1970 Tour de France

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1970 Tour de France
Route of the 1970 Tour de France
Route of the 1970 Tour de France
Race details
Dates27 June – 19 July
Stages23 + Prologue, including five split stages
Distance4,254 km (2,643 mi)
Winning time119h 31' 49"
Winner  Eddy Merckx (BEL) (Faemino–Faema)
  Second  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) (Flandria–Mars)
  Third  Gösta Pettersson (SWE) (Ferretti)

Points  Walter Godefroot (BEL) (Salvarani)
  Mountains  Eddy Merckx (BEL) (Faemino–Faema)
Combination  Eddy Merckx (BEL) (Faemino–Faema)
  Sprints  Cyrille Guimard (FRA) (Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson)
  Combativity  Eddy Merckx (BEL) (Faemino–Faema)
  Team Salvarani
← 1969
1971 →

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 finished second in the points classification behind Walter Godefroot.


The Tour de France started with 15 teams, of 10 cyclists each, from five different countries.[1] 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,[2] and replaced by Rene Grelin.

The teams entering the race were:

Pre-race favourites[edit]

After his dominating victory in the previous year, Merckx was the major favourite.[3] 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.[4] Merckx had already won important races in 1970, including Paris–Roubaix, Paris–Nice, the Giro d'Italia and the Belgian national road championship.[5] 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.[5]

Route and stages[edit]

The 1970 Tour de France started on 27 June, and had no rest days.[6] After the financial success of the split stages in the 1969 Tour de France, even more split stages were used in the 1970 Tour.[5]

Stage characteristics and winners[3][6][7]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
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 to Felsberg (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)[8]

Race overview[edit]

A road with, from front to back, a motor, a car, and tens of cyclists
The race director's car and peloton at the start of stage two in La Rochelle

The big favourite Merckx won the opening prologue, but he decided not to try to keep this leading position during the entire race.[9] 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.[5] Merckx however chased his own teammates.[5] The group stayed away, Zilioli won the sprint and became the new leader, 4 seconds ahead of Merckx.[10][11] 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.[12] Merckx team won the team time trial, and controlled the next stages, keeping Zilioli the leader with Merckx in second place.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[5]

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.[16]

Zoetemelk, along with Luis Ocana would be the two most important rivals for the remainder of Merckx's career.

Zoetemelk said that he would focus on defending his second place, because he thought Merckx was better than the rest of the world.[17]

After the thirteenth stage, Merckx heard that Vicenze Giacotto, who started the Faema team around Merckx, had died of a heart attack.[18]

Merckx increased his lead steadily in the mountain stages in the Alps. After he won the stage to the Mont Ventoux, Merckx briefly lost consciousness.[3][5]

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.[3][5]

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.[19] 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.[5]

Classification leadership[edit]

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.[20]

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.[20]

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 1970.[20]

Another classification was the combination classification. This classification was calculated as a combination of the other classifications, its leader wore the white jersey.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23]

The intermediate sprints classification, sponsored by Miko, was also named "hot spot". The combativity award was given to Roger Pingeon.[6] The new rider classification was first calculated in 1970. It is not the same as the young rider classification, introduced in 1975.[3]

Classification leadership by stage[24][25]
Stage Winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification[n 1] Combination classification
Intermediate sprints classification Team classification
P Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx no award no award no award Bic
1 Cyrille Guimard Cyrille Guimard Pierre Ghisellini Cyrille Guimard Cyrille Guimard
2 Italo Zilioli Italo Zilioli Jan Janssen Italo Zilioli Régis Delépine
3a Faemino–Faema Faemino–Faema
3b Marino Basso Cyrille Guimard Luis Zubero Cyrille Guimard
4 Walter Godefroot Walter Godefroot
5a Walter Godefroot Eddy Merckx
5b Jozef Spruyt
6 Roger De Vlaeminck Eddy Merckx Roger De Vlaeminck
7a Eddy Merckx Walter Godefroot
7b José Antonio Gonzalez Linares
8 Alain Vasseur
9 Mogens Frey
10 Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx
11a Eddy Merckx
11b Marino Basso
12 Eddy Merckx Dr. Mann–Grundig
13 Primo Mori Faemino–Faema
14 Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx Kas–Kaskol
15 Rini Wagtmans
16 Albert Van Vlierberghe Walter Godefroot
17 Luis Ocaña
18 Bernard Thévenet Eddy Merckx
19 Christian Raymond Walter Godefroot
20a Rolf Wolfshohl
20b Eddy Merckx
21 Marino Basso
22 Jean-Pierre Danguillaume
23 Eddy Merckx Salvarani
Final Eddy Merckx Walter Godefroot Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx Cyrille Guimard Salvarani
  • 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.[27]

Final standings[edit]

