The First Win

It is the year 1969. It is the year of Neil Armstrong, who sets foot on the moon as the first human being. It is also the year in which the legendary music festival Woodstock takes place. Also, a Belgium ‘boy’ wins the Tour de France.

His name is Eddy Merckx. He is only 24 years old and wins his first Tour de France. Just a few weeks before, he was excluded from the Giro d’Italia. He was about to win this race for the second time, when he was tested positive after a doping control. Merckx was furious. The organisation saw no other option than to disqualify him. At first he was not allowed to start in the Tour de France, but there were doubts about the positive test and so the UCI said that he could start.

He won six stages. He wore the yellow jersey from day six until the end of the race. Not only was he the best in the general classification, he also managed to become the best in the points classification and the mountains classification. One of his most heroic stage wins in this Tour is stage 17. A stage through the Pyrenees. Merckx feels strong and attacks on the Tourmalet. There is no other rider that is able to follow him. In he following 140 kilometres to the finish Merckx is alone. He is alone on the Col de Soulor and the Col d’Aubisque. A solo finish with a difference of eight minutes on the other favorites. Today that is almost impossible. It was impressive and never to be seen again.

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