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1969 Tour de France

56th edition: June 28 - July 20, 1969

Results, Stages with running GC, photos, video and history

1968 Tour | 1970 Tour | Tour de France database | 1969 Tour Quick Facts | Final GC | Stage results with running GC | The Story of the 1969 Tour de France | Video of the 1969 Tour

Map of the 1969 Tour de France

Map of the 1969 Tour de France

1969 Tour Quick Facts:

4,110 km ridden at an average speed of 35.409 km/hr.

There were 130 starters and 86 classified finishers.

Trade teams permanently replaced national teams.

Eddy Merckx came to the 1969 Tour de France burning with resentment over his ejection from the Giro because of a doping positive which he said was patently unjust. His anger fueled one of the most dominating rides in Tour history. His stage 17 solo break of 130 kilometers was simply astonishing.

Complete Final 1969 Tour de France General Classification:

  1. Eddy Merckx (Faema) 116hr 16min 2sec
  2. Roger Pingeon (Peugeot-BP) @ 17min 54sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor (Mercier-BP) @ 22min 13sec
  4. Felice Gimondi (Salvarani) @ 29min 24sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias (KAS) @ 33min 4sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans (Willem II-Gazelle) @ 33min 57sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli (Molteni) @ 42mi 40sec
  8. Joaquim Agostinho (Frimatic-De Gribaldy) @ 51min 24sec
  9. Désiré Letort (Paugeot-BP) @ 51min 41sec
  10. Jan Janssen (Bic) @ 52min 56sec
  11. Joaquin Galera (Fagor) @ 54min 47sec
  12. Lucien van Impe (Sonolor-Lejeune) @ 56min 17sec
  13. Jean-Claude Theillière (Sonolor-Lejeune) @ 1hr 4min 58sec
  14. Wladimiro Panizza (Salvarani) @ 1hr 5min 16sec
  15. Eddy Schutz (Molteni) @ 1hr 6min 58sec
  16. Jean Dumont (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 7min 25sec
  17. Paul Gutty (Frimatic-De Gribaldy) @ 1hr 8min 5sec
  18. Herman Van Springel (Mann-Grundig) @ 1hr 10min 11sec
  19. Eduardo Castello (KAS) @ 1hr 14min 4sec
  20. Michele Dancelli (Molteni) @ 1hr 17min 36sec
  21. Francisco Galdos (KAS) @ 1hr 17min 44sec
  22. José-Manuel Lopez-Rodriguez (Fagor) @ 1hr 21min 20sec
  23. Martin Vandenbossche (Faema) @ 1hr 22min 8sec
  24. Francisco Gabica (Fagor) @ 1hr 28min 19sec
  25. Bernard Labourdette (Mercier-BP) @ 1hr 30min 3sec
  26. André Zimmermann (Sonolor-Lejeune) @ 1hr 33min 56sec
  27. Wilfried David (Flandria) @ 1hr 36min 31sec
  28. Jozef Spruyt (Faema) @ 1hr 42min 8sec
  29. Victor Van Schill (Faema) @ 1hr 49min 8sec
  30. Lucien Aimar (Bic) @ 1hr 53min 57sec
  31. André Bayssiere (Peugeot-BP) @ 1hr 57min 58sec
  32. Derek Harrison (Frimatic De Gribaldy) @ 1hr 58min 24sec
  33. André Poppe (Mann-Grundig) @ 1hr 59min 59sec
  34. Stéphane Abrahamian (Sonolor-Lejeune) @ 2hr 1min 36sec
  35. Maurice Izier (Frimatic-De Gribaldy) @ 2hr 4min 56sec
  36. Dino Zandegu (Salvarani) @ 2hr 7min 28sec
  37. Raymond Delisle (Peugeot-BP) @ 2hr 8min 57sec
  38. Domingo Perurena (Fagor) @ 2hr 15min 13sec
  39. Franco Balmamion (Salvarani) @ 2hr 15min 25sec
  40. Edward Janssens (Mercier-BP) @ 2hr 15min 49sec
  41. Santiago Lazcano (KAS) @ 2hr 17min 33sec
  42. Christian Raymond (Peugeot-BP) @ 2hr 18min 16sec
  43. Giancarlo Ferretti (Salvarani) @ 2hr 24min 29sec
  44. Roger Swerts (Faema) @ 2hr 26min 19sec
  45. Gilbert Bellone (Bic) @ 2hr 26min 22sec
  46. Jean-Claude Lebaube (Frimatic-De Gribaldy) @ 2hr 30min 9sec
  47. Manuel Galera (Fagor) @ 2hr 31min 22sec
  48. Jean Vidament (Mercier-BP) @ 2hr 33min 17sec
  49. Evert Dolman (Willem II-Gazelle) @ 2hr 33min 37sec
  50. Bernard Guyot (Conolor-Lejeune) @ 2hr 40min 41sec
  51. Roberto Poggiali (Salvarani) @ 2hr 41min 17sec
  52. Wilfried Peffgen (Salvarani) @ 2hr 42min 50sec
  53. Roland Berland (Bic) @ 2hr 43min 47sec
  54. Francis Rigon (Frimatic-De Gribaldy) @ 2hr 44min 5sec
  55. Robert Bouloux (Peugeot-BP) @ 2hr 44min 17sec
  56. Georges Vandenberghe (Faema) s.t.
  57. Ferdinand Bracke (Peugeot-BP) @ 2hr 45min 28sec
  58. José Gomez-Lucas (KAS) @ 2hr 46min 12sec
  59. Pietro Scandelli (Faema) @ 2hr 46min 42sec
  60. Jaak De Boever (Flandria) @ 2hr 47min 11sec
  61. Nemesio Jiménez (KAS) @ 2hr 47min 59sec
  62. Jean-Louis Bodin (Frimatic-De Gribaldy) @ 2hr 49min 32sec
  63. Cees Haast (Willem II-Gazelle) @ 2hr 51min 9sec
  64. Juul Van Der Flaas (Willem II-Gazelle) @ 2hr 51min 44sec
  65. Gerben Karstens (Peugeot-BP) @ 2hr 52min 17sec
  66. José Catieau (Sonolor-Lejeune) @ 2hr 53min 46sec
  67. Barry Hoban (Mercier-BP) @ 2hr 54min 2sec
  68. Jean-Pierre Genet (Mercier-BP) @ 2hr 54min 15sec
  69. Mario Anni (Molteni) @ 2hr 54min 18sec
  70. Edouard Delberghe (Sonolor-Leujeune) @ 2hr 55min 58sec
  71. Michael Wright (Bic) @ 2hr 56min 47sec
  72. Julien Stevens (Faema) @ 2hr 59min 38sec
  73. Giacinto Santambrogio (Molteni) @ 3hr 1min 27sec
  74. Michel Coulon (Flandria) @ 3hr 6min 1sec
  75. Paul In't Ven (Mann-Grundig) @ 3hr 6min 2sec
  76. Frans Mintjens (Faema) @ 3hr 7min 6sec
  77. Guido Reybrouck (Faema) @ 3hr 8min 0sec
  78. Harm Ottenbros (Willem II-Gazelle) @ 3hr 8min 10sec
  79. Eric Leman (Flandria) @ 3hr 12min 13sec
  80. Raymond Riotte (Mercier-BP) @ 2hr 12min 37sec
  81. Pietro Guerra (Salvarani) @ 3hr 15min 53sec
  82. Marc De Block (Flandria) @ 3hr 21min 15sec
  83. Eddy Beugels (Mercier-BP) @ 3hr 21min 52sec
  84. Roger Cooreman (Mann-Grundig) @ 3hr 34min 37sec
  85. Pierre Matignon (Frimatic-De Gribaldy) @ 3hr 45min 23sec
  86. André Wilhelm (Sonolor-Lejeune) @ 3hr 51min 53sec

Climbers' Competition:

  1. Eddy Merckx (Faema): 155 points
  2. Roger Pingeon (Peugeot-BP): 94
  3. Joaquin Galera (Fagor): 80
  4. Paul Gutty (Frimatic-De Gribaldy): 68
  5. Andres Gandarias (KAS): 54
  6. Felice Gimondi (Salvarani): 51
  7. Raymond Poulidor (Mercier-BP): 48
  8. Martin Vandenbossche (Faema): 36
  9. Raymond Delisle (Peugeot-BP): 29
  10. Wladimiro Panizza (Salvarani): 28

Points Competition:

  1. Eddy Merckx (Faema): 244 points
  2. Jan Janssen (Bic): 149
  3. Marinus Wagtmans (Willem II-Gazelle): 236
  4. Roger Pingeon (Peugeot-BP): 131
  5. Felice Gimondi (Salvarani): 108
  6. Raymond Poulidor (Mercier-BP): 99
  7. Michele Dancelli (Molteni): 95
  8. Joaquim Agostinho (Frimatic-De Gribaldy): 91
  9. Andres Gandarias (KAS): 89
  10. Harm Ottenbros (Willem II-Gazelle): 82

Team GC:

  1. Faema: 351hr 50min 56sec
  2. Peugeot-BP @ 14min 53sec
  3. KAS @ 1hr 1min 42sec
  4. Fagor @ 1hr 17min 46sec
  5. Frimatic-De Gribaldy @ 1hr 28min 20sec
  6. Salvarani @ 1hr 32min 30sec
  7. Mercier-BP @ 1hr 38min 3sec
  8. Molteni @ 1hr 41min 38sec
  9. Sonolor-Lejeune @ 1hr 41min 41sec
  10. Bic @ 3hr 7min 22sec
  11. Flandria @ 3hr 54min 37sec
  12. Willem II-Gazelle @ 3hr 59min 35sec
  13. Mann-Grundig @ 4hr 22min 56sec

Stage results with running GC:

Prologue: Saturday, June 28, Roubaix 10.4 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Rudi Altig: 13min
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 7sec
  3. Charly Gorsskost @ 17sec
  4. Ferdi Bracke @ 18sec
  5. Felice Gimondi @ 21sec
  6. Raymond Poulidor @ 22sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli s.t. and tied for 6th with Poulidor
  8. Eddy Schutz @ 24sec
  9. Jan Janssen @ 27sec
  10. Roger Rosiers @ 31sec
  11. Julien Stevens s.t. and tied with Rosiers for 10th

GC after Prologue: Same as prologue times and palces

Stage 1A: Sunday, June 29, Roubaix - Woluwe St. Pierre, 147 km

  1. Marino Basso: 3hr 18min 29sec
  2. Jan Janssen s.t.
  3. Roger De Vlaeminck s.t.
  4. Pieter Nassan s.t.
  5. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  6. Marinus Wagtmans s.t.
  7. Guido Reybrouck s.t.
  8. José Samyn s.t.
  9. Harm Ottenbros s.t.
  10. René Pijnen s.t.

GC after Stage 1A:

  1. Rudi Altig: 3hr 31min 29sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 7sec
  3. Jan Janssen @ 17sec
  4. Charly Grosskost @ 17sec
  5. Ferdi Bracke @ 18sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 21sec
  7. Raymond Poulidor @ 22sec
  8. Piefranco Vianelli @ 22sec
  9. Eddy Schutz @ 24sec
  10. Roger Rosiers @ 31sec

Stage 1B: Sunday, June 29, Woluwe St. Pierre 15.6 km Team Time Trial

Stage was for Team GC with individual GC bonifications for the top three teams. Stage times were calculated by adding up the times for each team's first five riders.