A yellow jersey. Denotes the winner of the general classification A green jersey. Denotes the winner of the points classification
A white jersey. Denotes the winner of the combination classification

General classification[edit]

Final general classification (1–10)[3]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) A yellow jersey. A white jersey. 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"

Points classification[edit]

Final points classification (1–10)[3][28]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Walter Godefroot (BEL) A green jersey. Salvarani 212
2  Eddy Merckx (BEL) A yellow jersey. A white jersey. 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

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–10)[3][28]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) A yellow jersey. A white jersey. Faemino–Faema 128
2  Andrés Gandarias (ESP) Kas–Kaskol 94
3  Martin Vandenbossche (BEL) Molteni 85
4  Silvano Schiavon (ITA)[n 2] 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

Combination classification[edit]

Final combination classification (1–5)[29]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) A yellow jersey. A white jersey. 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 classification[edit]

Final intermediate sprints classification (1–4)[29]
Rank Rider Team Points
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

Team classification[edit]

Final team classification (1–10)[28]
Rank Team Time
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"

Combativity classification[edit]

Final combativity classification (1–5)[30]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Eddy Merckx (BEL) A yellow jersey. A white jersey. 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

New rider classification[edit]

Final new rider classification (1–5)[31][32]
Rank Rider Team Points
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 Jimenez (ESP) Kas–Kaskol 34
5  José Antonio González (ESP) Kas–Kaskol 33


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.[33] The 1971 Tour did not see major changes in rules, but the number of individual time trials decreased from five to two.


  1. ^ No jersey was awarded to the leader of the mountains classification until a white jersey with red polka dots was introduced in 1975.[26]
  2. ^ 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.


  1. ^ "Equipos participantes en el Tour" (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 24 June 1970. p. 30. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Franse kampioen Gutty betrapt". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 25 June 1970. p. 21. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "57ème Tour de France 1970" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Zoetemelk vijfde in Paris?". Leidsch Dagblad (in Dutch). Leiden.courant.nu. 3 July 1970. p. 7. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2008). The story of the Tour de France: 1965-2007. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 47–53. ISBN 1-59858-608-4. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Augendre 2016, p. 61.
  7. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC top ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  8. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 109.
  9. ^ "Eddy Merckx "ongewild" leider". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 27 June 1970. p. 15. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  10. ^ "Driessens' plan lukt: Zilioli in gele trui". Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 29 June 1970. p. 20. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  11. ^ "57ème Tour de France 1970 – 2ème étape" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Eddy Merckx controleert peloton Tour de France". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 30 June 1970. p. 19. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Ploegleider en knechten lieten Zilioli in de steek". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 3 July 1970. p. 21. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  14. ^ "Eddy Merckx heeft Tour reeds beslist". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 4 July 1970. p. 13. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Zoetemelk ineens kopman van Mars". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 4 July 1970. p. 13. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  16. ^ "Merckx krijgt Zoetemelk als naaste concurrent". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 7 July 1970. p. 13. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  17. ^ "57ème Tour de France 1970 – 10ème étape" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  18. ^ "Eddy Merckx reed huilend ereronde". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 10 July 1970. p. 21. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  19. ^ "Eerste double voor Merckx". Leidse Courant (in Dutch). Leiden.courant.nu. 20 July 1970. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  20. ^ a b c Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified – Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  21. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Other Classifications & Awards". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  22. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Intermediate Sprints Classification". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  23. ^ Chauner, David; Halstead, Michael (1990). The Tour de France complete book of cycling. Villard. ISBN 0-679-72936-4. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  24. ^ "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). 20 July 1970. p. 15. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019.
  25. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Informatie over de Tour de France van 1970" [Information about the Tour de France from 1970]. TourDeFranceStatistieken.nl (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  26. ^ Cunningham, Josh (4 July 2016). "History of the Tour de France jerseys". Cyclist. Dennis Publishing. Archived from the original on 26 October 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  27. ^ Jean-Louis Bey. "Mémoire du cyclisme: Les maillots du Tour de France 1970" (in French). Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  28. ^ a b c "Clasificaciones oficiales". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 20 July 1970. p. 21. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  29. ^ a b "1970 Tour de France - June 27 to July 19". Bike Race Info. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  30. ^ "Klassementen van de Tour de France". Provinciaalse Zeeuwse Courant (in Dutch). Krantenbank Zeeland. 20 July 1970. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  31. ^ "Il Tour in Cifre" [TheTour in Numbers Figures]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 20 July 1970. p. 5. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Jongerenprijs: Frey eindoverwinnaar". Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 20 July 1970. p. 15. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  33. ^ Nelissen, Jean (20 July 1970). "Merckx is dodelijk voor Tour". Leidse Courant (in Dutch). Leiden.courant.nu. Retrieved 25 February 2011.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to 1970 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons