div> The Tour de France – initially scheduled from June 27 to July 19 – will now start on August 29 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at history books to portray 10 of the greatest runners in the history of racing.
Widely regarded as the greatest cyclist of all time, “the Cannibal” won the Tour in each of the first five editions in which he participated, four in a row between 1969 and 1972, then again in 1974 after having jumped the race from 1973 to win the double Giro-Vuelta. instead. Merckx’s insatiable desire to win has earned him a record of 34 Tour stages during his career. He completed the Giro-Tour double three times and, in 1974, he became the first man to win the “triple crown” of road cycling in the Giro, Tour and World Championships, a feat that has been matched only once by Stephen Roche in 1987. Merckx’s hopes of a sixth title in 1975 was ruined when he was struck by a spectator on the Puy-de-Dôme during stage 14 , struggling to finish second in the general classification despite an inflamed liver disease following the incident. He would never win another stage in the race he had dominated for so long, his only other appearance in 1977 ending in sixth place.
The last Frenchman to celebrate the victory of the Tour de France, Bernard Hinault won the title in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985. A sixth title escaped the ‘Badger’ – a knee injury forced Hinault to retire in 1980 while he was in the yellow jersey, with a similar problem preventing him from leaving in 1983. But the most fascinating of all was the race of 1986, in which Hinault was committed to helping his teammate La Vie Claire, Greg LeMond. If he helped, he did so reluctantly, happy to play with the idea that he was capable of winning a sixth title. An attack from Pau on stage 12 puts him more than five minutes from LeMond and he remains yellow for five days, losing it after stage 17. The duo finishes arm in arm on Alpe d’Huez at l ‘from stage 18 but the gesture seemed empty given Hinault’s interview immediately affirming that the race was still in progress. LeMond finally triumphed three minutes but the suspicion persisted and Hinault withdrew at the end of the season, still only 32.
Of the four men to have won five Tour titles, only the Spaniard Indurain achieved it with five consecutive victories as he took control of the race from 1991 to 1995. It was a record perhaps in agreement with a runner that many considered “robotic” because he ripped time trials to mark his authority on the race. Indurain’s success came in the second half of his career – he had participated in the Tour and the Vuelta 10 times together, without ever winning the top 15 until he finished 10th in the 1990 Tour and 7th in this year’s Vuelta, confirming the success that had started a year later. He also won two Giro titles in 1992 and 1993, but has never improved his second place since 1991 in his original Grand Tour.
Anquetil was the first man to win the Tour five times, winning victory in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964, with a double Tour-Vuelta in 1963 and a double Giro-Tour in 1964. After becoming a great amateur, Anquetil broke the prestigious hour record while he was in national service in the French army, starting the professional career which would soon follow. Driving to a very different time, Anquetil never denied doping, saying in a televised debate: “Leave me in peace; everyone takes drugs. ” Anquetil died in 1987 of stomach cancer at the age of 53.
Froome’s goofy style on a bike can often be mocked, but no one can now question the success he brought to him with seven Grand Tour trophies in the cabinet. His success on the Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 was complemented by his superb victory at the Giro 2018 and the Vuelta titles from 2011 and 2017 – the 2011 title was only awarded last year after Juan Jose Cobo was found guilty of doping, retroactively making Froome First winner of the British Grand Tour. Many believe that Froome was strong enough to have beaten Sir Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 Tour, but for team orders, and it remains to be seen whether his chance of winning a fifth record title has now gone after a high-speed crash during from last year’s Criterium du Dauphine left him with a long list of injuries that could prevent him from regaining his best.
LeMond’s 1986 victory went down in history as one of the most fascinating rounds of all time given the intra-team battle with Hinault, but for the American, it was only the beginning then which he followed up with an even more spectacular victory in 1989. After suffering life-threatening injuries in a hunting accident in 1987, LeMond’s future in sport was in question – he was not considered to be a competitor in 1989 and told his wife that he was thinking about retirement. But he ran the stage five time trial and fought tooth and nail with Laurent Fignon across the mountains. As they embarked on a rare time trial in Paris in the final stage, LeMond started 50 seconds behind Fignon but stunned the Frenchman to win the Tour by just eight seconds, winning the world title a month later. LeMond claimed a third Tour title in 1990.
Considered the first great runner in the post-war period, Bobet was the first to win the Tour for three consecutive years while dominating from 1953 to 1955. Having started cycling after serving in the army during the Second World War, Bobet’s introduction to the Tour was a bad omen because his beginnings in 1947 ended with an early withdrawal and earned him the nickname “crying baby” while he cried in front of the difficulty of the race. . But he returned a year later to spend two days in yellow and finished third in 1950 to show much greater potential. He won the 1955 Tour despite the saddle boils which required surgery and which, according to Bobet, made him a lesser rider for the rest of his life. After missing the laps of 1956 and 1957, he returned in 1958, finishing seventh, but was no longer able to compete for the yellow.
“Le Basset Hound” was the first triple winner of the Tour and a man who would no doubt have fought or won much more without the First World War. The Belgian’s first victory came in 1913, despite a broken pitchfork and a 10-minute penalty after stopping at a bicycle shop for repairs. He won again in 1914 but, with the intervention of the war, had to wait until 1920 for his third. Tour organizer Henri Desgrange wrote: “France is aware that without the war, Anderlecht’s crack would not celebrate its third Tour, but its fifth or sixth.”
Raymond Poulidor has never won the Tour de France but he became a legend during his long rivalry with Jacques Anquetil. “Pou-Pou” became known as the “eternal second” by finishing the second and fifth times three times, riding until the age of 40 in his hunt for the yellow jersey – a garment that would always escape him. Poulidor came closest in 1964, losing only 55 seconds to Anquetil after the two men ran out on the Puy de Dôme. But with each failure, Poulidor’s popularity with French crowds has only grown, even if he was competing with a compatriot, and at the time of his death last year, he was undoubtedly the most rider popular of France.
Mark Cavendish belongs to a category apart in the history of the Tour, his greatest sprinter of all time. Although he competed effectively in a different event from those looking to wear the yellow jersey in Paris, Cavendish became synonymous with success on the Tour as he completely dominated the flat stages at its peak. Between 2008 and 2011, he won 20 incredible stages and in total, the Manxman accumulated 30 victories – just behind the Merckx record – before illness and injuries slow him down and leave a question mark where he once appeared almost sure he would. day take the record for itself.