1971 Tour de France
Route of the 1971 Tour de France
|Dates||26 June – 18 July|
|Stages||20 + Prologue, including three split stages|
|Distance||3,608 km (2,242 mi)|
|Winning time||96h 45' 14"|
The race was won by Eddy Merckx, his third consecutive victory, although it had looked unlikely after the 11th stage, when Merckx was more than eight minutes behind Luis Ocaña in the general classification. But Ocaña had to retire from the race during the 14th stage after he crashed on the descent of the Col de Menté.
- 1 Teams
- 2 Pre-race favourites
- 3 Route and stages
- 4 Race overview
- 5 Classification leadership and awards
- 6 Final standings
- 7 Super Prestige Pernod ranking
- 8 Aftermath
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
The 1971 edition of the Tour de France consisted of thirteen teams, two less than the previous Tour. Teams were either invited or paid a participation fee. The Italian-based Salvarani and the Belgian Watney–Avia teams announced they would not be entering the race due to the high cost, although Salvarani later reached an agreement. The riders came from tweleve countries, with the majority of them coming from Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands and Spain. Of the 130 cyclists starting the race, 37 were riding the Tour de France for the first time. Francisco Javier Galdeano (Kas–Kaskol) was the youngest rider at 21 years and 201 days, and the oldest was Ventura Díaz (Werner) at 32 years and 304 days.
The teams entering the race were:
Eddy Merckx, who had won the 1969 and 1970 Tours, was the big favourite. 1970 second place finisher Joop Zoetemelk, Luis Ocaña, Bernard Thévenet, and 1971 Giro Winner Gösta Pettersson were among the GC contenders for podium positions. All pre-race predictions were that, unless he became ill or crashed, Merckx would be the winner, and there was speculation whether he would be able to lead the race from start to end.
Route and stages
On 16 October 1970, it was announced that Mulhouse in eastern France would host the 1971 edition's opening stages (known as the Grand Départ), which consisted of a team time trial prologue stage and two further stages. The entire route was announced on 8 December at a press conference in Paris by race directors Jacques Goddet and Félix Lévitan. New rules to prevent the use of doping were introduced by cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI); stages lengths were reduced, only twenty stages were allowed, and made rest days were made compulsory. The latter was a re-introduction to the Tour. At distance of 3,608 km (2,242 mi), it was shorter than the previous Tour by 646 km (401 mi), and was the shortest since 1905. With the new rules shortening the distance of the Tour and the increasing financial cost of running the Tour, the organisers maximised the amount route locations which paid the Tour to start, pass through or finish there. The previous Tour's split stages had drawn complaints from the riders, nevertheless, the 1971 Tour kept them as a means of income. There were total of five transfers which added up to a distance of 350 km (220 mi). Two were air transfers, a first for the Tour. The navigation of the host locations caused a loose figure of eight route, unlike the usual continuous loop. Although there were less stages and the Tour was shorter, there were more climbs, and it was thought the Tour was more suited to climbing specialists. Overall, the route was seen as easier than recent editions.
Beginning in the Black Forest and Vosges Mountains, with visits to Switzerland and West Germany, the race then headed north-west to the coast passing through the Ardennes and south-east Belgium. After the first rest day and air transfer, racing resumed in the outskirts of Paris, taking the Tour through the Massif Central highlands and the Chartreuse Mountains towards the Alps. After the second rest day and a stage to the Mediterranean coast at Marseille, came the other air transfer, to Toulouse. The race then moved into the Pyrenees, with the closing stages taking place between the south-west and the finish in Paris.
The Tour took place over 23 days, including the two rest days, between 26 June and 18 July. There were twenty stages, including a prologue and three split stages; two stages were split half and one in thirds. The longest mass-start full stage was the seventh at 257.5 km (160 mi), and stage 15 was the shortest at 19.6 km (12 mi), the shortest in the history of the Tour up to that point. There were three time trial events with a total distance of 81.1 km (50.4 mi), two were competed individually (13 and 20) and one was by raced in teams (the prologue). Of the remaining 22 full and split stages, twelve were officially classified as flat, four as medium mountain and six as high mountain. The highest point of the race was the 2,115 m (6,939 ft)-high Col du Tourmalet mountain pass on stage 16a. It was among seven first-category rated climbs in the race. The Tour included four new start or finish locations: Basel, in stage 1b; Marche-en-Famenne, in stage 4; Le Touquet, in stage 6b; and Gourette, in stages 16a and 16b.
|P||26 June||Mulhouse||11 km (6.8 mi)||Team time trial||Molteni|
|1a||27 June||Mulhouse to Basel (Switzerland)||59.5 km (37.0 mi)||Medium mountain stage||Eric Leman (BEL)|
|1b||Basel (Switzerland) to Freiburg (West Germany)||90 km (56 mi)||Flat stage||Gerben Karstens (NED)|
|1c||Freiburg (West Germany) to Mulhouse||74.5 km (46.3 mi)||Flat stage||Albert Van Vlierberghe (BEL)|
|2||28 June||Mulhouse to Strasbourg||144 km (89 mi)||Medium mountain stage||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|3||29 June||Strasbourg to Nancy||165.5 km (102.8 mi)||Medium mountain stage||Rini Wagtmans (NED)|
|4||30 June||Nancy to Marche-en-Famenne (Belgium)||242 km (150 mi)||Flat stage||Jean-Pierre Genet (FRA)|
|5||1 July||Dinant (Belgium) to Roubaix||208.5 km (129.6 mi)||Flat stage||Pietro Guerra (ITA)|
|6a||2 July||Roubaix to Amiens||127.5 km (79.2 mi)||Flat stage||Eric Leman (BEL)|
|6b||Amiens to Le Touquet||133.5 km (83.0 mi)||Flat stage||Mauro Simonetti (ITA)|
|3 July||Le Touquet||Rest day|
|7||4 July||Rungis to Nevers||257.5 km (160.0 mi)||Flat stage||Eric Leman (BEL)|
|8||5 July||Nevers to Puy de Dôme||221 km (137 mi)||High mountain stage||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|9||6 July||Clermont-Ferrand to Saint-Étienne||153 km (95 mi)||Medium mountain stage||Walter Godefroot (BEL)|
|10||7 July||Saint-Étienne to Grenoble||188.5 km (117.1 mi)||High mountain stage||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)|
|11||8 July||Grenoble to Orcières||134 km (83 mi)||High mountain stage||Luis Ocaña (ESP)|
|9 July||Orcières||Rest day|
|12||10 July||Orcières to Marseille||251 km (156 mi)||Flat stage||Luciano Armani (ITA)|
|13||11 July||Albi||16.3 km (10.1 mi)||Individual time trial||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|14||12 July||Revel to Luchon||214.5 km (133.3 mi)||High mountain stage||José Manuel Fuente (ESP)|
|15||13 July||Luchon to Superbagnères||19.6 km (12.2 mi)||High mountain stage||José Manuel Fuente (ESP)|
|16a||14 July||Luchon to Gourette||145 km (90 mi)||High mountain stage||Bernard Labourdette (FRA)|
|16b||Gourette to Pau||57.5 km (35.7 mi)||Flat stage||Herman Van Springel (BEL)|
|17||15 July||Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux||188 km (117 mi)||Flat stage||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|18||16 July||Bordeaux to Poitiers||244 km (152 mi)||Flat stage||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)|
|19||17 July||Blois to Versailles||185 km (115 mi)||Flat stage||Jan Krekels (NED)|
|20||18 July||Versailles to Paris||53.8 km (33.4 mi)||Individual time trial||Eddy Merckx (BEL)|
|Total||3,608 km (2,242 mi)|
The race started with a team time trial as prologue, won by Merckx' team, which gave them a 20 seconds bonification for the general classification. After the first part of the first stage, Merckx' team mate Wagtmans briefly took over the leading position in the general classification, only to lose it to Merckx in the second part.
In the second stage, Zoetemelk attacked early in the stage. Some cyclists, including Merckx, followed him, and soon a group of 15 cyclists was away. At the end, the margin to the rest of the field was almost 10 minutes. Merckx beat Roger de Vlaeminck in the sprint, and everybody not in the first group was no longer a threat for Merckx.
In the seventh stage, the leader in the points classification, Roger De Vlaeminck, crashed and had to leave the race. Merckx was expecting a dangerous sprint so he chose not to participate. While Merckx took part in intermediate sprints and final sprints, Ocaña had been saving his energy on the advice of Jacques Anquetil, and waited for the mountains to come.
Stage eight saw the first attack by Ocaña on the mountaintop finish of Puy de Dôme. Merckx was not able to chase him, and Ocaña got away. Zoetemelk and Agostinho also got away from Merckx, and gained some time on him. After that stage, Merckx was still leading, but only 36 seconds before Zoetemelk and 37 seconds before Ocaña. In the end of the tenth stage, Merckx lost contact after a flat tire, and lost time on Zoetemelk, Ocaña, Bernard Thévenet and Gösta Pettersson. Zoetemelk took over the lead, one second ahead of Ocaña. In the eleventh stage, Ocaña attacked. At first, Zoetemelk, Van Impe and Agostinho were able to stay with him, but Ocaña left them and soloed to the victory, more than six minutes ahead of Van Impe. Merckx and Zoetemelk finished in third and fourth place, almost nine minutes behind. Ocaña had set such a pace, that 61 cyclists finished outside the original time limit, leaving only 39 in the race. The time limit was consequently extended such that 58 more were allowed to start the next day. Ocaña seemed so strong, that Merckx abandoned the idea to win his third Tour.
In the twelfth stage, Merckx organised an attack, and won back two minutes. This could have been more, had it not been for a mistake of an assistant team leader of Molteni, Merckx' team: when Bruyere had a flat tire in the chasing peloton, the assistant team leader called for the remaining members of Merckx' team to help Bruyere to get back to the peloton. The rival teams in the peloton were now without Molteni cyclists, and could organise the chase. The group with Bruyere was unable to get back into the peloton. Because of the high pace of Merckx in the first group, the group with Bruyere almost did not make the time cut, in which case they would have been eliminated. The average velocity of the winner was a new record, and the cyclists arrived one hour ahead of the earliest time schedule, and the preparations at the finish line had not been completed yet. The mayor of Marseille, where the stage ended, was so upset that he refused to let the race visit Marseille again.
In the thirteenth stage, a time trial, Merckx was the strongest and won back more seconds.
In the fourteenth stage, there was heavy rain. On the way up to the Col de Mente, Merckx attacked several times, but each time Ocaña was coming back. During the descent, Ocaña fell. Zoetemelk punctured and was unable to avoid him, and hit him at high speed. Ocaña was hit, injured his shoulder and had to give up, in what author Christopher S. Thompson named the most famous fall in race's history.
Merckx became the new leader, but out of respect for Ocaña, he refused to go to the ceremony at the end of the stage, and refused wear the yellow jersey the next stage. Merckx considered to leave the race, because he did not want to win because of Ocaña's bad luck. Tour directors Levitan and Goddet convinced him to continue the race. The fifteenth stage was the shortest mass-start stage in the history in the Tour, at only 19.6 kilometres (12.2 mi).
The decision was expected to fall in the first part of the sixteenth stage, when four mountains were scheduled. Van Impe, in second place, was expected to challenge the leader Merckx, and third-placed Zoetemelk could profit from their struggle. But although Van Impe tried to attack, Merckx was able to stay with him, and the three cyclists stayed together.
By this point only Van Impe and Zoetemelk were within striking distance of Merckx, both being just over two minutes behind. Thevenet in 4th place was over six minutes behind and the rest of the field was well over ten minutes back.
In the seventeenth stage, Merckx surprised Van Impe and Zoetemelk with attack, won the stage and increased his margin with more than two minutes. By winning the stage, Merckx solified his lead in the points classification.
The time trial that closed the race was an easy win for Merckx. The battle for the second place was won by Zoetemelk.
Of the 130 starters, 94 reached the finish of the last stage in Paris.
In total, 100 doping tests were done during the 1971 Tour de France, from which 2 returned positive: Yves Ravaleu, after the thirteenth stage; Jean-Claude Daunat, after the eighteenth stage. Both received the customary punishment: a fine of 1200 Francs; being set back to the last place in the stage's results and getting ten minutes penalty time in the general classification.
Classification leadership and awards
There were five individual classifications contested in the 1961 Tour and also a team competition. The most important was the general classification, which was calculated by adding each rider's finishing times on each stage. Time bonuses (time subtracted) of 20, 10 and 5 seconds were awarded to the top three positions, respectively, at the end every mass-start stage classified as flat. In the flat split stages bonuses of 8, 6 and 3 seconds were given. The rider with the lowest cumulative time was the winner of the general classification and was considered the overall winner of the Tour. The rider leading the classification wore a yellow jersey.
|Flat split stage||20||16||14||12||10||8||6||4||3||2|
|Individual time trial|
|Mountain split/short stage||10||8||7||6||5||4||3||2||1|
Additionally, there was a points classification, where cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish. High finishes on flat stages awarded more points, 30 for the winner down to 1 point for 15th place. The flat split stages gave 20 points to the winner down to 2 points for 10th. In mountain stages and individual time trials, 15 points were given to the winner down to 1 point for 15th. Two mountain stages were given less points due their lengths, stages 15 and 16b. No points were awarded in the team time trial prolougue stage. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.
There was also a mountains classification, which awarded points to the riders who reached summits first. Most stages of the race included one or more of these climbs, categorised as fourth-, third-, second- or first-category, with the more difficult climbs rated lower. Changes were made to the calculation in 1971, with the amount of points given in the second, third, and fourth-categories increased. First-category ranked mountains gave a maximum 15 points for the first rider across with the subsequent categories giving 10, 12, and 5 points to the first at the summit respectively. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, with no identifying jersey.[n 1]
The combination classification was calculated by adding each rider's overall ranking positions in the general, points, and mountains classifications. The rider with lowest combined total led the classification. In the event of tie, the positions were shared. The leader of the classification wore a white jersey.
There was also a hot points classification. This classification had similar rules to the points classification, but only points were awarded on intermediate sprints, with 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1 awarded respectively. The classification was given more importance in 1971 with the introduction of time bonuses; 5, 3 and 1 seconds were awarded to the first three positions in the sprints respectively. In 1971, 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 lead this classification wore yellow caps.
In addition, there individual awards given after each stage, excluding the prologue, and at the conclusion of the Tour to the most combative, elegant and kind riders, with decisions made by a jury composed of journalists. The split stages each had combined winners. The combativity award was given to the rider who had made the greatest effort. Luis Ocaña won the overall super-combativity award. The most elegant award was given to the rider with the best morals, style and sporting elegance. The super-elegant award was won by Leif Mortensen (Bic). The most loved award was given the rider to have shown the most sportsmanship. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Peugeot) won the super-kindness award. There was also a special award, the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, given to the first rider (Wilmo Francioni of Ferretti) to pass the summit of the Côte de Dourdan in stage nineteen.
A total of 470,600 French francs (f) was awarded in cash prizes in the race, with the overall winner of the general classification receiving 191,550 f. The stage winners, award winners and classification leaders, were rewarded with cash prizes. The kindness award winners received a selection of meat products. Joop Zoetemelk got a color television set for being the Tour's youngest finisher.
