Joop Zoetemelk

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Joop Zoetemelk
Joop Zoetemelk (1971).jpg
Zoetemelk in 1971
Personal information
Full name Hendrik Gerardus Joseph Zoetemelk
Nickname Joop
Born (1946-12-03) 3 December 1946 (age 71)
The Hague, Netherlands
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 68 kg (150 lb; 10.7 st)
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type All-round
Professional team(s)
1970–1972 Flandria–Mars
1973–1974 Gitane–Frigécrème
1975–1979 Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson
1980–1981 TI–Raleigh–Creda
1982–1983 COOP–Mercier–Mavic
1984–1987 Kwantum–Decosol–Yoko
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
General classification (1980)
Combination classification (1973)
10 individual stages
Vuelta a España
General classification (1979)
Mountains classification (1971)
3 individual stages

Stage Races

Paris–Nice (1974, 1975, 1979)
Tour de Romandie (1973)
Tirreno–Adriatico (1985)
Critérium International (1979)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships (1971, 1973)
Amstel Gold Race (1987)
La Flèche Wallonne (1976)
Paris–Tours (1977, 1979)

Hendrik Gerardus Joseph "Joop" Zoetemelk (pronounced [ˈjoːp ˈsutəmɛlk];[1] born 3 December 1946) is a retired professional racing cyclist from the Netherlands. He started and finished the Tour de France 16 times, which were both records when he retired. His record number of starts in the Tour de France was surpassed when George Hincapie started for the 17th time in 2012, but Hincapie was disqualified in October 2012 from the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Tour de France for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, giving the number of starts record back to Zoetemelk. Nobody other than Zoetemelk achieved sixteen Tour de France finishes until Sylvain Chavanel did so in the 2018 Tour de France. Currently, three riders have had more than 16 starts in the Tour de France, but none of them has yet exceeded the record of finishing the event 16 times. He also holds the distance record in Tour de France history with 62,885km ridden. He won the 1979 Vuelta a Espana, the 1980 Tour de France and also came eighth, fifth, fourth (three times) and second (six times).[2] He was the first rider to wear the Tour de France's Polka Dot Jersey as the King of the Mountains. He also won the World Professional Road Championship in 1985 at the age of 38, with a late attack surprising the favorites of Lemond, Roche, Argentin and Millar. He is, as of 2018, the oldest men's individual road race world champion. He retired from the sport to run a hotel at Meaux, France.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

Zoetemelk was raised in Rijpwetering,[4] the son of Maria and Gerard Zoetemelk.[5] He started working as a carpenter. He became a speed-skater[6] and a regional champion before turning to cycling in 1964.[6] He joined the Swift club in Leiden and made a fast impression, winning youth races in his first season. He rode particularly well as a senior in multi-day races. He won the Tour of Yugoslavia, the Circuit des Mines, three stages and the mountains prize in the Tour of Austria, and the 1969 Tour de l'Avenir.[7] He also won a gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City in the 100 km team time-trial with Fedor den Hertog, Jan Krekels and René Pijnen.[8]

Professional career[edit]

Zoetemelk turned professional for Briek Schotte's Belgian Mars-Flandria team in 1970.[7][9] He came second to Eddy Merckx in that year's Tour de France.

He would wear the Yellow Jersey for the first time in the 1971 Tour de France and for the second time after winning the Prologue in the 1973 Tour de France, while also picking up another Stage win in that years edition.

Zoetemelk won Paris–Nice, the Semana Catalana and the Tour de Romandie in 1974 and then crashed heavily into a car left unattended at the finish of the Midi Libre in Valras-Plage, France. He cracked his skull and came close to dying.[10] He returned next season to win Paris–Nice again and then caught meningitis. He never fully recovered and the head injury reduced his sense of taste. He nevertheless won 20 races that season, including Paris–Nice, the Tour of Holland and the Dwars door Lausanne and a stage of the Tour de France. He also came fourth in the Tour de France.

