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1975 Tour de France

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
Dates26 June – 20 July 1975
Stages22 + Prologue, including two split stages
Distance4,000 km (2,485 mi)
Winning time114h 35' 31"
Winner  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) (Peugeot–BP–Michelin)
  Second  Eddy Merckx (BEL) (Molteni–RYC)
  Third  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) (Gitane–Campagnolo)

Points  Rik Van Linden (BEL) (Bianchi–Campagnolo)
Mountains  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) (Gitane–Campagnolo)
Youth  Francesco Moser (ITA) (Filotex)
  Sprints  Marc Demeyer (BEL) (Carpenter–Confortluxe–Flandria)
  Combativity  Eddy Merckx (BEL) (Molteni–RYC)
  Team Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson
  Team points Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson
← 1974
1976 →

The 1975 Tour de France was the 62nd edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 26 June and 20 July, with 22 stages covering a distance of 4,000 km (2,485 mi). Eddy Merckx was attempting to win his sixth Tour de France, but became a victim of violence. Many French spectators were upset that a Belgian might beat the record of five wins set by France's Jacques Anquetil. During stage 14 a spectator leapt from the crowd and punched Merckx in the kidney. Frenchman Bernard Thévenet took over the lead. After Merckx subsequently fell and broke his cheekbone, he was unable to challenge Thévenet, who went on to win the Tour with Merckx second.

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.


There were 14 teams participating, with 10 cyclists each.[1][2]

The teams entering the race were:[1]

Pre-race favourites

Five-time winner of the general classification Eddy Merckx (pictured at the 1975 Amstel Gold Race)

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.[3] 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".[3]

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.[4]

Bernard Thévenet contracted shingles during the 1975 Vuelta a España, but recovered and won the Dauphiné Liberé.[5]

Route and stages

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,360 m (7,740 ft) at the summit of the Col d'Izoard mountain pass on stage 16.[9][10]

Stage characteristics and winners[11][6][12][13]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 26 June Charleroi (Belgium) 6 km (3.7 mi) Individual time trial  Francesco Moser (ITA)
1a 27 June Charleroi (Belgium) to Molenbeek (Belgium) 94 km (58 mi) Plain stage  Cees Priem (NED)
1b Molenbeek (Belgium) to Roubaix 109 km (68 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Linden (BEL)
2 28 June Roubaix to Amiens 121 km (75 mi) Plain stage  Ronald de Witte (BEL)
3 29 June Amiens to Versailles 170 km (110 mi) Plain stage  Karel Rottiers (BEL)
4 30 June Versailles to Le Mans 223 km (139 mi) Plain stage  Jacques Esclassan (FRA)
5 1 July Sablé-sur-Sarthe to Merlin-Plage 222 km (138 mi) Plain stage  Theo Smit (NED)
6 2 July Merlin-Plage 16 km (9.9 mi) Individual time trial  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
7 3 July Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie to Angoulême 236 km (147 mi) Plain stage  Francesco Moser (ITA)
8 4 July Angoulême to Bordeaux 134 km (83 mi) Plain stage  Barry Hoban (GBR)
9a 5 July Langon to Fleurance 131 km (81 mi) Plain stage  Theo Smit (NED)
9b Fleurance to Auch 37 km (23 mi) Individual time trial  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
6 July Auch Rest day
10 7 July Auch to Pau 206 km (128 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Felice Gimondi (ITA)
11 8 July Pau to Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d'Adet 160 km (99 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
12 9 July Tarbes to Albi 242 km (150 mi) Plain stage  Gerrie Knetemann (NED)
13 10 July Albi to Super-Lioran 260 km (160 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Michel Pollentier (BEL)
14 11 July Aurillac to Puy de Dôme 174 km (108 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
12 July Nice Rest day
15 13 July Nice to Pra-Loup 217 km (135 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Bernard Thévenet (FRA)
16 14 July Barcelonnette to Serre Chevalier 107 km (66 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Bernard Thévenet (FRA)
17 15 July Valloire to Morzine Avoriaz 225 km (140 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Vicente López Carril (ESP)
18 16 July Morzine to Châtel 40 km (25 mi) Individual time trial  Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
19 17 July Thonon-les-Bains to Chalon-sur-Saône 229 km (142 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Rik Van Linden (BEL)
20 18 July Pouilly-en-Auxois to Melun 256 km (159 mi) Plain stage  Giacinto Santambrogio (ITA)
21 19 July Melun to Senlis 220 km (140 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Linden (BEL)
22 20 July Paris to Paris (Champs-Élysées) 164 km (102 mi) Plain stage  Walter Godefroot (BEL)
Total 4,000 km (2,485 mi)[14]

Race overview

Bernard Thévenet (pictured in 1978), winner of the general classification

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. Eddy 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.[3]

The first climbing was done in the tenth stage, but the favourites stayed together, and the general classification was not changed.[5] The major Pyrenéan mountains were scheduled in stage eleven. In that stage, Bernard Thévenet and Joop Zoetemelk escaped together, while Merckx could not follow them. Zoetemelk won, with Merckx almost one minute behind.[8] From this point on only Thevenet, Lucien Van Impe, Zoetemelk and Merckx had a realistic chance of winning the maillot jaune as the other favourites finished much later, and lost their hopes of winning the Tour.[5] 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.[3] Zoetemelk did not capitalize and gain time on Merckx because of this as they crossed the finish line with the same time 0:49 behind stage winner Van Impe, who did win some time over the rest of the field together with Thevenet who came in a few seconds behind Van Impe.

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 Thévenet was able to reach Merckx two kilometres from the finish, leave Merckx behind, and win with a margin of two minutes.[3] Trying to follow Gimondi on a downhill, the team car of Bianchi went off the road, falling 150 meters down a cliff. The mechanic separated from the car, landed in a tree and survived.[5] Thévenet 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.[3] 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 teammates that his second place in the general classification and other classifications would earn them.[3]


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.[15] In total, 110 tests were done, of which three returned positive,[16] Régis Delépine (after stage 5), Felice Gimondi and José-Luis Viejo (both after stage 15).[17][18][19] 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.

Classification leadership and minor prizes

There were several classifications in the 1975 Tour de France, four of them awarding jerseys to their leaders.[20] 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.[21] Time bonuses for stage winners were removed for the 1975 Tour.[22]

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.[23]

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. 1975 was the first year that the leader of the classification wore a white jersey with red polka dots.[24]

The combination classification was removed, and the young rider classification was added.[8][25][11] This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only neo-professionals were eligible, and the leader wore a white jersey.[25]

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.[26]

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 were identified by yellow caps.[26] There was also a team points classification. Cyclists received points according to their finishing position on each stage, with the first rider receiving one point. The first three finishers of each team had their points combined, and the team with the fewest points led the classification. The riders of the team leading this classification wore green caps.[26]

In addition, there was a combativity award, in which a jury composed of journalists gave points after certain stages to the cyclist they considered most combative. The split stages each had a combined winner.[27] At the conclusion of the Tour, Eddy Merckx won the overall super-combativity award, also decided by journalists.[6] The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given in honour of Tour founder Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col du Télégraphe on stage 17. This prize was won by Luis Balagué.[28]

Classification leadership by stage[29][30]
Stage Stage winner General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification
Young rider classification
Intermediate sprints classification Team classifications Combativity award
By time By points
P Francesco Moser Francesco Moser Francesco Moser no award Francesco Moser no award Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson no award
1a Cees Priem Eddy Merckx Joop Zoetemelk Marc Demeyer Carpenter–Confortluxe–Flandria Eddy Merckx
1b Rik Van Linden Francesco Moser Carpenter–Confortluxe–Flandria
2 Ronald De Witte Rik Van Linden Lucien Van Impe Jean-Claude Misac
3 Karel Rottiers Jean-Claude Misac
4 Jacques Esclassan Martín Emilio Rodríguez
5 Theo Smit Michel Laurent
6 Eddy Merckx Eddy Merckx Yves Hézard
7 Francesco Moser Luis Ocaña
8 Barry Hoban Fedor den Hertog
9a Theo Smit Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson Guy Sibille
9b Eddy Merckx Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson
10 Felice Gimondi Lucien Van Impe
11 Joop Zoetemelk Giovanni Battaglin Joop Zoetemelk
12 Gerrie Knetemann Gerrie Knetemann
13 Michel Pollentier Francesco Moser Hennie Kuiper
14 Lucien Van Impe Eddy Merckx
15 Bernard Thévenet Bernard Thévenet Eddy Merckx
16 Bernard Thévenet Joop Zoetemelk
17 Vicente López Carril Vicente López Carril
18 Lucien Van Impe Ole Ritter
19 Rik Van Linden Jean-Claude Misac
20 Giacinto Santambrogio Roger Legeay
21 Rik Van Linden Herman Van Springel
22 Walter Godefroot Fedor den Hertog
Final Bernard Thévenet Rik Van Linden Lucien Van Impe Francesco Moser Marc Demeyer Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson Eddy Merckx