  1. Faema: 1hr 37min 45sec
  2. Bic @ 45sec
  3. Salvarani s.t.
  4. Mann-Grundig @ 1min 35sec
  5. Peugeot-BP @ 2min 10sec
  6. Mercier-BP @ 3min 20sec
  7. KAS @ 4min
  8. Molteni s.t. and tied wih KAS for 7th place
  9. Frimatic-De Gribaldy @ 4min 5sec
  10. Flandria-De Clerck @ 4min 20sec
  11. Fagor @ 4min 25sec
  12. Willem II-Gazelle @ 5min 40sec
  13. Sonolor-Lejeune @ 7min 35sec

GC after Stage 1B:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 3hr 31min 16sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 8sec
  3. Jan Janssen @ 20sec
  4. Charly Grosskost s.t.
  5. Julien Stevens @ 24sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 29sec
  7. Ferdi Bracke @ 31sec
  8. Raymond Poulidor @ 35sec
  9. Pierfranco Vianelli s.t.
  10. Eddy Schutz @ 37sec

Stage 2: Monday, June 30, Woluwe St. Pierre - Maastricht, 181.5 km

  1. Julien Stevens: 4hr 35min 42sec
  2. Willy In't Ven s.t.
  3. Derek Harrison @ 1sec
  4. Franco Balmamion @ 2sec
  5. Michael Wright @ 4sec
  6. Harm Ottenbros @ 6sec
  7. Marino Basso s.t.
  8. Christian Raymond s.t.
  9. Pieter Nassan s.t.
  10. Jan Janssen s.t.

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Julien Stevens: 8hr 7min 2sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 12sec
  3. Rudi Altig @ 20sec
  4. Jan Janssen @ 32sec
  5. Charly Grosskost s.t.
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 41sec
  7. Ferdi Bracke @ 43sec
  8. Raymond Poulidor @ 47sec
  9. Pierfranco Vianelli s.t.
  10. Eddy Schutz @ 49sec

Stage 3: Tuesday, July 1, Maastricht - Charleville Mézières, 213.5 km

  1. Eric Leman: 5hr 56min 15sec
  2. Marino Basso s.t.
  3. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  4. Dino Zandegu s.t.
  5. Pieter Nassan s.t.
  6. Jan Janssen s.t.
  7. Rik Van Looy s.t.
  8. Roger De Vlaeminck s.t.
  9. Gilbert Bellone
  10. José-Manuel Lopez-Rodriguez s.t.

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Julien Stevens: 14hr 3min 17sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 12sec
  3. Rudi Altig @ 20sec
  4. Jan Janssen @ 32sec
  5. Charly Grosskost @ 32sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 41sec
  7. Ferdi Bracke @ 43sec
  8. Raymond Poulidor @ 47sec
  9. Pierfranco Vianelli s.t.
  10. Eddy Schutz @ 49sec

Stage 4: Wednesday, July 2, Charleville Méaières - Nancy, 214 km

  1. Rik Van Looy: 5hr 18min 2sec
  2. Julien Stevens @ 42sec
  3. Dino Zandegu @ 44sec
  4. Frans Mintjens s.t.
  5. Désiré Letort s.t.
  6. José Perez-Frances s.t.
  7. Roland Berland s.t.
  8. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.
  9. René Pijnen @ 1min 37sec
  10. Marinus Wagtmans s.t.

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Julien Stevens: 19hr 21min 51sec
  2. Désiré Letort @ 1min 28sec
  3. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 37sec
  4. Rudi Altig @ 1min 45sec
  5. Wladmiro Panizza @ 1min 51sec
  6. Jan Janssen @ 1min 57sec
  7. Charly Grosskost s.t.
  8. Felice Gimondi @ 2min 6sec
  9. Ferdi Bracke @ 2min 8sec
  10. Raymond Poulidor @ 2min 12sec

Stage 5: Thursday, July 3, Nancy - Mulhouse, 193.5 km

Major ascents: Schlucht, Firstplan

  1. Joaquim Agostinho: 5hr 3min 33sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 18sec
  3. Roger De Vlaeminck s.t.
  4. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  5. Marinus Wagtmans s.t.
  6. Jan Janssen s.t.
  7. Felice Gimondi s.t.
  8. Charly Grosskost s.t.
  9. Wilfried David s.t.
  10. Désiré Letort s.t.

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Désiré Letort: 24hr 27min 10sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 9sec
  3. Rudi Altig @ 17sec
  4. Wladimiro Panizza @ 23sec
  5. Jan Janssen @ 29sec
  6. Charly Grosskost s.t.
  7. Felice Gimondi @ 38sec
  8. Raymond Poulidor @ 44 sec
  9. Pierfranco Vianelli s.t.
  10. Roger Pingeon @ 54sec

Stage 6: Friday, July 4, Mulhose - Belfort, 133.5 km

Major ascents: Grand Ballon, Grosse-Pierre, Ballon d'Alsace

  1. Eddy Merckx: 3hr 37min 25sec
  2. Joaquin Galera @ 55sec
  3. Rudi Altig @ 1mn 55sec
  4. Roger De Vlaeminck @ 4min 16sec
  5. Wilfried David @ 4min 21sec
  6. Jan Janssen s.t.
  7. Felice Gimondi s.t.
  8. Roger Pingeon s.t.
  9. Jean-Claude Theilliere s.t.
  10. Marinus Wagtmans s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 28hr 4min 44sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 2min 3sec
  3. Jan Janssen @ 4min 41sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 50sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 4min 56sec
  6. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 4min 56sec
  7. Roger De Vlaeminck @ 5min 5sec
  8. Roger Pingeon @ 5min 6sec
  9. Derek Harrison s.t.
  10. Marinus Wagtmans @ 5min 15sec

Stage 7: Saturday, July 5, Belfort - Divonne le Bains, 241 km

Major ascent: Les Rousses

  1. Mariano Diaz: 6hr 13min 7sec
  2. José-Antonio Momene @ 1min 53sec
  3. Marinus Wagtmans @ 1min 56sec
  4. José-Manuel Lopez-Rodriguez @ 2min 7sec
  5. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  6. Willy Van Neste s.t.
  7. Pietro Scandelli s.t.
  8. Dino Zandegu s.t.
  9. Georges Vandenberghe s.t.
  10. Jan Janssen s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 34hr 19min 58sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 2min 3sec
  3. Jan Janssen @ 4min 41sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 50sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 4min 56sec
  6. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 4min 56sec
  7. Marinus Wagtmans @ 5min 4sec
  8. Roger De Vlaeminck @ 5min 5sec
  9. Roger Pingeon @ 5min 6sec
  10. Derek Harrison s.t.

Stage 8A: Sunday, July 6, Divonne les Bains 8.8 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Eddy Merckx: 10min 38sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 2sec
  3. Charly Grosskost @ 10sec
  4. Roger Pingeon @ 15sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 16sec
  6. Roger De Vlaeminck @ 19sec
  7. José-Manuel Lopez-Rodriguez s.t.
  8. Eddy Schutz s.t.
  9. Jan Janssen @ 20sec
  10. Leen Poortvliet @ 23sec

GC after Stage 8A:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 34hr 30min 36sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 2min 5sec
  3. Jan Janssen @ 5min 1sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 5min 12sec
  5. Felice Gimondi @ 5min 16sec
  6. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 5min 19sec
  7. Roger Pingeon @ 5min 21sec
  8. Roger De Vlaeminck @ 5min 24sec
  9. Marinus Wagtmans @ 5min 32sec
  10. Derek Harrison @ 5min 33sec

Stage 8B: Sunday, July 6, Divonne les Bains - Thonon les Bains, 136.5 km

Major ascent: Col de Cou

  1. Michele Dancelli: 3hr 30min 46sec
  2. Andrés Gandarias @ 4sec
  3. Marinus Wagtmans @ 1min 27sec
  4. Marino Basso @ 1min 56sec
  5. Roger De Vlaeminck s.t.
  6. Dino Zandegu s.t.
  7. Jan Janssen s.t.
  8. Guido Reybrouck s.t.
  9. Eric Leman s.t.
  10. Gerben Karstens s.t.

GC after stage 8B:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 38hr 3min 18sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 2min 5sec
  3. Jan Janssen @ 5min 1sec
  4. Marinus Wagtmans @ 5min 3sec
  5. Raymond Poulidor @ 5min 12sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 6min 16sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 5min 19sec
  8. Roger Pingeon @ 5min 21sec
  9. Roger De Vlaeminck @ 5min 24sec
  10. Derek Harrison @ 5min 33sec

Stage 9: Monday, July 7, Thonon les Bains - Chamonix, 111 km

Major ascents: Forclaz, Montets

  1. Roger Pingeon: 2hr 48min 23sec
  2. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  3. Lucien van Impe @ 1min 33sec
  4. Andrés Gandarias s.t.
  5. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  6. Francisco Galdos s.t.
  7. Santiago Lazcano s.t.
  8. Marinus Wagtmans @ 2min 13sec
  9. Jan Janssen s.t.
  10. Felice Gimondi s.t.

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 40hr 51min 41sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 5min 21sec
  3. Raymond poulidor @ 6min 45sec
  4. Jan Janssen @ 7min 14sec
  5. Marinus Wagtmans @ 7min 16sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 7min 29sec
  7. Derek Harrison @ 7min 46sec
  8. Wilfried David @ 8min 35sec
  9. Andrés Gandarias @ 9min 20sec
  10. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 9min 41sec

Stage 10: Tuesday, July 8, Chamonix - Briançon, 220.5 km

Major ascents: Madaleine, Télégraphe, Galibier

  1. Herman Van Springel: 6hr 41min 43sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 2min 1sec
  3. Marinus Wagtmans s.t.
  4. Felice Gimondi s.t.
  5. Roger Pingeon s.t.
  6. Raymond Poulidor @ 2min 5sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli s.t.
  8. Andrés Gandarias s.t.
  9. Waldimiro Panizza @ 3min 2sec
  10. André Poppe @ 4min 56sec

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 47hr 35min 25sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 5min 21sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 6min 51sec
  4. Marinus Wagtmans @ 7min 16sec
  5. Felice Gimondi @ 7min 29sec
  6. Andrés Gandarias @ 9min 24sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 9min 45sec
  8. Herman Van Springel @ 10min 40sec
  9. Joaquin Galera @ 15min 43sec
  10. Désiré Letort @ 19min 14sec

Stage 11: Wednesday, July 9, Briançon - Digne, 198 km

Major ascents: Vars, Allos, Coronbin

  1. Eddy Merckx: 5hr 58min 55sec
  2. Felice Gimondi s.t.
  3. Gabriel Mascaro @ 22sec
  4. Roger Pingeon s.t.
  5. Luis-Pedro Santamaria @ 23sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 2min 50sec
  7. Joaquin Galera @ 2min 52sec
  8. Lucien van Impe s.t.
  9. Andrés Gandarias s.t.
  10. Raymond Poulidor s.t.

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 53hr 34min 20sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 5min 43sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 7min 29sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 9min 41sec
  5. Marinus Wagtmans @ 11min 35sec
  6. Andrés Gandarias @ 12min 16sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 14min 4sec
  8. Joaquin Galera @ 18min 35sec
  9. Herman Van Springel @ 21min 34sec
  10. Désiré Letort @ 23min 2sec

Stage 12: Tursday, July 10, Digne - Aubagne, 161.5 km

Major ascent: Espigoulier

  1. Felice Gimondi: 4hr 23min 15sec
  2. Andrés Gandarias s.t.
  3. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  4. Victor Van Schil s.t.
  5. Stéphane Abrahamian @ 1min 23sec
  6. Jaak De Boever s.t.
  7. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  8. Joaquim Agostinho s.t.
  9. Lucien van Impe s.t.
  10. Herman van Springel s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 57hr 57min 30sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 7min 11sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 7min 14sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 9sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 12min 11sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 13min 35sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 16min 50sec
  8. Joaquin Galera @ 21min 21sec
  9. Herman Van Springel @ 23min 2sec
  10. Désiré Letort @ 25min 2sec

Stage 13: Friday, July 11, Aubagne - La Grande Motte, 195.5 km

  1. Guido Reybrouck: 5hr 48min 54sec
  2. Jan Janssen s.t.
  3. Eric Leman s.t.
  4. Harm Ottenbros s.t.
  5. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  6. Dino Zandegu s.t.
  7. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  8. Roland Berland s.t.
  9. Nemesio Jimenez s.t.
  10. Eddy Beugels s.t.

GC after Stage 13:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 63hr 51min 4sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 7min 11sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 7min 14sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 9sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 12min 11sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 13min 35sec
  7. Pierfranco Vinaelli @ 16min 50sec
  8. Herman Van Springel @ 18min 22sec
  9. Eddy Schutz @ 20min 29sec
  10. Joaquin Galera @ 21min 21sec

Stage 14: Saturday, July 12, La Grande Motte - Revel, 234.5 km

Rudi Altig was positive for dope and given a 15-minute penalty

  1. Joaquim Agostinho: 6hr 59min 53sec
  2. Eddy Beugels @ 1min 18sec
  3. Wilfried David s.t.
  4. Eric Leman @ 2min 14sec
  5. Dino Zandegu s.t.
  6. Marinus Wagtmans s.t.
  7. Harm Ottenbros s.t.
  8. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  9. Jan Janssen s.t.
  10. Michele Dancelli s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 70hr 53min 11sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 7min 11sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 7min 14sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11min 9sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 12min 11sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 13min 35sec
  7. Pierfranco Vinaelli @ 16min 50sec
  8. Herman Van Springel @ 18min 22sec
  9. Eddy Schutz @ 20min 29sec
  10. Joaquin Galera @ 21min 21sec

Stage 15: Sunday, July 13, Revel 18.5 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Eddy Merckx: 24min 8sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 52sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 55sec
  4. Rudi Altig @ 59sec
  5. Marinus Wagtmans @ 1min 3sec
  6. Joaquim Agostinho @ 1min 28sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 1min 29sec
  8. Felice Gimondi @ 1min 33sec
  9. Eddy Schutz @ 1min 34sec
  10. Herman Van Springel @ 1min 41sec

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 71hr 17min 19sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 8min 3sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 8min 47sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 12min 4sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 13min 53sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 14min 38sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 18min 19sec
  8. Herman Van Springel @ 20min 3sec
  9. Eddy Schutz s.t.
  10. Joaquin Galera @ 23mn 55sec

Stage 16: Monday, July 14, Castelnaudry - Luchon, 199 km

Major ascents: Portet d'Aspet, Mente, Portillon

  1. Raymond Delisle: 6hr 13min 21sec
  2. Jan Janssen @ 23sec
  3. Wladimiro Panizza @ 24sec
  4. Eddy Merckx @ 2min 45sec
  5. Roger Pingeon @ 3min 3sec
  6. José-Antonio Mome @ 3min 27sec
  7. Gabriel Mascaro s.t.
  8. Joaquim Agostinho s.t.
  9. Felice Gimondi s.t.
  10. André Bayssiere s.t.

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 77hr 33min 25sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 8min 21sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 9min 29sec
  4. Raymond Poulidor @ 12min 46sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 14min 46sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 16min 2sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 20min 33sec
  8. Joaquin Galera @ 26min 9sec
  9. Wladimiro Panizza @ 28min 40sec
  10. Eddy Schutz @ 30min 17sec

Stage 17: Tuesday, July 15, Luchon - Mourenx, 214.5 km

Major ascents: Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Aubisque

  1. Eddy Merckx: 7hr 4min 28sec
  2. Michele Dancelli @ 7min 56sec
  3. Martin Van den Bossche @ 7min 57sec
  4. André Bayssiere s.t.
  5. Roger Pingeon s.t.
  6. Jean-Claude Theilliere s.t.
  7. André Zimmermann s.t.
  8. Raymond Poulidor s.t.
  9. Jan Janssen @ 14min 47sec
  10. Marinus Wagtmans @ 14min 48sec

GC after Stage 17:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 84hr 37min 53sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 16min 18sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 20min 43sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 24min 18sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 29min 35sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 30min 50sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 35min 22sec
  8. Désiré Letort @45min 47sec
  9. Joaquim Agostinho @ 46min 58sec
  10. Jan Janssen @ 48min 53sec

Stage 18: Wednesday, July 16, Mourenx - Bordeaux, 201 km

  1. Barry Hoban: 5hr 44min 43sec
  2. Harm Ottenbros s.t.
  3. Pietro Guerra s.t.
  4. Roland Berland s.t.
  5. Francis Rigon s.t.
  6. Guido Reybrouck @ 52sec
  7. Dino Zandegu s.t.
  8. Marinus Wagtmans s.t.
  9. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  10. Eric Leman s.t.

GC after Stage 18:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 90hr 23min 28sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 16min 18sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 20min 43sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 24min 18sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 29min 35sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 30min 50sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 35min 22sec
  8. Désiré Letort @ 45min 47sec
  9. Joaquim Agostinho @ 46min 58sec
  10. Jan Janssen @ 48min 43sec

Stage 19: Thursday, July 17, Bordeaux - Brive, 192.5 km

  1. Barry Hoban: 5hr 30min 57sec
  2. Evert Dolman s.t.
  3. Pietro Guerra s.t.
  4. Jozef Spruyt s.t.
  5. Eddy Schutz s.t.
  6. Eric Leman @ 1min 21sec
  7. Guido Reybrouck s.t.
  8. Juul Van der Flas s.t.
  9. Georges Vandenberghe s.t.
  10. Harm Ottenbros s.t.

GC after stage 19:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 95hr 55min 54sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 16min 18sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 20min 43sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 24min 18sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 29min 27sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 30min 42sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 35min 22sec
  8. Désiré Letort @ 45min 47sec
  9. Joaquim Agostinho @ 46min 50sec
  10. Jan Janssen @ 48min 50sec

Stage 20: Friday, July 18, Brive - Puy de Dôme, 198 km

Major ascent: hilltop finish at Puy de Dôme

  1. Pierre Matignon: 6hr 49min 54sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 25sec
  3. Paul Gutty @ 1min 30sec
  4. Martin Van den Bossche @ 1min 47sec
  5. Roger Pingeon s.t.
  6. Raymond Poulidor @ 2min 2sec
  7. Andrés Gandarias @ 2min 5sec
  8. Wladimiro Panizza @ 2min 31sec
  9. Jan Janssen @ 2min 29sec
  10. Lucien van Impe s.t.

GC after Stage 20:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 102hr 47min 13sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 16min 40sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 21min 20sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 26min 31sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 30min 7sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 32min 29sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 38min 35sec
  8. Joaquim Agostinho @ 48min 4sec
  9. Désiré Letort @ 48min 7sec
  10. Jan Janssen @ 49min 49sec

Stage 21: Saturday, July 19, Clermont Ferrand - Montargis, 329.5 km

  1. Herman Van Springel: 9hr 37min 47sec
  2. Harm Ottenbros s.t.
  3. Giacinto Santambrogio s.t.
  4. Lucien Aimar s.t.
  5. Giancarlo Ferretti s.t.
  6. Roland Berland s.t.
  7. Bernard Guyot s.t.
  8. Manuel Galera
  9. Joaquin Galera s.t.
  10. Wladimiro Panizza s.t.

GC after Stage 21:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 112hr 26min 28sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 16min 40sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 21min 20sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 26min 31sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 30min 7sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 32min 29sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 38min 35sec
  8. Joaquim Agostinho @ 48min 4sec
  9. Désiré Letort @ 48min 7sec
  10. Jan Janssen @ 49min 49sec

Stage 22A: Sunday, July 20, Montargis - Créteil, 111.5 km

  1. Josef Spruyt: 2hr 56min 18sec
  2. Georges Vandenberghe @ 8sec
  3. Gerben Karstens s.t.
  4. Evert Dolman s.t.
  5. Wilfried Peffgen s.t.
  6. Roland Berland s.t.
  7. Raymond Riotte @ 1min 42sec
  8. Francisco Gabica s.t.
  9. Maurice Izier s.t.
  10. Eduardo Castello s.t.

GC after Stage 22A:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 115hr 28min 23sec
  2. Roger Pingeon @ 16min 40sec
  3. Raymond Poulidor @ 21min 20sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 26min 31sec
  5. Andrés Gandarias @ 20min 7sec
  6. Marinus Wagtmans @ 32min 29sec
  7. Pierfranco Vianelli @ 38min 35sec
  8. Joaquim Agostinho @ 48min 4sec
  9. Désiré Letort @ 48min 7sec
  10. Jan Janssen @ 49min 49sec

Stage 22B (Final Stage): Sunday, July 20, Créteil - Paris 36.8 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Eddy Merckx: 47min 38sec
  2. Raymond Poulidor @ 53sec
  3. Roger Pingeon @ 1min 14sec
  4. Mrinus Wagtmans @ 1min 28sec
  5. Felice Gimondi @ 2min 53sec
  6. Julien Stevens @ 2min 55sec
  7. Andrés Gandarias @ 2min 57sec
  8. Jan Janssen @ 3min 7sec
  9. Joaquim Agostinho @ 3min 20sec
  10. Ferdi Bracke @ 3min 33sec

Complete Final 1969 Tour de France General Classification

The story of the 1969 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.

After the 2-year test the Tour reverted to trade teams. The national team system, while popular with the public, was not without problems. The Tour organization was responsible for the transport, feeding and lodging of the athletes and this was no small expense at a time when the Tour had little to spare.

Additionally, the sponsors detested the system because they suffered a virtual 3-week publicity blackout while their riders rode the most popular event in the cycling calendar. Worse, most of the sponsors had to watch their riders act as domestiques for the riders of other teams. Raymond Poulidor, riding for Mercier the rest of the year, did his best to help Peugeot rider Roger Pingeon win the 1968 Tour. This cannot be what Mercier planned when they sponsored Poulidor. Moreover the riders could not be counted on to forget their trade team loyalties during the Tour when their trade sponsors were the true source of their living. The result was confusion, ambiguity and friction. Given that there were no commanding reasons for the change to national teams in 1967 it is not surprising that the Tour counted its Centimes, listened to the cycling industry, and went back to trade teams.

The Tour organization continued to search for revenue. Cycling's and the Tour's fortunes were hitting a period of low ebb. In 1969, for the first time, the Yellow Jersey had an official sponsor, 2 actually. In 1967 the clothing company Le Coq Sportif acquired the right to put their logo on the Yellow Jersey. In 1969 the synthetic dairy products company Virlux paid to have its name placed on the upper left breast of the Yellow Jersey. Until then the initials of Tour founder Henri Desgrange had been placed somewhere on the front of the Jersey. To make room for the new advertising (including the Yellow Jersey holder's principal sponsor), Desgrange's initials were placed on both shoulders.

At 4,117 kilometers the 1969 Tour was the shortest since Desgrange went from 11 to 15 stages in 1906. With 25 stages (counting the Prologue) the average stage was now only 158 kilometers, a dramatic drop from the nearly 200-kilometer average stage length of the mid-1960's. This doesn't mean that the riders were getting an easier time of it. 3 of the days had split stages. The riders hated the days with 2 stages. They had to get up very early in the morning in order to eat enough and digest their food before the racing started. After the first stage of the day was completed they would wait around in the sweltering July heat, sometimes in tents, before being forced to race again. The return of the split stages was another symptom of the Tour's financial troubles. Cities paid the organization a fat fee to be a start or finish city. By crowding 2 stages in a day the Tour reaped a financial windfall. Still worse for the riders, there were no rest days in 1969. 1968's "Tour of Good Health" was a thing of the past.

It was a clockwise Tour starting in Roubaix and heading into Belgium, then Holland. The Vosges mountains were the first serious climbing, followed by the Alps, the Pyrenees and finally the Massif Central with a trip up Puy de Dôme. From there it was a straight shot north to Paris. This Tour avoided the roads of both Brittany and Normandy, for the first time since the beginning in 1903.

The Tour's entry list of contenders had depth: Jan Janssen (riding for BIC), Herman van Springel (Mann), Joaquim Agostinho (De Gribaldy), Roger Pingeon (Peugeot), Andres Gandarias (KAS), Raymond Poulidor (Mercier), Felice Gimondi and Rudi Altig (Salvarani) plus some new talent riding the Tour for the first time who would shake things up in later years: Lucien van Impe (this Tour was his second race as a pro), Luis Ocaña and Roger De Vlaeminck.

But the 500-pound gorilla was Eddy Merckx. There was no question that he was the most complete and capable rider alive. Merckx won the world amateur road championships in 1964. He turned pro in April 1965 and from there his record of wins is without parallel. He won Milan-San Remo the next year, the first of 7 such victories. In 1967 he won the professional world road championship plus Milan-San Remo, Ghent-Wevelgem, Flèche Wallonne and rode his first Grand Tour, the Giro, coming in ninth. In 1968 he won 32 races including the Giro and Paris-Roubaix.

His 1969 was even more stunning with a total of 43 victories including Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He planned to do the Giro-Tour double and was leading the Giro after taking the Pink Jersey on stage 14. It was after stage 16 that he was given the news that he had tested positive for amphetamines. His Pink Jersey was taken from him and he was ejected from the Giro. The new leader of the Giro was Felice Gimondi who went on to take the final victory.

Merckx has maintained to this day that this was a setup to allow an Italian to win the Giro. He says that bribes were offered to him to let an Italian win and when that failed he was set up. He furthermore argues that the stage where he tested positive was so easy that that was no reason to dope. Without a doubt, the circumstances around the testing were anything but clear. Given the cloudy nature of the entire affair, I believe Merckx should be considered innocent. If they had the goods on him, the various questionable oddities which reek of a frame-up that surrounded the affair probably would not have happened.

Seething with rage over the miscarriage of justice and seeking redemption, Merckx came to the Tour with a fury and a will to win that was powerful by even Merckxian standards. There was also the deep seated desire of his countrymen to see a Belgian again in Yellow. The previous year the Belgians had come close when their Herman van Springel lost the Tour to Jan Janssen by only 38 seconds in the final stage. Janssen says that the Belgians were furious at him and still tell him to this day, "You stole the Tour from our Herman van Springel." No Belgian had won the Tour since Sylvère Maes in 1939.

Decided by lot, members of Merckx's team were the first riders to ride the Prologue individual time trial. In a show of bravado Merckx's director, Guillaume Driessens, had Merckx go first. Usually the protected rider goes as late as possible so that he will have riders up the road to chase. Driessens justified the unusual move by saying that the sooner Merckx got his ride finished the sooner he could begin resting for the next day's competition which involved the first of the split stages. Rudi Altig won the Prologue with Merckx in second place, 7 seconds behind. The early riders faced a headwind that calmed down as the later riders finished the course.

Stage 1A as the Tour is in Belgium. Merckx on the Grammont.

Stage 1b was a 15.6-kilometer team time trial in the Belgian city of Woluwe-St. Pierre and passed in front of Merckx's parent's grocery store. Of course Merckx's Faema squad won the stage. While the times of the teams didn't affect the rider's individual General Classification standings, the riders of the fastest 3 teams got 20-, 10- and 5-second time bonuses. By virtue of that 20-second bonification Merckx was in Yellow in his home town. Altig was second at 8 seconds and 1968 Tour winner Jan Janssen was third, 20 seconds back.

It wasn't Merckx's intent to keep the Yellow Jersey all the way to the end. He was pleased when his domestique, Julien Stevens, won the next day's sprint and the lead. Merckx wouldn't relax, but he could save some energy until the race entered the Vosges mountains. Stevens kept the lead as the Tour went through the Argonne region but lost the Yellow Jersey on first day of climbing in stage 5. All the big guns finished together, 18 seconds behind the stage winner, Joaquim Agostinho. One of Pingeon's domestiques Désiré Letort, found himself the new Yellow Jersey, 9 seconds ahead of Merckx.

It was on stage 6 the Merckx made it clear what sort of race this was to be. The race did 3 climbs, culminating in the Ballon d'Alsace, one of the first climbs ever included in the Tour back in 1905. Over the course of the stage, while the others suffered from both bad luck (Gimondi flatted, Poulidor had a mechanical), crashes (Roger De Vlaeminck) and plain fatigue, Merckx simply rode them off his wheel. The group of riders who hoped to control Merckx in this Tour (particularly Pingeon, Poulidor, Gimondi, Aimar and Gandarias) finished 4 minutes, 21 seconds after the Belgian had soloed to the finish. Galera and Altig had limited their losses to "only" 55 seconds and 115 seconds respectively. It was an extraordinary performance and the high mountains were yet to come.

The General Classification after stage 6:

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Rudi Altig @ 2 minutes 3 seconds
3. Jan Janssen @ 4 minutes 41 seconds
4. Felice Gimondi @ 4 minutes 50 seconds
5. Raymond Poulidor @ 4 minutes 56 seconds

Stage 8a was an individual time trial only 8.8 kilometers long, luckily for the riders in the Tour who weren't named Merckx. He was able to increase his lead slightly, only 2 seconds on Altig but he took a quarter of a minute out of Pingeon and Poulidor.

Stage 8B: Andres Gandarias and Michele Dancelli have escaped and will make to Thonon les Bains almost 2 minutes ahead of the field. Dancelli beat Gandarias by 4 seconds to win the stage.

The Tour hit the first of the high Alps on stage 9, with the Forclaz and Montets ascents. Pingeon was showing a rare bout of self-confidence, believing that Merckx was manageable. The 2 of them escaped on the Forclaz and rode together to the end of the stage. Merckx let the Frenchman go first over both summits and take the sprint. This was a rare bit of charity by Merckx that won't be repeated very often in this book.

The effect of the stage was to bury Janssen, Poulidor and Gimondi and lift Pingeon to second place, a distant 5 minutes, 21 seconds behind Merckx.

The next day's stage, number 10, with the Madeleine, Télégraphe and Galibier climbs was made still harder by terrible weather. Herman van Springel got away successfully on the run-in to Briançon and Merckx led in Wagtmans, Gimondi and Pingeon 2 minutes later. 111 riders were in the race after stage 9. Only 97 finished this hard day, making for 14 abandons. 57 of the stage 10 finishers came in over a half hour after van Springel.

Each day Merckx seemed to take a bite out of his competitors, sometimes a big one, sometimes a smaller one. The fact was that the time lost to Merckx while he was in this indominatable state was irrecoverable. Stage 11 with the Vars and Allos put Pingeon another 22 seconds back when Merckx and Gimondi finished together. No charity given to Gimondi here, Merckx won the stage. Stage 12 brought the Tour into Provence with a final minor climb, the Espigoulier. Merckx and one of his lieutenants, Victor van Schil, broke away with Gandarias and Gimondi, who won the stage. Another chunk of time taken out of the riders who couldn't get into the winning move, this day it was 1 minute, 23 seconds.

