1971 Tour de France
The 58th Tour de France took place from 26 June to 18 July in 1971 and led to 20 stages over 3584.2 km. For the first time since 1905, the track was thus again less than 4,000 kilometers. The Belgian Eddy Merckx won his third tour in a row, though its dominance was not as great as in his first two victories. It was attended by 130 racers participated in the tour, which were classified by 94.
Already on the second day Merckx could claim the yellow jersey for himself, with his stage win in Strasbourg he could work out 21 seconds lead in the overall standings, so that he had initially little effort to defend his jersey. On the stage to Strasbourg, had a 15 - man breakaway group in which all the favorites were represented, formed out of the peloton drove around nine minutes.
The 8th stage with target on the Puy de Dôme won Spain's Luis Ocaña Pernia before the Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk. The two drivers reduced so that the gap to Merckx, two days later they arrived the same time as the stage winner Bernard Thévenet the finish, while Merckx had a backlog of 1:36 minutes and thus accept his jersey lost Zoetemelk. Ocaña was now only one second behind Zoetemelk, but on the next stage from Grenoble to Les Orres -Merlette attacked the Spaniards and won the stage with a lead of six minutes before the Second, Lucien Van Impe. Merckx as a day of third parties had a backlog of 8:42 minutes, as well Zoetemelk. In this stage would actually 67 of 106 still in the race remaining driver shall be disqualified due to the dramatic projection of the Spaniard because they had come after maternity leave to the finish, but the jury increased the time coefficients, so that the driver could start the next day.
Ocaña then had a lead of almost nine minutes in the overall standings of the past behind him Zoetemelk ( 8:43 back ), Van Impe and Merckx ( 9:46 back ), a tour victory was within reach. Even in Merckx ' special discipline, the time trial, Ocaña lost on the 13th stage just 11 seconds behind the Belgian one.
On the 14th stage from Revel to Luchon Ocaña and Merckx crashed in the descent of the Col de Menté in bad weather. While Merckx was able to continue, Zoetemelk who is no longer able to brake in time came to Ocana, who then had to abandon the race. Merckx, who had previously been overhauled in the days that lie ahead of him to the driver on the Spaniard was after this stage again leader of the general standings. Nevertheless, he initially refused to wear the yellow jersey.
With his stage wins in Bordeaux and in the final time trial in Paris Merckx built from his leadership and celebrated the third win in a row. Merckx also won the green jersey yet. Second was the Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk, the third place went to the Belgian Lucien Van Impe, who also won the mountains classification.