1973 Tour de France

1973 Tour de France
Route of the 1973 Tour de France
Race details
Dates 30 June – 22 July
Stages 20 + Prologue, including six split stages
Distance 4,090 km (2,541 mi)
Winning time 122h 25' 34"
Winner  Luis Ocaña (ESP) (Bic)
Second  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) (Peugeot–BP–Michelin)
Third  José-Manuel Fuente (ESP) (Kas–Kaskol)

Points  Herman Van Springel (BEL) (Rokado)
Mountains  Pedro Torres (ESP) (La Casera–Bahamontes)
Combination  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) (Gitane–Frigécrème)
Sprints  Marc Demeyer (BEL) (Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano)
Team Bic
Team Points Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson

The 1973 Tour de France was the 60th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 30 June and 22 July, with 20 stages covering a distance of 4,090 km (2,541 mi). Eddy Merckx, winner of the previous four editions, did not start the 1973 Tour, partly to avoid angry French fans and partly to please his sponsor; instead he rode and won the 1973 Vuelta a España and the 1973 Giro d'Italia. In his absence, Luis Ocaña dominated the race, winning with a margin of more than 15 minutes.

In 1973, a new team classification was added: the team points classification, calculated by adding the three best stage rankings per team; it would be calculated until 1988.


For a more comprehensive list, see List of teams and cyclists in the 1973 Tour de France.

The Italian teams did not join the 1973 Tour de France, because no top French cyclist rode the 1973 Giro d'Italia.[1] The Tour started with 12 teams, each with 11 cyclists.[2]

The teams entering the race were:

Pre-race favourites

The winner of the previous four editions, Eddy Merckx had changed sponsors to the Italian Molteni. His contract said that he had to start in the 1973 Vuelta a España and the 1973 Giro d'Italia, and Merckx thought it was impossible to start in three grand tours in one year, so he stayed away from the Tour. Ocana, who was in great shape, was now the main favourite, with Fuente, Poulidor and Thevenet as his biggest threats.[2] Ocana was not the clear favorite; he had already crashed out of the Tour three times, and he was seen as fragile.[3] Zoetemelk had changed teams, because he did not have the full support of his team leader.[3] Among the Italian riders absent were world champion Marino Basso and former Tour winner Felice Gimondi were absent.[1]

Route and stages

After the 1972 Tour de France, there were rumours that the 1973 Tour would become easier, to suit French cyclist Cyrille Guimard better. However, when the 1973 Tour route was announced in December 1972, the organisation had included three more mountains compared to 1972.[4] The race started on 30 June, and had two rest days, in Divonne-les-Bains and Pyrénées 2000.[5]

Stage characteristics and winners[2][5][6]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 30 June Scheveningen (Netherlands) 7.1 km (4.4 mi) Individual time trial  Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
1a 1 July Scheveningen (Netherlands) to Rotterdam (Netherlands) 84 km (52 mi) Plain stage  Willy Teirlinck (BEL)
1b Rotterdam (Netherlands) to Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) 137.5 km (85.4 mi) Plain stage  José Catieau (FRA)
2a 2 July Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) 12.4 km (7.7 mi) Team time trial  Watney–Maes Pils
2b Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) to Roubaix 138 km (86 mi) Plain stage  Eddy Verstraeten (BEL)
3 3 July Roubaix to Reims 226 km (140 mi) Plain stage  Cyrille Guimard (FRA)
4 4 July Reims to Nancy 214 km (133 mi) Plain stage  Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
5 5 July Nancy to Mulhouse 188 km (117 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Walter Godefroot (BEL)
6 6 July Mulhouse to Divonne-les-Bains 244.5 km (151.9 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (FRA)
7 July Divonne-les-Bains Rest day
7a 8 July Divonne-les-Bains to Gaillard 86.5 km (53.7 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Luis Ocaña (ESP)
7b Gaillard to Méribel 150.5 km (93.5 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Bernard Thévenet (FRA)
8 9 July Moûtiers to Les Orres 237.5 km (147.6 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Luis Ocaña (ESP)
9 10 July Embrun to Nice 234.5 km (145.7 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Vicente López Carril (ESP)
10 11 July Nice to Aubagne 222.5 km (138.3 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Michael Wright (GBR)
11 12 July Montpellier to Argelès-sur-Mer 238 km (148 mi) Plain stage  Barry Hoban (GBR)
12a 13 July Perpignan to Thuir 28.3 km (17.6 mi) Individual time trial  Luis Ocaña (ESP)
12b Thuir to Pyrénées 2000 76 km (47 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
14 July Pyrénées 2000 Rest day
13 15 July Bourg-Madame to Luchon 235 km (146 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Luis Ocaña (ESP)
14 16 July Luchon to Pau 227.5 km (141.4 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Pedro Torres (ESP)
15 17 July Pau to Fleurance 137 km (85 mi) Plain stage  Wilfried David (BEL)
16a 18 July Fleurance to Bordeaux 210 km (130 mi) Plain stage  Walter Godefroot (BEL)
16b Bordeaux to Lac 12.4 km (7.7 mi) Individual time trial  Joaquim Agostinho (POR)
17 19 July Sainte-Foy-la-Grande to Brive-la-Gaillarde 248 km (154 mi) Plain stage  Claude Tollet (FRA)
18 20 July Brive-la-Gaillarde to Puy de Dôme 216.5 km (134.5 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Luis Ocaña (ESP)
19 21 July Bourges to Versailles 233.5 km (145.1 mi) Plain stage  Barry Hoban (GBR)
20a 22 July Versailles 16 km (9.9 mi) Individual time trial  Luis Ocaña (ESP)
20b Versailles to Paris 89 km (55 mi) Plain stage  Bernard Thévenet (FRA)
Total 4,090 km (2,541 mi)[7]

