1961 Tour de France

1961 Tour de France
Route of the 1961 Tour de France
Followed clockwise, starting in Rouen and finishing in Paris
Race details
Dates 25 June – 16 July
Stages 21, including one split stage
Distance 4,397 km (2,732 mi)
Winning time 122h 01' 33"
Winner  Jacques Anquetil (FRA) (France)
Second  Guido Carlesi (ITA) (Italy)
Third  Charly Gaul (LUX) (Switzerland/Luxembourg)

Points  André Darrigade (FRA) (France)
Mountains  Imerio Massignan (ITA) (Italy)
Team France

The 1961 Tour de France was the 48th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 25 June and 16 July, with 21 stages covering a distance of 4,397 km (2,732 mi). Out of the 132 riders who started the tour, 72 managed to complete the tour's tough course. Throughout the 1961 Tour de France, two of the French national team's riders, André Darrigade and Jacques Anquetil held the yellow jersey for the entirety 21 stages. There was a great deal of excitement between the second and third places, concluding with Guido Carlesi stealing Charly Gaul's second place position on the last day by two seconds.


For a more comprehensive list, see List of teams and cyclists in the 1961 Tour de France.

The teams entering the race were:

  • Italy
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • West Germany
  • Switzerland/Luxembourg (combined)
  • Great Britain
  • Paris North-East
  • France Centre-Midi
  • France West South-West

Pre-race favourites

Pre-race favourite Jacques Anquetil (pictured during the Tour)

Since Jacques Anquetil had won the 1957 Tour de France, he was unable to repeat it, due to illness, tiredness and struggle within the French team. For 1961, he asked the team captain Marcel Bidot to make a team that would only ride for him, and Bidot agreed. Anquetil announced before the race that he would take the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification on the first day, and wear it until the end of the race in Paris.[1]

Gastone Nencini, who won the previous edition, did not enter in 1961, but Graziano Battistini, his team mate and runner-up of 1960, started the race as leader of the Italian team. If the French team would again have internal struggles, the Italian team could emerge as the winner.

The Spanish team had two outsiders, José Pérez Francés and Fernando Manzaneque. The last outsider was Charly Gaul,winner of the 1958 Tour de France, who rode in the mixed Luxembourg-Swiss team. He considered his team mates so weak that he did not seek their help, and rode the race on his own.[1] Raymond Poulidor was convinced by his team manager Antonin Magne that it would be better to skip the Tour, because the national team format would undermine his commercial value.[2]

Route and stages

The 1961 Tour de France started on 25 June in Rouen, and had one rest day, in Montpellier.[3] For the first time the finish on top of the Superbagnères was included to the race.[4]

Stage characteristics and winners[5][3][6]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
1a 25 June Rouen to Versailles 136.5 km (84.8 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
1b Versailles 28.5 km (17.7 mi) Individual time trial  Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
2 26 June Pontoise to Roubaix 230.5 km (143.2 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
3 27 June Roubaix to Charleroi (Belgium) 197.5 km (122.7 mi) Plain stage  Emile Daems (BEL)
4 28 June Charleroi (Belgium) to Metz 237.5 km (147.6 mi) Plain stage  Anatole Novak (FRA)
5 29 June Metz to Strasbourg 221 km (137 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Louis Bergaud (FRA)
6 30 June Strasbourg to Belfort 180.5 km (112.2 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jozef Planckaert (BEL)
7 1 July Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saône 214.5 km (133.3 mi) Plain stage  Jean Stablinski (FRA)
8 2 July Chalon-sur-Saône to Saint-Étienne 240.5 km (149.4 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jean Forestier (FRA)
9 3 July Saint-Étienne to Grenoble 230 km (140 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Charly Gaul (LUX)
10 4 July Grenoble to Turin (Italy) 250.5 km (155.7 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Guy Ignolin (FRA)
11 5 July Turin (Italy) to Antibes 225 km (140 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Guido Carlesi (ITA)
12 6 July Antibes to Aix-en-Provence 199.0 km (123.7 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Michel Van Aerde (BEL)
13 7 July Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier 177.5 km (110.3 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
14 9 July Montpellier to Perpignan 174 km (108 mi) Plain stage  Eddy Pauwels (BEL)
15 10 July Perpignan to Toulouse 206 km (128 mi) Plain stage  Guido Carlesi (ITA)
16 11 July Toulouse to Superbagnères 208 km (129 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Imerio Massignan (ITA)
17 12 July Luchon to Pau 197 km (122 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Eddy Pauwels (BEL)
18 13 July Pau to Bordeaux 207 km (129 mi) Plain stage  Martin Van Geneugden (BEL)
19 14 July Bergerac to Périgueux 74.5 km (46.3 mi) Individual time trial  Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
20 15 July Périgueux to Tours 309.5 km (192.3 mi) Plain stage  André Darrigade (FRA)
21 16 July Tours to Paris 252.5 km (156.9 mi) Plain stage  Robert Cazala (FRA)
Total 4,397 km (2,732 mi)[7]

