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1963 Tour de France

1963 Tour de France
Route of the 1963 Tour de France
Route of the 1963 Tour de France
Race details
Dates23 June – 14 July 1963
Stages21, including two split stages
Distance4,138 km (2,571 mi)
Winning time113h 30' 05"
Winner  Jacques Anquetil (FRA) (Saint-Raphaël–Gitane–R. Geminiani)
  Second  Federico Bahamontes (ESP) (Margnat–Paloma–Dunlop)
  Third  José Pérez Francés (ESP) (Ferrys)

Points  Rik Van Looy (BEL) (G.B.C.–Libertas)
  Mountains  Federico Bahamontes (ESP) (Margnat–Paloma–Dunlop)
  Combativity  Rik Van Looy (BEL) (G.B.C.–Gramaglia)
  Team Saint-Raphaël–Gitane–R. Geminiani
← 1962
1964 →

The 1963 Tour de France was the 50th instance of that Grand Tour. It took place between 23 June and 14 July, with 21 stages covering a distance of 4,138 km (2,571 mi). Stages 2 and 6 were both two part stages, the first half being a regular stage and the second half being a team or individual time trial.

The Tour organisers were trying to break the dominance of Anquetil, who had won already three Tours, by reducing the time trials length to only 79 km (49 mi), so that the climbing capabilities would be more important.[1]

Nonetheless, the race was won by Anquetil, who was able to stay close to his main rival Federico Bahamontes in the mountains, one time even by faking a mechanical problem in order to get a bicycle that was more suited for the terrain. Bahamontes finished as the second-placed cyclist, but won the mountains classification. The points classification was won by Rik Van Looy.


The 1963 Tour started with 130 cyclists, divided into 13 teams.[2] The IBAC–Molteni team was a combination of five cyclists from IBAC and five from Molteni, each wearing their own sponsor's jerseys.[1]

The teams entering the race were:[2]

Pre-race favourites

Rik Van Looy and the pre-race favourite Jacques Anquetil before the fifth stage

The main favourite before the race was Jacques Anquetil, at that moment already a three-time winner of the Tour, including the previous two editions. Anquetil had shown good form before the Tour, as he won Paris–Nice, the Dauphiné Libéré, the Critérium National and the 1963 Vuelta a España. Anquetil was not sure if he would ride the Tour until a few days before the start; he had been infected by a tapeworm, and was advised not to start.[3] Anquetil had chosen to ride races with tough climbs, to prepare for the 1963 Tour de France.[4]

The major competitor was thought to be Raymond Poulidor, who had shown his capabilities in the 1962 Tour de France.[3]

Route and stages

The 1963 Tour de France started on 23 June in Paris, and had one rest day, in Aurillac.[5] The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,770 m (9,090 ft) at the summit of the Col de l'Iseran mountain pass on stage 16.[6][7]

Stage characteristics and winners[1][5][8][9]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
1 23 June Paris to Épernay 152 km (94 mi) Plain stage  Eddy Pauwels (BEL)
2a 24 June Reims to Jambes (Belgium) 186 km (116 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Looy (BEL)
2b Jambes (Belgium) 22 km (14 mi) Team time trial  Pelforth–Sauvage–Lejeune
3 25 June Jambes (Belgium) to Roubaix 223 km (139 mi) Plain stage  Seamus Elliott (IRL)
4 26 June Roubaix to Rouen 236 km (147 mi) Plain stage  Frans Melckenbeeck (BEL)
5 27 June Rouen to Rennes 285 km (177 mi) Plain stage  Antonio Bailetti (ITA)
6a 28 June Rennes to Angers 118 km (73 mi) Plain stage  Roger de Breuker (BEL)
6b Angers 25 km (16 mi) Individual time trial  Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
7 29 June Angers to Limoges 236 km (147 mi) Plain stage  Jan Janssen (NED)
8 30 June Limoges to Bordeaux 232 km (144 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Looy (BEL)
9 1 July Bordeaux to Pau 202 km (126 mi) Plain stage  Pino Cerami (BEL)
10 2 July Pau to Bagnères-de-Bigorre 148 km (92 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
11 3 July Bagnères-de-Bigorre to Luchon 131 km (81 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Guy Ignolin (FRA)
12 4 July Luchon to Toulouse 173 km (107 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  André Darrigade (FRA)
13 5 July Toulouse to Aurillac 234 km (145 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Looy (BEL)
6 July Aurillac Rest day
14 7 July Aurillac to Saint-Étienne 237 km (147 mi) Plain stage  Guy Ignolin (FRA)
15 8 July Saint-Étienne to Grenoble 174 km (108 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Federico Bahamontes (ESP)
16 9 July Grenoble to Val d'Isère 202 km (126 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Fernando Manzaneque (ESP)
17 10 July Val d'Isère to Chamonix 228 km (142 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
18 11 July Chamonix to Lons-le-Saunier 225 km (140 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Frans Brands (BEL)
19 12 July Arbois to Besançon 54 km (34 mi) Individual time trial  Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
20 13 July Besançon to Troyes 234 km (145 mi) Plain stage  Roger de Breuker (BEL)
21 14 July Troyes to Paris 185 km (115 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Looy (BEL)
Total 4,138 km (2,571 mi)[10]

