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1974 Tour de France

61st edition: June 27 - July 21, 1974

Results, stages with running GC, map, photos, video and history

1973 Tour | 1975 Tour | Tour de France database | Quick Facts | Final GC | Stage results with running GC | The Story of the 1974 Tour De France | Video

Map of the 1974 Tour de France

Map of the 1974 Tour de France

TDF volume 1

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1: 1903 - 1975 is available as an audiobook here.

1974 Tour Quick Facts:

4,098 km raced at an average speed of 35.241 km/hr

130 starters and 105 classified finishers.

This was Eddy Merckx's fifth and final Tour win and part of one of the most extraordinary seasons for any athlete in any sport.

In 1974 Merckx won The Giro, the Tour of Switzerland, the Tour de France and the World Championship.

In the 1974 Tour Merckx was fortunate as well in that Luis Ocaña and Joop Zoetmelk were absent.

A tiring Vicente López-Carril was headed for second place but Raymond Poulidor nicked him in the final time trial.

This was the final Tour de France to end at the "La Cipale" Velodrome. Tours since then have finished on the Champs Elysées.

Complete Final 1974 Tour de France General Classification:

  1. Eddy Merckx (Molteni) 116hr 16min 58sec
  2. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier) @ 8min 4sec
  3. Vicente López-Carril (KAS) @ 8min 9sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza (Brooklyn) @ 10min 59sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja (KAS) @ 11min 24sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho (Bic) @ 14min 24sec
  7. Michel Pollentier (Carpenter-Confortluxe) @ 16min 34sec
  8. Mariano Martinez (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 18min 33sec
  9. Alain Santy (Gan-Mercier) @ 19min 55sec
  10. Herman Van Springel (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 24min 11sec
  11. Roger Pingeon (Jobo-Lejeune) @ 27min 7sec
  12. Raymond Delisle (Peugeot-BP) @ 28min 59sec
  13. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Peugeot-BP) @ 29min 43sec
  14. Juan Zurano (La Casera-Bahamontes) @ 30min 20sec
  15. André Romero (Jobo-Lejeune) @ 31min 35sec
  16. Michel Périn (Gan-Mercier) @ 31min 57sec
  17. Miguel-Maria Lasa (KAS) @ 32min 55sec
  18. Lucien van Impe (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 37min 35sec
  19. Andrés Oliva (La Casera-Bahamontes) @ 37min 48sec
  20. Bernard Labourdette (Bic) @ 38min 2sec
  21. Joseph Bruyère (Molteni) @ 41min 31sec
  22. Edouard Janssens (Molteni) @ 44min 30sec
  23. Fausto Bertoglio (Brooklyn) @ 45min 30sec
  24. Willy Van Neste (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 46min 50sec
  25. Ronald De Witte (Carpenter Confortluxe) @ 47min 10sec
  26. Giancarlo Bellini (Brooklyn) @ 47min 46sec
  27. Fedor den Hertog (Frisol) @ 50min 28sec
  28. José Catieau (Bic) @ 51min 11sec
  29. José Pesarrodona (KAS) @ 53min 44sec
  30. Georges Pintens (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 56min 43sec
  31. Joël Millard (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 57min 8sec
  32. Ferdinand Julien (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 1hr 0min 6sec
  33. Roland Berland (Bic) @ 1hr 1min 13sec
  34. Régis Ovion (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 5min 22sec
  35. Marc Lievens (Molteni) @ 1hr 9min 16sec
  36. Victor Van Schil (Molteni) @ 1hr 12min 37sec
  37. Barry Hoban (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 13min 11sec
  38. Gerrie Knetemann (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 14min 15sec
  39. Francis Campaner (Lejeune-Jobo) @ 1hr 16min 19sec
  40. Antonio Martos (KAS) @ 1hr 18min 2sec
  41. Marc Demeyer (Carpenter-Confortluxe) @ 1hr 18min 28sec
  42. Luis Zubero (KAS) @ 1hr 19min 12sec
  43. Arturo Pecchielan (Brooklyn) @ 1hr 19min 15sec
  44. Domingo Perurena (KAS) @ 1hr 19min 18sec
  45. Jos Deschoenmaecker (Molteni) @ 1hr 19min 36sec
  46. Jesus Manzaneque (La Casera-Bahamontes) @ 1hr 19min 54sec
  47. Jean-Claude Misac (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 1hr 23min 26sec
  48. Christian Blain (Lejeune-Jobo) @ 1hr 23min 52sec
  49. Carlos Melero (KAS) @ 1hr 25min 17sec
  50. Joseph Spruyt (Molteni) @ 1hr 25min 41sec
  51. Sylvain Vasseur (Bic) @ 1hr 26min 37sec
  52. Bernard Bourreau (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 27min 7sec
  53. Jan Van De Wiele (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 1hr 28min 25sec
  54. Antonio Menendez (KAS) @ 1hr 30min 43sec
  55. André Dierickx (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 1hr 32min 18sec
  56. Gerard Vianen (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 36min 27sec
  57. Michael Wright (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 1hr 38min 11sec
  58. Ludo Delcroix (Molteni) @ 1hr 38min 13sec
  59. André Mollet (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 38min 40sec
  60. José Luis Abilleira (La Casera-Bahamontes) @ 1hr 39min 12sec
  61. Gerben Karstens (Bic) @ 1hr 39min 19sec
  62. Damaso Torres (La Casera-Bahamontes) @ 1hr 40min 11sec
  63. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 1hr 41min 11sec
  64. Alain Nogues (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 1hr 42min 17sec
  65. Willy Teirlinck (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 1hr 47min 11sec
  66. Jos Huysmans (Molteni) @ 1hr 49min 0sec
  67. Jean-Pierre Genet (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 49min 2sec
  68. Jean-Jacques Sanquer (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 1hr 50min 29sec
  69. Valerio Lualdi (Brooklyn) @ 1hr 51min 22sec
  70. Noël Vanclooster (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 1hr 51min 24sec
  71. Guy Sibille (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 52min 44sec
  72. Gerard Moneyron (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 1hr 53min 52sec
  73. Wilfried Wesemael (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 1hr 54min 9sec
  74. Charles Rouxel (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 54min 22sec
  75. Jacques Esclassan (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 56min 47sec
  76. Christian Raymond (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 57min 36sec
  77. Daniel Rebillard (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 1hr 58min 3sec
  78. Wim Prinsen (Frisol) @ 1hr 58min 50sec
  79. Raymond Riotte (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 59min 51sec
  80. Jacky Mourioux (Gan-Mercier) @ 2hr 0min 6sec
  81. Alain Vasseur (Bic) @ 2hr 1min 28sec
  82. Claude Magni (Lejeune-Jobo) @ 2hr 6min 3sec
  83. Frans Mintjens (Molteni) @ 2hr 6min 43sec
  84. Henk Prinsen (Frisol) @ 2hr 10min 9sec
  85. Jean-Pierre Guillemot (Lejeune-Jobo) @ 2hr 12min 12sec
  86. Jacques Botherel (Sonolor Gitane) @ 2hr 12min 37sec
  87. Robert Mintkiewicz (Sonolor-Gitane) @ 2hr 16min 5sec
  88. Ronny Vanmarcke (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 2hr 17min 34sec
  89. Patrick Sercu (Brooklyn) @ 2hr 18min 58sec
  90. Daniel Ducreux (Lejeune-Jobo) @ 2hr 19min 20sec
  91. Gianni De Lorenzo (Brooklyn) @ 2hr 20min 52sec
  92. Bernard Croyet (Bic) @ 2hr 23min 57sec
  93. Dirk Baert (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy) @ 2hr 24min 45sec
  94. Fernando Plaza (La Casera-Bahamontes) @ 2hr 28min 19sec
  95. Michel Coroller (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 2hr 36min 59sec
  96. Arthur Van De Vyver (Carpenter-Confortluxe) @ 2hr 38min 42sec
  97. Aldo Parecchini (Brooklyn) @ 2hr 41min 11sec
  98. Alain Cigana (Lejeune-Jobo) @ 2hr 42min 24sec
  99. Frans Van Looy (Carpenter-Confortluxe) @ 2hr 46min 3sec
  100. Daniel Verplancke (Carpenter-Confortluxe) @ 2hr 46min 38sec
  101. Regis Delepine (Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage) @ 2hr 55min 42sec
  102. Piet Van Katwijk (Frisol) @ 2hr 58min 39sec
  103. Donald John Allan (Frisol) @ 3hr 6min 53sec
  104. Bernard Masson (Leujeune-jobo) @ 3hr 16min 56sec
  105. Lorenzo Alaimo (Frisol) @ 3hr 55min 46sec

