Editorial - The Two Tours - Two "old faithfuls" and two “new boys" were the only survivors of the 12 starters in the British team in the Tour de France, after the first week of racing during which Jacques Anquetil held his lead in his aim for a second Victory.
Although we were critical of the policy of sending a full team in view of our present racing standards, we were still hopeful and certainly did not expect quite such early, wholesale, slaughter.
There is invariably a tendency to expect the mountains to take the main toll, but in practice the flatter stages often find the chinks in the armour of a weak team.
Meanwhile, it is good luck to our surviving riders, led into the mountains. as we went to Press, by Ireland's great man, Shay Elliott.
The first day of the new tour, for amateurs and independents, has confirmed expectations that it will be Just as hard fought as the professional event with probably even more sustained battles. But given good luck we may get among the leaders here.
FRENCH TACTICS QUESTIONED
Doubts About Policy In Aim To Keep Anquetil’s Tour Lead
By Marcel Longchamp
AFTER eight days' hectic racing over 1,563 kilometres, Jacques Anquetil still dominates the Tour de France, backed solidly by his self-selected team. He took the lead on the first day and has held it ever since. But a challenge is expected as the race enters the Alps from Charly Gaul, Luxembourg. Britain has had a poor start. Of the team of 12 British riders who set off from Rouen, only four remained on Sunday night. They are Elliott, of Dublin, 5th on general classification 5-27 behind Anquetil; Robinson, expected to make his effort soon in the mountains, 36th, 13-29 down; Denson at 41-50, 78th, and Laidlaw, at 54-52, 88th.
The second stage, 230km from Pontoise to Roubaix, brought fresh triumphs for the French national team and a new victory for Andre Darrigade. With his victory in the second half of the first stage following Anquetil's win in the time trial in the morning Darrigade's position in the general classification looked healthy, and the boys of Marcel Bidot seemed to have already established themselves as the complete masters of the Tour with three stage wins, the yellow jersey, and heading the international classification. But that is not exactly true. The Frenchmen lost two riders during that second stage, riders they could ill afford. Roger Privat and Franqois Mahe both crashed badly, the first retiring immediately, the second reaching the finish only to be eliminated for exceeding the time limit. This was a bad turn of fortune, for these two were certainly Anquetil's best team mates. Both experienced Tour riders. they were riding well and climbing with the best. So, in one go, Anquetil lost two good lieutenants and the team was reduced by one sixth. The ten remaining French riders had to struggle against the whole field and that proved very difficult. They had to control every attack. If the other teams keep up the battle everyday, Anquetil and his boys will very probably be exhausted before the finish of the Tour. From the beginning of the stage the French national team was riding at the head of the group, at high speed to avoid attacks. Half an hour after the start it began to rain and many riders crashed on the slippery roads. The German, Jariszewicz, retired after only 26km., the first retirement of the Tour. one kilometre later the French regional rider Viot got clear and was immediately followed by Adriaensens, Manzaneque, Foucher, Van der Steen, Bihouee, Stablinski, Groussard, Picot and the two English riders Elliott and Denson, This group never managed to build up more than a 25-second lead and were caught after 10km. Many other riders tried to pull away but each time one or two of Anquetil's team mates jumped on their wheels and refused to take the lead. At the 90km mark there was a bad crash involving twelve riders ; Robinson, Morales, Anglade, Rostollan, Mahe, Privat, Pacheco, Gimmi, Thull, Ruby, Kuckerkorn, and Ryan. Robinson was wounded in the knee but he didn't seem to be too bad when he quickly caught up with the bunch again.
Finally the decisive move was started as the riders entered the Hell of the North part of the stage. At Leri, (180km.) five rider, got clear. Beuffeuil, Brugnami, Le Menn, Vloebergs and, of course, a member of the French National team. Darrigade. When the gap had stretched to one minute, at Seclin, 208km, three others riders started the pursuit: the Belgian Daems, the Spaniard Otano and . . . the Frenchman Forestier. Naturally Forestier refused to lead. hill Daems and Otano made a terrific effort and they caught the leaders with only four kilometres to go. These eight were able to keep ahead of the bunch, and at the final Sprint it was Darrigade, the fastest rider of the field, first across the line. This new success was his second in only 24 hours. Once again Brian Robinson (27th at 4[sec,) and Shay Elliott (35th) were the best of the English team. Toni Simpson against lost time and lie finished 3rnin.)sec.down on the winner. The incredibly bad pave of the Hell of the North didn't help Toni, who is suffering from his knee injury and he is not really on form having been out of competition since his accident four weeks ago. Brittain, Coe, Laidlaw and Rvall all rode well and they finished in the main group. Denson waited for Simpson when he dropped back with 14km. to go. Flitchen, Moore and O'Brien finished a lone way behind the winner and it is clear that the% ire not experienced enough for such a gruelling race as the Tour de France. O'Brien crashed at the 90krn. mark and then pro- ceeded to ride very courageouslyto reach the finish along with Francois MaU, another casuals, ' ~ and five others. But they finished outside of the time limit and were eliminated.
