The history of the Tour de France

Year 1978


  • Young French sensation Bernard Hinault equals Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Hugo Koblet and Eddy Merckx by winning the first Tour de France he entered. Although Hinault was not yet his best in the mountains, he was already a top time trialer. With his aggressive style of racing, he remained a top contender throughout the race. Holland's Joop Zoetemelk seemed to finally be on his way to Tour victory, but on the time trial in Nancy, Hinault grabbed the yellow jersey. By that point, there was little chance for the Dutchman to get it back.

  • Zoetemelk leaves Hinault 1’40” behind in the Puy de Dôme time trial’s climb. Again the Alpe d'Huez was the stage of an incredible drama. But this one occurred after the race. Belgium's Michel Pollentier grabbed the yellow jersey after a stunning stage win on the legendary climb. But during the drug control Pollentier was uncovered for fraud as he tried to substitute his urine with somebody else's. Needless to say, the new yellow jersey instantly became the ex-yellow jersey and he was immediately expelled from the race.

  • The riders’ strike. They pass the finish line in Valence on foot. The stage is cancelled. Last rider: Tesnière (78th) at 3 h 52 min. 26 sec.

  • Pollentier, then in the lead, is disqualified in l'Alpe d'Huez for trying to cheat during a drug test. Seven towns host Tour for the first time.

  • Israel occupies southern Lebanon; John Paul II is elected Pope; Woody Allen directs "Annie Hall"; 400 sect members are found dead in Jonestown, Gyuana.

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