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Bernard Thévenet Photo Gallery

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Major victories | Professional teams | Photo gallery

Tour de France: the Inside Story

Bernard Thévenet (born January 10, 1948) doesn't have a huge list of race victories, but the races he won were among the sport's most important, notably the 1975 and 1977 Tours de France.

His career is not without controversy. Though he denied using drugs during his racing career, after retiring he admitted taking cortisone, saying it ruined his health.

As a boy he raced in secret because his farming parents needed him to stay home to work. His extraordinary talent won out and he was Junior Champion of France in 1968.

Thévenet turned pro for Peugeot in 1970 and after two riders scheduled to ride the Tour de France became sick, neo-pro Thévenet was put on Peugeot's Tour squad, one of the Tours' most important teams.

Extraordinarily, young Thévenet won the 18th stage with its hilltop finish at La Mongie, about a minute ahead of his nearest chasers, cycling gods Martin Van den Bossche, Lucien van Impe and Eddy Merckx.

In 1972 he crashed badly on a Tour descent and had temporary amnesia. Still, he got on his bike and finished the stage. Despite the accident, a few days later he won the Mont Ventoux stage.

He kept getting better. In 1973 he was second in Tour, beaten only by a then-unstoppable Luis Ocaña. It was 1975 that he finally won the Tour.

But to win, he needed the then nearly unbeatable Eddy Merckx to suffer the misfortune of being punched by a spectator while Merckx was climbing Puy de Dôme. Merckx was unable to recover from the attack during the Tour. He says the painkillers and blood thinners he had to take caused his crisis in the Pra-Loup stage where Bernard Thévenet took the lead and then held it to the end.

Thevenet again won the Tour in 1977 after fighting a ferocious battle with Hennie Kuiper.

From there, Thévenet suffered recurring health problems as he tried to regain his old form. Though he won a few more races, the magic was gone. He retired in 1981.

Major victories and placings:










Professional Teams:

Nickname: Nanard


Bernard Thgevenet

Thévenet racing in the 1971 Tour de France, where he came in fourth. Note the classic, stock Peugeot PX-10 he's riding.

Bernard Thevenet

The 1972 Tour, stage 4. Thévenet is riding next to a yellow jersey-clad Eddy Merckx.

Bernard Thevenet

Thévenet in a state on amnesia, just after crashing in the 1972 Tour de France.

Bernard Thevenet

Thévenet racing to the top of Puy de Dôme in the 1973 Tour de France. He is wearing the jersey of the French road champion.

Bernard Thevenet

Thévenet and Merckx on the Pra-Loup ascent. Merckx is in distress as Thévenet is about to pass him.

Bernard Thevenet

The pair on the Pra-Loup road. Thévenet is making his move.

Bernard Thevenet

The result. I also had this poster in my bike shop. The great cycle-race photographer John Pierce was kind enough to let me know this picture is from stage 16, a 107 km stage with the Vars and Izoard ascents. Thévenet won the stage with Eddy Merckx leading in the first chasers @ 2min 22sec.

Bernard Thevenet

Time-trialing in the 1976 Tour de France. Photo Renato Milanese

Bernard Thevenet

Thévenet time-trialing in yellow in the 1977 Tour.

Peugeot Team

Peugeot nailed the 1977 Tour, taking individual GC, individual points (Jacques Esclassan, in green) and team points (hence the green caps).

Bernard Thevenet

Another poster that was in my shop.

Bernard Thevenet

Thévenet time-trialing in the 1979 Giro d'Italia.

Bernard Thevenet

At the 2011 Tour de France, stage 18. Thévenet, Benard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Tour boss Christian Prudhomme stand in front of the Coppi-Bobet monument.

Bernard Thevenet

At the 13th stage of the 2013 Tour de France.

Bernard Thevenet

At the prologue of the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné with Alberto Contador

Bernard Thevenet

After stage four of the 2018 Dauphiné with Julian Alaphilippe

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