Result Stage 2: A Darrigade 5-31-26 1; Daems 2: Brugnarni 3: Buffeuil 4: Otano 5; Robinson at 41sec. 22; Elliott 35; Brittain 46; Coe 81; Laidlaw 84; Ryall 85; Simpson at 3-01 96; Denson 97; Hitchen at 13-09 111; Moore at 22-26 114; O'Brien at 24-55 118.
Stage 3 (Roubaix-Charleroi. 197km.) was disastrous for the English team. Three riders, Moore, O'Brien and Simpson retired, and three others, Brittain, Laidlaw and Ryall finished outside the limit. However, as Brittain and Laidlaw were only 31sec. in the red the international commissaires were benevolent and allowed them to start again from Charleroi. But the English team had lost four riders, among them Tom Simpson, who was considered one of the most likely to succeed in the Tour. His knee had worsened after the previous day's riding on the pave, and in this stage he dropped back once again, just as he had done in the first two stages. His morale at zero he decided to retire. " I was suffering too much to remain with the leaders," said Simpson, " and it demoralized me. When I saw it was impossible for me to finish in a good position I preferred to retire. I am going back immediately to Paris to consult my doctor. Some people think that the cartilezis damaged but I want to be quite sure. If my doctor confirms it I shall have to have an operation and that will be the season finished for me."
Said Brian Robinson, Simpson's team mate, gloomily: " Simpson's retirement was disastrous for us. It is not too bad for the other riders, we didn't think they would remain a long time an}-way. They were too inexperienced. From now I will have to make my own race. I'll try to start a good break and remain with the best in the mountains." Once again the battle started right from the line up. This time the Belgian riders were on the aggressive because the Too- was arriving in their own country and they had the advantage Of support from their compatriots, From start to finish they attacked and attacked again and each time the French National team had to start the reaction. It was the Frenchmen against all the field. And even Anquetil himself had 'to do his share of the work in chasing. At the finish Stablinski was quite exhausted. He said: " It's impossible to keep up such an incessant battle. You have to do all the work. If it doesn"i stop we will all perish."
The first move came after 12km., and was initiated by four Belgian riders, Aerenhoutes, Dacms, Pauwels and Van Aerde, accompanied by Ranker. mann, Van Est, Cloarec, Stabhnski and Cazala, At Courtrai (18krn.), when the fugitives were 25sec. ahead of the group, Anquetil started a reaction. He pulled away with Anglade, Adriaensens. Wagt- mans. Hoevenaars, Donicke, Van Geneugden and Milest. The} quickly caught the leaders but Charly Gaul and Ma-ignarl immediately started a violent reaction. in PU_1Ll.t of the man in the yellow jersey. At,56km.rri~~,, ;n g-oup zAu5i r!,_ again, but during the bailie .Simpson. O Brien. Moore and Ryall dropped back. lmrnedis - . Pauwels, Van Est and Cazala got clea--. followed by Vanderveken, Junkermann, Picot, Hoekenaars, Novak, Carlesi, Kersten and Viot. At the foot of the Mur de Graamont (a third category climb at 82km.) the group was 40sec. in arrears. At the top of the climb the Belgian Pauwels won the prime. Eighteen kilometres later the leading group had increased its lead to 1-30. Torn Simpson was 9min. 45sec. in arrears and retired a few kilometres later. At 138km., over two-thirds of the distance, Vander- veken pulled awa% aloneand the other fugitives were caught six kilometres later. The young Belgian increased his lead and at 165km, there was a 1-30 gap between him and the group. At that moment Beuffeuil and Italian Zamboni started out in pursuit; they caught the leader with 16km. to go, but the group, especially the French riders, started a violent reaction and the trio were caught only three kilometres from the finish.
