1968 Tour de France

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1968 Tour de France
Route of the 1968 Tour de France
Route of the 1968 Tour de France
Race details
Dates27 June – 21 July
Stages22, including four split stages
Distance4,492 km (2,791 mi)
Winning time133h 49' 42"
Winner  Jan Janssen (NED) (Netherlands)
  Second  Herman Van Springel (BEL) (Belgium A)
  Third  Ferdinand Bracke (BEL) (Belgium B)

Points  Franco Bitossi (ITA) (Italy)
  Mountains  Aurelio González (ESP) (Spain)
  Combination  Franco Bitossi (ITA) (Italy)
  Sprints  Georges Vandenberghe (BEL) (Belgium B)
  Combativity  Roger Pingeon (FRA) (France A)
  Team Spain
← 1967
1969 →

The 1968 Tour de France was the 55th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 27 June and 21 July, with 22 stages covering a distance of 4,492 km (2,791 mi). Eleven national teams of 10 riders competed, with three French teams, two Belgian teams and one from Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, and a combined Swiss/Luxembourgian team.

The 1968 Tour marked the first time the race end at the Vélodrome de Vincennes taking covering a distance of for the now-defunct Parc des Princes Velodrome, which served as the final stop from 1904 to 1967. The general classification was won by Jan Janssen, who overtook Herman Van Springel in the final time trial.

Innovations and changes[edit]

After the death of Tom Simpson, doping controls had become mandatory.[1] To further protect the cyclists, it was now allowed to get water during the race, and two rest days were added.[1] To get more sponsor income, a new classification was added, the combination classification, calculated from the positions in the general, points and mountains classification.[1] The jersey of the points classification, which has been green in all other years, was red in 1968 for sponsorship reasons.[1]


The 1968 Tour started with 110 cyclists, divided into 11 teams of 10 cyclists.[2]

The teams entering the race were:[2]

  • France A
  • France B
  • France C
  • Germany
  • Belgium A
  • Belgium B
  • Spain
  • Great Britain
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland/Luxembourg

Route and stages[edit]

The route for the Tour de France was announced in December 1967. At that time, the last stage was not finalised yet, because the old finish place (the Parc des Princes) was no longer available, and a new one had to be found.[3]

The 1968 Tour de France started on 27 June, and had two rest days, in Royan and Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via.[4] The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,408 m (7,900 ft) at the summit of the Port d'Envalira mountain pass on stage 13.[5][6]

Stage characteristics and winners[7][4][8][9]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
1a 27 June Vittel 6.1 km (3.8 mi) Individual time trial  Charly Grosskost (FRA)
1b 28 June Vittel to Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) 189 km (117 mi) Plain stage  Charly Grosskost (FRA)
2 29 June Arlon (Belgium) to Forest (Belgium) 210.5 km (130.8 mi) Plain stage  Erik de Vlaeminck (BEL)
3a 30 June Forest (Belgium) 22 km (14 mi) Team time trial  Belgium A
3b Forest (Belgium) to Roubaix 112 km (70 mi) Plain stage  Walter Godefroot (BEL)
4 1 July Roubaix to Rouen 238 km (148 mi) Plain stage  Georges Chappe (FRA)
5a 2 July Rouen to Bagnoles-de-l'Orne 165 km (103 mi) Plain stage  André Desvages (FRA)
5b Bagnoles-de-l'Orne to Dinard 154.5 km (96.0 mi) Plain stage  Jean Dumont (FRA)
6 3 July Dinard to Lorient 188 km (117 mi) Plain stage  Aurelio González Puente (ESP)
7 4 July Lorient to Nantes 190 km (120 mi) Plain stage  Franco Bitossi (ITA)
8 5 July Nantes to Royan 223 km (139 mi) Plain stage  Daniel van Ryckeghem (BEL)
6 July Royan Rest day
9 7 July Royan to Bordeaux 137.5 km (85.4 mi) Plain stage  Walter Godefroot (BEL)
10 8 July Bordeaux to Bayonne 202.5 km (125.8 mi) Plain stage  Gilbert Bellone (FRA)
11 9 July Bayonne to Pau 183.5 km (114.0 mi) Plain stage  Daniel van Ryckeghem (BEL)
12 10 July Pau to Saint-Gaudens 226.5 km (140.7 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Georges Pintens (BEL)
13 11 July Saint-Gaudens to La Seu d'Urgell (Spain) 208.5 km (129.6 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Herman Van Springel (BEL)
14 12 July La Seu d'Urgell to Perpignan 231.5 km (143.8 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jan Janssen (NED)
13 July Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via Rest day
15 14 July Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via to Albi 250.5 km (155.7 mi) Plain stage  Roger Pingeon (FRA)
16 15 July Albi to Aurillac 199 km (124 mi) Plain stage  Franco Bitossi (ITA)
17 16 July Aurillac to Saint-Étienne 236.5 km (147.0 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jean-Pierre Genet (FRA)
18 17 July Saint-Étienne to Grenoble 235 km (146 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Roger Pingeon (FRA)
19 18 July Grenoble to Sallanches 200 km (120 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Barry Hoban (GBR)
20 19 July Sallanches to Besançon 242.5 km (150.7 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jozef Huysmans (BEL)
21 20 July Besançon to Auxerre 242 km (150 mi) Plain stage  Eric Leman (BEL)
22a 21 July Auxerre to Melun 136 km (85 mi) Plain stage  Maurice Izier (FRA)
22b Melun to Paris 55.2 km (34.3 mi) Individual time trial  Jan Janssen (NED)
Total 4,492 km (2,791 mi)[10]

