1975 Tour de France

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1975 Tour de France
Map of France with the route of the 1975 Tour de France
Route of the 1975 Tour de France
Race details
Dates 26 June – 20 July 1975
Stages 22+Prologue, including three split stages
Distance 3,999.2 km (2,485 mi)
Winning time 114h 35' 31" (34.899 km/h or 21.685 mph)
Winner  Bernard Thévenet (France) (Peugeot)
Second  Eddy Merckx (Belgium) (Molteni)
Third  Lucien Van Impe (Belgium) (Gitane)

Points  Rik Van Linden (Belgium) (Bianchi)
Mountains  Lucien Van Impe (Belgium) (Gitane)
Youth  Francesco Moser (Italy) (Filotex)
Sprints  Marc Demeyer (Belgium) (Flandria–Carpenter)
Team Gan–Mercier

The 1975 Tour de France was the 62nd Tour de France, taking place 26 June to 20 July 1975. It consisted of 22 stages over 3999 km, ridden at an average speed of 34.899 km/h.[1] Eddy Merckx was attempting to win his sixth Tour de France, but became a victim of violence. Many Frenchmen were upset that a Belgian might beat the record of five wins set by Frenchman Jacques Anquetil. During stage 14 a spectator leapt from the crowd and punched Merckx in the kidney. Frenchman Bernard Thevenet took over the lead, and after Merckx fell and broke his cheekbone, he was unable to take back the lead, and Thevenet became the winner of the race.

Belgian cyclists were successful in the secondary classifications: the points classification was won by Rik Van Linden, mountains classification by Lucien Van Impe, and the intermediate sprints classification by Marc Demeyer. For the first time, there was young rider classification, won by Italian Francesco Moser.

Differences from the 1974 Tour de France[edit]

The combination classification was removed, and the young rider classification was added; the leader of the young rider classification wore the white jersey. 1975 was also the first year that the leader of the mountains classification wore a polka-dot jersey.[2][3]

The final stage had become more popular over the years, and the Tour organisers therefore moved the finish line from the Vélodrome de Vincennes to the more prestigious Champs-Élysées.[3]

The 1975 Tour de France did not include a team time trial for the first time since 1962. After 1975, it would be included again every year until 1995.[4]

The bonification for stage winners was removed.[5]


There were 14 teams participating, with 10 cyclists each:[2][4][6]

Eddy Merckx, who had won all five times that he participated, was again the big favourite. Merckx' first part of the season had been going well, winning Milan–San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.[7] If Merckx would win again, he would beat Jacques Anquetil and become the first cyclist to win the Tour six times. Merckx did not care about that record: "The idea doesn't interest me very much because then people would want me to go for a seventh and then an eighth".[7]

A few months before the race, Merckx was unsure if he would start the Tour. His race schedule had been very busy, and he thought riding the Giro and the Tour in the same year would not work. Merckx preferred to ride the Tour, but his Italian team preferred the Giro.[8]

Bernard Thevenet contracted shingles during the 1975 Vuelta a España, but recovered and won the Dauphiné Liberé.[4]

Race detail[edit]

Francesco Moser won the prologue, and kept the lead until the first time trial. Merckx started the Tour aggressively, which caused the peloton to split in two groups in the first stage. Merckx and Moser were in the first group, and won a minute on most of their competitors. In the second part of the first stage, the field split again, but this time Thevenet and Poulidor were also in the first group. In stage six, a time trial, Merckx beat Moser and became the leader.[7]

The first climbing was done in the tenth stage, but the favourites stayed together, and the general classification was not changed.[4] The major Pyrenéan mountains were scheduled in stage eleven. In that stage, Bernard Thevenet and Joop Zoetemelk escaped together, while Merckx could not follow them. Zoetemelk won, with Merckx almost one minute behind.[3] Other favourites finished much later, and lost their hopes of winning the Tour.[4]

The fourteenth stage had its finish on top of the Puy de Dôme. When Merckx was about to catch Joop Zoetemelk, a French spectator punched Merckx in the stomach.[7]

After the rest day, the fifteenth stage would end in Pra Loup. Merckx was still the leader, and escaped from the rest. But on the final climb, Merckx was out of energy, and Thevenet was able to reach Merckx two kilometers from the finish, leave Merckx behind, and win with a margin of two minutes.[7] During that stage, the team car of Bianchi fell 150 meters down, but the driver survived.[4] Thevenet was the new leader, and improved his margin in the sixteenth stage by winning with more than two minutes on Merckx.

While riding to the start of the seventeenth stage, Merckx collided with Ole Ritter, and broke a cheekbone.[7] Merckx' broken cheekbone gave him problems with eating, and the Tour doctor gave him the advice to abandon the race. Merckx decided to stay in the race, because of the prize money for his team mates that his second place in the general classification and other classifications would earn them.[7]


The 1975 Tour de France started on 26 June, and had two rest days, the first in Auch the second after the finish on the Puy de Dôme, during which the cyclists were transferred to Nice.[9]

Stage results[2][10]
Stage Route Terrain Length Winner
P Charleroi Individual time trial 6 km (3.7 mi)  Francesco Moser (ITA)
1A Charleroi – Molenbeek Plain stage 94 km (58 mi)  Cees Priem (NED)
1B Molenbeek – Roubaix Plain stage 109 km (68 mi)  Rik Van Linden (BEL)
2 Roubaix – Amiens Plain stage 121 km (75 mi)  Ronald de Witte (BEL)
3 Amiens – Versailles Plain stage 170 km (110 mi)  Karel Rottiers (BEL)
4 Versailles – Le Mans Plain stage 223 km (139 mi)  Jacques Esclassan (FRA)
5 Sablé-sur-SartheMerlin Plage Plain stage 222 km (138 mi)  Theo Smit (NED)
6 Merlin Plage – Merlin Plage Individual time trial 16 km (9.9 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
7 Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-VieAngoulême Plain stage 236 km (147 mi)  Francesco Moser (ITA)
8 Angoulême – Bordeaux Plain stage 134 km (83 mi)  Barry Hoban (GBR)
9A LangonFleurance Plain stage 131 km (81 mi)  Theo Smit (NED)
9B Fleurance – Auch Individual time trial 37 km (23 mi)  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
10 Auch – Pau Stage with mountain(s) 206 km (128 mi)  Felice Gimondi (ITA)
11 Pau – Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d'Adet Stage with mountain(s) 160 km (99 mi)  Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
12 TarbesAlbi Plain stage 242 km (150 mi)  Gerrie Knetemann (NED)
13 Albi – Super-Lioran Stage with mountain(s) 260 km (160 mi)  Michel Pollentier (BEL)
14 AurillacPuy de Dôme Stage with mountain(s) 174 km (108 mi)  Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
15 NicePra Loup Stage with mountain(s) 217 km (135 mi)  Bernard Thévenet (FRA)
16 BarcelonnetteSerre Chevalier Stage with mountain(s) 107 km (66 mi)  Bernard Thévenet (FRA)
17 ValloireMorzine Avoriaz Stage with mountain(s) 225 km (140 mi)  Vicente Lopez-Carril (ESP)
18 MorzineChatel Individual time trial 40 km (25 mi)  Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
19 Thonon-les-BainsChalon-sur-Saône Stage with mountain(s) 229 km (142 mi)  Rik Van Linden (BEL)
20 Pouilly-en-AuxoisMelun Plain stage 256 km (159 mi)  Giacinto Santambrogio (ITA)
21 Melun – Senlis Plain stage 220 km (140 mi)  Rik Van Linden (BEL)
22 Paris – Paris (Champs-Élysées) Plain stage 164 km (102 mi)  Walter Godefroot (BEL)


There were several classifications in the 1975 Tour de France, four 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.[11]

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.[11]

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, and was identified with a polkadot jersey.[11]

Another classification was the young rider classification. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only neo-professionals were eligible, and the leader wore a white jersey.[12]

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 1975, this classification had no associated jersey.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

General classification[edit]

Final general classification (1–10)[2]
Rank Name Team Time
1  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) Peugeot 114h 35' 31"
2  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni +2' 47"
3  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) Gitane +5' 01"
4  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) Gan +6' 42"
5  Vicente López Carril (ESP) KAS +19' 29"
6  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Bianchi +23' 05"
7  Francesco Moser (ITA) Filotex +24' 13"
8  Josef Fuchs (SUI) Filotex +25' 51"
9  Edouard Janssens (BEL) Molteni +32' 01"
10  Pedro Torres (ESP) Super Ser +35' 36"

Other classifications[edit]

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

Doping cases[edit]

After every stage in the 1975 Tour de France, the leader of the race, the winner of the stage and the runner-up, and two random cyclists were checked.[17] In total, 110 tests were done, of which three returned positive:[18]

All three were fined with 1000 Swiss Francs, received one month suspended sentence, were set back to the last place in the stage where they tested positive, and received 10 minutes penalty time in the general classification. This meant that Gimondi, who initially finished the Tour in fifth place, was set back to the sixth place.


Later, Merckx said that his decision to stay in the Tour after he broke his cheekbone was stupid. He felt that it cut his career short.[7]

Thevenet later confessed that he had used cortisones in 1975.[22]


  1. ^ a b Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "62ème Tour de France 1975" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Boyce, Barry (March 2006). "1975: Thevenet Exploits a Vulnerable Merckx". Cycling Revealed. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2008). The Story of the Tour De France: 1965–2007. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 88–93. ISBN 978-1-59858-608-4. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Geen bonificaties in Tour de France". Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (in Dutch) (De Krant van Toen). 18 December 1974. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Lista de Inscritos" (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 26 June 1975. p. 19. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Sidwells, Chris (17 June 2010). "Eddy Merckx magic moment – 1975 Tour de France". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "Deelname Merckx aan Tour de France is onzeker". De Krant van Toen (in Dutch) (Leeuwarder Courant). 22 April 1975. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified – Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "TDF guides: White jersey". TeamSky.com. BSkyB. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Intermediate Sprints Classification". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Chauner, David; Halstead, Michael (1990). The Tour de France Complete Book of Cycling. Villard. ISBN 0-679-72936-4. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Other Classifications & Awards". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Clasificaciones oficiales". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 21 July 1975. p. 21. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "Ondanks zaak-Delepine neemt dopinggebruik af in de Tour-karavaan" (in Dutch). Leidse Courant. 7 July 1975. p. 9. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link] Archived 10 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
  19. ^ "Delepine betrapt op doping" (in Dutch). Nieuwe Leidsche Courant. 7 July 1975. p. 9. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  20. ^ "Felice Gimondi weer positief" (in Dutch). Leidse Courant. 28 July 1975. p. 14. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "Dopingrel" (in Dutch). Leidse Courant. 21 July 1975. p. 10. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  22. ^ Thompson, Christopher S. (2008). The Tour de France: A Cultural History. University of California Press. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-520-25630-9. Retrieved 21 April 2011.