Race overview

Joop Zoetemelk after he won the opening prologue time trial in Scheveningen, Netherlands
The finish of stage 1a in Rotterdam, Netherlands, won by Willy Teirlinck

Zoetemelk won the opening prologue, one second ahead of Poulidor. In the first part of the next stage, Teirlinck won and took over the lead. Ocana and Herman Van Springel fell down when a dog crossed the road, but both suffered no serious damage.[3] In the second part of that stage, Van Springel bridged the gap to Catieau, who had escaped. Van Springel did all the work to stay away, while Catieau did not help his team captain's rival. They stayed away until the end of the stage, where Catieau won the sprint, and Van Springel became the new race leader.[3]

In the third stage, a group with Guimard and Ocana escaped. Van Springel, Zoetemelk, Fuentes, Thevenet and Poulidor were not in that group, and had to chase them. The group stayed away, Guimard won the sprint and Catieau became the race leader. More important for the final result was that Ocana won more than two minutes on Zoetemelk, and more than seven minutes on Fuente.[3][8]

In stage seven, when the first mountains were climbed, Ocana attacked, and only Zoetemelk could follow. A few kilometers from the summit, Zoetemelk had to let Ocana go, and Ocana finished solo. Ocana became the new race leader, almost three minutes ahead of Zoetemelk.[3] In the eighth stage, Ocana and Fuente both attacked. Ocana and Fuente did not like each other, and when Fuente stopped working, Ocana was angry, especially when Fuente passed him just before the top of the Izoard to steal the points for the mountain classification. When Fuente had a flat tire, Ocana did not wait for him, and left him behind, beating him by one minute at the finish line. All the others were far behind: Thevenet and Martinez followed after seven minutes, the other pre-race favourites after twenty minutes.[3][9]

In the thirteenth stage, Poulidor crashed, and was taken away with a helicopter.[3] In the sixteenth stage, the cyclists were slower than expected, and finished one hour after the latest time schedule. The train that they should have taken had already left, and they had to use buses.[3]

In the time trial in stage 17, Fuente lost his second place in the general classification to Thevenet. Fuente tried to take it back in the mountain stage 18, but he failed and even lost some time.[3]


Three cyclists tested positive during the 1973 Tour de France:

All three received a fine of 1000 Swiss Francs, one-month suspension and ten minutes penalty time in the general classification.

Classification leadership

There were several classifications in the 1973 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.[13]

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.[13]

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 1973.[13]

Another classification was the combination classification. This classification was calculated as a combination of the other classifications, its leader wore the white jersey.[14]

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 1973, this classification had no associated jersey.[15]

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.[16]

The combativity award was given to Luis Ocana.[5]

Classification leadership by stage
Stage Winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification Team classification
P Joop Zoetemelk Joop Zoetemelk Joop Zoetemelk no award Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson
1a Willy Teirlinck Willy Teirlinck Willy De Geest Sonolor
1b José Catieau Herman Vanspringel Herman Vanspringel Bic
2a Watney–Maes Pils
2b Eddy Verstraeten Frans Verbeeck
3 Cyrille Guimard José Catieau Cyrille Guimard Willy De Geest
4 Joop Zoetemelk Herman Vanspringel
5 Walter Godefroot Charly Grosskost
6 Jean-Pierre Danguillaume Pedro Torres
7a Luis Ocaña Luis Ocaña
7b Bernard Thévenet
8 Luis Ocaña Luis Ocaña
9 Vicente López Carril José Manuel Fuente
10 Michael Wright
11 Barry Hoban
12a Luis Ocaña
12b Lucien Van Impe
13 Luis Ocaña
14 Pedro Torres
15 Wilfried David
16a Walter Godefroot
16b Joaquim Agostinho
17 Claude Tollet Pedro Torres
18 Luis Ocaña
19 Barry Hoban
20a Luis Ocaña
20b Bernard Thévenet
Final Luis Ocaña Herman Vanspringel Pedro Torres Bic