Race overview[edit]

The initial time trial was won by Charly Grosskost, with most favourites shortly behind him. Grosskost also won the next stage, and thus kept the lead.[1] In the first part of the third stage, a team time trial, the Belgian A team won, and because of the time bonuses Herman Vanspringel took over the lead.[1] The next stages were all flat, and the favourites were unable to gain time on each other. In the fourth stage, a group without favourites escaped and won the stage with a margin of a few minutes; Jean-Pierre Genet was the best-placed cyclist of that group, and became the new leader. A similar thing happened in the first part of the fifth stage; Georges Vandenberghe was the only cyclist who had been present in both escape groups, and he became the new leader of the general classification. Vandenberghe was now a few minutes ahead in the general classification, and kept that lead until the start of the Pyrenees after stage eleven.[1]

Vandenberghe was expected to lose the lead in the twelfth stage, because he was not known to be a good climber. But he surprised, and stayed with some of the favourites, keeping the lead. In that stage, the Dutch team was reduced to four cyclists, and the leader Jan Janssen did not look strong. On the other hand, the leader of the French team Raymond Poulidor had gained time, and seemed to be the best-placed favourite, in fifth place in the general classification.[1] In the thirteenth stage, Vandenberghe again was able to stay at the front. In the last day in the Pyrenees during stage fourteen, Janssen won the stage, but won little time by that, as almost all cyclists were in the group just behind him.[1]

Jan Janssen (pictured in 1967), winner of the general classification

In the fifteenth stage, Raymond Poulidor was hit by a motor, but was able to remount and reach the finish, although he lost more than a minute on his direct competitors.[1]

In the sixteenth stage, French internal rivalry was dominating; while Roger Pingeon of the France A team was slowing down to drink, Lucien Aimar of the France B team attacked, and took a group of favourites with him. Although Aimar was later dropped from that group, Godefroot, Janssen, Vanspringel, Bracke and Gandarias stayed at the front, while Pingeon, Poulidor and Vandenberghe lost more than nine minutes, and were out of contention. The new leader was now Rolf Wolfshohl, with San Miguel in second place and Franco Bitossi in third place.[1]

In the eighteenth stage, Pingeon fought back and escaped early in the stage. He was joined by Bitossi, who was keen on taking over the lead in the general classification. On the last climb, Bitossi was out of energy and lost considerable time. Pingeon won the stage, and San Miguel climbed up to the first place in the general classification. However, the top eight was within two minutes of each other.[1]

In the nineteenth stage, San Miguel lost a little time on Vanspringel, who became the new leader. The next few stages did not change anything in the top of the general classification. The Tour ended with a time trial, and before the time trial, Herman Van Springel was leading, followed by San Miguel at 12 seconds, Janssen at 16 seconds and Bitossi at 58 seconds. Janssen won the final time trial, with Van Springel in second place, but the margin was large enough for Janssen to win the Tour.[7]


Doping controls were performed daily on the first three riders to complete the stage and three more riders by random drawing.[11] Gimondi advised the Tour de France organizers adopt the aforementioned system, which was used at the Giro d'Italia earlier that year, in order for him to agree to participate in the race.[11] In total, 163 doping tests were performed.[12] Two returned positive:

Both were removed from the race, suspended for one month and given a fine.

Classification leadership and minor prizes[edit]

There were several classifications in the 1968 Tour de France, two of them awarding jerseys to their leaders.[15] 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.[16]

Additionally, there was a points classification. In the points classification, 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.[17] The jersey for the points classification leader was red in 1968, unlike all other years since its introduction in 1953, when it was green.[17][18]

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.[19] The leader of the mountains classification, which had been calculated since 1933 but had never had a jersey,[19] also became identifiable by a "macaron" on his jersey.[18]

A newly introduced classification was the combination classification. This classification was calculated as a combination of the other classifications.[20] The leader was not identified by a jersey, but wore a "macaron" on their jersey.[18]

The fifth individual classification was the intermediate sprints classification. This classification had similar rules as the points classification, but points were only awarded on intermediate sprints. In 1968, this classification had no associated jersey.[21]

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.[21] The Switzerland/Luxembourg team finished with only two cyclists.