Race overview

Riders during the fourth stage between Roubaix and Rouen

In the first stage, four men escaped. One of them was Federico Bahamontes, the winner of the 1959 Tour de France. Bahamontes was known as a climber, so it was unexpected that he gained time on a flat stage.[3] The third stage saw another successful breakaway. Seamus Elliott won the stage, and became the new leader in the race; it was the first time that an Irish cyclist led the Tour de France.

The time trial in stage 6b was won by Anquetil, with Poulidor in second place. Gilbert Desmet became the new leader. The situation did not change much in the next stages until the stages in the Pyrenees, starting with the tenth stage. Bahamontes lead the first group, but Anquetil was able to stay in that first group, which was a surprise. Anquetil stayed in that first group until the finish, where he outsprinted the rest to win his first mountain stage.[3] In the other two stages in the Pyrenees, Anquetil was able to stay in the first group, lost little time on his competitors, and kept getting closer to Desmet, who was still leading the general classification.

The fifteenth stage was the first in the Alps. Bahamontes won this stage, and in the general classification jumped to second place, three seconds ahead of Anquetil. In the sixteenth stage, Fernando Manzaneque won, eight minutes ahead of Bahamontes and Anquetil who stayed together. Because Desmet was further behind, Bahamontes became the new leader of the race, with a margin of three seconds on Anquetil.

The race was decided in the seventeenth stage. The rules in 1963 did not allow cyclists to change bicycles, unless there was a mechanical problem. Anquetil's team director, Raphaël Géminiani, thought that Anquetil could use a different bicycle on the ascent of the Col de la Forclaz, so he advised Anquetil to fake a mechanical problem on the start of that climb; Géminiani cut through a gear cable, and claimed that it snapped.[11] Anquetil could thus use a light bicycle with lower gears, especially suited for a climb, which gave him an advantage on his competitors. Bahamontes reached the top of the Forclaz first, and only Anquetil had been able to follow him.[12] After the top, Anquetil got his regular bicycle back, and rode to the finish together with Bahamontes. Anquetil won the sprint, and the bonus time made him the new leader.[3][13] As expected, Anquetil won some more time in the time trial in stage 19, and became the winner of the 1963 Tour.

Classification leadership and minor prizes

The yellow jersey worn by Gilbert Desmet as leader of the general classification

There were several classifications in the 1963 Tour de France, two of them awarding jerseys to their leaders.[14] 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.[15]

Additionally, there was a points classification. In the points classification, cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.[16]

There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorised 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-categorised climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, but was not identified with a jersey.[17]

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 led this classification wore yellow caps.[18] Carpano and the combined team IBAC-Molteni did not finish with three or more cyclists, so they were not included in the team classification.

In addition, there was a combativity award, in which a jury composed of journalists gave points after each stage to the cyclist they considered most combative. The split stages each had a combined winner.[19] At the conclusion of the Tour, Rik Van Looy won the overall super-combativity award, also decided by journalists.[5]

Classification leadership by stage[20][21]
Stage Winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification[a] Team classification Combativity award
1 Eddy Pauwels Eddy Pauwels Eddy Pauwels no award G.B.C.–Libertas Federico Bahamontes
2a Rik Van Looy Rik Van Looy Pelforth–Sauvage–Lejeune Rik Van Looy
2b Pelforth–Sauvage–Lejeune
3 Seamus Elliott Seamus Elliott Henry Anglade
4 Frans Melckenbeeck Roland Lacombe
5 Antonio Bailetti Antonio Bailetti
6a Roger de Breuker Raymond Poulidor
6b Jacques Anquetil Gilbert Desmet Saint-Raphaël–Gitane–R. Geminiani
7 Jan Janssen Rik Van Looy
8 Rik Van Looy Willy Bocklant
9 Pino Cerami André Darrigade
10 Jacques Anquetil Federico Bahamontes Federico Bahamontes
11 Guy Ignolin Guy Ignolin
12 André Darrigade Claude Mattio
13 Rik Van Looy Rik Van Looy
14 Guy Ignolin Henry Anglade
15 Federico Bahamontes Federico Bahamontes
16 Fernando Manzaneque Federico Bahamontes Fernando Manzaneque
17 Jacques Anquetil Jacques Anquetil Federico Bahamontes
18 Frans Brands Frans Brands
19 Jacques Anquetil Ferdinand Bracke
20 Roger de Breuker Joseph Groussard
21 Rik Van Looy François Mahé
Final Jacques Anquetil Rik Van Looy Federico Bahamontes Saint-Raphaël–Gitane–R. Geminiani Rik Van Looy