Final standings

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

Final general classification (1–10)[2]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Luis Ocaña (ESP) A yellow jersey. Bic 122h 25' 34"
2  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin + 15' 51"
3  José-Manuel Fuente (ESP) Kas–Kaskol + 17' 15"
4  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) A white jersey. Gitane–Frigécrème + 26' 22"
5  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) Sonolor + 30' 20"
6  Herman Van Springel (BEL) A green jersey. Rokado + 32' 01"
7  Michel Périn (FRA) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson + 33' 02"
8  Joaquim Agostinho (POR) Bic + 35' 51"
9  Vicente López Carril (ESP) Kas–Kaskol + 36' 18"
10  Régis Ovion (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin + 36' 59"

Points classification

Final points classification (1–10)[2][17]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Herman Van Springel (BEL) A green jersey. Rokado 187
2  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) A white jersey. Gitane–Frigécrème 168
3  Luis Ocaña (ESP) A yellow jersey. Bic 145
4  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin 139
5  Walter Godefroot (BEL) Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano 139
6  Barry Hoban (GBR) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 110
7  Gerard Vianen (NED) Gitane–Frigécrème 110
8  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) Sonolor 109
9  Mariano Martínez (FRA) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 89
10  Jacques Esclassan (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin 89

Mountains classification

Final mountains classification (1–10)[2][17]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Pedro Torres (ESP) La Casera–Bahamontes 225
2  José-Manuel Fuente (ESP) Kas–Kaskol 216
3  Luis Ocaña (ESP) A yellow jersey. Bic 192
4  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin 119
5  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) Sonolor 107
6  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) A white jersey. Gitane–Frigécrème 83
7  Vicente López Carril (ESP) Kas–Kaskol 80
8  Joaquim Agostinho (POR) Bic 46
9  Francisco Galdos (ESP) Kas–Kaskol 46
10  Mariano Martínez (FRA) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 38

Combination classification

Final combination classification (1–5)[17]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) A white jersey. Gitane–Frigécrème 20
2  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) Sonolor 26
3  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin 33
4  Herman Van Springel (BEL) A green jersey. Rokado 50
5  Fernando Mendes (POR) Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano 55

Intermediate sprints classification

Final intermediate sprints classification (1–5)[17]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Marc Demeyer (BEL) Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano 105
2  Barry Hoban (GBR) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 70
3  Willy Teirlinck (BEL) Sonolor 60
4  Raymond Riotte (FRA) Sonolor 28
5  Robert Mintkiewicz (FRA) Sonolor 16

Team classification

Final team classification (1–10)[17]
Rank Team Time
1Bic 369h 31' 55"
2Peugeot–BP–Michelin + 20' 23"
3Kas–Kaskol + 20' 42"
4Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson + 23' 04"
5Rokado + 1h 40' 42"
6Sonolor + 1h 45' 56"
7Gitane–Frigécrème + 1h 58' 57"
8La Casera–Bahamontes + 2h 01' 50"
9Flandria–Carpenter–Shimano + 2h 09' 21"
10De Kova–Lejeune + 3h 09' 21"


  1. 1 2 "Italianen mijden Tour de France". Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 4 June 1973. p. 21. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "60ème Tour de France 1973" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2008). The Story of the Tour De France: 1965-2007. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 73–81. ISBN 1-59858-608-4. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  4. "Tour de France 1973 wordt zwaar karwei". Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 14 December 1972. p. 29. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 Historical guide 2016, p. 64.
  6. Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  7. Historical guide 2016, p. 109.
  8. Béoutis, Didier (23 November 2008). "Luis Ocaña sur le pavés de Querenaing - Tour de France 1973" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 15 September 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  9. Béoutis, Didier (23 November 2008). "Luis Ocaña écrase le Tour - Tour de France 1973" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  10. "Hoban betrapt". Nieuwsblad van het noorden (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 16 July 1973. p. 19. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  11. "Tweede dopinggeval in Tour de France". Leeuwarder courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 20 July 1973. p. 19. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  12. "Dopinggeval". Leeuwarder courant (in Dutch). De krant van toen. 24 July 1973. p. 13. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  13. 1 2 3 Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified - Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  14. Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Other Classifications & Awards". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  15. Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Intermediate Sprints Classification". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  16. Chauner, David; Halstead, Michael (1990). The Tour de France Complete Book of Cycling. Villard. ISBN 0-679-72936-4. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 "Clasificaciones oficiales". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 23 July 1973. p. 19. Retrieved 18 August 2011.


External links

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