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Joop Zoetemelk Photo Gallery

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Joop Zoetemelk (born December 3, 1946), with apologies to Raymond Poulidor, is cycling's true "Eternal Second", having come second in the Tour de France six times, finally winning it in 1980. His full name is Hendrik Gerardus Joseph Zoetemelk.

He turned pro in 1970 and that same year he was second to Eddy Merckx in the Tour de France. He regularly wore the Tour's Yellow Jersey, but always seemed to lose it before the race made it to Paris. Many observers thought he lack sufficient drive to win the big race.

But as he acquired those second places, he won many of the world's most important races, including the Vuelta a España, Paris-Nice, Amstel Gold and the World Championship.

From my book, The Story of the Tour de France: In 1980, "Joop Zoetemelk left his old team of Miko and moved to TI-Raleigh. Zoetemelk now had the strongest team and perhaps the most driven and demanding director in Peter Post to help him win the Tour. This was the 33-year old Zoetemelk's tenth attempt to win. He had four second places starting with his first entry in 1970 when he was runner up to Merckx. Zoetemelk had also come in fourth twice and fifth once. Like Poulidor and Gimondi, Zoetemelk was an excellent racer who had to contend with giants. His racing started with Merckx and continued with Thévenet and went through the Hinault era. Even though the 1980 route wasn't as mountainous as other editions, Post was pleased. This might seem counter-intuitive given that Zoetemelk was an excellent climber. Post figured that with his team of mostly big, strong Dutchmen, they could protect Zoetemelk for more of the race and he would spend less time isolated in the high mountains. Post takes credit for motivating Zoetemelk, convincing him that his record of high Tour placings and prestigious race wins meant he could actually win the Tour de France."

In that 1980 Tour, eventual five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault looked to be headed to another Tour win, but an inflamed knee forced the Frenchman to abandon before the start of stage 13. At the end of stage 13 Zoetemelk was in yellow and remained the race leader all the way to Paris. He had finally won the Tour de France

But Zoetemelk was not done. He kept racing and in 1985 he won the World Road Championships when he was forty years old. I believe Zoetemelk remains the oldest man to win the World Pro Road Championship.

He finished the Tour 16 times. As of this writing in 2021, that remains the record.

Zoetemelk retired in 1987

Major victories and high placings:

Professional Teams:

Nicknames: Joop

Photos:

Joop Zoetemelk

Zoetemelk in 1968. Eric Koch photo

Joop Zoetemelk

1970 Tour de France, stage 10. Eddy Merckx leads Georges Pintens and Joop Zoetemelk in a break. Hidden behind Zoetemelk is Guerrino Tosello. Sirotti photo

Zoetemelk & Merckx

1973 Joop Zoetemelk & Eddy Merckx. Bert Verhoeff photo

Joop Zoetemelk

A 1973 bicycle poster.

Joop Zoetemelk

1978 Tour de France, Stage 14. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

1979 Tour de France: Bernard Hinault leads Zoetemelk on the Galibier.

Joop Zoetemelk

Zoetemelk in 1979. Hans van Dijk photo.

Joop Zoetemlk

1980 Tour de France, the one Zoetemelk won. From left: Robert Alban, Joop Zoetemelk in yellow with a bandaged arm & Hennie Kuiper

Joop Zoetemelk

Zoetemelk in 1981. From the Fotocollectie Anegfo

Joop Zoetemelk

Zoetemelk racing in stage 14 of the 1982 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

1983 Promotional team flyer. Note the Modolo brakes branded Mavic. The team rode Mavic groups that year.

Joop Zoetemelk

1984 Tirreno-Adriatico. I believe this is Zoetemlek winning stage 5. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

1984 Tour de France, stage 15, Les Echelles - La Ruchere. A wet day for a timed hill climb. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

After the hill climb. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

Joop Zoetemelk climbing Alpe d'Huez in stage 16 of the 1984 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

World Championships

1984 World Championships in Barcelona. Zoetemelk in orange follows Bernard Bourreau. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

Another shot from the 1984 Barcelona World Championships. Zoetemelk in orange looks to be next to the man who won the race and became world champion, Claude Criquielion. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

Zoetemelk is about to start the 1985 World Road Champions in Montello, Italy. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

Zoetemelk winning the 1985 World Road Championship. Greg Lemond was second, 3 seconds back.

Joop Zoetemelk

The Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport's article about Zoetemelk's World Championship win.

Joop Zoetemelk

Heading to the start line of the 1985 Giro di Lombardia. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

In his newly acquired rainbow jersey, Zoetemelk is in Como, Italy, and ready to start the1985 Giro di Lombardia. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

Zoetemelk in a 1987 poster

Joop Zoetemelk

At the 2010 Tour de france team presentation ceremony. Here are Jan Janssen (1968 winner) and Joop Zoetemelk (1980). Note they are riding their Tour winning bikes. Janssen's packing Mafac centerpull brakes. Sirotti photo

Joop Zoetemelk

The start of the second stage of the 2015 Tour de France with Bernard Hinault and Joop Zoetemelk. Sirotti photo.

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