In addition, there was a combativity award given after each 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.[22] Roger Pingeon won this classification, and was given overall the super-combativity award.[4] The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given in honour of Tour founder Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col des Aravis on stage 19. This prize was won by Barry Hoban.[23] There was also the Souvenir Tom Simpson, given in honour of Tom Simpson, who died during the 1967 Tour. This prize was won by Roger Pingeon on stage 15 in the small town of Mirepoix.[24]

Classification leadership by stage[25][26]
Stage Winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification[a] Combination classification Intermediate sprints classification Team classification Combativity
Award Classification
1a Charly Grosskost Charly Grosskost Charly Grosskost no award no award no award France B Charly Grosskost Charly Grosskost
1b Charly Grosskost Eric Leman Italo Zilioli Michael Wright France A
2 Erik De Vlaeminck Erik De Vlaeminck Herman Van Springel Herman Van Springel
3a Belgium A Herman Van Springel Belgium A Belgium
3b Walter Godefroot Eric Leman/Barry Hoban Jean-Marie Leblanc Barry Hoban
4 Georges Chappe Jean-Pierre Genet Michael Wright France A Jean Stablinski
5a André Desvages Georges Vandenberghe Walter Godefroot Georges Vandenberghe Georges Vandenberghe André Desvages
5b Jean Dumont Georges Vandenberghe Franco Bitossi
6 Aurelio González Puente Michael Wright Paul Lemeteyer
7 Franco Bitossi Franco Bitossi Georges Vandenberghe Roland Smaniotto
8 Daniel Van Ryckeghem Edy Schutz
9 Walter Godefroot Walter Godefroot Jean-Marie Leblanc
10 Gilbert Bellone Franco Bitossi Arthur Metcalfe Roland Smaniotto
11 Daniel Van Ryckeghem Walter Godefroot Vicente López Carril
12 Georges Pintens Andrés Gandarias Spain Jean-Pierre Ducasse Jean-Pierre Ducasse
13 Herman Van Springel Aurelio González Puente Franco Bitossi Aurelio González Puente
14 Jan Janssen Georges Vandenberghe Jean Dumont
15 Roger Pingeon Roger Pingeon Roger Pingeon
16 Franco Bitossi Rolf Wolfshohl Franco Bitossi Franco Bitossi Rolf Wolfshohl Rolf Wolfshohl
17 Jean-Pierre Genet Aurelio González Puente Willy Spühler
18 Roger Pingeon Gregorio San Miguel Roger Pingeon Roger Pingeon
19 Barry Hoban Herman Van Springel Franco Bitossi Barry Hoban
20 Jos Huysmans Aurelio González Puente
21 Eric Leman Jean Dumont
22a Maurice Izier Maurice Izier
22b Jan Janssen Jan Janssen
Final Jan Janssen Franco Bitossi Aurelio González Puente Franco Bitossi Georges Vandenberghe Spain Roger Pingeon

Final standings[edit]

General classification[edit]

Final general classification (1–10)[27]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Jan Janssen (NED) Netherlands 133h 49' 42"
2  Herman Van Springel (BEL) Belgium A + 38"
3  Ferdinand Bracke (BEL) Belgium B + 3' 03"
4  Gregorio San Miguel (ESP) Spain + 3' 17"
5  Roger Pingeon (FRA) France A + 3' 29"
6  Rolf Wolfshohl (FRG) Germany + 3' 46"
7  Lucien Aimar (FRA) France B + 4' 44"
8  Franco Bitossi (ITA) Italy + 4' 59"
9  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Spain + 5' 05"
10  Ugo Colombo (ITA) Italy + 7' 55"

Points classification[edit]

Final points classification (1–10)[7][28]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Franco Bitossi (ITA) Italy 241
2  Walter Godefroot (BEL) Belgium B 219
3  Jan Janssen (NED) Netherlands 200
4  Daniel Van Rijckeghem (BEL) Belgium A 167
5  Georges Vandenberghe (BEL) Belgium B 155
6  Herman Van Springel (BEL) Belgium A 119
7  Barry Hoban (GBR) Great Britain 113
8  Georges Pintens (BEL) Belgium A 95
9  Michael Wright (GBR) Great Britain 92
10  Rolf Wolfshohl (FRG) Germany 89

