1969 Tour de France

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1969 Tour de France
Race details
Dates June 28–July 20, 1969
Stages 22+Prologue, including three split stages
Distance 4,118 km (2,559 mi)
Winning time 116h 16' 02" (35.418 km/h or 22.008 mph)
Winner  Eddy Merckx (Belgium) (Faema)
Second  Roger Pingeon (France) (Peugeot-BP-Michelin)
Third  Raymond Poulidor (France) (Mercier-BP-Hutchinson)

Points  Eddy Merckx (Belgium) (Faema)
Mountains  Eddy Merckx (Belgium) (Faema)
Combination  Eddy Merckx (Belgium) (Faema)
Team Faema

The 1969 Tour de France was the 56th Tour de France, taking place June 28 to July 20, 1969. It consisted of 22 stages over 4110 km (2553.83 mi), ridden at an average speed of 35.409 km/h (22.002 mph).[1] The participant teams were no longer national teams, but were once more commercially sponsored.

The 1969 race is unique in that it is the only time that a single cyclist has won not only the general classification, but the points classification and mountains classification as well. Eddy Merckx rode on the winning team, FAEMA, won the combination classification and the combativity award. Though not officially contested until 1975, Merckx would also have won the best young rider classification were it awarded, as he was 24 years old at the time of the race.

Changes from the 1968 Tour de France[edit]

In 1967 and 1968, the Tour was contested by national teams, but in 1969 the commercially sponsored teams were back.[2]


Eddy Merckx had been removed from the 1969 Giro d'Italia in leading position because of a positive doping result, and was initially not allowed to join the 1969 Tour de France, but his suspension was later lifted.[2] The Tour started with the following 13 teams, each with 10 cyclists:[2]

Race details[edit]

Rudi Altig won the prologue, where Merckx finished second. In the team time trial in the second part of the first stage, Merckx's team won, and this gave Merckx the lead.

In the second stage, a group escaped, with Merckx's team mate Julien Stevens as highest-ranked cyclist. There were no dangerous competitors in the escape, so Merckx did not chase them. The group stayed away, and Stevens took over the lead, with Merckx in second place.

In the fourth stage, Rik Van Looy escaped, because he wanted to show himself, such that he would be selected for the Belgian squad for the 1969 UCI Road World Championships.[3] Van Looy quickly took several minutes, and became the virtual leader of the race. With less than 40 km to go, Stevens tried to defend his lead by attacking. He was followed by a group of cyclists, including René Pijnen, one of Van Looy's team mates. Pijnen was trying to stop the chase, and this angered the other cyclists in the group. The group nonetheless was able to reduce the margin to less than a minute, and Stevens conserved his lead.[3]

In the fifth stage, Stevens was not able to stay in the first group. Désiré Letort, who had joined Stevens in the chase the previous stage, became the new leader, 9 seconds ahead of Merckx.

The first mountains showed up in the sixth stage, with a mountain finish on the Ballon d’Alsace. Merckx won convincingly: Galera was second after 55 seconds, Altig after almost two minutes, and the next cyclist came after more than four minutes. Because Letort was more than seven minutes behind, Merckx was now the leader, with Altig in second place, more than two minutes behind.

Merckx won the short time trial in stage 8, but only gained two seconds on Altig. In the ninth stage, Roger Pingeon and Merckx were away, with Pingeon winning the sprint. Altig lost almost eight minutes, and was out of contention. The second place was now taken by Pingeon, more than five minutes behind.

Merckx added some time in the eleventh stage, which he won, and the twelfth stage, where he finished in the first group. After the twelfth stage, Merckx was leading by more than seven minutes. After he won the time trial in stage fifteen, it was more than eight minutes.

By then, his victory was almost sure, he just had to make sure that he stayed with his competitors. But in the seventeenth stage, Merckx did more than that, and got away alone, going solo for more than 140 km. By the finish, he had a margin of almost eight minutes on a group of seven cyclists, and the next cyclists were almost fifteen minutes away. Merckx had increased his margin to more than sixteen minutes. By winning the final time trial, he increased it to almost eighteen minutes.