Of one-day races he won La Flèche Wallonne in 1976, the Grand Prix d'Automne in 1977 & 1979, came fourth in the World Championships of 1976 & 1982, before winning in 1985, the oldest man to win the professional title.[6]

Zoetemelk in 1979

Peter Post, manager of the TI–Raleigh team in the Netherlands, approached Zoetemelk through his wife, Françoise, after the world championship in 1979.[11] Zoetemelk had long lived in France and ridden for French teams. His sponsor, the bicycle company Mercier, had ended its sponsorship and Zoetemelk was looking for a new team. The following year Zoetemelk won his – and TI–Raleigh's – only Tour de France. The pre-race favourite, Bernard Hinault had retired halfway due to knee-problems. Zoetemelk objected to claims that he had won only because Hinault had dropped out, saying: "Surely winning the Tour de France is a question of health and robustness. If Hinault doesn't have that health and robustness and I have, that makes me a valid winner."

Gerald O'Donovan, the TI–Raleigh director behind sponsorship of the team, said:

"We needed a winner and for 1980 signed Joop Zoetemelk, who had an outstanding record of places but had probably enjoyed less support than we could give him. We cleaned up the Tours of Belgium, Holland and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré in preparation and waited for the big day. The big plan to control Bernard Hinault, who had won for the previous two years, came to fruition. The team attacked his every move; this was Panzer Group Post[12] at its most formidable. About halfway through the race he abandoned the lead to Zoetemelk and pulled out of the race. We arrived in Paris with the overall lead, 12 stage wins and the team prize, to say nothing of a whole bundle of francs. We had pounded away winning the battles for the previous four years; at last we had won the war."

In 18 years as a professional (1969–1987), Zoetemelk won the Tour de France in 1980, and the Vuelta a España in 1979. While he did not win a Grand Tour until the ‘79 Vuelta, Zoetemelk was such a powerful rider that other Tour winners such as Merckx in the early 70's, Van Impe and Thevenet in the mid 70's and Hinault in the late 70's had to push themselves to such extremes to defeat Zoetemelk that on more than one occasion as many as half the riders in the Main Field would finish outside the Stage Time Limit and would have been out of The Tour de France had the officials not changed the rules and altered the time limits to allow them to continue racing.[13]

Zoetemelk came second in the Tour de France six times and came in the top 5 eleven times, both of them Tour de France records. He also finished the race sixteen times, a record that he shares with Sylvain Chavanel. He holds the record for total kilometers ridden and another record Zoetemelk held was for the most stages completed in TDF history with 365, a record that was not broken until 2018 by Sylvain Chavanel.[14]

Doping[edit]

Zoetemelk was caught in drug tests during the Tour de France in 1977 and 1979. He also tested positive in 1983. At the time, blood doping was not considered a huge deal in road cycling and he mostly escaped punishment. He was not implicated during his Tour win in 1980.[15][16][17]

Assessment[edit]

Zoetemelk is one of the most successful Tour riders of all time;[18] he finished second a record six times and won once. His career coincided with the rise and fall of both Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault, riders considered by many to be the #1 and #2 in all of Tour De France history. While Merckx was rivaled by Luis Ocana and Hinault by Laurent Fignon and Greg Lemond, by the end of most of their Tour victories it was Zoetemelk who proved to be the only rider in the entire field capable of keeping either one of them within striking distance. Specifically in Merckx’s 1969 and 1970 Tour wins nobody was able to keep him within fifteen minutes in 1969 and in 1970 Zoetemelk was the only rider to do so. He also finished 2nd to Merckx in 1971 following Ocana's infamous crash on the Col de Mente, a crash in which Zoetemelk was involved but somehow managed to avoid injury. In fact, early in the 1971 Tour de France Zoetemelk wore the Yellow Jersey for the first time becoming the first GC contender to take the Yellow from Merckx. Then in the 1979 Hinault victory nearly the entire field finished a half hour or more behind him, but Zoetemelk was able to keep him within about three minutes to finish in second place, becoming the only rider in Tour history to challenge the Yellow Jersey on the final stage into Paris in the process. Zoetemelk finished second to Hinault in 1978 and 1979, before outlasting and defeating him in 1980, and again during his sixth and final second place finish in 1982.

During his remarkable career Zoetemelk spent 22 days in the Yellow Jersey and won 10 individual stages in the Tour De France, was the overall winner of the Vuelta a Espana in 1979, the King of the Mountains in 1971, and won the World Championship in 1985.

