Four Guys On A Bike


Four guys on a bike.
Trying to avoid the camera.
They smile, look away, a bit shy.


This photo was taken in the Tour de France of 1969.
These are the numbers one to four of that Tour.
Eddy Merckx was the winner that year,
leaving Pingeon, Poulidor and Gimondi behind him.
He was only 24 years old.
It is not quite visible on this picture, but he is wearing the yellow jersey.
That is why Roger Pingeon, on the right of Eddy, is laughing.
He already won the Tour in 1967.
He knows what it is to be the best of the best.
These four riders were the best of the best at the time.
You could say Felice Gimondi, at the left, already had quite a list of wins.
At that moment, he was the only one who had won all three grand Tours.
It is quite hard to imagine him being only 26 in this photo.
If you take a closer look at Raymond Poulidor, next to Eddy,
you will see that he is not smiling as much as the others.
He is staring into the distance.
Beaten by a young Merckx.
Does he realise here that he will never win the Tour?
First he was always 2nd or 3rd behind Anquetil,
and when he had the chance in 1967 and 1968, he got injured.
Now he is riding next to a new, talented Belgian rider.
What makes this photo so special?
This is the time of the Vuelta and
that is exactly what these four have in common.
They all have won the Vuelta once.
All of them just one time.
This photo is unique.
Therefore, I could not leave out the photo below.
Same year, same day, same hour.
Maybe a couple of seconds later.
Big smiles, laughing, joking around.
The only difference: it is in colour.
Still, it tells the same story as the other photo.
Four guys on a bike.

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