BikeRaceInfo: Current and historical race results, plus interviews, bikes, travel, and cycling history

find us on Facebook follow us on twitter See our youtube channel Paris-Roubaix: The Inside Story Schwab Cycles South Salem Cycleworks frames Neugent Cycling Wheels Cycles BiKyle Advertise with us! CycleItalia cycling tours

Search our site:
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

1976 Tour de France

June 24 - July 18

Results, stages with running GC, history, video and photographs

| 1977 Tour | 1975 Tour | Quick Facts | 1976 Tour GC | Stage results with running GC | The Story of the 1976 Tour de France | Video of the 1976 Tour |

1976 Tour Quick Facts:

The 1976 Tour de France was 4,016 km long and raced at an average speed of 34.514 km. There were 130 starters and 87 classified finishers.

Eddy Merckx did not participate. Climbing specialist Lucien van Impe recognized that the particularly hilly nature of the 1976 edition was a rare opportunity to try to win the General Classification rather than the climbers' title. Van Impe's success is generally attributed in no small part to the tactical assistance given to him by his director, Cyrille Guimard.

Freddy Maertens' 8 stage wins in a single Tour tied Charles Pélissier's and Eddy Merckx's record.


1976 Tour de France complete final General Classification:

  1. Yellow JerseyLucien van Impe (Gitane-Campagnolo) 116hr 22min 23sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk (Gan-Mercier) @ 4min 14sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier) @ 12min 8sec
  4. Raymond Delisle (Peugeot-Esso) @ 12min 17sec
  5. Walter Riccomi (SCIC-Fiat) @ 12min 39sec
  6. Francisco Galdos (KAS) @ 14min 50sec
  7. Michel Pollentier (Velda-Flandria) @ 14min 59sec
  8. Freddy Maertens (Velda-Flandria) @ 16min 6sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio (Jolliceramica) @ 16min 36sec
  10. Vicente López-Carril (KAS) @ 19min 28sec
  11. José Pesarrondona (KAS) @ 21min 14sec
  12. José Martins (KAS) @ 21min 45sec
  13. Wladimiro Panizza (SCIC-Fiat) @ 22min 8sec
  14. Luis Ocaña (Super Ser) @ 25min 8sec
  15. Raymond Martin (Gitane-Campagnolo) @ 25min 35sec
  16. Giancarlo Bellini (Brooklyn) @ 26min 43sec
  17. Pedro Torres (Super Ser) @ 32min 44sec
  18. Ronny De Witte (Brooklyn) @ 34min 21sec
  19. Ferdinand Julien (Lejeune-BP) @ 36min 29sec
  20. Robert Bouloux (Jobo-La France) @ 39min 54sec
  21. Georges Talbourdet (Gan-Mercier) @ 41min 35sec
  22. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Peugeot-Esso) @ 41min 42sec
  23. Enrique Martinez (KAS) @ 44min 50sec
  24. Alain Meslet (Gitane-Campagnolo) @ 46min 20sec
  25. Antonio Martos (KAS) @ 47min 42sec
  26. Bert Pronk (TI-Raleigh) @ 48min 39sec
  27. Antonio Menendez (KAS) @ 49min 13sec
  28. Régis Ovion (Peugeot-Esso) @ 52min 36sec
  29. Christian Seznec (Gan-Mercier) @ 53min 52sec
  30. Bernard Bourreau (Peugeot-Esso) @ 54min 53sec
  31. José-Luis Viejo (Super Ser) @ 55min 16sec
  32. Donato Giuliani (Jolliceramica) @ 58min 40sec
  33. Hubert Mathis (Miko-De Gribaldy-Superia) @ 1hr 0min 3sec
  34. Miguel Maria Lasa (SCIC-Fiat) @ 1hr 0min 49sec
  35. Roger Legeay (Leujeune-BP) @ 1hr 1min 59sec
  36. Attilio Rota (SCIC-Fiat) @ 1hr 3min 11sec
  37. Luciano Conati (SCIC-Fiat) @ 1hr 4min 48sec
  38. Marcello Bergamo (Jolliceramica) @ 1hr 4min 50sec
  39. André Romero (Jobo-La France) @ 1hr 7min 37sec
  40. Michel Perin (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 8min 30sec
  41. Bernard Labourdette (Jobo-La France) @ 1hr 12min 6sec
  42. Mariano Martinez (Lejeune-BP) @ 1hr 25min 34sec
  43. Jean-Pierre Genet (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 26min 39sec
  44. Arnaldo Caverzasi (SCIC-Fiat) @ 1hr 27min 33sec
  45. Yves Hézard (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 29min 34sec
  46. Michel Le Denmat (Lejeune-BP) @ 1hr 29min 45sec
  47. Guy Sibille (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 31min 27sec
  48. Maurice Le Guilloux (Gan-Mercier) @ 1hr 33min 23sec
  49. Robert Mintkiewicz (Gitane-Campagnolo) @ 1hr 34min 11sec
  50. Enrico Paolini (SCIC-Fiat) @ 1hr 37min 14sec
  51. Ivan Schmid (Velda-Flandria) @ 1hr 40min 52sec
  52. Carlos Melero (KAS) @ 1hr 46min 19sec
  53. Hubert Arbes (Gitane-Campagnolo) @ 1hr 46min 58sec
  54. Herman Van Der Slagmolen (Brooklyn) @ 1hr 52min 48sec
  55. Celestino Vercelli (SCIC-Fiat) @ 1hr 56min 16sec
  56. Marc Demeyer (Velda-Flandria) @ 1hr 58min 53sec
  57. Albert Van Vlierberghe (Velda-Flandria) @ 1hr 59min 18sec
  58. Charles Rouxel (Peugeot-Esso) @ 1hr 59min 26sec
  59. Alessio Antonini (Jolliceramica) @ 1hr 59min 42sec
  60. Sylvain Vasseur (Gitane-Campagnolo) @ 2hr 1min 47sec
  61. Patrick Beon (Peugeot-Esso) @ 2hr 3min 56sec
  62. Herman Beysens (Velda-Flandria) @ 2hr 5min 4sec
  63. Pierino Gavazzi (Jolliceramica) @ 2hr 5min 5sec
  64. Knut Knudsen (Jolliceramica) @ 2hr 5min 33sec
  65. André Chalmel (Gitance-Campagnolo) 2 2hr 8min 49sec
  66. Marcello Osler (Brooklyn) @ 2hr 9min 53sec
  67. Willy Teirlinck (Gitane-Campagnolo) @ 2hr 12min 37sec
  68. Santiago Lazcano (Super Ser) @ 2hr 13min 24sec
  69. Paul Wellens (Miko-De Gribaldy-Superia) @ 2hr 14min 11sec
  70. Joel Hauvieux (Lejeune-BP) @ 2hr 14min 25sec
  71. Domingo Perurena (KAS) @ 2hr 14min 43sec
  72. Roland Berland (Super Ser) @ 2hr 14min 50sec
  73. Regis Delepine (Gan-Mercier) @ 2hr 15min 22sec
  74. René Dillen (Gitane-Campagnolo) @ 2hr 16min 13sec
  75. Guy Maingon (Jobo-La France) @ 2hr 17min 28sec
  76. Gerard Vianen (Gan-Mercier) @ 2hr 20min 22sec
  77. Ferdinand Bracke (Lejeune-BP) @ 2hr 21min 24sec
  78. Adriano Passuello (Brooklyn) @ 2hr 28min 46sec
  79. José De Cauwer (TI-Raleigh) @ 2hr 29min 52sec
  80. Jacques Esclassan (Peugeot-BP) @ 2hr 30min 13sec
  81. Roland Smet (Lejeune-BP) @ 2hr 31min 9sec
  82. Roger Loysch (Miko-De Gribaldy-Superia) @ 2hr 32min 25sec
  83. Jan Raas (TI-Raleigh) @ 2hr 39min 41sec
  84. Gerben Karstens (TI-Raleigh) @ 2hr 44min 27sec
  85. Eric Lalouette (Lejeune-BP) @ 2hr 50min 3sec
  86. José Luis Uribezubia (Super Ser) @ 3hr 10min 5sec
  87. Aad Van Den Hoek (TI-Raleigh) @ 3hr 12min 54sec

Climbers' Competition:

  1. Giancarlo Bellini (Brooklyn): 170 points
  2. Lucien van Impe (Gitane-Campagnolo): 169
  3. Joop Zoetemelk (Gan-Mercier): 119
  4. Francisco Galdos (KAS): 81
  5. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier): 81
  6. Pedro Torres (Super ser): 65
  7. Raymond Delisle (Peugeot-Esso): 63
  8. Antonio Menendez (KAS): 59
  9. Luciano Conati (SCIC-Fiat): 56
  10. Walter Riccomi (SCIC-Fiat): 49

Points Competition:

  1. Freddy Maertens (Velda-Flandria): 293 points
  2. Piero Gavazzi (Jolliceramica): 140
  3. Jacques Esclassan (Peugeot-Esso): 128
  4. Enrico Paolini (SCIC-Fiat): 122
  5. Gerben Karstens (TI-Raleigh): 109
  6. Michel Pollentier (Velda-Flandria): 92
  7. Régis Delépine (Gan-Mercier): 80
  8. Joop Zoetemelk (Gan Mercier): 78
  9. Lucien van Impe (Gitane-Campagnolo): 74
  10. Wladimiro Panizza (SCIC-Fiat): 74

Team Classification:

  1. KAS: 350hr 5min 39sec
  2. Gan-Mercier @ 9min 20sec
  3. SCIC-Fiat @ 28min 2sec
  4. Peugeot-Esso @ 30min 49sec
  5. Gitane-Campagnolo @ 40min 3sec

Stage Results with Running GC:

Prologue: Thursday, June 24, St. Jean de Monts 8 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Freddy Maertens: 11min 3sec
  2. Jesus Manzaneque @ 17sec
  3. Bernard Thévenet @ 20sec
  4. Bert Pronk s.t.
  5. Gerrie Knetemann @ 21sec
  6. Michel Pollentier s.t.
  7. Joop Zoetemelk @ 22sec
  8. Raymond Poulidor @ 27sec
  9. Giancarlo Bellini @ 28sec
  10. Yves Hézard s.t.
  11. Luis Ocaña s.t.

GC after prologue: Same placings and times as prologue

Stage 1: Friday, June 25, St. Jean de Monts - Angers, 173 km

  1. Freddy Maertens: 4hr 43min 37sec
  2. Régis Delépine s.t.
  3. Ercole Gualazzini s.t.
  4. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  5. Jan Van Katwijk s.t.
  6. Jacques Escalssan s.t.
  7. Piero Gavazzi s.t.
  8. Piet Van Katwijk s.t.
  9. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.
  10. Luciano Borgognoni s.t.

GC after Stage 1:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 4hr 54min 40sec
  2. Jesus Manzaneque @ 17sec
  3. Bernard Thévenet @ 20sec
  4. Bert Pronk s.t.
  5. Michel Pollentier @ 21sec
  6. Joop Zoetemelk @ 22sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 27sec
  8. Luis Ocaña @ 28sec
  9. Giancarlo Bellini s.t.
  10. Yves Hézard s.t.

Stage 2: Saturday, June 26, Angers - Caen, 236.5 km

  1. Giovanni Battaglin: 6hr 43min 49sec
  2. Piero Gavazzi @ 10sec
  3. Jan Raas s.t.
  4. Freddy Maertens s.t.
  5. Jacques Escalssan s.t.
  6. Régis Delépine s.t.
  7. Luciano Borgognoni s.t.
  8. Ercole Gualazzini s.t.
  9. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.
  10. Gerben Karstens s.t.

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 11hr 38min 39sec
  2. Jesus Manzaneque @ 17sec
  3. Bernard Thévenet @ 20sec
  4. Bert Pronk s.t.
  5. Michel Pollentier @ 21sec
  6. Joop Zoetemelk @ 22sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 27sec
  8. Luis Ocaña @ 28sec
  9. Yves Hézard s.t.
  10. Giancarlo Bellini s.t.

Stage 3: Sunday, June 27, Le Touquet Paris Plage 37 km individual time trial

To save you some Google time, "Le Touquet Paris Plage" is a French beach resort on the English Channel.

  1. Freddy Maertens: 47min 8sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 1min 37sec
  3. Ruy Schuiten @ 2min 1sec
  4. Jesus Manzaneque @ 2min 12sec
  5. Ferdi Bracke @ 2min 23sec
  6. Bert Pronk @ 2min 28sec
  7. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 2min 39sec
  8. Ronny De Witte @ 2min 41sec
  9. Hennie Kuiper @ 2mn 57sec
  10. Raymond Poulidor @ 2min 58sec

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 12hr 25min 47sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 1min 58sec
  3. Jesus Manzaneque @ 2min 29sec
  4. Roy Schuiten @ 2min 32sec
  5. Bert Pronk @ 2min 46sec
  6. Ferdi Bracke @ 2min 55sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 3min 25sec
  8. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3min 26sec
  9. Yves Hézard @ 3min 30sec
  10. Hennie Kuiper @ 3min 34sec

Stage 4: Monday, June 28, Le Touquet Paris Plage - Bornem, 258 km

  1. Hennie Kuiper: 7hr 31min 25sec
  2. Eric Loder s.t.
  3. Piero Gavazzi @ 9sec
  4. Guy Sibille s.t.
  5. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  6. Jan Raas @ 11sec
  7. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  8. Freddy Maertens @ 14sec
  9. Ercole Gualazzini s.t.
  10. Jacques Esclassan s.t.

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 19hr 57min 26sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 1min 58sec
  3. Jesus Manzaneque @ 2min 29sec
  4. Roy Schuiten @ 2min 32sec
  5. Bert Pronk @ 2min 46sec
  6. Ferdi Bracke @ 2min 55sec
  7. Hennie Kuiper @ 3min 20sec
  8. Raymond Poulidor @ 3min 25sec
  9. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3min 26sec
  10. Yves Hézard @ 3min 30sec

Stage 5A: Tuesday, June 29, Louvain 4.3 km Team Time Trial.

The teams were racing for individual time bonifications awarded to the three best teams: 10sec, 6sec, 3sec.

  1. TI-Raleigh: 26min 49.5sec
  2. Flandira-Velda @ 5sec
  3. Peugeot-Esso @ 20sec
  4. Gan-Mercier @ 28sec
  5. SCIC-Fiat @ 32sec
  6. Jolliceramica @ 52sec
  7. Lejeune-BP @ 55sec
  8. Brooklyn @ 59sec
  9. KAS-Campagnolo @ 1min 17sec
  10. Gitane-Campagnolo @ 1min 25sec
  11. Super Ser @ 1min 36sec
  12. Miko-De Gribaldy @ 2min 12sec
  13. Jobo-Wolber @ 3min 59sec

GC after Stage 5A:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 19hr 57min 20sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 2min 4sec
  3. Jesus Manzaneque @ 2min 35sec
  4. Roy Schuiten @ 2min 38sec
  5. Bert Pronk @ 2min 42sec
  6. Ferdi Bracke @ 3min 1sec
  7. Hennie Kuiper @ 3min 15sec
  8. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3min 29sec
  9. Raymond Poulidor @ 3min 31sec
  10. Yves Hézard @ 3min 36sec

Stage 5B: Tuesday, June 29, Louvain - Verviers, 144 km

  1. Miguel-Maria Lasa: 3hr 51min 17sec
  2. Guy Sibille s.t.
  3. Michel Périn @ 8sec
  4. Antonio Martos s.t.
  5. Patrick Béon s.t.
  6. Freddy Maertens @ 33sec
  7. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  8. Ronny De Witte s.t.
  9. Hennie Kuiper s.t.
  10. Mariano Martinez s.t.

GC after Stage 5B:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 23hr 49min 10sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 2min 4sec
  3. Hennie Kuiper @ 3min 16sec
  4. Jesus Manzaneque @ 3min 25sec
  5. Roy Schuiten @ 3min 28sec
  6. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3min 29sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 3min 31sec
  8. Bert Pronk @ 3min 32sec
  9. Ronny De Witte @ 3min 45sec
  10. Giancarlo Bellini @ 3min 48sec

Stage 6: Wednesday, June 30, Bastogne - Nancy, 209 km

  1. Aldo Parecchini: 5hr 22min 32sec
  2. Enrico Paolini @ 4min 29sec
  3. Gerrie Knetemann s.t.
  4. Mariano Martinez @ 4min 31sec
  5. Georges Talbourdet s.t.
  6. Raymond Delisle s.t.
  7. José-Luis Viejo @ 4min 38sec
  8. Antonio Menendez @ 4min 41sec
  9. Freddy Maertens s.t.
  10. Giambattista Baronchelli s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 29hr 16min 23sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 2min 4sec
  3. Hennie Kuiper @ 3min 15sec
  4. Jesus Manzaneque @ 3min 25sec
  5. Roy Schuiten @ 3min 28sec
  6. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3min 29sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 3min 31sec
  8. Bert Pronk @ 3min 32sec
  9. Ronny De Witte @ 3min 45sec
  10. Giancarlo Bellini @ 3min 48sec

Stage 7: Thursday, July 1, Bastogne - Mulhouse, 205.5 km

Major ascents: Col du Calvaire, Grand Ballon

  1. Freddy Maertens: 5hr 41min 12sec
  2. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  3. Piero Gavazzi s.t.
  4. Hennie Kuiper s.t.
  5. Michel Le Denmat s.t.
  6. Walter Riccomi s.t.
  7. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  8. Michel Périn (5hr 41min 5sec, times taken when riders entered the velodrome)
  9. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  10. Maurice Le Guilloux s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 34hr 57min 35sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 2min 4sec
  3. Hennie Kuiper @ 3min 16sec
  4. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3min 23sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 3min 31sec
  6. Bert Pronk @ 3min 32sec
  7. Ronny De Witte @ 3min 45sec
  8. Giancarlo Bellini @ 3min 48sec
  9. Giambattista Baronchelli @ 3min 51sec
  10. Lucien van Impe @ 3min 54sec

Stage 8: Friday, July 2, Valentigney - Divonne les Baines, 220.5 km

Major ascents: Maiche, Rousses

  1. Jacques Esclassan: 5hr 54min 11sec
  2. Freddy Maertens s.t.
  3. Piero Gavazzi s.t.
  4. Enrico Paolini s.t.
  5. Miguel-Maria Lasa s.t.
  6. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.
  7. Yves Hézard s.t.
  8. Luciano Borgognoni s.t.
  9. Ronny De Witte s.t.
  10. Herman Van Der Slagmolen s.t.

GC after Stage 8:

  1. Freddy Maertens: 40hr 51min 45sec
  2. Michel Pollentier @ 2min 4sec
  3. Hennie Kuiper @ 3min 16sec
  4. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3min 23sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 3min 31sec
  6. Bert Pronk @ 3min 32sec
  7. Ronny De Witte @ 3min 45sec
  8. Giancarlo Bellini @ 3min 48sec
  9. Giambattista Baronchelli @ 3min 51sec
  10. Lucien van Impe @ 3min 54sec

Stage 9: Sunday, July 4, Divonne les Bains - L'Alpe d'Huez, 258 km

Major Ascents: Luitel, L'Alpe d'Huez

  1. Joop Zoetemelk: 8hr 31min 49sec
  2. Lucien van Impe @ 3sec
  3. Francisco Galdos @ 58sec
  4. André Romero @ 1min 38sec
  5. Fausto Bertoglio @ 1min 45sec
  6. Giambattista Baronchelli s.t.
  7. José Martins @ 1min 50sec
  8. Bernard Thévenet s.t.
  9. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  10. Walter Riccomi @ 2min

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 49min 27sec 32sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 8sec
  3. Freddy Maertens @ 54sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 1min 24sec
  5. Giambattista Baronchelli @ 1min 39sec
  6. Bernard Thévenet @ 1min 48sec
  7. Fausto Bertoglio @ 1min 53sec
  8. Francisco Galdos @ 1min 55sec
  9. Giancarlo Bellini @ 2min 31sec
  10. Michel Pollentier @ 2min 58sec

Stage 10: Monday, July 5, Bourg d'Oisans - Montgenèvre, 166 km

Major ascents: Lautaret, Izoard, hilltop finish at Montgenèvre

  1. Joop Zoetemelk: 5hr 2min 20sec
  2. Bernard Thévenet @ 1sec
  3. Lucien van Impe s.t.
  4. Francisco Galdos @ 10sec
  5. Fausto Bertoglio @ 13sec
  6. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  7. Hennie Kuiper @ 27sec
  8. Raymond Delisle @ 31sec
  9. Michel Pollentier @ 1min 5sec
  10. Marcello Bergamo @ 1min 27sec

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 54hr 29min 53sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 7sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 1min 36sec
  4. Bernard Thévenet @ 1min 48sec
  5. Francisco Galdos @ 2min 4sec
  6. Fausto Bertoglio @ 2min 5sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 4min 2sec
  8. Raymond Delisle @ 4min 17sec
  9. Hennie Kuiper @ 4min 36sec
  10. José Martins @ 4min 56sec

Stage 11: Tuesday, July 6, Montgenèvre - Manosque, 224 km

Major ascents: St. Jean, Poteau de Telle, Mont d'Or

  1. José-Luis Viejo: 5hr 42min 34sec
  2. Gerben Karstens @ 22min 50sec
  3. Freddy Maertens @ 23min 7sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  5. Giambattista Baronchelli s.t.
  6. Raymond Delisle s.t.
  7. Hennie Kuiper s.t.
  8. Michel Pollentier s.t.
  9. Guy Sibille s.t.
  10. José Martins s.t.

Viejo's 22min 50sec is the largest post-war gap earned in a solo break.

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 60hr 35min 34sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 7sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 1min 36sec
  4. Bernard Thévenet @ 1min 48sec
  5. Francisco Galdos @ 2mn 4sec
  6. Fausto Bertoglio @ 2min 5sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 4min 2sec
  8. Raymond Delisle @ 4min 17sec
  9. Hennie Kuiper @ 4min 36sec
  10. José Martins @ 4min 56sec

Stage 12: Thursday, July 8, Port Barcares - Pyrénées 2000, 205.5 km

Major ascents: Aussières, Jau, hilltop finish at Pyrénées 2000

  1. Raymond Delisle: 6hr 47min 32sec
  2. Antonio Menendez @ 4min 59sec
  3. Wladimiro Panizza @ 5min 14sec
  4. Bert Pronk @ 6min 24sec
  5. Michel Pollentier @ 6min 26sec
  6. Luciano Conati @ 6min 47sec
  7. Joop Zoetemelk @ 6min 57sec
  8. José-Luis Viejo s.t.
  9. Giambattista Baronchelli @ 6min 58sec
  10. Raymond Poulidor s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Raymond Delisle: 67hr 27min 23sec
  2. Lucien van Impe @ 2min 41sec
  3. Joop Zoetemelk @ 2min 47sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 4min 17sec
  5. Francisco Galdos @ 4min 45sec
  6. Bernard Thévenet @ 4min 53sec
  7. Fausto Bertoglio @ 5min 58sec
  8. Michel Pollentier @ 6min 11sec
  9. Hennie Kuiper @ 7min 17sec
  10. José Martins @ 7min 45sec

Stage 13: Friday, July 9, Font Romeu - St. Gaudens, 188 km

Major ascents: Puymorens, Port

  1. Willy Tierlinck: 4hr 57min 23sec
  2. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  3. Régis Ovion. Was first in stage, but positive for dope. Tierlinck and Panizza advanced to first and second places and no third place awarded.
  4. Mariano Martinez s.t.
  5. André Chalmel s.t.
  6. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  7. Hennie Kuiper s.t.
  8. Freddy Maertens @ 7sec
  9. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  10. José-Luis Viejo s.t.

GC after stage 13:

  1. Raymond Delisle: 72hr 24min 53sec
  2. Lucien van Impe @ 2min 41sec
  3. Joop Zoetemelk @ 2min 47sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 4min 10sec
  5. Francisco Galdos @ 4min 45sec
  6. Bernard Thévenet @ 4min 53sec
  7. Fausto Bertoglio s.t.
  8. Michel Pollentier @ 6min 11sec
  9. Hennie Kuiper @ 7min 10sec
  10. José Martins @ 7min45sec

Stage 14: Saturday, July 10, St. Gaudens - St. Lary Soulan, 139 km

Major ascents: Mente, Portillon, Peyresourde and hilltop finish at St.-Lary-Soulon

  1. Lucien van Impe: 4hr 20min 50sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 3min 12sec
  3. Walter Riccomi @ 3min 45sec
  4. Luis Ocaña @ 3min 50sec
  5. Pedro Torres @ 7min 1sec
  6. José Pesarrondona @ 7min 40sec
  7. Freddy Maertens @ 7min 48sec
  8. Régis Ovion @ 9min 9sec
  9. André Romero @ 9min 58sec
  10. Ronny De Witte @ 10min 7sec

GC after stage 14:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 76hr 48min 24sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 3min 18sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 9min 27sec
  4. Walter Riccomi @ 10min 22sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 42sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 12min 13sec
  7. Fausto Bertoglio @ 13min 26sec
  8. Freddy Maertens @ 14min 8sec
  9. José Pesarrondona @ 14min 45sec
  10. Luis Ocaña @ 14min 48sec

Stage 15: Sunday, July 11, St. Lary Soulon - Pau, 195 km

Major Ascents: Aspin, Tourmalet, Aubisque

  1. Wladimiro Panizza: 6hr 1min 37sec
  2. Enrico Paolini @ 2min 16sec
  3. Michel Pollentier s.t.
  4. Arnaldo Caverzasi s.t.
  5. Donato Giuliani s.t.
  6. Antonio Menendez s.t.
  7. Georges Talbourdet s.t.
  8. Carlos Melero s.t.
  9. José Martins s.t.
  10. Freddy Maertens @ 5min 44sec

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 82hr 55min 45sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 3min 18sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 9min 27sec
  4. Walter Riccomi @ 10min 22sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 42sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 12min 13sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 13min 9sec
  8. Fausto Bertoglio @ 13min 26sec
  9. Freddy Maertens @ 14min 8sec
  10. José Pesarrodona @ 14min 45sec

Stage 16: Monday, July 12, Pau - Fleurance, 152 km

  1. Michel Pollentier: 4hr 38min 33sec
  2. Freddy Maertens @ 16sec
  3. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  4. Piero Gavazzi s.t.
  5. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  6. Enrico Paolini s.t.
  7. Marcello Osler s.t.
  8. Alessio Antonini s.t.
  9. Willy Tierlinck s.t.
  10. Robert Miontkiewicz s.t.

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 87hr 34min 34sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 3min 18sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 9min 27sec
  4. Walter Riccomi @ 10min 22sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 42sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 12min 13sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 12min 53sec
  8. Fausto Bertoflio @ 13min 26sec
  9. Freddy Maertens @ 14min 8sec
  10. José Pesarrondona @ 14min 45sec

Stage 17: Tuesday, July 13, Fleurance - Auch 38.75 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Ferdi Bracke: 52min 41sec
  2. Knut Knudsen @ 8sec
  3. Freddy Maertens @ 11sec
  4. Lucien van Impe @ 51sec
  5. Michel Pollentier @ 1min 1sec
  6. Raymond Poulidor @ 1min 4sec
  7. Bert Pronk @ 1min 25sec
  8. Fausto Bertoglio @ 1min 49sec
  9. José Pesarrodona @ 1min 52sec
  10. Joop Zoetemelk @ 2min 8sec

GC after stage 17:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 88hr 28min 6sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 33sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 11min 25sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 55sec
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 11min 57sec
  6. Michel Pollentier @ 13min 3sec
  7. Freddy Maertens @ 13min 28sec
  8. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 20sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 14min 24sec
  10. José Pesarrodona @ 15min 46sec

Stage 18A: Wednesday, July 14, Auch - Langon, 86 km

  1. Freddy Maertens: 2hr 34min 37sec
  2. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  3. Piero Gavazzi s.t.
  4. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  5. Régis Delépine s.t.
  6. Alessio Antonini s.t.
  7. Ronny De Witte s.t.
  8. Miguel-Maria Lasa s.t.
  9. Herman Van Der Slagmolen s.t.
  10. Patrick Béon s.t.

GC after Stage 18A:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 91hr 2min 43sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 33sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 11min 25sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 55sec
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 11min 57sec
  6. Michel Pollentier @ 13min 3sec
  7. Freddy Maertens @ 13min 28sec
  8. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 20sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 14min 24sec
  10. José Pesarrodona @ 15min 46sec

Stage 18B: Wednesday, July 14, Langon - Lacanau Océan, 123 km

  1. Freddy Maertens: 3hr 27min
  2. Jacques Escalssan s.t.
  3. Enrico Paolini s.t.
  4. José De Cauwer s.t.
  5. Jan Raas s.t.
  6. Herman Van Der Slagmolen s.t.
  7. Roger Legeay s.t.
  8. Willy Tielinck s.t.
  9. Régis Ovion s.t.
  10. Mariano Martinez s.t.

GC after Stage 18B:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 94hr 29min 43sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 33sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 11min 25sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 55sec
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 11min 57sec
  6. Michel Pollentier @ 13min 3sec
  7. Freddy Maertens @ 13min 28sec
  8. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 20sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 14min 24sec
  10. José Pesarrodona @ 15min 46sec

Stage 18C: Wednesday, July 14, Lancanau Océan - Bordeaux, 70.5 km

  1. Gerben Karstens: 1hr 42min 13sec
  2. Freddy Maertens s.t.
  3. Enrico Paolini s.t.
  4. Jacques Escalssan s.t.
  5. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  6. Guy Sibille s.t.
  7. Régis Delépine s.t.
  8. Herman Van Der Slagmolen s.t.
  9. Ronny De Witte s.t.
  10. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.

GC after stage 18C:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 96hr 11min 56sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 33sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 11min 25sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 56sec
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 11min 57sec
  6. Michel Pollentier @ 13min 3sec
  7. Freddy Maertens @ 13min 28sec
  8. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 20sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 14min 24sec
  10. José Pesarrodona @ 15min 46sec

Stage 19: Thursday, July 15, Sainte Foy la Grande - Tulle, 219.5 km

  1. Hubert Mathis: 6hr 46min
  2. Enrico Paolini @ 7sec
  3. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  4. Adriano Passuello s.t.
  5. Donato Giuliani s.t.
  6. Antonio Menendez s.t.
  7. Antonio Martos s.t.
  8. Jean-Pierre Genet s.t.
  9. Pedro Torres s.t.
  10. Ferdinand Julien @ 7min 6sec

GC after Stage 19:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 103hr 6min 20sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 33sec
  3. Raymond Delisle @ 11min 25sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 55sec
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 11min 57sec
  6. Michel Pollentier @ 13min 3sec
  7. Freddy Maertens @ 13min 28sec
  8. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 20sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 14min 24sec
  10. José Pesarrodona @ 15min 46sec

Stage 20: Friday, July 16, Tulle - Puy de Dôme, 220 km

  1. Joop Zoetemelk: 6hr 52min 52sec
  2. Lucien van Impe @ 12sec
  3. Francisco Galdos @ 25sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 32sec
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 42sec
  6. Raynond Delisle @ 1min 2sec
  7. Raymond Martin @ 1min 15sec
  8. Antonio Martos @ 1min 22sec
  9. Mariano Martinez @ 1min 43sec
  10. Vicente Lopez-Carril @ 1min 48sec

GC after Stage 20:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 109hr 59min 24sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 21sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 12min 15sec
  4. Raymond Delisle s.t.
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 12min 27sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 33sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 15min 5sec
  8. Freddy Maertens @ 16min 24sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 16min 30sec
  10. Vicente Lopez-Carril @ 19min 17sec

Stage 21: Saturday, July 17, Montargis - Versailles, 145.5 km

  1. Freddy Maertens: 4hr 16min 7sec
  2. Piero Gavazzi s.t.
  3. Enrico Paolini s.t.
  4. Régis Delépine s.t.
  5. Jacques Escalssan s.t.
  6. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.
  7. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  8. Mariano Martinez s.t.
  9. Marc De Meyer s.t.
  10. Michel Le Denmat s.t.

GC after Stage 21:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 114hr 15min 31sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 21sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 12min 15sec
  4. Raymond Delisle s.t.
  5. Walte Riccomi @ 12min 27sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 33sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 15min 5sec
  8. Freddy Maertens @ 16min 24sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 16min 30sec
  10. Vicente Lopez-Carril @ 19min 14sec

Stage 22A: Sunday, July 18, Paris 6 km Individual Time Trial (Champs Elysées)

  1. Freddy Maertens: 7min 46sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 11sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  4. Michel Pollentier @ 12sec
  5. Lucien van Impe @ 18sec
  6. Raymond Delisle @ 20sec
  7. José Pesarrondona @ 23sec
  8. Fausto Bertoglio @ 24sec
  9. Knut Knudsen @ 25sec
  10. Bert Pronk s.t. (tied for 9th)

GC after Stage 22A:

  1. Lucien van Impe: 114hr 23min 35sec
  2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 4min 14sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 12min 8sec
  4. Raymond Delisle @ 12min 17sec
  5. Walter Riccomi @ 12min 39sec
  6. Francisco Galdos @ 14min 50sec
  7. Michel Pollentier @ 14min 59sec
  8. Freddy Maertens @ 16min 6sec
  9. Fausto Bertoglio @ 16min 36sec
  10. Vicente Lopez-Carril @ 19min 28sec

Stage 22B, final stage: Sunday, July 18, Paris (Champs Elysées circuit), 90.7 km

  1. Gerben Karstens: 1hr 58min 48sec
  2. Freddy Maertens s.t.
  3. Piero Gavazzi s.t.
  4. Régis Delépine s.t.
  5. Willy Tirelinck s.t.
  6. Herman Van Der Slagmolen s.t.
  7. Gérard Vianen s.t.
  8. Jacques Esclassan s.t.
  9. Robert Mintkiewicz s.t.
  10. Marcello Osler s.t.

Complete Final 1976 Tour de France General Classification


The Story of the 1976 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 or electronic. The Amazon link here will make either purchase easy.

Eddy Merckx started 1976 by winning Milan–San Remo for a seventh time. He also won the Catalonian week. But that was it for Merckx in the win column for spring in 1976. He managed a second place in the Tirreno–Adriatico stage race, but only sixth place in Paris–Roubaix and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. In the Giro, he came in eighth. Not able to find his usual form and needing surgery for saddle-sores, he did not enter the 1976 Tour. There would be no rematch between Bernard Thévenet and Eddy Merckx that year.

There were plenty of other fine young cannibals, however. Bernard Thévenet went to the Tour fresh off a win in the Dauphiné Libéré. Luis Ocaña, looking for another shot at glory, had come in second in the Vuelta and fourth in Paris–Nice.

Joop Zoetemelk was the odds-on favorite. He won Flèche Wallonne and had high placings in the Dauphiné Libéré, Amstel Gold and the Tour of the Mediterranean. He had been second in the Tour in 1970 and 1971 and had never finished worse than fifth.

Every Tour is different. Each year the cast of players changes slightly as older racers retire and new young men with fresh ambitions arrive. The route changes each year as well and with differing emphasis on flat roads, time trials or mountains different racers can find some years suit their talents more than others. The 1976 Tour was clockwise, starting on France's west coast, circling north up to Belgium before heading south for the Alps. There the 1976 Tour departed from tradition. Normally after one of the 2 major mountain ranges are ridden there are several transition stages before the hard climbing resumes. This year there were 5 days of climbing in the east, starting in the Vosges in stage 7 and ending in stage 11. Then there was a rest day before 3 very hard days in the Pyrenees. That was 8 days in a row of mountains. If that weren't enough, stage 20 finished at the top of the Puy de Dôme. Importantly, 5 of the mountain stages ended with hilltop finishes. This is a huge advantage to smaller riders who don't have the power to maintain a time advantage gained on a climb through a long descent and flat roll-in to a distant finish line. No wonder Lucien van Impe announced that he would be riding this Tour for the overall win, not his usual King of the Mountains title. Van Impe's changed circumstances involved more than just having a race itinerary that matched his talents. His previous manager was Jean Stablinski who is often credited with having one of the finer tactical minds in cycling. Stablinski was replaced with Cyrille Guimard who had mounted a real threat to Merckx in the 1972 Tour. Guimard was so recently retired that he was still the 1976 French cyclo-cross champion. In taking over the Gitane-Campagnolo team he remade the squad so that van Impe would have better support. As we'll see in unfolding years, Guimard not only knew how to ride and win his own race, he knew how to get others to ride and win for him.

There was a new comet in the heavens. Belgian racer Freddy Maertens turned professional in 1972. His fantastic sprinting, time trialing and overall strength let him win all but the steepest races. In 1976, the first year he rode the Tour, he won 54 races including the World Pro Road Championships and the Belgian Road Championships. His erratic career was at its peak in 1976 and 1977 before it fell off to almost nothing. Then, in an astonishing act of will, he rebuilt his career and won the 1981 World Championship.

Maertens did not disappoint Belgian fans who were unhappy with the absence of Merckx. From the gun he was on fire. He won the prologue time trial and the first stage. Then he won the stage 3 time trial, beating such accomplished chrono men as Ferdi Bracke by 2 minutes, 23 seconds, Raymond Poulidor by almost 3 minutes and Bernard Thévenet by 3 minutes, 32 seconds. When the Tour entered the Vosges mountains he won stage 7. In stage 8, he managed only second to Peugeot's ace sprinter Jacques Esclassan.

In Yellow, Maertens rides to victory in the stage 3 individual time trial.

With the riders poised to begin their days in the Alps beginning with stage 9, the General Classification stood thus:

1. Freddy Maertens
2. Michel Pollentier @ 2 minutes 4 seconds
3. Hennie Kuiper @ 3 minutes 16 seconds
4. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume @ 3 minutes 23 seconds
5. Raymond Poulidor @ 3 minutes 31 seconds
Van Impe, Zoetemelk and Thévenet were sitting at about 4 minutes behind Maertens.

Stage 9 was 258 kilometers that had the pack ascend the Luitel before finishing at the top of L'Alpe d'Huez. Even sprinter Freddy Maertens made it over the Luitel with the good climbers. But when Peugeot rider Raymond Delisle opened the hostilities on the Alpe, Maertens was tossed. From then on Zoetemelk and van Impe attacked and counter-attacked each other all the way to the top with Zoetemelk getting the win by 3 seconds. Poulidor, Thévenet, Baronchelli, Kuiper and the others were what a modern military man would call "collateral damage". They were incidental victims of a relentless shooting war between the 2 best climbers of the day. The result of the day's brawl was that van Impe was in Yellow with Zoetemelk trailing by only 8 seconds. Maertens was third, down about a minute.

Stage 9: Thévenet leads the chase, van Impe and Zoetemelk have flown away. Poulidor rides to his left.

The next day was another mano-a-mano climbing fight between the 2 leaders. After ascending the Lautaret, the Izoard, and the Montgenèvre, Zoetemelk was again only able to beat van Impe and Thévenet by 1 second. Zoetemelk now trailed van Impe by only 7 seconds in the Overall. The pace was so hard 7 riders were eliminated for failing to finish within the time limit.

The third mountain stage was one of those races in which the peloton just doesn't feel like racing. They let José-Luis Viejo ride away without being chased. His final margin of victory, 22 minutes, 50 seconds, was the Tour's largest postwar solo winning margin. The peloton was content to rest their tired legs. Indicative of the slower pace, sprinters Gerben Karstens and Freddy Maertens took second and third places.

With the Alpine stages completed, here was the General Classification:

1. Lucien van Impe
2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 7 seconds
3. Raymond Poulidor @ 1 minute 36 seconds
4. Bernard Thévenet @ 1 minute 48 seconds

The first stage in the Pyrenees, the fourth mountain stage, was another odd day. Van Impe and Zoetemelk were only worried about each other. They kept an eye on each other and let Raymond Delisle, an excellent but slightly aging racer, get away. Delisle was eighth in General Classification when the stage started. When it was over, Delisle was in Yellow and van Impe and Zoetemelk were almost 3 minutes behind.

The next stage didn't affect the standings. The big guns held their fire. The only notable event was that stage winner Regis Ovion failed his drug test and his name was stricken from the record of that stage. Willy Tierlinck was awarded the stage.

Stage 13: Delisle in Yellow with Poulidor (in GAN jersey).

It was stage 14, the fifth of these mountain stages, that made history.