A fellow Tour rider, Rini Wagtmans, said: "Joop Zoetemelk is the best rider that the Netherlands has ever known. There has never been a better one. But he could not give instructions. He was treated and helped with respect. But when Zoetemelk won the Tour, the instructions had to come from Gerrie Knetemann and Jan Raas."[19]

Peter Post said: "Joop would fit in any team. I've known only a few riders who were so easy. He followed the rules, he got on with people. That's the way he is. He never asked for domestiques. Joop never demanded anything."[20]

Personal life and retirement[edit]

Zoetemelk in 2008

After retiring, Zoetemelk became a directeur sportif with Superconfex, which became Rabobank in 1996. Zoetemelk stayed with Rabobank for 10 years, retiring as a directeur sportif and from the sport after the 2006 Vuelta a España.

Zoetemelk married Françoise Duchaussoy, daughter of the Tour de France executive, Jacques Duchaussoy. They owned and ran the Richemont hotel in Meaux, near Paris. Their son, Karl,[21] was a French mountain bike rider and champion.

Recognition[edit]

Joop Zoetemelk was the second Dutch winner of the Tour de France after Jan Janssen. The Dutch cycling federation, the KNWU, named Zoetemelk the best Dutch rider of all time at a gala to mark its 75th anniversary. A statue of him at Rijpwetering, where he was born and grew up, was unveiled on 31 May 2005. He was named sportsman of the year in the Netherlands in 1980 and 1985. Between 1972 and 1985, he won the Gerrit Schulte Trophy nine times as best rider of the year, more than anybody else in Dutch professional racing.[22] The Joop Zoetemelk Classic, a cyclo-sportive over 45, 75 or 150 km, is held every March, organised by the Swift club of which Zoetemelk is a member. The course passes his statue.

Career achievements[edit]

Major results[edit]

1968
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Ronde van Midden-Zeeland
1st Stage 1
1st Gold medal olympic.svg Team time trial, Olympic Games
1969
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Circuit de Lorraine
1st Stage 1a
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de l'Avenir
3rd Overall Tour of Austria
1st Stage 2b, 3 & 6
1970
1st Stage 2b Paris–Luxembourg
2nd Overall Tour de France
1971
1st MaillotHolanda.PNG Road race, National Road Championships
1st Stage 4b Tour de Luxembourg
2nd Overall Tour de France
6th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Jersey red.svg Mountains classification
1st Stage 16
1972
1st Trophée des Grimpeurs
5th Overall Tour de France
1973
1st MaillotHolanda.PNG Road race, National Road Championships
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour du Haut Var
2nd Overall Grand Prix du Midi Libre
1st Stage 1a & 2
3rd Overall Critérium du Dauphiné
1st Stage 2b
3rd Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 7b
4th Overall Tour de France
1st Jersey white.svg Combination classification
1st Prologue & Stage 4
1974
1st Jersey white.svg Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 2, 6a & 7b
1st Jersey green.svg Overall Tour de Romandie
1st Stage 4
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Setmana Catalana de Ciclismo
1st Stage 5
1st Stage 2 Étoile de Bessèges
1975
1st Jersey white.svg Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 6a & 7b
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Ronde van Nederland
1st Stage 4
1st Grand Prix d'Isbergues
4th Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 11
1976
1st La Flèche Wallonne
1st Stage 3 Critérium du Dauphiné
1st Boucles de l'Aulne
2nd Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 9, 10 & 20
1977
1st Paris–Tours
1st Grand Prix d'Isbergues
1st Stage 2a Tour de l'Aude
3rd Overall Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
1st Stage 4a
1978
1st Paris–Camembert
1st Stage 2 Critérium International
2nd Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 14
3rd Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 1 (victory shared with Gerrie Knetemann)
1979
1st Jersey gold.svg Overall Vuelta a España
1st Prologue & Stage 8b
1st Jersey white.svg Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 7b
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Critérium International
1st Stage 2
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour du Haut Var
1st Paris–Tours
1st Prologue Critérium du Dauphiné
1st Stage 3 Étoile de Bessèges
2nd Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 18
1980
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 1b (TTT), 7a (TTT), 11 & 20
1st Prologue Critérium du Dauphiné
1st Stage 5 Tour de Romandie
1st Grand Prix Pino Cerami
1981
1st Escalada a Montjuich
1st Grand Prix Pino Cerami
4th Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 1b (TTT) & 4 (TTT)
1982
1st Escalada a Montjuich
2nd Overall Tour de France
1983
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour du Haut Var
1st Stage 2 (TTT) Tour de France
1985
1st Jersey rainbow.svg Road race, UCI Road World Championships
1st Jersey blue.svg Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stage 5
1st Veenendaal-Veenendaal
1986
2nd Amstel Gold Race
1987
1st Amstel Gold Race