|Denotes the winner of the general classification||Denotes the winner of the points classification|
|Denotes the winner of the combination classification|
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Molteni||96h 45' 14"|
|2||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||+ 9' 51"|
|3||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||+ 11' 06"|
|4||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||+ 14' 50"|
|5||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)||Hoover–de Gribaldy–Wolber||+ 21' 00"|
|6||Leif Mortensen (DEN)||Bic||+ 21' 38"|
|7||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||+ 22' 58"|
|8||Bernard Labourdette (FRA)||Bic||+ 30' 07"|
|9||Lucien Aimar (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune||+ 32' 45"|
|10||Vicente López Carril (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||+ 36' 00"|
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Molteni||202|
|2||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||186|
|3||Gerben Karstens (NED)||Goudsmit–Hoff||107|
|4||Rini Wagtmans (NED)||Molteni||97|
|5||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||93|
|6||Eric Leman (BEL)||Flandria–Mars||82|
|7||Jan Krekels (NED)||Goudsmit–Hoff||81|
|8||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||71|
|9||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||64|
|10||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)||Hoover–de Gribaldy–Wolber||63|
|1||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||228|
|2||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||180|
|3||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Molteni||137|
|4||José Manuel Fuente (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||89|
|5||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||74|
|6||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)||Hoover–de Gribaldy–Wolber||68|
|7||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||48|
|8||Vicente López Carril (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||47|
|9||Désiré Letort (FRA)||Bic||38|
|10||Lucien Aimar (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune||37|
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Molteni||5|
|2||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||9|
|3||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||13|
|4||Cyrille Guimard (FRA)||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||14|
|5||Joaquim Agostinho (POR)||Hoover–de Gribaldy–Wolber||21|
|6||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||23|
|7||Rini Wagtmans (NED)||Molteni||34|
|8||Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||37.5|
|9||Bernard Labourdette (FRA)||Bic||42|
|10||Vicente López Carril (ESP)||Kas–Kaskol||45.5|
Hot points classification
|1||Pieter Nassen (BEL)||Flandria–Mars||52|
|2||Jos van der Vleuten (NED)||Goudsmit–Hoff||35|
|3||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Molteni||34|
|4||Barry Hoban (GBR)||Sonolor–Lejeune||26|
|5||Robert Mintkiewicz (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune||21|
|6||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||20|
|7||Gerben Karstens (NED)||Goudsmit–Hoff||17|
|8||Raymond Riotte (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune||16|
|9||Roberto Ballini (ITA)||Ferretti||14|
|10||Wilmo Francioni (ITA)||Ferretti||14|
|1||Bic||292 01' 40"|
|2||Molteni||+ 20' 20"|
|3||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||+ 31' 39"|
|4||Sonolor–Lejeune||+ 56' 32"|
|5||Ferretti||+ 1h 22' 31"|
|6||Kas–Kaskol||+ 1h 35' 39"|
|7||Werner||+ 1h 51' 43"|
|8||Fagor–Mercier–Hutchinson||+ 1h 56' 08"|
|9||Flandria–Mars||+ 2h 10' 32"|
|10||Hoover–de Gribaldy–Wolber||+ 2h 13' 11"|
Super Prestige Pernod ranking
Riders in the Tour competed individually for points that contributed towards the Super Prestige Pernod ranking, an international season-long road cycling competition, with the winner seen as the best all-round rider. Eddy Merckx held his substantial lead in the ranking at the end of the Tour.
|1||Eddy Merckx (BEL)||Molteni||440|
|2||Gösta Pettersson (SWE)||Ferretti||140|
|3||Joop Zoetemelk (NED)||Flandria–Mars||100|
|4||Herman Van Springel (BEL)||Molteni||90|
|5||Luis Ocaña (ESP)||Bic||80|
|6||Ferdinand Bracke (BEL)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||75|
|7||Roger Rosiers (BEL)||Bic||71|
|8||Bernard Thévenet (FRA)||Peugeot–BP–Michelin||65|
|Cyrille Guimard (FRA)||Sonolor–Lejeune|
|10||Lucien Van Impe (BEL)||Sonolor–Lejeune||60|
|Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL)||Flandria–Mars|
|Evert Dolman (NED)||Flandria–Mars|
This Tour de France was considered the most exciting in recent years.
From this year's race the second, third and fourth place finishers, Joop Zoetemelk, Lucien Van Impe and Bernard Thévenet would each win at least one Tour during their careers. Ocana fully recovered from his injuries, and would win the 1973 Tour de France.
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Media related to 1971 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons