___Race Snippets

 

61st Tour de France 1974

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

Eddy’s Return, But With Challengers

CR Timeline 1974

Eddy “the Cannibal” Merckx returned to the Tour de France after a year away from this Grand Tour event.  On paper the experts predicted the Tour would be a “cake walk” for Merckx, but the 1974 TdF held a few surprises and a number of great efforts. 

Merckx got off to his usual fast start by winning the prologue time trial.  He relinquished the Maillot Jaune (race leader’s Yellow Jersey) to the sprinters on stage 1and bided his time before the Alpine climbing stages. 

Raymond Poulidor attacked the group on the difficult climb of the Mont du Chat.  He easily pulls away from a struggling Merckx.  Gonzalo Aja (Spa) caught and passed Poulidor on the climb and headed over the top of the climb 38 second in front of the Frenchman.  Sensing a threat to the race lead, Merckx attacked the descent and taking all the risks necessary to catch the breakaway group.  He was back with the three original attackers and won the sprint in Aix les Bains.  Poulidor’s point was made with authority, but Merckx retained the Maillot Jaune by 2’01” over Poulidor.

The 38-year-old Poulidor after the rest day in Aix les Bains struggled on the Galibier and lost almost 6 minutes to Merckx.  Vicente Lopez-Carril won the stage and presented Merckx with a new threat to the race leadership.  Poulidor, a gallant warrior, was down but not finished. 

The finish of tough stage 16 in the Pyrenees Mountains was on the climb of the Pla d’Adet.  Always aggressive, Poulidor attacked on the climb and gained the stage win 1’49” ahead of Merckx. 

The following day on the final climb to the ski station at La Mongie / Tourmalet, Poulidor continued his charge.  He finished second on the stage and gained almost a minute on both Merckx and Lopez-Carril.  He was now in third overall, trailing Lopez-Carril by 1’53”. 

Stage 21b was a 38 km ITT around Orleans.  “Pou Pou” stormed through the ITT course and gained 2’17” on Lopez-Carril over the 38 km.  Poulidor’s effort put him in second place overall.  The finish in Paris was one day away.

When the Tour reached Paris, Eddy Merckx left no doubt about who was the champion.  He came around fellow Belgian Gus Van Roosbroeck in the sprint to win the final stage.  The grand champion of cycling finished the 1974 TdF with 8 stage wins and an 8’04” lead on 38-year-old veteran Raymond Poulidor.  Eddy “the Cannibal” Merckx joined Jacques Anquetil as the only champions to win the Tour de France five times.

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Prologue BREST, 7.1 km ITT

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 1 BREST-ST POL DE LEON, 144 km

Ercole Gualazzini (Ita)

Joseph Bruyere (Bel)

Stage 2 PLYMOUTH (GBr)-PLYMOUTH (GBr), 164 km

Henk Poppe (Hol)

Joseph Bruyere (Bel)

Stage 3 MORLAIX-ST MALO, 190 km

Patrick Sercu (Bel)

Joseph Bruyere (Bel)

Stage 4 ST MALO-CAEN, 185 km

Patrick Sercu (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 5 CAEN-DIEPPE, 165 km

Ronald De Witte (Bel)

Gerben Karstens (Hol)

Stage 6a DIEPPE-HARELBEKE (Bel), 239 km

Jean-Luc Molineris (Fra)

Patrick Sercu (Bel)

Stage 7 MONS (Bel)-CHALONS SUR MARNE, 222 km

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 8a CHALONS SUR MARNE-CHAUMONT, 136 km

Cyrille Guimard (Fra)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 8b CHAUMONT-BESANCON, 152 km

Patrick Sercu (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 9 BESANCON-GAILLARD, 241 km

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 10 GAILLARD-AIX LES BAINS, 132 km

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 11 AIX LES BAINS-SERRE CHEVALIER, 199 km

Vicente Lopez-Carril (Spa)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 12 SAVINES LE LAC-ORANGE, 231 km

Joseph Spruyt (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 13 AVIGNON-MONTPELLIER, 126 km

Barry Hoban (Gbr)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 14 LODEVE-COLOMIERS, 248 km

Jean-Pierre Genet (Fra)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 15 COLOMIERS-SEO DE URGEL (Spa), 225 km

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 16 SEO DE URGEL-ST LARY SOULAN/Pla d'Adet, 209 km

Raymond Poulidor (Fra)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 17 ST LARY SOULAN-LA MONGIE, 119 km

Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Fra)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 18 BAGNERES DE BIGORRE-PAU, 142 km

Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Fra)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 19a PAU-BORDEAUX, 195 km

Francis Campaner (Fra)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 19b BORDEAUX/Circuit du Lac, 12.4 km ITT

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 20 ST GILLES CROIX DE VIE-NANTES, 117 km

Gerard Vianen (Hol)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 21a VOUVRAY-ORLEANS, 112 km

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 21b ORLEANS-ORLEANS, 38 km ITT

Michel Pollentier (Fra)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

Stage 22 ORLEANS-PARIS/La Cipale Velodrme, 146 km

Eddy Merckx  (Bel)

Eddy Merckx (Bel)

BEST CLIMBER PRIZE

Domingo Perurena (Spa)

  POINT'S COMPETITION

Patrick Sercu (Bel)



TdF June 27 - July 21, 1974
4,105 Km

1. Eddy MERCKX (Bel) 116h16'58"

2. Raymond Poulidor (Fra) +8'04"

3. Vicente Lopez-Carril (Spa) +8'09"

Starters: 130
Finishers: 105
Average Speed: 35.241 km/h

 

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