The history of the Tour de France

Year 1973


  • With the Tour starting in The Hague, Netherlands, Dutch rider Joop Zoetemelk fittingly grabbed the yellow jersey in the Prologue. But the real star of the 1973 Tour was Spaniard Luis Oçana. He confirmed his 1971 showing--despite the absence of Eddy Merckx who opted not to ride this year--and dominated. Before the race finished, Oçana won two time trials, not to mention stages in both the Alps and the Pyrénées.

  • Luis Ocana’s six stage victories; his leading from stage seven to the last stage, stage 20. Again Raymond Poulidor is dogged with bad luck. After missing the yellow jersey in the Prologue by less than one second, the French hero crashed on the stage to Luchon and was forced to abandon. Ironically, Oçana crashed on the same stage in 1971, and this year Poulidor was taken to the same hospital and given the same room and same bed as his Spanish rival.

  • After he met a Sud-Aviation engineer, Ocana discovers titanium and uses this material which was used only in aeronautics. Last rider: Hochart (87th), 4 h 51 min. 9 sec. behind.

  • Zoetemelk leading at the Scheveningen start. Four cities host Tour for the first time; three new mountain-top finishes.

  • Peace agreement in Vietnam is signed; Henry Kissinger wins the Nobel Peace Prize; Watergate scandal unfolds; Pablo Picasso dies.

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