A Tour of Rugged Contrasts
Credit: Cycling, 12-Jun-1965
As the Tour got under way and the lead changed hands, some of the Gt. Britain tactics became clear, and that was to use the strength of the hard men to wear down the opposition.
Early race leader Bettinson won his second stage with a long lone break, and cheerfully lost his jersey again to another Gt. Britain rider from the North.
The question race followers were asking was, who will prove the hardest in the long run, the Poles or the British, or will there be a third team which will come in?
THE gruelling stage to Paignton belonged to one man—John Bettinson.
After a quiet previous day, carrying the burden of the yellow jersey and imprisoned in the bunch with everyone marking him, the powerful Barrow-in-Furness draughtsman was in the first break—after just three miles—and staved at the front to the finish 116 miles later to recapture the race lead.
Everything developed from that first break of nine men.
There were some good names in it with last year's Tour winner Arthur Metcalfe prominent.
They rode steadily through the pleasant Dorset countryside to a two-minute lead by Yeovil.
As they climbed the long, open drags to. Bridport looking down on the sea, the bunch could see the fugitives and the strong men decided it was time to move up.
Mal Powell went with Spaniard Gomez; then Les West with another Spaniard—Canet.
Then Poland's Zadrozny came bombing up to join West and Gomez and by the foot of Chideock Hill, they were all on to the leaders.
A long succession of stiff hills began to take their toll and the time was ripe for Bettinson to begin his winning moves.
The likeable Lakelander climbed brilliantly and only Gomez could hold him.
They settled down well and, when Bettinson's chain came off, his companion waited.
Wladyslaw Kotlowski decided the move was dangerous and jumped clear of the chasers.
An epic battle followed. the Pole fighting for miles to close the gap.
Gradually he pulled them back until at the bottom of Haldon Hill he was there, but he just had time to do two turns at the front before Bettinson decided that the time was due for alone effort.
" I knew the Pole could not climb and that the Spaniard was weakening, the chasers were beginning to close up so I thought I might be better off on my own," said John.
It was still a long, long way to
go, but with twisting, narrow lanes,
a lone rider stood a good chance.
On his own, the Pole was dying, Les West, Midland, and Joe Jones, International, were moving up fast and soon caught and dropped both Kotlowski and Gomez. But they could make no impression on the flying Bettinson.
Through mainly flat country. the leader started weakening. but he just gritted his teeth a little harder and put his head down.
But behind. a general regroupment was underway and West and Jones were caught by a sizeable group, with just three miles to go.
They still had enough in hand to go in the sprint. but swinging on to Paignton promenade, Jones was misdirected and lost touch.
Bengt Jansson, the speedy Swede, threw his bike first over the line, just inches clear of Arthur Metcalfe and Mal Powell.
The Australian had a day of mixed fortunes : " I got up to the big break, then we hit the bad climbs and back I came again," he said.
" I had just hung on the rest
of the way and boy, was I glad
when we got up for the sprint."
The judges had a long while to wait for last man Antoni Palka.
The rugged Pole collided with a lorry, his bike flying high into the air and coming to rest in a tree.
He courageously rode on to finish, despite a badly-twisted ankle, after the crowds had gone home, with a deficit of more than 40 minutes!
STAGE THREE, Bournemouth-Paignton. —John Bettinson, Great Britain, the 116 miles in 4-41-42: 2, B. Jansson, Sweden. at 4-42; 3, A. Metcalfe. Great Britain, st; 4, M. Powell, International, at Isec.; 5, F. Surminski, Poland; 6, K. Hill, Midland, st.
GEN. CLASS.—John Bettinson. 4-4142; 2. S. Caner, Spain, at 1-42; 3, D. Hepple, Great Britain, at 1-53; 4, L. West, Midland, at 1-55; 5, L. Santamarina, Spain, at 2-16; 6, J. Jones, International, at 2-57. Team.—Great Britain, 36-40-6.
BETTINSON lost his yellow jersey again on the run to Weston-superMare.
Through mainly-flat country, the stage gave the Lakeland climbing-star little chance to defend his lead—not that he wanted to.
- The yellow jersey is a terrible burden.
" Nobody will work with you and they are A out to give you the chop—I feel safer without it," he said.
Amway, he had little cause for regret. His time losses were minimal and the lead had passed to one of his team-mates. 25-Year-old Derek Hepple, another climber who excelled on the flat.
Things had begun with a seven-man break. It was an interesting group with two Poles—Janiak and Surmin-
ski—two Great Britain riders—Paling and Hepple — Sweden's Hamrin, Spain's Sarduy and Froud of the South.
They rode steadily away while the bunch took things easy, no doubt thinking of the morrow's gruelling run through the Welsh mountains.
After 40 miles. success seemed certain for the leaders and it was obvious that anyone who wanted to get up would have to do so soon.
Seven such souls sorted themselves from the pack and things took on a new perspective for, in that group were three more Poles—Zadrozny, Pawlowski and Kotlowski, the latter showing no ill-effects after his long, hard efforts the previous day.
The two groups joined up at 65 miles and the two Great Britain boys immediately began to miss turns at the front, their task now being to see that the Poles did not take the bonuses and that the break did not gain too much lead.
Into the long sprint, the poles and Spain's Salvador Caner—second on general classification—were the men to watch.
But it was another Spaniard, the big swarthy Ricardo Sarduy who led out.
Surminski went through, but Hepple had the better of both of them and swept past throwing his arm high in the air.
A quite contented Bettinson came in with the big bunch, seconds behind another large group.
" I don't mind having the race leadership in the hills. If they try to sit on then I can ride away from them, but it is hopeless on the flat.
" I just had a nice easy day in the bunch," he said.
Joe Jones too was in the bunch, a little apprenhensive of his return to the land of his birth next day : " I decided to stay with the bunch and save things for tomorrow," he said.
As Bettinson walked to the showers, an elated Hepple rode past and, pointing at the yellow jersey, called out. "You can take that off right now John."
STAGE FOUR, Paignton - Weston-super- Mare.—Derek Hepple, Great Britain, the 85m. 3.20-11; 2, F. Surminski, Poland, at i lgft; 3, R. Sarduy, Spain, at in.; 4, J. Proud, South; 5, S. Canet, Spain; 6, S. Pawlowski, Poland, all st.
GEN. CLASS. — Hepple, 15-33-5; 2, Canet, at 39sec.; 3, S. Hamrin, Sweden, at 1-31; 4, J. Bettinson, Great Britain, at 2-20; 5. D. Paling, Great Britain, at 2-28; 6, J. Janiak. Poland, at 2-44.