Final standings

General classification

Final general classification (1–10)[22]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Jacques Anquetil (FRA) Saint-Raphaël–Gitane–R. Geminiani 113h 30' 05"
2  Federico Bahamontes (ESP) Margnat–Paloma–Dunlop + 3' 35"
3  José Pérez Francés (ESP) Ferrys + 10' 14"
4  Jean-Claude Lebaube (FRA) Saint-Raphaël–Gitane–R. Geminiani + 11' 55"
5  Armand Desmet (BEL) Flandria–Faema + 15' 00"
6  Angelino Soler (ESP) Flandria–Faema + 15' 04"
7  Renzo Fontona (ITA) IBACMolteni + 15' 27"
8  Raymond Poulidor (FRA) Mercier–BP–Hutchinson + 16' 46"
9  Hans Junkermann (FRG) Wiel's–Groene Leeuw + 18' 53"
10  Rik Van Looy (BEL) G.B.C.–Libertas + 19' 24"

Team classification

Final team classification[24]
Rank Team Time
1 Saint-Raphaël–Gitane–R. Geminiani 340h 35' 25"
2 Pelforth–Sauvage–Lejeune + 36' 49"
3 Flandria–Faema + 43' 13"
4 Wiel's–Groene Leeuw + 59' 03"
4 Ferrys + 59' 03"
6 Margnat–Paloma–Dunlop + 1h 04' 21"
7 Mercier–BP–Hutchinson + 1h 24' 34"
8 Peugeot–BP–Englebert + 1h 42' 13"
9 Kas–Kaskol + 1h 56' 08"
10 G.B.C.–Libertas + 2h 05' 26"
11 Solo–Terrot + 4h 18' 36"


Anquetil, who had been criticized that he just a time trial specialist, showed that he was also capable of mountain stages, and everybody agreed that Anquetil was the best cyclist overall.[13] Anquetil was the first cyclist to win a fourth Tour de France. In the next year, he set the record sharper by winning his fifth Tour. The French public had expected much from Raymond Poulidor, but Poulidor only made the eighth place. Normally, Poulidor was more popular than Anquetil even when Anquetil won, but this time Poulidor received "contemptuous whistles" at the finish in the Parc des Princes,[3] while Anquetil received a standing ovation.[4]

After Anquetil and Géminiani had shown that the rule that bicycle changes were not allowed was easily circumvented by faking a mechanical problem, this rule was removed for the next year.[4]


  1. ^ No jersey was awarded to the leader of the mountains classification until a white jersey with red polka dots was introduced in 1975.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "50ème Tour de France 1963" [50th Tour de France 1963]. Mémoire du cyclisme (in French). Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1963 – The starters". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f McGann & McGann 2006, pp. 260–267.
  4. ^ a b c Boyce, Barry (2004). "Anquetil's 4th victory makes TdF history". CyclingRevealed.
  5. ^ a b c Augendre 2016, p. 54.
  6. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 178.
  7. ^ "Gouden Tour door vier landen" [Golden Tour through four countries]. de Volkskrant (in Dutch). 21 June 1963. p. 13 – via Delpher.
  8. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC top ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  9. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1963 – The stage winners". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  10. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 109.
  11. ^ "Grand Tour Doubles – Jacques Anquetil". Cycle Sport. IPC Media.
  12. ^ Crepel, Michel (3 November 2010). "Tour de France 1963: Jacques Anquetil au sommet de son art" (in French). Vélo 101.
  13. ^ a b Amaury Sport Organisation. "The Tour - Year 1963". Archived from the original on 17 July 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  14. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–455.
  15. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–453.
  16. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 453–454.
  17. ^ a b Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 454.
  18. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 455.
  19. ^ van den Akker 2018, pp. 211–216.
  20. ^ "Rik Van Looy: twintig ritten in de groene leiderstrui" [Rik Van Looy: twenty rides in the green leader's jersey]. Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 15 July 1963. p. 11. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019.
  21. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Informatie over de Tour de France van 1963" [Information about the Tour de France from 1963]. (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  22. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1963 – Stage 21 Troyes > Paris". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Final classifications". Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 15 July 1963. p. 12. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Clasificacions" [Classifications] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 15 July 1963. p. 8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2019.


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