|The Pélissiers and Ville met with Albert Londres|
Bottecchia was not only the first Italian to win the Tour, he had won the maillot jaune on the first stage, then kept it for the rest of the race - no other rider had ever worn it after every stage (others had led the race from Stage 1, notably Maurice Garin in 1904 before he was disqualified for cheating, but only in the days before the jersey was introduced).
In 1964, there were 22 stages covering a total distance of 4,504km - almost 1,000km shorter than 1924, with much shorter average stage lengths (but far fewer rest days and much higher average speeds), though still considerably longer than the Tours of today. For the one and only time in Tour history, the Alpe d'Huez was featured not as a stage finish but mid-stage.
|Anquetil and Poulidor|
Anquetil was well-known for living well while on the Tour, once informing reporters that his recommendation for the night before a race was "a pheasant with chestnuts, a bottle of champagne and a woman." Whether he really lived it up to the extent he claimed or if it was all a psychological game intended to crush rivals who thought they'd been beaten by a man in the depths of a hangover has never been conclusively proved (there's some evidence that he only remained at the famous parties thrown in his hotel rooms for the early part of the evening before paying off his guests so they'd swear he'd been there into the early hours, then sneak off somewhere much quieter for a good night's sleep). However, on this occasion a lamb barbecue and too much wine during the rest day proved too much and Poulidor dropped him with little difficulty. According to legend, when he pulled alongside the team car to seek help manager Raphael Geminiani handed him a half-bottle of champagne and ordered him to drink the lot; this cured his chronic indigestion and he went off on a successful attempt to catch Poulidor and put him back in his place. Unfortunately, the legend seems very likely to be untrue - Anquetil's wife Janine always said it never happened, in which case it seems most likely that he was suffering stomach cramps from a mild dose of food poisoning which can clear up as quickly as it starts.
|Bahamontes won two stages|
Stage 16, another tough mountain stage, went to Bahamontes and the Stage 17 time trial went as expected to Anquetil. Stages 18 to 22a were a mixture of various types of parcours and the wins were shared between other riders, but 22b was another time trial and since Anquetil was the best in the world against the clock - his alternative nickname was Mr. Chrono for a reason - nobody expected Poulidor to beat him. He tried, and for a short while after Anquetil recorded a time 5" slower at the intermediate check it even looked like he might do it but then Anquetil got faster, winning both the stage and the Tour, a record fifth.
Poulidor never did beat Anquetil, who entered again in 1967 but abandoned on Stage 17. However, this time he had come very close - his disadvantage of 55" was at the time the smallest gap between first and second place in the history of the Tour and he found himself with more fans than Anquetil had ever had.
In 1965, 130 riders set out from Cologne; the first time that the Tour had started in Germany and only the third time it had started outside France. Ahead of them were 22 stages, two of them split into parts A and B and including one team time trial and three individual time trials, and 4,177km.
|Gimondi on Stage 22, 1965|
Edward Sels won Stage 7 and van de Kerckhove slipped ahead on overall time again, wearing yellow for two days. When the race reached the mountains two days later his advantage rapidly vanished; he was a big man and hadn't a chance of hauling his bulk upwards in the searing heat as quickly as the skinny Spaniard Julio Jiménez, who won the stage but without gaining enough time to prevent Gimondi from once again taking the overall lead.
|Tour doctor Pierre Dumas in his "surgery", 1965|
When the riders came to the Col d'Izoard in Stage 16, they found the going considerably easier than their predecessors in early races had - for the first time that year the rough, loose gravel road leading through the weird Casse Déserte to the top had been replaced with asphalt. It made the section faster and safer, but many fans felt that a little more of the Tour's romance had been lost and rued the fact that some of the race's greatest and most thrilling moments would never be repeated.
|Gimondi, Poulidor, Motta, 1965|
Jiménez deservedly won the King of the Mountains, but the 1965 Tour was a sad occasions for grimpeurs because when 36-year-old Federico Bahamontes - the first man to win the King of the Mountains at the Tour and the Vuelta in a single year, the first man to win it in all three Grand Tours, one Tour de France General Classification and nine Grand Tour King of the Mountains competitions in total; as well as having once delighted spectators by stopping for an ice-cream at the top of a mountain mid-stage and waiting for the peloton to catch up because, like most climbers, he hated descending and was too scared to do it on his own - was forced to abandon with crippling stomach pains in Stage 10 and would never be seen at the Tour again. Almost six decades after he first won the competition in 1954, Bahamontes remains one of the greatest grimpeurs to have ever lived.
Andreas Klöden was born in Mittweida, East Germany on this day in 1975. In 1996 he got himself noticed by winning a bronze medal at the Under-23 World Championship Road Race, then the following year he won the prologue and a stage at the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt; which got him a contract to ride with Deutsche Telekon in 1998.
He would stay with Telekom for nine seasons, and he went from being a stagiaire who could pick up a a stage here and there in the smaller races to a general classification contender who won the Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco and Paris-Nice in 2000; after winning the National Road Race Championship in 2004 he became the team's greatest hope in the Tour de France, coming second overall that year (behind Lance Armstrong) and again in 2006 after Floyd Landis, originally declared winner, was disqualified for doping. In 2007 he moved to Astana, which surprised the cycling world because he'd already proved himself a team leader but had chosen to go to a team where he would ride in support of Alexandre Vinokourov. He did his new job very well, but the team was withdrawn from the race after Vinokourov was found to have an extremely suspiciously high red blood cell count, evidence that he'd had an illegal blood transfusion. Later in the year a car swerved into his path during a training ride and sent him flying into a ditch - he didn't break any bones, but had to miss some important races. Nevertheless, he stayed with Astana for three years.