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–10)[7][28]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Aurelio González (ESP) Spain 96
2  Franco Bitossi (ITA) Italy 84
3  Julio Jiménez (ESP) Spain 72
4  Roger Pingeon (FRA) France A 65
5  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Spain 57
6  Barry Hoban (GBR) Great Britain 50
7  Gregorio San Miguel (ESP) Spain 30
8  Jean-Pierre Ducasse (FRA) France B 28
9  Arie Den Hartog (NED) Netherlands 26
10  Silvano Schiavon (ITA) Italy 25

Combination classification[edit]

Final combination classification (1–5)[28]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Franco Bitossi (ITA) Italy 11
2  Jan Janssen (NED) Netherlands 18.5
3  Roger Pingeon (FRA) France A 20
4  Herman Van Springel (BEL) Belgium A 20.5
5  Gregorio San Miguel (ESP) Spain 26

Intermediate sprints classification[edit]

Final intermediate sprints classification (1–5)[28]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Georges Vandenberghe (BEL) Belgium B 59
2  Michael Wright (GBR) Great Britain 45
3  Barry Hoban (GBR) Great Britain 43
4  Eric Leman (BEL) Belgium B 27
5  Serge Bolley (FRA) France B 20

Team classification[edit]

Final team classification (1–10)[28]
Rank Team Time
1 Spain 403h 47' 51"
2 Belgium A +12' 12"
3 France B +21' 45"
4 Italia +25' 01"
5 Belgium B +25' 16"
6 France A +44' 27"
7 France C +46' 39"
8 Netherlands +49' 11"
9 Germany +49' 11"
10 Great Britain +1h 53' 52"

Combativity classification[edit]

Final combativity award (1–5)[28]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Roger Pingeon (FRA) France A 307
2  Aurelio González (ESP) Spain 243
3  Jean Dumont (FRA) France C 219
4  Barry Hoban (GBR) Great Britain 215
5  Rolf Wolfshohl (FRG) Germany 168


It was the last edition in which the cyclists participated in national teams; from 1969 on, commercial teams were used.


  1. ^ No jersey was awarded to the leader of the mountains classification until a white jersey with red polka dots was introduced in 1975.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l McGann & McGann 2008, pp. 32–38.
  2. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1968 – The starters". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Finish van Tour de France probleem voor organisatie" [Finish of Tour de France problem for organisation]. Trouw (in Dutch). Delpher. 13 December 1967. p. 11. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Augendre 2016, p. 59.
  5. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 185.
  6. ^ "Tour de France 1968". Het Parool (in Dutch). 27 June 1968. p. 15 – via Delpher.
  7. ^ a b c d "55ème Tour de France 1968" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  8. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC top ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  9. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1968 – The stage winners". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  10. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 109.
  11. ^ a b Geoffrey Nicholson (23 June 1968). "Who will win the Tour this year? Have the British team a chance? Will drugs be an important factor?". The Observer. p. 18. Retrieved 18 October 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  12. ^ "Laatste controles op doping negatief". Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (in Dutch). Koninklijke Bibliotheek. 23 July 1968. Retrieved 3 January 2014.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Fransman Samyn wegens doping uit de Tour". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). Koninklijke Bibliotheek. 6 July 1968. Retrieved 3 January 2014.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Stablinski uit de Tour verbannen". De tijd (in Dutch). Koninklijke Bibliotheek. 15 July 1968. Retrieved 3 January 2014.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–455.
  16. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–453.
  17. ^ a b Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 453–454.
  18. ^ a b c "Les maillots du Tour de France 1968" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. 27 August 2007. Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  19. ^ a b c Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 454.
  20. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 454–455.
  21. ^ a b Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 455.
  22. ^ van den Akker 2018, pp. 211–216.
  23. ^ "Premierijder Hoban ritzege" [Premier rider Hoban stage victory]. De Waarheid (in Dutch). 19 July 1968. p. 4 – via Delpher.
  24. ^ Wadley, J. B. (September 1968). "The 3000 miles race won in the last twenty minutes". International Cycle Sport. No. 5. Silsden, UK: Kennedy Brothers Publishing. p. 3. ISSN 0020-6504. Archived from the original on 7 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020 – via InternationalCycleSport.com.
  25. ^ "Dag na dag en rit na rit in de Tour" [Day after day and stage after stage in the Tour]. Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 22 July 1968. p. 13. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  26. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Informatie over de Tour de France van 1968" [Information about the Tour de France from 1968]. TourDeFranceStatistieken.nl (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  27. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1968 – Stage 22.02 Melun > Paris". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  28. ^ a b c d e f "Clasificaciones" (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 22 July 1968. p. 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 October 2019.


External links[edit]

Media related to 1968 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons