After the death of Tom Simpson in 1967, this year's Tour was billed as the "clean" Tour. When eternal hope Raymond Poulidor was forced to withdraw after a crash, the race was wide open. In the closing stages, a fierce battle erupted between Belgians Ferdinand Bracke, Herman Van Springel and Holland's Jan Janssen. In the final-stage time trial, Van Springel was the heavy favorite. But Janssen rode the race of his life and turned out to be the upset winner of the Tour.
Eternal French hope Raymond Poulidor had many qualities. Luck, however, was not always one of them. After numerous near misses in the Tour, Poulidor was again the heavy pre-race favorite. But when he tangled with a press motorcycle on Stage 16 to Albi and crashed, his chance for victory was once again extinguished.
Marcel Bidot says goodbye to the Tour de France, 42 years after his debuts, as a rider.
Geldermans bet: "Janssen will beat Van Springel and be the first Dutch to win the Tour."
Last rider: Clarey (63th) at 2 h 43 min. 28 sec.
Poulidors persistent bad luck. His fall caused by a motorcycle in the Font-Romeu - Albi stage, when victory is finally for him to take, forces him to withdraw in Aurillac.
First drug controls; five towns host Tour for the first time.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated; Richard Nixon is elected 37th president of the United States; Soviet army invades Prague; thousands of French students take to the streets in protest of the education system.