In previous Tours, van Impe had already won 3 of his eventual 6 Polka-Dot climber's jerseys, in the same fashion as modern riders Laurent Jalabert or Richard Virenque have done it. They would go out early on a mountain stage and scoop up the points in all the early mountains, not always worrying about getting caught and dropped on the final climb by the men seeking overall victory. The Polka-Dot jersey was generally van Impe's entire ambition. In later years he has said that he regrets those years in which he turned to trying for the overall victory. He thinks he might have had 10 Climbers' jerseys instead of his 6.

There were 4 major climbs that day. On the second, the Portillon, Luis Ocaña attacked. Ocaña was no longer the dominating rider he had been in the early 1970s, but he was not to be ignored. Cyrille Guimard, van Impe's director, told van Impe to go after him. Van Impe was reluctant: Guimard and van Impe did not completely agree on tactics and goals that year. Guimard told van Impe that if he didn't go after Ocaña, he would run him off the road with his car.

Van Impe took off and caught Ocaña on the Peyresourde, the day's penultimate climb.

Zoetemelk didn't chase him. He may have thought van Impe was chasing some Climbers' points and not really going after the overall lead. And surely by now Ocaña was nothing more than a shell of his former self. Instead Zoetemelk sat on the wheel of the man whose Yellow Jersey was threatened by the attack, Raymond Delisle. Normally this would be an astute strategy, forcing the leader to defend his position. It would have been astute except that Delisle could not close the gap. In fact, Delisle was exhausted and eventually lost over 12 minutes that day. Up the road, van Impe and Ocaña were flying.

Ocaña did the hard work on the flat road leading to the final climb, towing van Impe. Ocaña remembered that Zoetemelk had never helped him in his struggles with Merckx. This was a tough bit of pay-back.

On the final climb, the Pla d'Adet up to St.-Lary-Soulan, van Impe jumped away from Ocaña and won the stage and the Yellow Jersey. Zoetemelk came flying up the hill, going faster than van Impe, but it wasn't good enough. He was 3 minutes, 12 seconds too late.

The Ocaña/van Impe/Zoetemelk attacks shattered the peloton. 45 of the remaining 93 riders finished outside the time limit. Peter Post, the manager of the Raleigh team asked on behalf of the riders that the Tour management waive the elimination rule for the stage. They did.

The new General Classification with van Impe back in Yellow:

1. Lucien van Impe
2. Joop Zoetemelk @ 3 minutes 18 seconds
3. Raymond Delisle @ 9 minutes 27 seconds
4. Walter Riccomi @ 10 minutes 22 seconds
5. Raymond Poulidor @ 11 minutes 42 seconds

The final day in the Pyrenees, even with the Aspin, Tourmalet and the Aubisque, didn't change the top of the standings. The lions had to digest their kill.

The stage 17 time trial showed that van Impe was a more rounded rider than one might expect. Ferdi Bracke won it but van Impe was able to beat Zoetemelk by more than a minute. That put Zoetemelk 4½ minutes behind the Belgian climber with only one more chance to take the Tour leadership, the stage 20 climb to the top of Puy de Dôme. Zoetemelk won the stage, beating van Impe by an unimportant 12 seconds. Impressive, but to no real effect. That moment of careful, conservative calculation on the road to St.-Lary-Soulan cost him the Tour. Zoetemelk was the better climber, but van Impe had the tactical genius of Guimard to give him the needed push.

Thévenet had been losing time and at stage 19 he finally abandoned, weakened by hepatitis.

Lucien van Impe won the Tour, beating Zoetemelk by 4 minutes, 14 seconds. It was his only Tour victory and he remains the last Belgian to win the Tour. To this day, he is troubled by Guimard's remarks that van Impe would not have won the Tour without his encouragement and threats. Van Impe says that Guimard talked to him as if he were a child, and after the 1976 season, van Impe changed teams.

Freddy Maertens won 8 stages in the 1976 tour, equaling the record set by Charles Pélissier in 1930 and Merckx in 1970 and 1974.

And Raymond Poulidor? The great man finished third, 12 minutes, 8 seconds behind winner van Impe. This was the fourteenth and final Tour de France for the 40-year old Poulidor. He abandoned only twice and finished with 3 second places and 5 third places. In all those years of riding the Tour from 1961 to 1976 he never spent a single day in Yellow, not one.

Celestino Vercelli, riding with G.B. Baronchelli, Walter Riccomi and Wladimiro Panizza on the SCIC-Fiat team, talked to us about the 1976 Tour: "This was the year the Cannibal Eddy Merckx stayed home. This Tour was won by van Impe. Every stage of this Tour was very, very hard. Just to get an idea of the difficulties we faced, in Bordeaux, in incredibly hot weather, we raced 3 stages the same day. In the evening in the hotel (hotel is a big word for the place we stayed), we slept in big rooms together. I was running a high temperature, I was very tired and hot. I don't have words for that day on the bike.

"When we were riding the Pyrenean stages, the asphalt melted. You can imagine the huge difficulties we faced riding in the mountains in the soft asphalt. In the descent the situation was better with the tires holding the soft road very well. The big problem was the difficulty in removing the asphalt from our legs in the evening."

Final 1976 Tour de France General Classification:

1. Lucien van Impe (Gitane-Campagnolo): 116 hours 22 minutes 23 seconds
2. Joop Zoetemelk (Gan-Mercier) @ 4 minutes 14 seconds
3. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier) @ 12 minutes 8 seconds
4. Raymond Delisle (Peugeot) @ 12 minutes 17 seconds
5. Walter Riccomi (SCIC) @ 12 minutes 39 seconds

Climbers' Competition:

1. Giancarlo Bellini: 170 points
2. Lucien van Impe: 169 points
3. Joop Zoetemelk: 119 points

Points Competition:

1. Freddy Maertens: 293 points
2. Pierino Gavazzi: 140 points
3. Jacques Esclassan: 128 points

Dutch video of the 1976 Tour de France