Race overview

Emile Daems crossing the finish line in Charleroi, Belgium, to win the third stage

André Darrigade won the opening stage, and it became the fifth time that he won the opening stage.[4] Darrigade had been in a small group that broke away, which included Anquetil. Other competitors, such as Gaul and Battistini, already lost more than 5 minutes.[1] After that, there was a time trial, won by Jacques Anquetil. Anquetil became the leader of the race, with his team mate Joseph Groussard in second place, almost five minutes behind him.[1]

The second stage, run in bad weather, featured small roads in Northern France. Several cyclists got into problems, and seven cyclists already had to leave the race; the favourites were not harmed.[8] In the sixth stage, German Horst Oldenburg fell down on the descent of the Col de la Schlucht, and the Dutch team captain Ab Geldermans ran into him. Geldermans was taken to the Belfort hospital by helicopter, and the Dutch team had lost its captain.[8]

Unlike previous years, the French team continued without fights, and won five of the first eight stages.[1] The ninth stage included four major climbs. On the second climb, Gaul escaped. He crashed on the descent of the third mountain, but managed to stay away and win the stage; Anquetil was not far behind and kept the lead.[1] Anquetil had a five-minutes margin on the second-placed rider, which was Manzaneque. In the eleventh stage, Graziano Battistini was hit by a car, and had to leave the race.[8] This situation had not changed when the sixteenth stage started. It was expected that Gaul, in third place more than six minutes behind, would attack, but this did not happen,[1] because Gaul had been injured in his crash in the previous stage.[8]

The last chance for the opposition to win back time on Anquetil was in the seventeenth stage, but Anquetil stayed close to his direct competitors, and only allowed lower classified riders to escape. The press criticized Anquetil's tactics, saying he was riding passively.[9] In the nineteenth stage, an individual time trial, Gaul was on his way to win back a little time on Anquetil, when he crashed heavily, and could not find his pace again. Anquetil won almost three minutes on Gaul and extended his lead to more than ten minutes.[10]

In the final two stages, Anquetil did not get into problems. His main rival Gaul even lost time in the last stage, and conceded his second place to Guido Carlesi.[8]

Classification leadership

There were several classifications in the 1961 Tour de France, two 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. 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, 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, but was not identified with a jersey.[11]

For the team classification The calculation for the was different from previous years. Before 1961, the classification was based on time, but in 1961, it was based on points; times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the team with the lowest time on a stage won the team prize for that stage. The overall team classification was calculated by counting the number of team prizes.