The 1969 Tour de France started on 28 June, and had no rest days.[4]

Stage results[2][5]
Stage Date Route Terrain Length Winner
P 28 June Roubaix Individual time trial 10 km (6.2 mi)  Rudi Altig (GER)
1A 29 June Roubaix – Sint-Pieters-Woluwe Plain stage 147 km (91 mi)  Marino Basso (ITA)
1B Sint-Pieters-Woluwe – Sint-Pieters-Woluwe Team time trial 16 km (9.9 mi) Faema
2 30 June Sint-Pieters-Woluwe – Maastricht Plain stage 182 km (113 mi)  Julien Stevens (BEL)
3 1 July Maastricht – Charleville-Mézières Plain stage 213 km (132 mi)  Eric Leman (BEL)
4 2 July Charleville-Mézières – Nancy Plain stage 214 km (133 mi)  Rik van Looy (BEL)
5 3 July Nancy – Mulhouse Stage with mountain(s) 194 km (121 mi)  Joaquim Agostinho (POR)
6 4 July Mulhouse – Ballon d’Alsace Stage with mountain(s) 133 km (83 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
7 5 July Belfort – Divonne-les-Bains Stage with mountain(s) 241 km (150 mi)  Mariano Diaz (ESP)
8A 6 July Divonne-les-Bains Individual time trial 9 km (5.6 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
8B Divonne-les-Bains – Thonon-les-Bains Stage with mountain(s) 137 km (85 mi)  Michele Dancelli (ITA)
9 7 July Thonon-les-Bains – Chamonix Stage with mountain(s) 111 km (69 mi)  Roger Pingeon (FRA)
10 8 July Chamonix – Briançon Stage with mountain(s) 221 km (137 mi)  Herman van Springel (BEL)
11 9 July Briançon – Digne Stage with mountain(s) 198 km (123 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
12 10 July Digne – Aubagne Stage with mountain(s) 161 km (100 mi)  Felice Gimondi (ITA)
13 11 July Aubagne – La Grande-Motte Plain stage 196 km (122 mi)  Guido Reybrouck (BEL)
14 12 July La Grande-Motte – Revel Plain stage 234 km (145 mi)  Joaquim Agostinho (POR)
15 13 July Revel – Revel Individual time trial 19 km (12 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
16 14 July Castelnaudary – Luchon Stage with mountain(s) 199 km (124 mi)  Raymond Delisle (FRA)
17 15 July Luchon – Mourenx Stage with mountain(s) 214 km (133 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
18 16 July Mourenx – Bordeaux Plain stage 201 km (125 mi)  Barry Hoban (GBR)
19 17 July Bordeaux – Brive Plain stage 193 km (120 mi)  Barry Hoban (GBR)
20 18 July Brive – Puy de Dôme Stage with mountain(s) 198 km (123 mi)  Pierre Matignon (FRA)
21 19 July Clermont-FerrandMontargis Plain stage 329 km (204 mi)  Herman van Springel (BEL)
22A 20 July Montargis – Créteil Plain stage 111 km (69 mi)  Jozef Spruyt (BEL)
22B Créteil – Paris Individual time trial 37 km (23 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)

Classification leadership[edit]

Stage General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification Combination classification
Team classification
P  Rudi Altig (FRG)  Rudi Altig (FRG) no award no award Salvarani
1a  Marino Basso (ITA)  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
1b  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Faema
2  Julien Stevens (BEL)
5  Désiré Letort (FRA) Salvarani
6  Eddy Merckx (BEL)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
7  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL)  Joaquim Galera (ESP)
9  Eddy Merckx (BEL)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
10 Faema
11 Fagor
12 KAS
15 Faema
16 KAS
17 Faema
Final  Eddy Merckx (BEL)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)  Eddy Merckx (BEL) FAEMA


There were several classifications in the 1969 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.[6]

Additionally, there was a points classification, which awarded a green jersey. 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.[6]

There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorized 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-categorized climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, but was not identified with a jersey in 1969.[6]

Another classification was the combination classification. This classification was calculated as a combination of the other classifications, its leader wore the white jersey.[7]

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 1969, this classification had no associated jersey.[8]

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.[9]

General classification[edit]

Final general classification (1–10)[2]
Rank Name Team Time
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Faema 116h 16' 02"
2  Roger Pingeon (FRA) Peugeot +17' 54"
3  Raymond Poulidor (FRA) Mercier +22' 13"
4  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Salvarani +29' 24"
5  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Kas +33' 04"
6  Marinus Wagtmans (NED) Willem II +33' 57"
7  Pierfranco Vianelli (ITA) Molteni +42' 40"
8  Joaquim Agostinho (POR) Frimatic +51' 24"
9  Désiré Letort (FRA) Peugeot +51' 41"
10  Jan Janssen (NED) Bic +52' 56"

Points classification[edit]

Final points classification (1–10)[2][10]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Faema 244
2  Jan Janssen (NED) Bic 150
3  Marinus Wagtmans (NED) Willem II 136
4  Roger Pingeon (FRA) Peugeot 131
5  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Salvarani 108
6  Raymond Poulidor (FRA) Mercier 99
7  Michele Dancelli (ITA) Molteni 95
8  Joaquim Agostinho (POR) Frimatic 91
9  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Kas 89
10  Harm Ottenbros (NED) Willem II 82

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–10)[2][10]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Faema 155
2  Roger Pingeon (FRA) Peugeot 94
3  Joaquim Galera (ESP) Fagor 80
4  Paul Gutty (FRA) Frimatic 68
5  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Kas 54
6  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Salvarani 51
7  Raymond Poulidor (FRA) Mercier 48
8  Martin Vandenbossche (BEL) Faema 36
9  Raymond Delisle (FRA) Peugeot 29
10  Wladimiro Panizza (ITA) Salvarani 28

Team classification[edit]

Final team classification[10]
Rank Team Time
1 Faema 351h 50' 56"
2 Peugeot +14' 53"
3 Kas +1h 01' 42"
4 Fagor +1h 17' 46"
5 Frimatic +1h 28' 20"
6 Salvarani +1h 32' 30"
7 Mercier +1h 38' 03"
8 Molteni +1h 41' 38"
9 Sonolor +1h 41' 41"
10 Bic +3h 07' 22"
11 Flandria +3h 54' 37"
12 Willem II +3h 59' 35"
13 Mann +4h 22' 56"

Combination classification[edit]

Final combination classification (1–5)[11][12]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Faema 3
2  Roger Pingeon (FRA) Peugeot 8
3  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Salvarani 15
4  Raymond Poulidor (FRA) Mercier 16
5  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Kas 19

Intermediate sprints classification[edit]

Final intermediate sprints classification (1–5)[12]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Eric Leman (BEL) Flandria 53
2  Michael Wright (GBR) Bic 46
3  Raymond Riotte (FRA) Mercier 43
4  Domingo Perurena (ESP) Fagor 20
5  Stéphane Abrahamian (FRA) Sonolor 17

Other classifications[edit]

The combativity award was given to Eddy Merckx.[1]

Final combativity award classification (1–5)[12]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Faema 419
2  Joaquim Agostinho (POR) Frimatic 320
3  Michele Dancelli (ITA) Molteni 178
3  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Salvarani 178
5  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Kas 159

Doping cases[edit]

After the doping-incident with Merckx in the 1969 Giro, the rules for doping offences were changed: riders were no longer removed from the race, but were given a penalty of fifteen minutes in the general classification.[13]

After every stage in the 1969 Tour, three cyclists were tested. These were either the first three of the stage, the first three in the general classification, or three randomly selected cyclists.[13]

Five riders tested positive:[14][15]

Nijdam, Timmerman and Altig requested their B samples to be tested, but they also returned positive. Altig, Guyot and Matignon were given the time penalty of fifteen minutes; Nijdam and Timmerman had already left the race when the results came out.[15]


  1. ^ a b Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "56ème Tour de France 1969" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "56ème Tour de France 1969 - 4ème étape" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique, Part 4" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 2009-06-10. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified - Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Other Classifications & Awards". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Intermediate Sprints Classification". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Chauner, David; Halstead, Michael (1990). The Tour de France Complete Book of Cycling. Villard. ISBN 0679729364. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Clasificaciones". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 21 July 1969. p. 17. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Planas, Narciso (22 July 1969). "Eddy Merckx se impuso en todos los frentes: General, montaño, regularidad. combinada. combatividad y equipos" (PDF). Los Sitios de Gerona (in Spanish). Ajuntament de Girona. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c "Otras clasificaciones" (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 21 July 1969. p. 22. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Kwartier straf in Tour voor doping". Het vrije volk (in Dutch) (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). 28 June 1969. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Cyclists guilty of doping". Eugine Register-Guard (Google News). 13 July 1969. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Vijf renners 'gesnapt' - Triest slot voor Nijdam". Het vrije volk (in Dutch) (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). 14 July 1969. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 

External links[edit]