne. Roche then anticipated that Delgado would keep attacking on the climb. Knowing Delgado was the better climber, Roche decided he would not follow Delgado's attack. Instead, he let Delgado get away until the margin was one minute, giving Delgado the impression that he could safely save energy for the next stages, and at the last part of the stage gave it everything he had to reduce the margin. Roche followed that tactic, and confused not only Delgado, but also the commentators and the Tour organisation. Roche finished a few seconds behind Delgado, and after the finish he collapsed and was given an oxygen mask in an ambulance.
Roche was only 39 seconds behind Delgado in the general classification. Roche could still win the Tour, but it depended on if he could recover in time for the 22nd stage. That stage included the last serious climb of the Tour, so Delgado had his final opportunity to gain time on Roche, and he attacked. However, Roche was able to come back to Delgado twice. Then, Roche attacked, and Delgado could not keep up. Roche won back 18 seconds on Delgado, so he had reduced his margin to 21 seconds. Being a talented time-trialist, he knew that he could easily make up for it on the penultimate stage (an individual time trial at Dijon). Indeed, Roche won almost a minute on Delgado, and this was enough to secure the overall win. This time trial was won by Jean-François Bernard, who finished the Tour in third place; if Bernard had not lost four minutes after the flat tire in the nineteenth stage, he would have won the Tour.
Bontempi was originally declared winner of the 7th stage, but a few days later, his doping test came back positive for testosterone. Bontempi was set back to the last place of the stage, was penalized with 10 minutes in the general classification, and received a provisional suspension of one month.
One day later, it became public that Dietrich Thurau had tested positive after the eighth stage. At that point, Thurau had already left the race. He was set back to the last place of that stage, and also received a provisional suspension of one month.
There were several classifications in the 1987 Tour de France, six 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 were given 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 categorized some climbs as either hors catégorie, 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-categorized climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a polkadot jersey.
Another classification was the intermediate sprints classification. This classification had similar rules as the points classification, but only points were awarded on intermediate sprints. Its leader wore a red jersey.
The sixth individual classification was the young rider classification. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only riders under 26 years were eligible, and the leader wore a white jersey. In 1987 the race organizers changed the rules for the young rider classification; from 1983 to 1986, this classification had been as a "debutant classification", open for cyclist that rode the Tour for the first time. In 1987, the organizers decided that the classification should be open to all cyclists less than 25 years of age at 1 January of the year.
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 lead this classification wore yellow caps. There was also a team points classification. After each stage, the stage rankings of the best three cyclists per team were added, and the team with the least total lead this classification, and were identified by green caps.
- In stage 19, Stephen Roche wore the combination jersey.
|Denotes the winner of the general classification||Denotes the winner of the points classification|
|Denotes the winner of the mountains classification||Denotes the winner of the young rider classification|
|Denotes the winner of the combination classification||Denotes the winner of the intermediate sprints classification|
|1||Stephen Roche (IRE)||Carrera Jeans–Vagabond||115h 27' 42"|
|2||Pedro Delgado (ESP)||PDM–Concorde||+ 0' 40"|
|3||Jean-François Bernard (FRA)||Toshiba–Look||+ 2' 13"|
|4||Charly Mottet (FRA)||Système U||+ 6' 40"|
|5||Luis Herrera (COL)||Café de Colombia–Varta||+ 9' 32"|
|6||Fabio Parra (COL)||Café de Colombia–Varta||+ 16' 53"|
|7||Laurent Fignon (FRA)||Système U||+ 18' 24"|
|8||Anselmo Fuerte (ESP)||BH||+ 18' 33"|
|9||Raúl Alcalá (MEX)||7-Eleven||+ 21' 49"|
|10||Marino Lejarreta (ESP)||Caja Rural–Orbea||+ 26' 13"|
|1||Jean-Paul van Poppel (NED)||Superconfex–Kwantum–Yoko–Colnago||263|
|2||Stephen Roche (IRE)||Carrera Jeans–Vagabond||247|
|3||Pedro Delgado (ESP)||PDM–Concorde||228|
|4||Jean-François Bernard (FRA)||Toshiba–Look||201|
|5||Jozef Lieckens (BEL)||Joker–Merckx||195|
|1||Jean-François Bernard (FRA)||Toshiba–Look||72|
|2||Laurent Fignon (FRA)||Système U||70|
|3||Stephen Roche (IRE)||Carrera Jeans–Vagabond||69|
|4||Luis Herrera (COL)||Café de Colombia–Varta||65|
|5||Anselmo Fuerte (ESP)||BH||65|
Young rider classificationEdit
|1||Raúl Alcalá (MEX)||7-Eleven||115h 49' 31"|
|2||Erik Breukink (NED)||Panasonic–Isostar||+ 31' 46"|
|3||Gilles Sanders (FRA)||Kas||+ 59' 08"|
|4||Jesper Skibby (DEN)||Roland–Skala||+ 59' 24"|
|5||José Salvador Sanchis (ESP)||Caja Rural–Orbea||+ 1h 08' 17"|
Intermediate sprints classificationEdit
|1||Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle (FRA)||Vétements Z–Peugeot||249|
|2||Jean-Paul van Poppel (NED)||Superconfex–Kwantum–Yoko–Colnago||178|
|3||Régis Clère (FRA)||Teka||142|
|4||Martin Earley (IRE)||Fagor–MBK||100|
|5||Teun van Vliet (NED)||Panasonic–Isostar||70|
Team points classificationEdit
Jeff Pierce winning the final stage on the Champs-Élysées is thought to have impressed the presence of United States cycling in the European circuit. Cycling News's Pat Malach wrote that Pierce's win was his defining win for the remainder of his career.
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- Augendre 2016, p. 78.
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- The seventh stage was initially won by Guido Bontempi, who failed a doping test. Second-placed cyclist in that stage Dominguez was promoted to the first place.
- Augendre 2016, p. 110.
- Bordyche, Tom (26 June 2012). "Stephen Roche remembers one special day in 1987". BBC. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
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- Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified - Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Other Classifications & Awards". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Intermediate Sprints Classification". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Chauner, David; Halstead, Michael (1990). The Tour de France Complete Book of Cycling. Villard. ISBN 0-679-72936-4. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- "1987, Part Two: Raise High the Red Lantern". Cyclismas. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Clasificaciones oficiales". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 27 July 1987. p. 38. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- Pat Malach (16 March 2012). "Triumph on the Champs-Elysees: Jeff Pierce recalls his solo '87 win in Paris". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Archived from the original on 31 July 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
Media related to 1987 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons