___Race Snippets


40th World Championship Road Race 1973


By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian













Felice Gimondi and the Belgian Feud

The 1973 World Road Race Championship was held in Barcelona, Spain. The Montjuic Circuit presented 248.6 km over a tough 17 laps of a 14.62 km circuit.

The powerful Belgian National team put two riders in the winning breakaway. Eddy Merckx attacked the climb with Belgian neo-pro Freddy Maertens the first to reach Merckx. Felice Gimondi (Ita) and Luis Ocana (Spa) quickly bridge to the Belgians to form the ‘final selection’. The breakaway went through the finish area with two (14.6 km) laps to go.

xxxx xxxx xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Gimondi (R) nips Maertens (L) at the line

Gimondi and Ocana took turns attacking the group on the final ascent of the Montjuic climb, but Merckx covered all the moves. Through the final bend Freddy Maertens gave Merckx what seemed like a perfect lead out. Gimondi jumped aggressively past Maertens in the closing kilometers with a tiring Merckx visibly slowing at the line.

Italian Felice Gimondi won the sprint from 4 rider breakaway and became 1973 World Champion. Freddy Maertens held on for a second place finish.

SPECIAL NOTE: For decades Eddy Merckx harshly criticized Maertens’ lead out, blaming Maertens for his failure to win. A sprinter is not a good lead out man because he can go too fast when it starts. The finishing straight was up an incline of 3% or 4% and Merckx did not have the leg on that day. But the grudge last for year to come.

WCRR September 2, 1973
248.600 Km [ Barcelona, Spain ]

1. Felice Gimondi (Ita) 6h31'26"

2. Freddy Maertens (Bel)

3. Luis Ocana (Spa)

Starters: 87
Finishers: 39
Average Speed: 38.106 km/h

WCRR 1972

WCRR 1974

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