Climbers' Competition:

  1. Domingo Perurena (KAS): 161 points
  2. Eddy Merckx (Molteni): 118
  3. José-Luis Abilleira (La Casera-Bahamontes): 109
  4. Gonzalo Aja (KAS): 90
  5. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier): 80
  6. Vicente Lopez-Carril (KAS): 74
  7. Andres Oliva (La Casera-Bahamontes): 65
  8. Wladimiro Panizza (Brooklyn): 52
  9. Antonio Menendez (KAS): 35
  10. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Peugeot-BP), Joaquim Agostinho (Bic): 33

Points Competition:

  1. Patrick Sercu (Brooklyn): 283 points
  2. Eddy Merckx (Molteni): 270
  3. Barry Hoban (Gan-Mercier): 170
  4. Gerben Karstens (Bic): 149
  5. Jacques Escalssan (Peugeot-BP): 143
  6. Herman Van Springel (MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy): 113
  7. Michel Pollentier (Carpenter-Confortluxe): 107
  8. Piet Van Katwijk (Frisol): 97
  9. Gerard Vianen (Gan-Mercier): 94
  10. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier): 94

Team Classification:

  1. KAS: 350hr 24min 27sec
  2. Gan-Mercier @ 15min 26sec
  3. Molteni @ 32min 23sec
  4. Sonolor-Gitane @ 49min 2sec
  5. Bic @ 49min 50sec
  6. Brooklyn @ 53min 4sec
  7. Lejeune-Jobo @ 1hr 1min 9sec
  8. Peugeot-BP @ 1hr 15min 24sec
  9. La Casera-Bahamontes @ 1hr 34min 47sec
  10. MIC-Ludo-De Gribaldy @ 1hr 36min 35sec
  11. Carpenter-Confortluxe @ 1hr 53min 40sec
  12. Flandria-Shimano-Merlin Plage @ 2hr 13min 48sec
  13. Frisol @ 3hr 44min 53sec

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Stage results with running GC:

Prologue: Thursday, June 27, Brest 7.1 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Eddy Merckx: 8min 54sec
  2. Jesus Manzaneque @ 6sec
  3. Joseph Bruyère @ 8sec
  4. Joaquim Agostinho @ 13sec
  5. Dirk Baert @ 17sec
  6. Gerben Karstens @ 20sec
  7. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume s.t.
  8. Bernard Thévenet @ 23sec
  9. Michel Pollentier s.t.
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 24sec

GC after prologue: same as stage times and places

Stage 1: Friday, June 28, Brest - St. Pol de Leon, 144 km.

  1. Ercole Gualazzini: 3hr 25min 30sec
  2. Joseph Bruyère @ 1sec
  3. Herman Van Springel @ 4sec
  4. Gerben Karstens @ 25sec
  5. Frans Van Looy s.t.
  6. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  7. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  8. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  9. Barry Hoban s.t.
  10. Cees Priem s.t.

GC after Stage 1:

  1. Joseph Bruyère: 3hr 34min 18sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 16sec
  3. Herman Van Springel @ 26sec
  4. Jesus Manzaneque @ 34sec
  5. Gerben Karstens @ 37sec
  6. Ercole Gualazzini @ 39sec
  7. Joaquim Agostino @ 41sec
  8. Dirk Baert @ 45sec
  9. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 48sec
  10. Bernard Thévenet @ 51sec

Stage 2: Saturday, June 29, Plymouth U.K. Circuit, 163.7 km

  1. Henk Poppe: 3hr 53min 44sec
  2. Jacques Escalssan s.t.
  3. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  4. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  5. Herman Van Springel s.t.
  6. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  7. Cees Priem s.t.
  8. Miguel-Maria Lasa s.t.
  9. Barry Hoban s.t.
  10. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck s.t.