The combativity award was given to the entire regional West-South West team.[3]

Classification leadership by stage
Stage Winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification Team classification
1a André Darrigade André Darrigade André Darrigade no award France
1b Jacques Anquetil Jacques Anquetil Jacques Anquetil
2 André Darrigade André Darrigade
3 Emile Daems
4 Anatole Novak
5 Louis Bergaud Louis Bergaud
6 Jozef Planckaert Eddy Pauwels
7 Jean Stablinski
8 Jean Forestier
9 Charly Gaul Charly Gaul
10 Guy Ignolin Imerio Massignan
11 Guido Carlesi
12 Michel Van Aerde
13 André Darrigade
14 Eddy Pauwels
15 Guido Carlesi
16 Imerio Massignan
17 Eddy Pauwels
18 Martin Van Geneugden
19 Jacques Anquetil Jean Gainche
20 André Darrigade André Darrigade
21 Robert Cazala
Final Jacques Anquetil André Darrigade Imerio Massignan France

Final standings

General classification

Final general classification (1–10)[10]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Jacques Anquetil (FRA) France 122h 01' 33"
2  Guido Carlesi (ITA) Italy +12' 14"
3  Charly Gaul (LUX) Switzerland-Luxembourg +12' 16"
4  Imerio Massignan (ITA) Italy +15' 59"
5  Hans Junkermann (FRG) West Germany +16' 09"
6  Fernando Manzaneque (ESP) Spain +16' 27"
7  José Pérez Francés (ESP) Spain +20' 41"
8  Jean Dotto (FRA) Centre-Midi +21' 44"
9  Eddy Pauwels (BEL) Belgium +26' 57"
10  Jan Adriaensens (BEL) Belgium +28' 05"

Points classification

Final points classification (1–10)[12][13]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  André Darrigade (FRA) France 174
2  Jean Gainche (FRA) West/South West 169
3  Guido Carlesi (ITA) Italy 148
4  Jacques Anquetil (FRA) France 146
5  Frans Aerenhouts (BEL) Belgium 120
6  Michel Van Aerde (BEL) Belgium 97
7  Eddy Pauwels (BEL) Belgium 95
8  Imerio Massignan (ITA) Italy 92
9  Hans Junkermann (FRG) West-Germany 82
10  Jozef Planckaert (BEL) Belgium 74

Mountains classification

Final mountains classification (1–11)[12]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Imerio Massignan (ITA) Italy 95
2  Charly Gaul (LUX) Switzerland/Luxembourg 61
3  Hennes Junkermann (FRG) West-Germany 48
4  Marcel Queheille (FRA) West/South West 46
5  Eddy Pauwels (BEL) Belgium 29
6  Manuel Busto (FRA) Centre-Midi 28
7  Guy Ignolin (FRA) West/South West 26
7  Jacques Anquetil (FRA) France 26
9  Jef Planckaert (BEL) Belgium 19
10  Jean Dotto (FRA) Centre-Midi 17
10  André Foucher (FRA) West/South West 17

Team classification

Final team classification[14]
Rank Team Points
1 France 10
2 Belgium 5
3 Italy 3
3 West-South West 3
5 Centre-Midi 1


As Anquetil had led the race after every stage, there was not much competitiveness, which organiser Jacques Goddet termed a "fiasco".[2] After the race, the system with national teams was abandoned, and it was announced that the 1962 Tour de France would be run with sponsored teams.[2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2006). The Story of the Tour De France. Dog ear publishing. pp. 249–253. ISBN 978-1-59858-180-5. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 Dauncey, p. 112
  3. 1 2 3 Historical guide 2016, p. 52.
  4. 1 2 Amaury Sport Organisation. "The Tour - Year 1961". letour.fr. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  5. "48ème Tour de France 1961" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  6. Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  7. Historical guide 2016, p. 109.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 Amels, Wim (1984). De geschiedenis van de Tour de France 1903–1984 (in Dutch). Sport-Express. pp. 88–89.
  9. Boyce, Barry (2004). "Anquetil Blossoms". Cyclingrevealed. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  10. 1 2 "48ème Tour de France 1961 - 19ème étape" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  11. 1 2 3 Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified - Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  12. 1 2 "1961: 48e editie". Tourdefrance.nl. 30 December 2003. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  13. "Puntenklassement". Leidsche Courant (in Dutch). Regionaal Archief Leiden. 17 July 1961. p. 8. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  14. "Clasificaciones" (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 17 July 1961. Retrieved 18 May 2010.


External links

Media related to 1961 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons

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