Thursday, October 6, 2011

Miroir Du Tour '81

The other day my dear friend Henry pressed a pile of goodies into my excited palms, generously donated to the Roadworks Archives by his friend Vitas. As well as a lovely pair of Bianchi shorts, there were a pair of cool postcards and an original copy of French cycling magazine Miroir Du Cyclisme commemorating the 1981 Tour de France. Packed with great photos this is one worth sharing, I thought to myself, so here it is for you to enjoy also. Obviously I haven't scanned every page or picture, but hopefully I've captured the essence of the story in my own words inspired by the pictures. Click on the pictures if you want to see or DL munty great big versions...

First though, here are the shorts.

The first postcard is of the great Bernard Hinault, winner of five Tours de France, the 1980 World Championships and numerous classics including Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. This is a postcard for the French Look distributor of the day, José Alvarez, and was most likely taken in 1985.

This next one is an absolute beauty. While not of him engaged in one of his many legendary cycling feats, it's nonetheless the autographed picture of one of the true Greats of Cycling, Raymond Poulidor. This man was one of the main opponents of both Jacques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx, meaning he straddled two great eras of cycling in his extraordinary 18 year pro career that stretched from 1960 to 1977! I'm super stoked to have his scribble on this Souvenir du Tour from 1991...

Now to the magazine. The July/August 1981 edition of Miroir du Cyclisme featuring that year's Tour de France winner, the great Bernard Hinault. This was Frenchman Hinault's third Tour win of five, and was one of his more dominant wins notable not just for being the triple, but for the emergence of Australia's Phil Anderson, the first non-European ever to wear the fabled Yellow Jersey.

The peloton rolls along during stage 1 around Nice. Bottom left is the nominal American champion, Jonathan "Jacques" Boyer. He wears the Stars and Stripes although he hadn't actually won the title in a race - as the first American to ever ride le Tour he had simply been ordered to wear the National Team jersey by Tour organisers Jacques Goddet and Félix Lévitan to generate publicitaire! Spot the other stars of the day in this shot such as 1972 Olympic Champion and '75 World Champion Hennie Kuiper, 1985 World Champ Claude Criquelion, and Yellow Jersey and 1978 World Champion Gerrie Knetemann, among others...

Bernard Hinault (Gitane) chases Peugeot's young challenger Jean-René Bernaudeau down the descent of the Col de la Roquette on Stage 1 of the 1981 Tour de France around Nice. He didn't get away...

Spanish pocket rocket Vicente Belda (Kelme) drags Johan van de Velde (Netherlands) off the front, as the TI Raleigh hardman defends the yellow jersey that sits on the shoulders of his teammate Gerrie Knetemann after the Dutch super squad's victory in the stage 3 TTT.

The mighty TI Raleigh-Creda squad on their way to also dominating the second Teams Time Trial of the '81 Tour on the Narbonne-Carcassonne 5th stage. The current Yellow Jersey (won in the stage 3 TTT victory) Gerrie Knetemann (Netherlands) heads the line, with defending 1980 Tour winner and fellow Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk second in line.

Phil Anderson doggedly holds KOM Bernard Hinault's wheel on Pla d'Adet on Stage 6 to the ski station of Saint-Lary-Soulan. Belgian climber and 1976 Tour winner Lucien Van Impe (Boston) won the stage, but Anderson hung tough and took Australia's first ever Maillot Jaune by finishing with Hinault 27 seconds later...apparently Hinault was scathing about Le Skippy's impertinence in daring to be there, and went so far as to publicly insult the Aussie.

The 1976 Tour Champion Lucien Van Impe on his way to victory on Pla d'Adet. The Belgian climber's eventual polka-dot jersey he would take to Paris this year was the fifth of six. That final tally won after the 1983 Tour was a record that equalled that of the Eagle of Toledo, Federico Bahamontes, and a record that Van Impe refused to break out of respect for the 1959 Tour winner. The record now stands at 7 titles, and is held by the Frenchman Richard Virenque who never did show much respect.

Aussie legend Phil Anderson (Peugeot) tries hard but unsuccessfully to defend the Maillot Jaune in the Stage 7 Nay-Pau individual time trial during his breakout Tour performance.

King of the Mountains Bernard Hinault overcooks a tricky corner during the Nay-Pau TT - amazingly he somehow avoided crashing and went on to win the stage and take the lead on GC.

Stage winner and new Maillot Jaune Hinault grudgingly congratulates Anderson on his spirited but failed fight to hang onto the yellow jersey after the Stage 7 Nay-Pau TT.