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Joseph Bruyère: 7hr 28min 2sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 10sec
  3. Gerben Karstens @ 22sec
  4. Herman Van Springel @ 24sec
  5. Jesus Manzaneque @ 34sec
  6. Ercole Gualazzini @ 39sec
  7. Joaquim Agostinho @ 41sec
  8. Dirk Baert @ 45sec
  9. Barry Hoban @ 47sec
  10. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 48sec

Stage 3: Sunday, June 30, Morlaix - St. Malo, 190 km

  1. Patrick Sercu: 4hr 45min 57sec
  2. Régis Delépine s.t.
  3. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  4. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  5. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck s.t.
  6. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  7. Jacky Mourioux s.t.
  8. Barry Hoban s.t.
  9. Cees Priem s.t.
  10. Robert Mintkiewicz

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Joseph Bruyère: 12hr 13min 59sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 2sec
  3. Gerben Karstens @ 15sec
  4. Herman Van Springel @ 20sec
  5. Ercole Gualazzini @ 33sec
  6. Patrick Sercu @ 34sec
  7. Jesus Manzaneque s.t.
  8. Joaquim Agostinho @ 41sec
  9. Barry Hoban @ 43sec
  10. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 48sec

Stage 4: Monday, July 1, St. Malo - Caen, 184.5 km

  1. Patrick Sercu: 4hr 48min 54sec
  2. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  3. Ercole Gualazzini s.t.
  4. Cyrille Guimard s.t.
  5. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  6. Miguel Maria Lasa s.t.
  7. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck s.t.
  8. Jacky Mourioux s.t.
  9. Barry Hoban s.t.
  10. Régis Ovion s.t.

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 17hr 2min 49sec
  2. Joseph Bruyère @ 4sec
  3. Patrick Sercu @ 18sec
  4. Herman Van Springel @ 22sec
  5. Ercole Gualazzini @ 26sec
  6. Jesus Manzaneque @ 38sec
  7. Barry Hoban @ 43sec
  8. Joaquim Agostinho @ 45sec
  9. Jean-Pierre Danguillauime @ 52sec
  10. Bernard Thévenet @ 55sec

Stage 5: Tuesday, July 2, Caen - Dieppe, 165 km

  1. Ronny De Witte: 4hr 15min 34sec
  2. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  3. Cyrille Guimard s.t.
  4. Ercole Gualazzini s.t.
  5. Barry Hoban s.t.
  6. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  7. Miguel-Maria Lasa s.t.
  8. Marc De Meyer s.t.
  9. Michel Pollentier s.t.
  10. Wilfried Wesemael s.t.

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Gerben Karstens: 21hr 18min 26sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 2sec
  3. Patrick Sercu @ 9sec
  4. Ercole Gualazzini @ 10sec
  5. Joseph Bruyère s.t.
  6. Herman Van Springel @ 28sec
  7. Ronny De Witte @ 43sec
  8. Jesus Manzaneque @ 44sec
  9. Barry Hoban @ 49sec
  10. Joaquim Agostinho @ 51sec

Stage 6A: Wednesday, July 3, Dieppe - Harelbeke, 239 km

  1. Jean-Luc Molinéris: 6hr 18min 56sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 1sec
  3. Cees Bal @ 22sec
  4. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  5. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  6. Marc De Meyer s.t.
  7. Dirk Baert s.t.
  8. Wilfried Wesemael s.t.
  9. Barry Hoban s.t.
  10. Miguel-Maria Lasa s.t.

GC after Stage 6A:

  1. Patrick Sercu: 27hr 27min 38sec
  2. Gerben Karstens @ 2sec
  3. Eddy Merckx @ 8sec
  4. Ercole Gualzzini @ 16sec
  5. Joseph Bruyère @ 21sec
  6. Michel Pollentier @ 31sec
  7. Herman Van Springel @ 36sec
  8. Jean-Luc Molinéris @ 51sec
  9. Ronny De Witte @ 54sec
  10. Jesus Manzaneque @ 55sec

Stage 6B: Wednesday, July 3, Harelbek 9 km Team Time Trial

The times of the first five riders for each team were added up to give the team's time. The team's real time was added to each rider's GC time.

  1. Molteni: 54min 5sec
  2. KAS @ 1min 15sec
  3. BIC @ 1min 26sec
  4. NIC-De Gribaldy @ 1min 35sec
  5. Carpenter-Confortluxe @ 1min 57sec
  6. Gan-Mercier @ 2min 31sec
  7. Brooklyn @ 2min 56sec
  8. Frisol @ 3min 52sec
  9. Sonolor-Gitane @ 3min 59sec
  10. Peugeot-BP @ 4min 49sec

GC after Stage 6B:

  1. Gerben Karstens: 27hr 37min 36sec
  2. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  3. Patrick Sercu @ 2sec
  4. Joseph Bruyère @ 13sec
  5. Michel Pollentier @ 33sec
  6. Herman Van Springel @ 36sec
  7. Jean-Luc Molinéris @ 43sec
  8. Barry Hoban @ 47sec
  9. Ercole Gualzzini @ 48sec
  10. Ronny De Witte @ 56sec

Stage 7: Thursday, July 4, Mons - Chalons sur Marne, 221.5 km

  1. Eddy Merckx: 6hr 38min 37sec
  2. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  3. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  4. Cyrille Guimard s.t.
  5. Herman Van Springel s.t.
  6. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  7. Willy Tierlinck s.t.
  8. Jacky Mourioux s.t.
  9. Wilfried Wesemael s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 34hr 15min 49sec
  2. Patrick Sercu @ 5sec
  3. Gerben Karstens @ 18sec
  4. Joseph Bruyère @ 37sec
  5. Michel Pollentier @ 57sec
  6. Herman Van Springel @ 1min
  7. Barry Hoban @ 1min 5sec
  8. Jean-Luc Molinéris
  9. Ronny De Witte @ 1min 20sec

Stage 8A: Friday, July 5, Chalons sur Marne - Chaumont, 136 km

  1. Cyrille Guimard: 3hr 44min 8sec
  2. Ronny De Witte s.t.
  3. Andres Oliva s.t.
  4. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  5. Georges Pintens s.t.
  6. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  7. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  8. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  9. Bernard Thévenet s.t.
  10. Michel Pollentier s.t.

GC after Stage 8A:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 37hr 59min 57sec
  2. Gerben Karstens @ 14sec
  3. Joseph Bruyère @ 37sec
  4. Michel Pollentier @ 57sec
  5. Barry Hoban @ 1min 3sec
  6. Ronny De Witte @ 1min 5sec
  7. Jean-Luc Molinéris @ 1min 7sec
  8. Herman Van Springel @ 1min 17sec
  9. Jesus Manzaneque @ 1min 21sec
  10. Joaquim Agostinho @ 1min 24sec

Stage 8B: Friday, July 5, Chaumont - Besançon, 152 km

  1. Patrick Sercu: 4hr 25min 4sec
  2. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  3. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  4. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  5. Cyrille Guimard s.t.
  6. Dirk Baert s.t.
  7. Barry Hoban s.t.
  8. Charly Rouxel s.t.
  9. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  10. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.

GC after Stage 8B:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 42hr 24min 48sec
  2. Gerben Karstens @ 13sec
  3. Joseph Bruyère @ 50sec
  4. Barry Hoban @ 1min 4sec
  5. Michel Pollentier @ 1min 10sec
  6. Ronny De Witte @ 1min 18sec
  7. Jean-Luc Molinéris @ 1min 20sec
  8. Herman Van Springel @ 1min 30sec
  9. Patrick Sercu @ 1min 34sec
  10. Jesus Manzaneque s.t.

Stage 9: Saturday, July 6, Besançon - Aspro Gaillard, 241 km

Major ascents: Rousses, Selève

  1. Eddy Merckx: 7hr 9min 58sec
  2. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  3. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  4. Joaquim Agostinho s.t.
  5. Gonzalo Aja s.t.
  6. Vicente Lópes-Carril @ 18sec
  7. Herman Van Springel @ 2min 27sec
  8. Miguel-Maria Lasa s.t.
  9. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume s.t.
  10. Alain Santy s.t.

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 49hr 34min 46sec
  2. Joaquim Agostinho @ 1min 37sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 2min 1sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 2min 2sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 2min 12sec
  6. Vicente López-Carril @ 2min 18sec
  7. Herman Van Springel @ 3min 57sec
  8. Miguel-Maria Lasa @ 4min 10sec
  9. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 4min 15sec
  10. Joseph Bruyrère @ 4min 21sec

Stage 10: Sunday, July 7, Aspro Gaillard - Ais les Bains, 131.5 km

Major ascent: Mont du Chat

  1. Eddy Merckx: 3hr 46min 44sec
  2. Mariano Martinez s.t.
  3. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  4. Gonzalo Aja s.t.
  5. Fausto Bertoglio @ 1min 2sec
  6. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  7. Joaquim Agostinho @ 39sec
  8. Vicente López-Carril @ 1min 2sec
  9. Michel Pollentier s.t.
  10. Michel Périn @ 1min 57sec

GC after stage 10:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 53hr 21min 30sec
  2. Raymond Poulidor @ 2min 1sec
  3. Gonzalo Aja @ 2min 12sec
  4. Joaquim Agostinho @ 2min 16sec
  5. Wladimiro Panizza @ 3min 4sec
  6. Vicente López-Carril @ 3min 20sec
  7. Mariano Martinez @ 4min 38sec
  8. Michel Pollentier @ 5min 43sec
  9. Andres Oliva @ 6min 24sec
  10. Alain Santy @ 6min 27sec

Stage 11: Tuesday, July 9, Aix les Bains - Serre Chevalier, 199 km

Major ascents: Cochette, Grand Cucheron, Télégraphe, Galibier

  1. Vicente López-Carril: 6hr 55min 36sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 54sec
  3. Francisco Galdos s.t.
  4. Gonzalo Aja s.t.
  5. Roger Pingeon @ 2min 23sec
  6. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  7. Alain Santy s.t.
  8. Herman Van Springel @ 3min 46sec
  9. Joaquim Agostinho s.t.
  10. Raymond Poulidor @ 6min 17sec

GC after stage 11:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 60hr 17min 52sec
  2. Gonzalo Aja @ 2min 20sec
  3. Vicente López-Carril @ 2min 34sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 4min 41sec
  5. Joaquim Agostinho @ 5min 16sec
  6. Raymond Poulidor @ 7min 32sec
  7. Francisco Galdos @ 7min 37sec
  8. Alain Santy @ 8min 4sec
  9. Mariano Martinez @ 10min 50sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 11min 1sec

Stage 12: Wednesday, July 10, Savines le Lac - Orange, 231 km

Major ascent: Mont Ventoux

  1. Jozef Spruyt: 7hr 15min 12sec
  2. Fedor Den Hartog s.t.
  3. Edouard Janssens s.t.
  4. Raymond Riotte s.t.
  5. Francisco Galdos s.t.
  6. Jacques Esclassan @ 41sec
  7. Cyrille Guimard s.t.
  8. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck s.t.
  9. Barry Hoban s.t.
  10. Gerben Karstens s.t.

GC after stage 12:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 67hr 33min 4sec
  2. Gonzalo Aja @ 2min 1sec
  3. Vicente López-Carril @ 3min 13sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5min 20sec
  5. Joaquim Agostinho @ 5min 55sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 6min 57sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 7min 30sec
  8. Alain Santy @ 8min 45sec
  9. Mariano Martinez @ 11min 29sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 11min 42sec

Stage 13: Thursday, July 11, Avignon - Montpellier, 126 km

  1. Barry Hoban: 3hr 15min 42sec
  2. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  3. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  4. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck s.t.
  5. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  6. Domingo Perurena s.t.
  7. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  8. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.
  9. Marc De Meyer s.t.
  10. Jacky Mourioux s.t.