Result Stage 3: Daems, 5-1-51, 1; Aerenhouts, at 2sec.. 2 ; Van Aerde, at 5sec., 3: Brugnarni, 4 ; Darrigade, 5 ; Robinson, 9, Denson, 24 ; Elliott, 27 ; Coe, at 9-3, 81 ; Hitchea, 82 Brittain, at 20-39, 113 ; Laidlaw, at 25-6, 114,
Stage four, Charleroi - Metz 237 km. was another black day again for the English team who lost two more riders: Brittain and Hitchen. Both riders retired and the doctors said they were completely exhausted. For the first time from the start at Rouen, the fourth stage was not much enlivened. The riders needed a rest. At Giver (42km.), Viot got clear, followed by the Frenchman Forestier. Viot was very strong and he was riding very Well. With Forestier on his wheel - Marcel Bidot ordered him to remain there - he increased his advantage from 5-15 at 72km., 9-20 at 105km., 9-50 at 115km,, to 10-10 at 120 km. At that moment Forestier was yellow jersey of the race although he was actually not leading. The tactics of Marcel Bidet were very strange and were not well received by other officials. Viet, of course, represented no danger to Anquetil, being only a second grade rider who was trying to get a stage victor. Bidet explained at the that he gave such an order because he was not willing to let Forestier take the Yellow Jersey ”Maybe Anquetil would be angry and in any case Forestier started the Tour de France to help Anquetil”.
Viot Drops Back
However it was ridiculous to see Forestier constantly remaining on the wheel of Viot. But something even more ridiculous happened. After 120km, Viot began to pay for the efforts he had made and his lead began to lessen: 7-35 at 135km., 4-15 at 143,km. When the advance was only four minutes Marcel Bidot came and told Forestier he could take the lead. But when saw that, Jean Mazier, director of the Paris-North East team, ordered Viot to remain on his wheel. And this time Forestier was leading with Viot behind. But the group had started the reaction and the two leaders were quickly caught.
The decisive move was started with 12 kilometres to go. Novak and the Swiss Graf pulled away followed by the "Bidet-boy" Cazala. The three fugitives took a 300-metre lead and were able to keep it until the finish. At the final sprint, Novak scored the first victory for a regional team.
The tactics of the French team, trying to control the race, to close the door on everybody was not well appreciated at Metz. And for the most part, the followers were thinking it would turn out a wrong tactic. By stopping the race, indeed, Anquetil will lose the friendship of the regional teams, and this will ultimately benefit Charly Gaul.
Result Stage 4: Novak, 6-23-31, 1; Cazala 2; Graf at 2sec. 3; De Haan at 35sec., 4; Minieri 5: Elliott at 1-22 32; Coe 36; Robinson, 38; Denson 41; Laidlaw 84.
Once again the French National team, and especially Jacques Anquetil, had to make violent efforts in the chase,- in the fifth stage, Metz - Strasbourg 221km. And one more English rider had to retire. This time Ron Coe went out, suf- ferina from sunstroke.
Iturnediatcly after the start of this stage, the Belgian riders opened battle. Aerenhouts got clear, then Vloebergs, Cazala, W. Van Est, * Van- derveken, Darrigade, Damen, Thomin, Fisherkel-
let, Donicke, Cloaree and P_ Van Est. But Anquetilstarted a violent pursuit and caught the fugitive, very quickly.
A few kilometres later a new group of IS riders, got clear including Massignan and Otano. Again The Frenchmen had to start a violent pursuit. At Dieulouard (34km.), the Belgian Hoevenaars pulled away and was followed by W, Vah Est, Lefevre, Lach and Bergaud. At that moment Coe retired. The five fugitives quickly increased their lead to 5-40 at Allarmont with 130km. covered. The fight was fierce and the Frenchman Everaert dropped back. The French national team started the pursuit, led by Anquetil, and the gap closed rapidly: 3-45 at the top of the Col du Demon (3rd category) and 2-30 at the foot of the Col Champ du Messin (3rd category). During the climb Dotto pulled away atone to start the pursuit and at the top the positions were: 1, Lach; 2, Bergaud; 3, Hoevenaars; 4, W. Van Est: 5, Dotto at 25 sec, Lefevre had dropped back.
During the descent Hoevenaars punctured and was caught by the group. From that moment the Frenchmen didn't attack any more - the most dangerous riders of the leading group were caught,