The history of the Tour de France

Year 1981


  • After injuries forced Bernard Hinault to drop out mid-way through the 1980 race, the two-time Tour winner wanted to show that he was back. And he did so convincingly. After again winning the Prologue, he then sat back while Holland's Gerrie Knetemann and Australia's Phil Anderson took their turn in yellow. Then, after the Stage 7 time trial to Pau, Hinault took control again. And this time he never relinquished his spot at the top.

  • Freddy Maertens: his green jersey and six stage victories. Phil Anderson was far from the first Australian to ride the Tour de France. That honor dates back to the 1920's. But by wearing the yellow jersey, he certainly became the most distinguished "Aussie" in the race's history. When he managed to ride with Hinault on the first stage in the Pyrénées to Saint Lary Soulan, the sacred yellow shirt was suddenly his. It didn't last long that year. He lost it the next day. But then, it wouldn't be the last time Anderson got a taste of yellow in the Tour either.

  • Phil Anderson becomes the first Australian rider to wear a yellow jersey. Last rider: Cuelli (121st), 4 h 29 min. 54 sec. behind.

  • Bernard Hinault’s come back to top shape. Four towns host the Tour for the first time.

  • François Mitterand becomes French President; Prince Charles weds Lady Di; Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is assassinated by Muslim extremists; the first cases of AIDS are reported.

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