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 with red polka dots. Denotes the winner of the mountains classification A white jersey. Denotes the winner of the young rider classification

General classification

Final general classification (1–10)[31]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) A yellow jersey. Peugeot–BP–Michelin 114h 35' 31"
2  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni–RYC + 2' 47"
3  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) A white jersey with red polka dots. Gitane–Campagnolo + 5' 01"
4  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson + 6' 42"
5  Vicente López Carril (ESP) Kas–Kaskol + 19' 29"
6  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Bianchi–Campagnolo + 23' 05"
7  Francesco Moser (ITA) A white jersey. Filotex + 24' 13"
8  Josef Fuchs (SUI) Filotex + 25' 51"
9  Edouard Janssens (BEL) Molteni–RYC + 32' 01"
10  Pedro Torres (ESP) Super Ser + 35' 36"

Points classification[edit]

Final points classification (1–10)[11][32]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Rik Van Linden (BEL) A green jersey. Bianchi–Campagnolo 342
2  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni–RYC 240
3  Francesco Moser (ITA) A white jersey. Filotex 199
4  Walter Godefroot (BEL) Carpenter–Confortluxe–Flandria 190
5  Barry Hoban (GBR) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 183
6  Gerben Karstens (NED) Gitane–Campagnolo 182
7  Robert Mintkiewicz (FRA) Gitane–Campagnolo 155
8  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 109
9  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) A yellow jersey. Peugeot–BP–Michelin 108
10  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) A white jersey with red polka dots. Gitane–Campagnolo 107

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–10)[33]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) A white jersey with red polka dots. Gitane–Campagnolo 285
2  Eddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni–RYC 206
3  Bernard Thévenet (FRA) A yellow jersey. Peugeot–BP–Michelin 166
4  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 161
5  Felice Gimondi (ITA) Bianchi–Campagnolo 78
6  Pedro Torres (ESP) Super Ser 63
7  Vicente López Carril (ESP) Kas–Kaskol 58
8  Luis Balagué (ESP) Super Ser 57
9  Jos Deschoenmaecker (BEL) Molteni–RYC 56
10  Mariano Martínez (FRA) Gitane–Campagnolo 48

Young rider classification[edit]

Final young rider classification (1–10)[32][34]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Francesco Moser (ITA) A white jersey. Filotex 114h 59' 44"
2  Hennie Kuiper (NED) Frisol–G.B.C. + 16' 32"
3  André Romero (FRA) Jobo–Wolber–Sablière + 20' 11"
4  Georges Talbourdet (FRA) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson + 20' 36"
5  Fedor den Hertog (NED) Frisol–G.B.C. + 32' 32"
6  Ferdinand Julien (FRA) Sporting–Sottomayor + 41' 24"
7  Michel Pollentier (BEL) Carpenter–Confortluxe–Flandria + 51' 10"
8  José Viejo (ESP) Super Ser + 57' 41"
9  Martín Emilio Rodríguez (COL) Bianchi–Campagnolo + 59' 43"
10  Régis Ovion (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin + 1h 05' 10"

Intermediate sprints classification[edit]

Final intermediate sprints classification (1–10)[32][35]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Marc Demeyer (BEL) Carpenter–Confortluxe–Flandria 77
2  Barry Hoban (GBR) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 47
3  Robert Mintkiewicz (FRA) Gitane–Campagnolo 35
4  Guy Sibille (FRA) Peugeot–BP–Michelin 16
5  Claude Magni (FRA) Jobo–Wolber–Sablière 12
6  Francis Campaner (FRA) Sporting–Sottomayor 10
7  Mariano Martínez (FRA) Gitane–Campagnolo 9
8  Jean-Claude Misac (FRA) Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 9
9  Guy Leleu (FRA) Gitane–Campagnolo 8
10  Willy Teirlinck (BEL) Gitane–Campagnolo 8