After the Alps Merckx had an enviable lead:

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Roger Pingeon @ 7 minutes 11 seconds
3. Felice Gimondi @ 7 minutes 14 seconds
4. Raymond Poulidor @ 11 minutes 9 seconds
5. Andres Gandarias @ 12 minutes 11 seconds

As the Tour cruised through Provence and Languedoc on the way to the Pyrenees 15-minute penalties were given to Rudi Altig, Pierre Matignon and Bernard Guyot after stage 14 for testing positive for dope.

For the rest of the riders the bad news from stage 15 was that Merckx was showing no signs of tiring. He won the 18.5-kilometer time trial handily, relegating Pingeon, Poulidor and Altig about another minute further back while Gimondi lost 93 seconds.

Stages 16 and 17 were the Pyrenean stages. Stage 16's results looked unremarkable even though it had 3 major climbs when Merckx finished fourth behind the winner Raymond Delisle, Jan Janssen and Wladimiro Panizza. The important story of the stage was that he had inflicted more of his terrible math upon his real competitors. Pingeon lost 20 seconds and Gimondi about 30.

Stage 16: Merckx takes off on the Portillion but Raymond Delisle won the stage.

It was on stage 17 that Eddy Merckx etched his name on the granite wall of Tour de France history.

At the start of the stage, here was the General Classification:

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Roger Pingeon @ 8 minutes 21 seconds
3. Felice Gimondi @ 9 minutes 29 seconds
4. Raymond Poulidor @ 12 minutes 46 seconds

With a such a substantial lead, Merckx could easily ride Anquetil- or Indurain-style: just keep the dangermen in sight and preserve and defend the advantage.

The age of Anquetil was over. This was the age of Merckx.

Stage 17 was a 214.5-kilometer epic stage with the Peyresourde, the Aspin, the Tourmalet and the Aubisque. Over the first 2 mountains, Merckx was content to let Joaquin Galera be first over the top.

On the ascent of the Tourmalet with most of the would-be contenders for company, Merckx attacked. Only his teammate and the tallest man in the pro peloton, Martin Vandenbossche, could go with him. The others could only watch.

Over the top of the Tourmalet his lead over his chasers was only a few seconds. On the descent Merckx again showed what a complete rider he was, descending far faster than his chasers. He arrived at the bottom of the Tourmalet alone and a minute ahead of the chasing group. Given the commanding lead Merckx had in the General Classification and the fact that there were still 140 kilometers and the Aubisque left in the stage, the others felt that it was unlikely that Merckx would continue to press his advantage. The initial motivation to drop (actually spank) Vandenbossche and continue alone was Merckx's resentment that Vandenbossche had accepted a contract with another team, Molteni, for the coming year. Vandenbossche was now back in that lead group of chasers, loyally working to protect Merckx.

With 105 kilometers left, Merckx took on food and continued to forge ahead. He later told L'Équipe "I was just 'walking', and when I heard the time gap I decided I had to carry on."

At the top of the Aubisque, wondering if he should wait for help, he was told that he now had a lead of 7 minutes. He decided to keep on with his breakaway. Merckx flew down the hill and over the rolling countryside that stood between him and the finish line.

He crossed that line 7 hours, 4 minutes, 28 seconds after he started. The second rider to finish was Michele Dancelli, 7 minutes, 57 seconds in arrears. Pingeon and Poulidor were right behind Dancelli. In a single day Merckx had about doubled his lead.

Coming in at 14 minutes, 49 seconds was the major group containing Gimondi, van Impe and Agostinho. Taking into account the narrowing differences between riders' abilities that has steadily occurred over the past 100 years, Merckx's 1969 stage 17 ride has to be one of the few Tour exploits that can be considered on par with Coppi's 1952 stage 11 victory.

The new standings showed how Merckx had shattered his rivals:

1. Eddy Merckx
2. Roger Pingeon @ 16 minutes 18 seconds
3. Raymond Poulidor @ 20 minutes 43 seconds
4. Felice Gimondi @ 24 minutes 18 seconds
5. Andres Gandarias @ 29 minutes 35 seconds

When the race climbed Puy de Dôme in stage 20 Merckx would have liked to have won the stage but he woke up too late to realize that a man sitting at the bottom of the standings had taken off on a solo quest to win one of the Tour's most prestigious stages. Aroused, Merckx took off after the now tiring Pierre Matignon (who lost 15 minutes in a doping penalty earlier in the Tour). Utterly exhausted Matignon crossed the line 85 seconds ahead of the flying Belgian. The effects of Merckx's tyrannical attempt to squash a poor flea were to leave the other contenders scattered behind.

That left only the final time trial in Paris and of course it was another Merckx victory. Over 36.8 kilometers he put the day's second-place Poulidor a minute back and cost Pingeon, the year's best challenger, 74 seconds.

Here is the final General Classification of the 1969 Tour de France. Merckx won by the largest margin in 17 years. One has to go back to Fausto Coppi's 28-minute lead over Stan Ockers in the 1952 Tour to find a greater gap.

1. Eddy Merckx: 116 hours 16 minutes 2 seconds
2. Roger Pingeon @ 17 minutes 54 seconds
3. Raymond Poulidor @ 22 minutes 13 seconds
4. Felice Gimondi @ 29 minutes 24 seconds
5. Andres Gandarias @ 33 minutes 4 seconds

Merckx also won all the other Tour competitions including the "Combine" classification:

Points Jersey:

1. Eddy Merckx: 244 points
2. Jan Janssen: 149 points
3. Marinus Wagtmans: 136 points

Climbers' jersey:

1. Eddy Merckx: 155 points
2. Roger Pingeon: 94 points
3. Joaquin Galera: 80 points

Merckx's team, Faema, won the Team General Classification.

Eddy Merckx's domination of the 1969 Tour de France was utter and complete. In an interview in L'Équipe, Merckx said, "I'd love to ride the 1969 Tour again, my first. I'd ride it the same way. It is my most beautiful memory, by a long way."

No doubt.

Video of the 1969 Tour de France

Merckx wins the final time trial