Grand Tour results timeline[edit]

1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986
Tour de France 2 2 5 4 DNE 4 2 8 2 2 1 4 2 23 30 12 24
Stages won 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mountains classification NR 2 5 6 3 3 5 3 4 5 NR NR NR NR NR NR
Points classification NR 5 3 2 9 8 NR 9 3 10 NR NR NR NR NR NR
Giro d'Italia DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE
Stages won
Mountains classification
Points classification
Vuelta a España DNE 6 DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE 1 DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE DNE
Stages won 1 2
Mountains classification 1 3
Points classification NR 3
Legend
1 Winner
2–3 Top three-finish
4–10 Top ten-finish
11– Other finish
DNE Did Not Enter
DNF-x Did Not Finish (retired on stage x)
DNS-x Did Not Start (no started on stage x)
DSQ Disqualified
N/A Race/classification not held
NR Not Ranked in this classification

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Surname in isolation: [ˈzutəmɛlk].
  2. ^ "Joop Zoetemelk dans le Tour de France". Archived from the original on 25 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25. . mrambaul.club.fr
  3. ^ Siebelink, Jan (2006) 'Pijn is genot, Thomas Rap (Netherlands), ISBN 90-6005-632-9, p. 93
  4. ^ "Joop Zoetemelk Classic 2009 (1)". Archived from the original on 24 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-24. . swift-leiden.nl
  5. ^ Joop Zoetemelk. Sillius.nl (1946-12-03). Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  6. ^ a b c '1980: Joop Zoetemelk' – www.tourdefrance.nl [Alle Tourwinnaars] Archived 18 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Wielercentrum.com. Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  7. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Joop Zoetemelk Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Joop Zoetemelk". Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-19. . lequipe.fr
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^ Opgescheept met een veteraan, Trouw, Netherlands (2005-06-28)
  12. ^ A reference to the strict management and team discipline imposed on the team by its manager, Peter Post.
  13. ^ McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2008). The Story of the Tour De France: 1965-2007. Dog Ear Publishering. pp. 98–104. ISBN 1-59858-608-4. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  14. ^ https://racecenter.letour.fr/#/stageprofile.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ anabo. Arthur73.chez-alice.fr. Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  16. ^ Le dopage dans le tour de France. Ina.fr (1977-07-24). Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  17. ^ "Magazine Sport & Vie : Sport & vie n° 79 (July 2003) – Tombés au champs d'honneur". Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2015-12-07. . dopage.com
  18. ^ "Econometricians calculate 'Universal Tour Ranking'". University of Groningen. 23 October 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  19. ^ Cycling, UK, interview with Rini Wagtmans, undated cutting
  20. ^ Opgescheept met een veteraan, Trouw (Netherlands), 28 June 2005
  21. ^ Joop Zoetemelk at Cycling Archives
  22. ^ Velo-Club du Net: Coureurs Hollandais, Joop Zoetemelk Archived 5 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. Velo-club.net. Retrieved on 2012-12-24.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Peter Kisner
Dutch National Road Race Champion
1971
Succeeded by
Tino Tabak
Preceded by
Tino Tabak
Dutch National Road Race Champion
1973
Succeeded by
Cees Priem
Awards
Preceded by
Jan Raas
Dutch Sportsman of the Year
1980
Succeeded by
Hennie Stamsnijder
Preceded by
Stephan van den Berg
Dutch Sportsman of the Year
1985
Succeeded by
Hein Vergeer