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1976 Tour de France

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1976 Tour de France

1976 Tour de France
Race details
Dates 24 June–18 July 1976
Stages 22+Prologue, including three split stages
Distance 4,017 km (2,496 mi)
Winning time 116h 22' 23" (34.518 km/h or 21.448 mph)
Winner  Lucien Van Impe (Belgium) (Gitane–Campagnolo)
Second  Joop Zoetemelk (Netherlands) (Gan–Mercier)
Third  Raymond Poulidor (France) (Gan–Mercier)

Points  Freddy Maertens (Belgium) (Velda–Flandria)
Mountains  Giancarlo Bellini (Italy) (Brooklyn)
Youth  Enrique Martínez Heredia (Spain) (Kas–Campagnolo)
Sprints  Robert Mintkiewicz (France) (Gitane–Campagnolo)
Team Kas–Campagnolo
Team Points Gan–Mercier

The 1976 Tour de France was the 63rd Tour de France, taking place June 24 to July 18, 1976. The total race distance was 22 stages over 4017 km, with riders averaging 34.518 km/h.[1]

It was won by mountain specialist Lucien Van Impe. The revelation of the Tour however was Freddy Maertens, who in his first Tour won eight stages and the points classification, and led the general classification for ten days.

Five-time winner Eddy Merckx did not join in the 1976 Tour de France because he was injured. 1975 winner Bernard Thévenet left the race in the 19th stage, but at that point it was already clear that Van Impe would win the race.

The mountains classification was won by Giancarlo Bellini with 170 points, only one point ahead of Lucien Van Impe. The young rider classification was won by Enrique Martínez Heredia. Heredia had already won the Tour de l'Avenir in 1974, but never broke through after this win.[2]


  • Changes from the 1975 Tour de France 1
  • Participants 2
  • Race overview 3
  • Stages 4
  • Classification leadership 5
  • Results 6
    • General classification 6.1
    • Points classification 6.2
    • Mountains classification 6.3
    • Young rider classification 6.4
    • Intermediate sprints classification 6.5
    • Team classification 6.6
    • Team points classification 6.7
  • Doping cases 7
  • References 8
  • Externals links 9

Changes from the 1975 Tour de France

The prize for the winner of the Tour de France was not only money, but also an apartment.[1] The calculation for the points classification was changed, to make the competition more accessible for the non-sprinters.[3]


The following 13 teams each sent 10 cyclists, for a total of 130:[4][5]

Eddy Merckx, who already had won the Tour de France five times, had troubles to find his form in 1976, and suffered from saddle sores. He decided not to enter the 1976 Tour de France. The main favourite for the victory was now Joop Zoetemelk, who had never finished worse than fifth place in the Tour de France. The winner of the previous Tour, Bernard Thévenet, had a good spring season, winning the Dauphiné Libéré. The other former winner that was still racing, Luis Ocaña, had become second in the 1976 Vuelta a España, and was hoping to win again[6] Also reigning world champion Hennie Kuiper was considered a pre-race favourite.[7]

Race overview

The prologue was won by Maertens. He won some more stages in the first week, and was firmly leading the race. The contenders for the overall victory, thought to be Bernard Thévenet, Joop Zoetemelk and Lucien Van Impe, were waiting for the mountains to start their battle.

The first mountain stage was stage 9, and there a group of 40 cyclists broke loose. Zoetemelk won the stage, but Van Impe took the lead in the general classification, with Zoetemelk only 8 seconds behind.[8] In the next stage, Zoetemelk won the stage, but Thévenet and Van Impe were only one second behind him.[9]

The 11th stage did not see major changes in the top of the general classification, but it was remarkable as the stage with the biggest winning margin in post-World War II history. José-Luis Viejo won the stage, 22 minutes and 50 seconds ahead of the next cyclist.[1]

Then the Peugeot team from Thévenet took control. Raymond Delisle sped away in the 12th stage, took a five-minute lead and won the stage, thereby taking the lead in the general classification.

After the 13th stage, won by Régis Ovion, Ovion failed the doping test. He was taken out of the results, and Teirlinck and Panizza, who originally were second and third, gained one place. In the official classification, the other cyclists were not upgraded, so the third place remains unoccupied.[10]

In the 14th stage, there was a group of attackers away, including

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

Externals links

  1. ^ a b c d e  
  2. ^ "Witte trui geen garantie voor grootse Tourloopbaan" (in Dutch). 23 January 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "Appartement voor winnaar Tour" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 18 June 1976. Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "63ème Tour de France 1976" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Historique du Tour de France - Year 1976: The starters". Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2008). The Story of the Tour De France: 1965-2007. Dog Ear Publishering. pp. 98–104.  
  7. ^ "Tour zonder Merckx met veel favorieten" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 22 June 1976. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  8. ^ "63ème Tour de France - 9ème étape" (in French). Memoire du Cyclisme. Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  9. ^ "63ème Tour de France - 10ème étape" (in French). Memoire du Cyclisme. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "63ème Tour de France - 13ème étape" (in French). Memoire du Cyclisme. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "1976 - Lucien van Impe wint na misrekening van Joop Zoetemelk" (in Dutch). 19 March 2003. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  12. ^ "63ème Tour de France - 20ème étape" (in French). Memoire du Cyclisme. Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  13. ^  
  14. ^ Stage 13 was initially won by Régis Ovion, but he failed the doping test. The stage victory was then given to Teirlinck, who initially was second in that stage.
  15. ^ "Protest van Tour-renners". Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (in Dutch) (Delpher). 14 July 1976. p. 6. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified - Evaluating success". Ltd. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "TDF guides: White jersey".  
  18. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Intermediate Sprints Classification". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  19. ^ Chauner, David; Halstead, Michael (1990). The Tour de France Complete Book of Cycling. Villard.  
  20. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Other Classifications & Awards". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f "Laatste uitslagen van de Tour de France '76" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 19 July 1976. Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Tombés au champs d’honneur" (in French). Sport & Vie. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  23. ^ "Manzaneque: positief op dopingonderzoek.". Leeuwarder Courant. 3 July 1976. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  24. ^ """Manzaneque, sancionado por "doping (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportive. 3 July 1976. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 


During the Tour de France, 110 doping tests were taken. Three cyclists tested positive.[22] After the third stage, Jesús Manzaneque tested positive for doping.[23] Manzaneque received a 10-minute penalty in the general classification and was suspended for one month.[24] After the 13th stage, winner Régis Ovion failed the doping test. He was taken out of the results, and Teirlinck and Panizza, who originally were second and third, gained one place. In the official classification, the other cyclists were not upgraded, so the third place remains unoccupied.[10] Bernard Labourdette was caught during the doping test, when he tried to cheat.[22]

Doping cases

Final general classification (1–10)[4]
Rank Name Team Time
1  Lucien Van Impe (BEL) Gitane-Campagnolo 116h 22' 23"
2  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) Gan +4' 14"
3  Raymond Poulidor (FRA) Gan +12' 08"
4  Raymond Delisle (FRA) Peugeot +12' 17"
5  Walter Riccomi (ITA) Scic-Fiat-Colnago +12' 39"
6  Francisco Galdos (ESP) Kas-Campagnolo +14' 50"
7  Michel Pollentier (BEL) Flandria-Velda Vleesbedrijf +14' 59"
8  Freddy Maertens (BEL) Flandria-Velda Vleesbedrijf +16' 09"
9  Fausto Bertoglio (ITA) Jollyceramica +16' 36"
10  Vicente López Carril (ESP) Kas-Campagnolo +19' 28"

General classification

For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time. The riders in the team that lead this classification wore yellow caps.[19] There was also a team points classification. After each stage, the stage rankings of the best three cyclists per team were added, and the team with the least total lead this classification, and were identified by green caps.[20]

The fifth individual classification was the intermediate sprints classification. This classification had similar rules as the points classification, but only points were awarded on intermediate sprints. In 1976, this classification had no associated jersey.[18]

Another classification was the young rider classification. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only neo-professionals were eligible, and the leader wore a white jersey.[17]

[16] There was also a

Additionally, there was a points classification, where cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.[16]

There were several classifications in the 1976 Tour de France, four of them awarding jerseys to their leaders. The most important was the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification is considered the winner of the Tour.[16]


Stage General classification
Points classification
Mountains classification
Young rider classification
Intermediate sprints classification Team classification Team points classification
P Freddy Maertens Freddy Maertens no award Bert Pronk no award Gan Gan
1 Hennie Kuiper
Roger Legeay
Freddy Maertens Raleigh
2 Arnaldo Caverzasi
3 Velda
4 Hennie Kuiper
Arnaldo Caverzasi
5B Robert Mintkiewicz
6 Brooklyn Gan
7 Hennie Kuiper Freddy Maertens Gan
8 Giancarlo Bellini Robert Mintkiewicz
9 Lucien Van Impe Patrick Perret
10 Lucien Van Impe Alain Meslet
12 Raymond Delisle Freddy Maertens Peugeot
13 Giancarlo Bellini Freddy Maertens
Robert Mintkiewicz
14 Lucien Van Impe Lucien Van Impe Kas
16 Robert Mintkiewicz
17 Bert Pronk
18C Giancarlo Bellini
20 Lucien Van Impe Enrique Martínez Heredia
21 Giancarlo Bellini

Classification leadership

Stage 18A was originally scheduled to be 47 km longer, but after the 17th stage, the Tour direction saw that cyclists were exhausted, and shortened the stage.[15]

Stage results[4]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 24 June Saint-Jean-de-Monts 8 km (5 mi) Individual time trial  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
1 25 June Saint-Jean-de-Monts to Angers 173 km (107 mi) Flat Stage  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
2 26 June Angers to Caen 237 km (147 mi) Flat Stage  Giovanni Battaglin (ITA)
3 27 June Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Le Touquet-Paris-Plage 37 km (23 mi) Individual time trial  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
4 28 June Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Bornem 258 km (160 mi) Flat Stage  Hennie Kuiper (NED)
5A 29 June Leuven to Leuven 4 km (2 mi) Team time trial Ti-Raleigh
5B Leuven to Verviers 144 km (89 mi) Half Stage  Miguel-Maria Lasa (ESP)
6 30 June Bastogne to Nancy 209 km (130 mi) Flat Stage  Aldo Parecchini (ITA)
7 1 July Nancy to Mulhouse 206 km (128 mi) Flat Stage  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
8 2 July Valentigney to Divonne-les-Bains 220 km (137 mi) Flat Stage  Jacques Esclassan (FRA)
9 4 July Divonne-les-Bains to Alpe d'Huez 258 km (160 mi) Mountain Stage  Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
10 5 July Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Montgenèvre 166 km (103 mi) Mountain Stage  Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
11 6 July Montgenèvre to Manosque 224 km (139 mi) Mountain Stage  José-Luis Viejo (ESP)
12 8 July Le Barcarès to Pyrénées 2000 205 km (127 mi) Mountain Stage  Raymond Delisle (FRA)
13 9 July Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via to Saint-Gaudens 188 km (117 mi) Mountain Stage  Willy Teirlinck (BEL)[14]
14 10 July Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary-Soulan 139 km (86 mi) Mountain Stage  Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
15 11 July Saint-Lary-Soulan to Pau 195 km (121 mi) Mountain Stage  Wladimiro Panizza (ITA)
16 12 July Pau to Fleurance 152 km (94 mi) Flat Stage  Michel Pollentier (BEL)
17 13 July Fleurance to Auch 39 km (24 mi) Individual time trial  Ferdinand Bracke (BEL)
18A 14 July Auch to Langon 86 km (53 mi) Half Stage  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
18B Langon to Lacanau 123 km (76 mi) Half Stage  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
18C Lacanau to Bordeaux 70 km (43 mi) Half Stage  Gerben Karstens (NED)
19 15 July Sainte-Foy-la-Grande to Tulle 220 km (137 mi) Flat Stage  Hubert Mathis (FRA)
20 16 July Tulle to Puy de Dôme 220 km (137 mi) Mountain Stage  Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
21 17 July Montargis to Versailles 145 km (90 mi) Flat Stage  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
22A 18 July Paris 6 km (4 mi) Individual time trial  Freddy Maertens (BEL)
22B Paris - Paris (Champs-Élysées) 91 km (57 mi) Half Stage  Gerben Karstens (NED)
  • Normal stages: stages 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 16, 19, 21
  • Mountain stages: stages 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20
  • Long time trials: stages 3 and 17
  • Team time trials: stage 5a
  • Short time trials: prologue and stage 22a
  • Half stages: stages 5b, 18a, 18b, 18c and 22b

The 1976 Tour de France started on 24 June, and had two rest days, the first in Divonne-les-Bains the second at Pyrénées 2000.[13] The 1976 Tour de France was divided into 22 stages and one prologue. Of the 22 stages, three were split stages: stages 5 and 22 were split into two half stages, and stage 18 was split into three smaller stages. There were five types of stages, with respect to how many points could be earned for the points classification in the Tour de France:


At the end of the Tour de France, the combativity award was given to Raymond Delisle.[1]

The battle for the third place was between Raymond Delisle, Raymond Poulidor and Walter Riccomi. Poulidor, 40 years old, was racing his final Tour de France. After the 20th stage, they had exactly the same time in the general classification, and Riccomi was only 12 seconds behind them.[12] In the time trial of stage 22A, Poulidor won a few seconds on Delisle and Riccomi, and was on the podium in Paris.[1]

Van Impe won some more time in the time trial of stage 17, and Zoetemelk won a few seconds back in the 20th stage and in the time trial of the 22nd stage, but the Tour had been decided in the 14th stage at the moment when Zoetemelk decided to wait for the Peugeot team.[11]


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