La Redoute-Motobecane's Bernard Vallet (France) apparently is famous within the peloton for living "le métier" to the fullest extent - i.e. he is a true professional. In this interesting sequence of shots he is meticulously checking his seat height and alignment with the Team mechanic.

TI Raleigh-Creda's Ad Wijnands (Netherlands) takes his first of two wins in the '81 Tour as he sprints to victory over Spaniard Juan Fernández (Kelme) on Stage 9 from Rochefort-sur-mer into Nantes.

Belgian superstar Freddy Maertens (Sunair-Sport 80) pulls on the Maillot Vert he wore for most of the Tour and onto the podium in Paris. This erratic genius would win five sprint stages in total in what was really only his second good year of his entire career, after his standout 1976 Tour in which he won an astounding 8 stages and wore yellow for 10 days!

Belgian Eddy Schepers (DAF Trucks) struggles with the pace of Frenchman Jean-René Bernaudeau (Peugeot) during stage 12 from Compiègne to Roubaix.

Up ahead Briton Paul Sherwen (La Redoute-Motobecane) is pushing ahead in a doomed 110km breakaway with Adri Van Houwelingen (Vermeer-Thijs) on the cobbled stage to Roubaix, won in the end by Belgian Danny Willems.

The bunch smashes over the cobbles on the epic Compeigne-Roubaix stage. Points leader Freddy Maertens and KOM Lucien van Impe can be seen dealing with the fallout of the pressure being exerted on Hinault's Maillot Jaune by the furious chase after a break containing the defending champion Zoetemelk.

The peloton ascends a typical Belgian climb during the 13th stage between Roubaix in northern France and Belgium's capital, Brussels.

Freddy Maertens looks pretty relaxed after taking out his third stage victory of the '81 Tour on stage 13 into Brussels.

And here Maertens takes his fourth win on stage 15 into Hasselt in Belgium over fellow Belgians Eddy Planckaert (Splendor) and Fons De Wolf (Vermeer-Thijs).

Phil Anderson wears the Maillot Blanc of U25 leader but it won't save him as the Maillot Jaune swallows him up 5 kilometres from the stage finish. Hinault started 2 minutes after him in the Mulhouse time trial and would take another 58 seconds off him by the time the 38.5km test was over...

Irishman Sean Kelly (Splendor) wins the tough and hilly 17th stage into Thonon-Les-Bains.

An unnamed climb deep in the Alps.

French pretender to the Hinault crown Jean-René Bernaudeau was a reknowned descender in his day, and this is a great photo of him doing his stuff.

Hinault piles on the pressure on the Col de Glandon during Stage 19 to Alpe d'Huez. Dutchman and 1980 Tour winner Joop Zoetemelk (TI Raleigh-Creda) on his left shoulder, and Van Impe behind in the Maillot Pois.

Dutchman Peter Winnen (Capri-Sonne) in the process of conquering the famed Alpe d'Huez as he wins stage 19.

Attrition and the brutal pace dictated by Hinault has whittled the field down to three men on stage 20 to Le Pleynet, Belgian prodigy Fons de Wolf (Vermeer-Thijs), Frenchman Jean-René Bernaudeau (Peugeot) and Le Blaireau himself, and he's not sticking around for long as this is the exact moment he puts the survivors to the sword.

Hinault cracks De Wolf and Bernadeau on his way to victory atop Le Pleynet.

Phil Anderson and Belgian Danny Willems (Capri-Sonne) try futilely to drag a group away from Tour leader Bernard Hinault (Gitane/France) on the road to St Priest, Stage 21.

Danny Willems (Capri-Sonne) wins into St Priest from Hinault, stage 21. Willems had already won stage 12 in the iconic Roubaix Velodrome.

The peloton hits the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris on the final stage of the 1981 Tour de France. Maertens would take his fifth win of the 1981 Tour on these storied streets.

The final podium in Paris. From left: Points Leader Freddy Maertens (Belgium/SunAir-Sport 80), 3rd on GC Robert Alban (France/La Redoute-Motobecane), 1981 Tour de France Champion Bernard Hinault (France/Renault-Elf-Gitane), 2nd on GC and King of the Mountains Lucien Van Impe (Belgium/Boston-Mavic) and 5th placed GC and U25 winner Peter Winnen (Netherlands/Capri-Sonne).

Hope you enjoyed this trip back to the time in cycling that formed my love of this great sport.

Thanks for reading, Oli


sifter said...

Great stuff bro! Riveting, thanks!

FamousFabian said...

Johan van de Velde is Dutch, no Belgium.
Great article!

Oli said...

Thanks FamousFabian!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the super times 😊👍🏻