One day in yellow: Marinus Wagtmans

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They are far from the records of Eddy Merckx, much less famous than the other three quintuple winners of the Tour, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. In total, 67 runners have worn the Yellow Jersey one day (or less) throughout their career and also embody in their own way a message of excellence mixed with humility. On the Tour 1971, it is a bit by chance that the Dutchman Marinus Wagtmans undressed his leader Eddy Merckx of the Yellow Jersey … the time of a third of stage!

In 1971, “Merckxism” is in full swing. Two-time defending champion on the Great Loop, the Belgian (still) won on Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège earlier this year and has also recruited top-ranking lieutenants to assist him. The Molteni jerseys, Eddy Merckx’s new team, welcome Herman Van Springel (2nd of Tour 1968) and Marinus Wagtmans (6th in 1969, 5th in 1970), reinforcements that still reduce the meager hopes of competition. , although Luis Ocaña proved conqueror on the recent Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. Be that as it may, the superiority of the Italo-Belgian team and its leader is already expressed with force on the prologue played by teams … and of which Merckx comes out in yellow.

The day of the next day is a very specific format, responding to politico-sporting considerations related to the application of the Regio * for the organization of the first European games. It was agreed that three races would be scheduled that day, with arrivals to Basel Switzerland, Freiburg the German and Mulhouse the French. The staged race in the stage makes the platoon cringe, but we do indeed launch into the triptych potron-twink. On the first stretch, it is the addition of the places after the sprint won by Eric Leman that we calculate the overall ranking … and Marinus Wagtmans ahead without realizing his comrades Molteni band.

The little yellow adventure of “Rini” is played between Basel and Friborg, for 90 kilometers. But the Cannibal is not a sharer, including with his young colleague, and rush from kilometer 7 on a “hot spot Miko” where 5 seconds of bonuses reward the first. Once on the finish line, the gap is even higher with Wagtmans, who will have spent only 2h29’31 ” wearing the Yellow Jersey. Which does not make the Dutchman the absolute record man of brevity in yellow, since several riders only wore it for a time trial, the fastest having been Philippe Gilbert, who only raced a little more than 25 minutes in his yellow overall in the Essarts team time lapse at the start of the 2011 Tour. However, Wagtmans did not win that short golden souvenir of the 1971 Tour,

*: abbreviation of the Latin expression Regio Basiliensis, designating the Basel Region. – www.letour.fr

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