GC after stage 13:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 70hr 48min 46sec
  2. Gonzalo Aja @ 2min 1sec
  3. Vicente López-Carril s.t.
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5min 20sec
  5. Joaquim Agostinho @ 5min 55sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 6min 57sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 7min 30sec
  8. Alain Santy @ 10min 7sec
  9. Mariano Martinez @ 11min 29sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 11min 42sec

Stage 14: Friday, July 12, Lodève - Colomiers, 248.5 km

  1. Jean-Pierre Genet: 7hr 12min 50sec
  2. Ludo Delcroix @ 20sec
  3. Gianni Di Lorenzo s.t.
  4. Antonio Martos s.t.
  5. Marc De Meyer @ 26sec
  6. Dirk Baert s.t.
  7. André Dierickx s.t.
  8. Jean-Luc Molineris s.t.
  9. Juan Zurano s.t.
  10. Jacques Botherel s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 78hr 2min 43sec
  2. Gonzalo Aja @ 2min 5sec
  3. Vicente López-Carril @ 3min 20sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5min 24sec
  5. Joaquim Agostinho @ 5min 59sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 7min 1sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 7min 37sec
  8. Alain Santy @ 10min 14sec
  9. Mariano Martinez @ 11min 33sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 11min 49sec

Stage 15: Sunday, July 14, Colomiers - Seo de Urgel, 225 km

Major ascent: Port d'Envalira

  1. Eddy Merckx: 6hr 42min 29 sec
  2. Mariano Martinez s.t.
  3. Michel Pollentier s.t.
  4. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  5. Vicente López-Carril s.t.
  6. Gonzalo Aja s.t.
  7. Valerio Lualdi s.t.
  8. Raymond Delisle s.t.
  9. Joaquim Agostinho s,t,

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 84hr 45min 12sec
  2. Gonzalo Aja @ 2min 5sec
  3. Vicente López-Carril @ 3min 20sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5min 24sec
  5. Joaquim Agostinho @ 5min 59sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 7min 1sec
  7. Raymond Poulidour @ 7min 37sec
  8. Mariano Martinez @ 11min 33sec
  9. Herman Van Springel @ 11min 49sec
  10. Michel Pollentier @ 14min 32sec

Stage 16: Monday, July 15, Seo de Orgel - St. Lary Soulan (Pla d'Adet), 209 km

Major ascents: Canto, Bonaigua, Portillon, Peyresourde, and hilltop finish at Pla d'Adet

  1. Raymond Poulidor: 7hr 53min 29sec
  2. Vicente López-Carril @ 41sec
  3. Michel Pollentier @ 1min 2sec
  4. Alain Santy @ 1min 17sec
  5. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 49sec
  6. Wladimiro Panizza @ 2min 5sec
  7. Roger Pingeon @ 2min 34sec
  8. André Romero @ 3min 31sec
  9. Michel Périn @ 3min 45sec
  10. Willy Van Neste @ 3min 48sec

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 92hr 40min 18sec
  2. Vicente López-Carril @ 2min 24sec
  3. Gonzalo Aja @ 4min 20sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5min 58sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 6min
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 10min 54sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 13min 53sec
  8. Mariano Martinez @ 14min 16sec
  9. Alain Santy @ 15min 7sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 18min 8sec

Stage 17: Tuesday, July 16, St. Lary Soulan - Tourmalet, 119 km

Major ascent: hilltop finish at Tourmalet

  1. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume: 3hr 58min 44sec
  2. Raymond Poulidor @ 2min 26sec
  3. Mariano Martinez @ 2min 32sec
  4. Alain Santy @ 2min 33sec
  5. Wladimiro Panizza @ 2min 49sec
  6. Lucien van Impe @ 2min 51sec
  7. Eddy Merckx @ 3min 8sec
  8. Vicente López-Carril @ 3min 9sec
  9. Raymond Delisle @ 3min 25sec
  10. Joaquim Agostinho @ 3min 38sec

GC after Stage 17:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 95hr 42min 10sec
  2. Vicente López Carril @ 2min 25sec
  3. Raymond poulidor @ 5min 18sec
  4. Waldimiro Panizza @ 5min 39sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 6min 1sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 11min 24sec
  7. Mariano Martinez @ 13min 40sec
  8. Alain Santy @ 14min 32sec
  9. Michel Pollentier @ 14min 39sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 18min 56sec

Stage 18: Wednesday, July 17, Bagnères de Bigorre - Pau, 141.5 km

Major Ascents: Tourmalet, Soulor

  1. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume: 4hr 19min 20sec
  2. Ronny De Witte s.t.
  3. Andres Oliva s.t.
  4. Juan Zurano s.t.
  5. Barry Hoban @ 3min 14sec
  6. Charly Rouxel s.t.
  7. Herman Van Springel s.t.
  8. Willy Tierlinck s.t.
  9. Wilfried Wesemael s.t.
  10. Régis Ovion s.t.

GC after Stage 18:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 101hr 4min 44sec
  2. Vicente López-Carril @ 2min 25sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 5min 18sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5min 39sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 6min 1sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 11min 24sec
  7. Mariano Martinez @ 13min 40sec
  8. Alain Santy @ 14min 32sec
  9. Michel Pollentier @ 14min 39sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 21min 20sec

Stage 19A: Thursday, July 18, Pau - Bordeaux, 195.5 km

  1. Francis Campaner: 4hr 51min 56sec
  2. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  3. Barry Hoban s.t.
  4. Cyrille Guimard s.t.
  5. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  6. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  7. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  8. Charly Rouxel s.t.
  9. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  10. Dirk Baert s.t.

GC after Stage 19A:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 106hr 10min 37sec
  2. Vicente López-Carril @ 2mn 29sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 5min 22sec
  4. Waldimiro Panizza @ 5min 43sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 6min 5sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 11min 28sec
  7. Mariano Martinez @ 13min 42sec
  8. Alain Santy @ 14min 36sec
  9. Michel Pollentier @ 14min 43sec
  10. Herman Van springel @ 19min

Stage 19B: Thursday, July 18, Bordeaux 12.4 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Eddy Merckx: 16min 15sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 2sec
  3. Gerrie Knetemann @ 13sec
  4. Gérard Vianen @ 18sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 20sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 21sec
  7. Joseph Bruyère @ 24sec
  8. José Pesarrondona @ 26sec
  9. Dirk Baert s.t.
  10. Wilfied Wesemael @ 29sec

GC after Stage 19B:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 106 hr 26min 52sec
  2. Vicente López-Carril @ 3min 26sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 5min 42sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 6min 40sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 6min 57sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 11min 49sec
  7. Mariano Martinez @ 14min 32sec
  8. Michel Pollentier @ 14min 45sec
  9. Alain Sainty @ 15min 51sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 19min 59sec

Stage 20: Friday, July 19, St. Gilles Croix de Vie - Nantes, 117 km

  1. Gérard Vianen: 2hr 53min 21sec
  2. Patrick Sercu @ 20sec
  3. Marc De Meyer s.t.
  4. Barry Hoban s.t.
  5. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  6. Dirk Baert s.t.
  7. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  8. Herman Van Springel s.t.
  9. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  10. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.

GC after Stage 20:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 109hr 20min 31sec
  2. Vicente López-Carril @ 3min 28sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 5min 44sec
  4. Waldimiro Panizza @ 6min 42sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 6min 59sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 11min 51sec
  7. Mariano Martinez @ 14min 34sec
  8. Michel Pollentier @ 14min 45sec
  9. Alain Santy @ 15min 53sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 20min 1sec

Stage 21A: Saturday, July 20, Vouvray - Orléans, 112.5 km

  1. Eddy Merckx: 2hr 19min 5sec
  2. Patrick Sercu @ 1min 25sec
  3. Barry Hoban s.t.
  4. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  5. Marc De Meyer s.t.
  6. Dirk Baert s.t.
  7. Ferdinand Julien s.t.
  8. Donald Allan s.t.
  9. Régis Ovion s.t.
  10. Herman Van Springel s.t.

GC after Stage 21A:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 111hr 39min 16sec
  2. Vicente López-Carril @ 5min 13sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 7min 29sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 8min 27sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 8min 44sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 13min 36sec
  7. Mariano Martinez @ 16min 19sec
  8. Michel Pollentier @ 16mn 24sec
  9. Alain Santy @ 17min 38sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 21min 46sec

Stage 21B: Saturday, July 20, Orléans 37.5 km Individual Time Trial:

  1. Michel Pollentier: 48min 23sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 10sec
  3. Jesus Manzaneque @ 27sec
  4. Dirk Baert s.t.
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 29sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 38sec
  7. Joseph Bruyère @ 41sec
  8. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 1min 3sec
  9. Bernard Labourdette @ 1min 50sec
  10. Mariano Martinez @ 2min 4sec

GC after Stage 21B:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 112hr 27min 49sec
  2. Raymond Poulidor @ 7min 48sec
  3. Vicente López-Carril @ 7min 49sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 10min 39sec
  5. Gonzalo Aja @ 11min 4sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 14min 4sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 16min 14sec
  8. Mariano Martinez @ 18min 13sec
  9. Alain Santy @ 19min 35sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 23min 51sec

Stage 22, Final Stage: Sunday, July 21, Orléans - Paris ("La Cipale" Velodrome), 146 km

Final Tour de France finish at "La Cipale"

  1. Eddy Merckx: 3hr 49min 29sec
  2. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck s.t.
  3. Patrick Sercu s.t.
  4. Aldo Parecchini s.t.
  5. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  6. Régis Ovion s.t.
  7. Herman Van Springel s.t.
  8. Barry Hoban s.t.
  9. Gerrie Knetemann s.t.
  10. Marc De Meyer s.t.

Complete Final 1974 Tour de France General Classification

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The Story of the 1974 Tour de France:

This excerpt is from "The Story of the Tour de France", Volume 2. If you enjoy it we hope you will consider purchasing the book, either print, eBook or Audiobook. The Amazon link here will make the purchase easy.

Merckx came to the Tour with wins in both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Switzerland. He started the early season well, winning one of the first races on the European calendar, the Italian Trofeo Laigueglia. The rest of Merckx's spring was not up to his normal standards. For the first time since 1965, his first year as a pro, he didn't win any Spring Classics. It wasn't for lack of trying. In 1974 he entered 140 races but won only 38 of them, a sharp fall-off from his 51 victories the year before. He produced second places in both the Catalonian Week and Gent–Wevelghem, a third in Paris–Nice and was fourth in the Tour of Flanders, Paris–Roubaix and the 5 Days of Dunkirk. Health problems got in the way. Writers described his difficulties differently. Some write about his having the flu. Merckx himself says he had a sore tailbone. Immediately after winning the Tour of Switzerland, Merckx had surgery on his perineum. The surgery was performed on June 22 with the Tour starting on June 27. As one might expect, the wound from the surgery never healed during the Tour and it gave him trouble the entire time. He would often end the stages with a bloody chamois.

With the exception of the Classics, his list of 1974 victories is stunning: Giro, Swiss Tour, Tour de France and the World Road Championship. But the wins weren't generally coming with the same ease. He was starting to get a little ragged at the edges. If Merckx had been anything less than a Nietzscheian siege engine of will his career would surely have been longer but perhaps his win list shorter.

Denying the world the rematch everyone wanted, neither Zoetemelk nor Ocaña entered the 1974 Tour. Zoetemelk crashed in the Midi-Libéré and ended up in the hospital with a life-threatening case of meningitis. Ocaña crashed while racing in a 4-day pre-Tour tune-up race, the Tour de L'Aude, and went home. From that point he failed to communicate with either his sponsor (Bic) or his Director Sportif, Maurice de Muer, and was fired.

The other great hope, Bernard Thévenet, even though he started the Tour, was hopelessly banged up from several crashes in the Vuelta.

The 1974 Tour remained about the same length as the year before, 4,098 kilometers. Counting split days as individual stages, the Tour organization crammed 27 stages and 2 rest days into the 3 weeks of racing. There were fewer of the onerous transfers that had reduced 1973's peloton into a surly, slow-moving group of exhausted riders but they were still a source of vigorous complaint. For the first time the Tour went to England for a stage. The 1974 Tour went clockwise, starting in Brittany, circling the perimeter of France before heading inland for Paris a couple of stages after the Pyrenees.

If there were any doubts about Merckx's form they were laid to rest with the 7 kilometers of the prologue, which Merckx won. His very loyal teammate, Joseph Bruyère, was third at only 8 seconds behind. The next day in the first road stage, Bruyère got in the winning break with Herman van Springel (who did all the work) and Ercole Gualazzini (who won the sprint). Because of his excellent prologue, Bruyère took over the lead in General Classification. It doesn't look as if this was the way Merckx wanted it to play out. From the very first intermediate sprint Merckx was out dueling with the sprint specialists, fighting for the bonus seconds in play. It looked as if Merckx was out to do what had not been done since Romain Maes in 1935, he wanted to take the Yellow at the start of the Tour and hold it all the way to Paris. Van Springel's ambition foiled the grand plan.

Bruyère is an interesting rider. His career was devoted to one thing: helping his good friend Eddy Merckx win races. He followed Merckx from team to team, always riding as hard as he could to help Merckx, never thinking of himself. Merckx said that Bruyère almost never realized how good he was, but when his morale was high, he had the power to pulverize the field.

The second stage was held in Plymouth, England. The entire Tour was ferried in a big, tiring transfer to race on a yet unopened highway. The riders were livid because British Immigration held them up as they tried to fly back to France. British racer Barry Hoban said that he wasn't back in his hotel until 10 at night. The experiment was sufficiently disliked that it was over 10 years before it was attempted again.

By virtue of the intermediate bonus sprints, Merckx regained the Yellow Jersey from Bruyère after the 4th stage. It was a tenuous hold: only 4 seconds separated Merckx from Bruyère. And it was actually more tenuous than that. Gerben Karstens was second on that stage but felt that he had been victimized by collusion between Merckx and Belgian super-sprinter Patrick Sercu. Even though they were on different teams, Sercu and Merckx were lifelong friends and partners during the winter track season. Karstens felt that Merckx was helping Sercu earn the points leader's Green Jersey. Karstens was so furious over Merckx's friendly help that he failed to report to dope control on time. For this serious infraction, Karstens was penalized 10 minutes. Upset, the riders threatened a strike over what they perceived as an overly hard punishment. The next day he was reinstated and with the time bonus for his second place, Gerben Karstens was in Yellow with 2-second lead on Merckx.

As the Tour moved across Northern France and into Belgium and then back into France the sprinters (Merckx included) fought hard for the dribs and drabs of seconds that were available. Because the lead was so close it changed several times.

After unloading several hard attacks that were brought back by a fast moving field, Merckx won a 55-man sprint for stage 7. With the time bonuses he had accrued Merckx was now in Yellow. The rankings stayed basically unchanged until the next stage which placed the riders at the base of the Alps. The General Classification at this point shows that things had been staying very close and that sprinters Karstens and Hoban had been doing very well:

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Gerben Karstens @ 13 seconds
3. Joseph Bruyère @ 50 seconds
4. Barry Hoban @ 1 minute 4 seconds
5. Michel Pollentier @ 1 minute 10 seconds

The first day in the Alps, stage 9, had 2 hard climbs. At the start of the second and hardest ascent of the day, the Rousses, all the major contenders were together. Spanish champion Vicente Lopez-Carril tried to get away but with several kilometers of hard work Merckx was able to bring him back and in the process, dropped all but 11 others. The big surprise was 38-year old Raymond Poulidor's escape near the summit. He was caught on the descent but it was a shock to see the man who had first ridden the Tour in 1962 drop Merckx, Joaquim Agostinho and Italian climbing specialist Wladimiro Panizza. Merckx won the stage but it required grit to chase down the attacks. It appeared that even with several of the best stage racers sitting this Tour out, the others were in no mood to let Merckx have anything without a fight. On the other hand, Merckx was clearly willing to battle for every scrap on the table.

The next day was a variation on the same theme. There was 1 major climb, the 1,500 meter Mont du Chat. Lopez-Carril's teammate Gonzalo Aja took flight near the summit with Poulidor hot on his wheel. Poulidor caught Aja on the descent but they couldn't keep Merckx from joining them near the finish. Merckx, being by far the superior sprinter, took the stage.

The riders had a day of rest before tackling the hardest Alpine stage with the Cochette, Grand Cucheron, Télégraphe and Galibier on the day's schedule. The better riders arrived at the foot of the Télégraphe together. The Télégraphe really must be considered part of the Galibier because after the crest of the Télégraphe there is only a short descent and then the Galibier proper is ascended. As the peloton climbed the Télégraphe the cream of the Tour, its 13 best riders including Merckx, Poulidor and Lopez-Carril, rose to the top. Thévenet was able to get into that group and then faded slowly back, eventually abandoning. Near the crest Lopez-Carril took off with Merckx chasing. The riders came together again and then Roger Pingeon (winner of the 1967 Tour) attacked and took Lopez-Carril with him. Again Merckx had to chase but this time with Lopez-Carril's teammates Aja and Galdos on his wheel. Again Merckx caught Lopez-Carril and again the Spaniard attacked and got a gap. This time he made it stick. Lopez-Carril must have taken terrible chances because he actually gained time on Merckx on the descent. Once off the mountain he raced the final 20 kilometers to the finish line in Serre Chevalier as if he were being chased by the hounds of hell. Cannibal, Hounds of Hell, it was probably all the same to Lopez-Carril. And he did it! After attacking Merckx over and over and finally getting free, Vicente Lopez-Carril arrived at the end of the stage with a 54-second lead on Merckx who had Galdos and Aja glued to his wheel. Merckx was in an impossible situation. If he were to slow down and avoid dragging Aja, Lopez-Carril would close in on Merckx in the General Classification. Continue chasing as hard as he could and he drags Aja along on a free ride and helps a dangerous rival. No good choices. Pingeon came in 2½ minutes later. Poulidor had come apart and although he had a good, high placing at tenth, he lost 6 minutes, 17 seconds.

The new General Classification:

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Gonzalo Aja @ 2 minutes 20 seconds
3. Vicente Lopez-Carril @ 2 minutes 34 seconds
4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 4 minutes 41 seconds
5. Joaquim Agostinho @ 5 minutes 16 seconds
6. Raymond Poulidor @ 7 minutes 32 seconds

The next day included Mount Ventoux, but not as a hill-top finish. The riders ascended the windy mountain in blistering heat and came together on the descent. A very complex set of time bonuses for the first riders over the Mount gave Aja a couple of seconds over Merckx while Vicente-Carril lost a half-minute. The stage was won by Merckx domestique Jozef Spruyt, in a small break that escaped on the final run-in.

Across Provence the sprinters fought for stage wins and Hot Spot sprints in stifling heat, racing that didn't change the General Classification.

Stage 15, the first Pyrenean stage, had only 1 major ascent, the Port d'Envalira, famous in Tour history as the scene of Anquetil's famous crisis in the 1964 Tour. Only about 15 riders were with Merckx at the crest of the climb but the real adventure was just a few kilometers from the finish. Right behind Merckx and the others in the front of the break, a crash took down Poulidor, van Springel, Galdos and several others. Galdos, who was sitting in sixth place, turned out to have a hairline fracture in his femur. He was an important part of the Spanish challenge and now Aja and Lopez-Carril would be without his valuable services.

