After his near-defeat in 1971, Eddy Merckx appeared increasingly vulnerable. Once again he grabbed the yellow jersey in the Prologue. But Frenchman Cyrille Guimard grabbed it on Stage 1. Merckx puts any questions to rest, however, in the Pyrénées. On the traditional stage to Luchon, Merckx leaves Guimard over two minutes behind and again takes the lead. And after controlling his competition in the Alps, cruised into Paris for his fourth consecutive win.
Up-and-comer Bernard Thèvenet was quickly earning a name for himself. But he just may not remember his unforgettable Tour performance in 1972. After crashing on the descent of the Aubisque Pass in the Pyrénées, he struggled to finish and could barely remember what race he was in. But after a good night's rest, he managed to reorient himself, and several days later he was the much-celebrated stage winner on the Mount Ventoux.
Merckx thinks hes won at the top of the Mont Revard hill. He rises his arms triumphantly too soon. Guimard beats him by inches.
Last rider: Bellouis (88th), 4 h 3 min. 33 sec. behind.
Cyrille Guimards authority. He wears both the yellow and green jersey after having beaten the races best sprinters in St Brieuc and Merckx at the top of the Mont Revard hill. He withdraws during the next-to-last stage, with tendinitis.
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