In 2010, RadioShack announced that Klöden would be joining them, then he finished 14th overall at the Tour. In 2011 he won stages at Paris-Nice and the Criterium International, then the General Classification and the Points competition at the Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, but was unable to finish the Vuelta a Espana or the Tour. When RadioShack and Leopard Trek merged for 2012, he was judged to be worth keeping on and finished 18th at Paris-Nice and 22nd at the Tour de Romandie.
Considering the era into which his best years began and his association with Astana, it's no surprise that Klöden has faced accusations of doping: in 2009, ex-team mate Patrik Sinkewitz - previously banned from competition after a test revealed suspicious testosterone levels and he confessed to undergoing blood tranfusions and using EPO - claimed that Klöden and Matthias Kessler had accompanied him to a clinic in Freiberg in 2006, when all three men rode for Telekom. Sinkewitz served his ban, returned and was banned again in 2011 for use of human growth hormones; Klöden agreed in November 2009 to pay a 25,000 euro fine with the promise that the investigation would be halted. However, he continues to insist the alleged transfusion never took place and that he is not a doper.
On the 14th of June 2012, it was announced that Lance Armstrong had been charged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency over suspected violations dating back to 2010 and 2011. This led The Guardian's William Fotheringham (one of the world's most respected cycling journalists) to speculate that he might be stripped of his seven Tour de France wins. If that were to happen, Klöden's two second-place finishes could be upgraded to firsts.
|Voeckler in yellow, 2011|
In 2003 he was back and in a big way, winning the Classic Loire Atlantique and the Tour of Luxembourg and finishing Stage 17 at the Tour de France in eighth place before winning a stage at the Tour de l'Avenir. In 2004, against all odds, he became French National Champion - and then something truly remarkable happened: after escaping in a breakaway during Stage 5, he took the maillot jaune from Lance Armstrong and, somehow, kept it for ten days. France (and much of the rest of Europe) fell in love. The year after that he came sixth on Stage 18 and only won two races, but nobody cared.
|Voeckler in 2011|
2011 was Voeckler's best year by far with stages wins at the Tour Méditerranéen, Paris-Nice and the Giro Trentino, overall victory at the Tour du Haut-Var, the GP Cholet-Pays de Loire and the Four Days of Dunkirk. After that, he was third in the National Championships and finished in the top ten on four stages at the Tour before coming fourth overall, then he finished the year with three victories in the post-Tour criteriums. So far in 2012 he's won the Brabantse Pijl and a stage at the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon, which he dedicated to the African riders - whatever happens at the Tour, he'll be the favourite rider of many spectators.
Alfons de Wolf
In 1981 he won Milan-San Remo and finished in the top ten eleven times at the Tour de France; in 1982 he won the Omloop het Volk and finished in the top ten five times at the Tour; in 1983 he stayed away from the Tour but won the Coppa Ugo Agostoni, Giro della Romagna, Giro di Toscana and another Omloop het Volk. In 1984, he won Stage 14 at the Tour, a 228km hilly parcours between Rodez and Domaine du Rouret on the way to the Alps - but it would be the peak of his career for, within days, he began visibly to decline. He won a stage at the Vuelta the next year and assisted Eddy Planckaert in his successful bid for the Points competition at the Tour in 1988, but his own best days ended where most riders' begin. It happens that way sometimes.
Ian Browne, more commonly known as Joey Browne, was born in Melbourne on this day in 1931. He learned to ride a bike when he was four and began racing at the age of sixteen, developing a simple yet evidently effective training programme - he rode his bike the large distances to races with a pair of lightweight racing wheels strapped to his back, swapped them over before the race, then swapped back and rode back home again. It must have worked, because he won the Australian 10-Mile Time Trial Championship. Real success came when he teamed up with a man named Tony Marchant. They were a mismatched pair - Marchant stood 1.7m tall and weighed 65kg, Browne was 1.83m and more than 20kg heavier; yet after seeing them win the 2km tandem race at the 1956 National Track Championships, former winner Billy Guyatt approached them to ask if they needed a coach. They had, he said, potential, which came as a surprise to both riders as neither had expected to ever be anything other than a moderately successful amateur clubman. At the 1952 Olympics, they soon realised that the opposing teams had equipment much better and lighter than their own and began asking if anyone might be willing to sell them spare parts. According to legend, the German team sold them a pair of wheels and told them that they would now win the gold medal - and they did.
Dariusz Baranowski, born in Wałbrzych on this day in 1972, won the Tour of Poland in 1991, 1992 and 1993. In 2002 he won the King of the Mountains at the Dauphiné Libéré and the following year he was 12th overal at the Giro d'Italia.
Other births: Dean Woods (Australia, 1966); Kristine Bayley (Australia, 1983); Jean-Claude Wuillemin (France, 1943, died 1993); Harald Morscher (Austria, 1972); Luis Saldarriago (Colombia, 1944); Thomas Dürst (West Germany, 1967); John Nicholson (Australia, 1949); Clodomiro Cortoni (Argentina, 1923, died 2000).