Raymond Delisle on a lone break rides through the fog. He was first over the Port d'Envalira but was caught and finished ninth in the lead group. Merckx won the stage.

When stages 15 and 16 took the Tour into Spain, Basque separatists bombed some of the team and press cars. Lopez-Carril, who was the Spanish Champion, wore the blue and green Kas colors those days rather than tempt fate by wearing the champion's jersey which sported the colors of the Spanish flag, thereby being a target for the Spanish-hating partisans. By the time the Tour returned to France no one had been hurt but it gave everyone a very justifiable scare.

Stage 16 was 209 kilometers from Seo de Urgel to St.-Lary-Soulan/Pla d'Adet. The riders would climb the Porto de Canto, the Porto de la Bonaigua, the Portillon, the Peyresourde and a final ascent to Pla d'Adet. The important riders arrived at the base of the final climb together.

On the lower slope of the climb to Pla d'Adet van Impe's teammate Willy van Neste took off with Spanish Miguel-Maria Lasa, a teammate of Lopez-Carril, rushing off the front to join him (Lasa later came off and finished over 7 minutes down). And then who emerged from the front of the peloton? Raymond Poulidor! Poulidor chased, caught and dropped van Neste and was off the front of the final climb, alone. Back in the front group Lopez-Carril attacked and dropped Merckx who was now looking haggard. Alain Santy, a member of Poulidor's Mercier squad took off as did Belgian rider Michel Pollentier. Merckx dug deeper, struggling to keep the fleeing attackers in sight as the gradient in the final meters approached 24 percent. Poulidor held his lead for a brilliant stage win with Lopez-Carril 41 seconds behind. Merckx finished an exhausted 1 minute, 49 seconds after Poulidor. He was still in Yellow but there were 2 more days of Pyrenean mountains to go.

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Vicente Lopez-Carril @ 2 minutes 24 seconds
3. Gonzalo Aja @ 4 minutes 20 seconds
4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5 minutes 58 seconds
5. Raymond Poulidor @ 6 minutes

Stage 17 had 2 of the more fearsome climbs in the Tour's bandolier, the Aspin and a finish at the top of the Tourmalet. Peugeot rider Jean-Pierre Danguillaume broke clear near the top of the Aspin, which had been placed near the start of the stage. Thinking that the stage was still young, Danguillaume's action elicited no reaction from the peloton. Undeterred by the long way to the finish, the Frenchman put his head down and descended the Aspin as if he had rails instead of wet asphalt under him. His move was wonderfully successful and he finished 2 minutes, 26 seconds ahead of...Raymond Poulidor! Poulidor had hammered the leaders on the final ascent and finished alone. Merckx was over 3 minutes back but Lopez-Carril, also tiring in the final stages of this super-aggressive Tour, could do no better. Poulidor was now in third place:

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Vicente Lopez-Carril @ 2 minutes 25 seconds
3. Raymond Poulidor @ 5 minutes 18 seconds

Stage 18 gave the real climbers a final chance to gain time. In this last mountain stage they would not only have to mount a serious attack that would crack Merckx, but also forge a gap that would withstand 2 more individual time trials totaling 50 kilometers. This was a tall order. After only a few kilometers into the stage the riders went over the Tourmalet. Lopez-Carril, showing some wear and tear, came off but clawed his way back to the leaders. On the final climb, the Soulor, Danguillaume got into a small group, none of whom posed any threat to the Overall. The group was allowed its freedom. For the descent and final ride into Pau, Danguillaume had his rear wheel changed, not because he had a flat tire, but because he wanted bigger gears in order to force the hot pace he needed to stay away. And stay away he did, getting his second consecutive stage win. Back in the peloton all the contenders stayed together, more or less conceding the Tour to Merckx.

Stage 18: Aja attacks 3 kilometers from the summit of the Tourmalet, dropping Delisle, Poulidor and Merckx who can be seen a bit back down the road.

The full extent of Lopez-Carril's exhaustion was clear after the stage 19b time trial. Only 12.4 kilometers long, the Spaniard lost almost a full minute to Merckx, who won the stage.

The final time trial contained a surprise. Michel Pollentier, a small rider on the Belgian Carpenter team won the 37.5-kilometer stage 21b individual time trial in Orléans, beating Merckx by 10 seconds. That was interesting but the bigger news was the gap between Poulidor and Lopez-Carril. Poulidor beat the Spanish Champion, described by cycling writer David Saunder as "looking positively ghastly" after his ride, by 2 minutes, 17 seconds. That lifted Poulidor to second place with the huge gap of a single second.

On the final stage to Paris Poulidor's Mercier team was able to help him gain a few more seconds of time in one of the intermediate sprints. Lopez-Carril's team was too tired to defend their leader. The race was Merckx's and Poulidor had another second place.

Merckx's 1974 Tour win allowed him to, first of all, equal Anquetil's 5 victories, but unlike Anquetil Merckx had so far won every Tour he had entered. By winning 8 stages in 1974 he now had 32 stage wins, finally passing the record of 25 owned by André Leducq. He is also the first and only man to have won the Italian, Swiss and French Tours in a single year. This record is astounding because it entailed racing from May 16 to July 21 with very little rest. In addition, in the few days between the Swiss and French Tours he had surgery. Clearly the Merckx of 1969 was long gone but the 1974 Merckx had shifted his tactics, scrambling for little time bonuses, conceding nothing, fighting for everything. This time, it was not in the spirit of tyrannical excess but out of necessity in order to fend off a peloton that no longer feared him.

Stage 18: Here's Merckx on the Tourmalet. He finished the day ahead of Aja.

Final 1974 Tour de France General Classification:

1. Eddy Merckx (Molteni): 116 hours 16 minutes 58 seconds
2. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier) @ 8 minutes 4 seconds
3. Vicente Lopez-Carril (Kas) @ 8 minutes 9 seconds
4. Wladimiro Panizza (Brooklyn) @ 10 minutes 59 seconds
5. Gonzalo Aja (Kas) @ 11 minutes 24 seconds

Climbers' Competition:

1. Domingo Perurena: 161 points
2. Eddy Merckx: 118 points
3. José-Luis Abilleira: 109 points

Points Competition:

1. Patrick Sercu: 283 points
2. Eddy Merckx: 270 points
3. Barry Hoban: 170 points

French video of the 7.1 prologue in Brest:


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