Team classification[edit]

Final team classification (1–10)[32]
Rank Team Time
1 Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 345h 03' 49"
2 Molteni–RYC + 8' 28"
3 Filotex + 11' 17"
4 Gitane–Campagnolo + 20' 08"
5 Peugeot–BP–Michelin + 28' 47"
6 Bianchi–Campagnolo + 41' 13"
7 Kas–Kaskol + 1h 04' 48"
8 Super Ser + 1h 05' 22"
9 Sporting–Sottomayor + 2h 34' 45"
10 Frisol–G.B.C. + 2h 37' 19"

Team points classification[edit]

Final team points classification (1–10)[32][36]
Rank Team Points
1 Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson 950
2 Gitane–Campagnolo 1072
3 Molteni–RYC 1425
4 Bianchi–Campagnolo 1538
5 Peugeot–BP–Michelin 1553
6 Filotex 1560
7 Carpenter–Confortluxe–Flandria 1605
8 Frisol–G.B.C. 2269
9 Super Ser 2319
10 Miko–de Gribaldy 2565


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. He said that, instead of worrying about sharing his prize money with his teammates, he should have just paid them out of his own pockets.[3]

Thevenet later confessed that he had used cortisones in 1975.[37]


  1. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1975 – The starters". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 28 August 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Lista de Inscritos" (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 26 June 1975. p. 19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 October 2019.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Deelname Merckx aan Tour de France is onzeker". De Krant van Toen (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 22 April 1975. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d McGann & McGann 2008, pp. 98–104.
  6. ^ a b c Augendre 2016, p. 66.
  7. ^ McGann & McGann 2008, pp. 88–93.
  8. ^ a b c Boyce, Barry (March 2006). "1975: Thevenet Exploits a Vulnerable Merckx". Cycling Revealed. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  9. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 178.
  10. ^ "De bergen in de Ronde van Frankrijk" [The mountains in the Tour de France]. Limburgs Dagblad (in Dutch). 26 June 1975. p. 21 – via Delpher.
  11. ^ a b c "62ème Tour de France 1975" [62nd Tour de France 1975]. Mémoire du cyclisme (in French). Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  12. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC top ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  13. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1975 – The stage winners". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  14. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 109.
  15. ^ "Ondanks zaak-Delepine neemt dopinggebruik af in de Tour-karavaan". Leidse Courant (in Dutch). 7 July 1975. p. 9.
  16. ^ "Tombés au champs d'honneur". (in French). Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Delepine betrapt op doping". Nieuwe Leidsche Courant (in Dutch). 7 July 1975. p. 9.
  18. ^ "Felice Gimondi weer positief". Leidse Courant (in Dutch). 28 July 1975. p. 14.
  19. ^ "Dopingrel". Leidse Courant (in Dutch). 21 July 1975. p. 10.
  20. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–455.
  21. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–453.
  22. ^ "Geen bonificaties in Tour de France". Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (in Dutch). De Krant van Toen. 18 December 1974. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  23. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 453–454.
  24. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 454.
  25. ^ a b Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 454–455.
  26. ^ a b c Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 455.
  27. ^ van den Akker 2018, pp. 211–216.
  28. ^ "Van kilometer tot kilometer" [From kilometer to kilometer]. De Vrije Zeeuw (in Dutch). 16 July 1975. p. 11 – via Krantenbank Zeeland.
  29. ^ "Tour panorama". Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 22 July 1975. p. 19. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019.
  30. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Informatie over de Tour de France van 1975" [Information about the Tour de France from 1975]. (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  31. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1975 – Stage 22 Paris > Paris". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 28 August 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Clasificaciones oficiales" (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 21 July 1975. p. 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Bergprijs" [Mountain prize]. Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 22 July 1975. p. 19. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019.
  34. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Stand in het jongerenklassement – Etappe 22" [Standings in the youth classification – Stage 22]. (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  35. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Sprintdoorkomsten in de Tour de France 1975" [Sprint results in the Tour de France 1975]. (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 25 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  36. ^ Saunders 1975, "Final team points classification".
  37. ^ Thompson 2008, p. 242.


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