Merckx Mondays


Merckx Mondays

Mont Verdoux 13 July 1972 via the Guardian

This week for Merckx Mondays, I’ll be looking at the 1971 Tour de France.

Eddy Merckx had many rivalries during his racing career. One of the most memorable battles took place during the 1971 Tour de France. It pitted the Cannibal (in a newly sponsored Molteni kit) against Luis Ocaña (pictured on the left of Merckx in the photo above). Merckx knew that Ocaña was a worthy opponent. It wasn’t long into the 1971 Tour that the Spaniard had taken a 7-minute lead over Merckx on the Orcieres-Merlette. The world thought it was over for Merckx. Luckily for Eddy, he regained the yellow jersey in the Pyrenees when Luis Ocaña crashed into two spectators and was forced to pull out of the race. Merckx went on to win the Tour that year and again in 1972, when the above photo was taken. Ocaña finally grasped a victory in 1973 which, coincidentally, was the year that Merckx decided to not race.

To many cycling fans, the 1971 Tour de France was a memorable one. Below is a three-part documentary on this year entitled Tour de France 1971 – Luis Ocaña vs. Eddy Merckx. All three videos are embedded below. They’re an interesting watch, so set some time aside to check them out.

I really love the sports cartoons in the beginning of the 3rd chapter. The Ocaña bull charging Merckx the matador is great! Anyone have a jpg file of that?