The big event in Europe's cycling calendar, the Tour de France, was won on Sunday for the third year running by the Belgian Eddy Merckx.
CU TILT UP No.81 starting last stage (3 shots)
SCU TILT UP TO MV No.20 (4 shots)
CU & MV PAN No.1 starting stage (3 shots)
CU TILT DOWN No.80 starting
STV Travel shot No.40 along road with escorts in front
GV's cyclists along road (4 shots)
SCU & STV PAN No.1 round bend and into stadium, finishing to win Tour, followed by No.20 (3 shots)
MV Cyclists swopping mementoes
SCU Winner receiving congratulatory kiss
Initials OS/420 OS/409
SPORT: CYCLING RACE
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Background: The big event in Europe's cycling calendar, the Tour de France, was won on Sunday for the third year running by the Belgian Eddy Merckx.
His victory came to a climax with a decisive win in the final stage from Versailles to Paris.
He had covered the thirty-three miles from Versailles in an hour and ten minutes - two minutes clear of his nearest rival in the stage, J. Agostinho of Portugal.
After twenty days of racing, Merckx was placed first overall in front of his fellow-Belgian Lucien Van Impe, with B. Thevenet of France third and Portugal's Agostinho fourth. This coverage is by French Television.
SYNOPSIS: The big event in Europe's cycling calendar, the Tour de France, ended on Sunday with the 20th, stage from Versailles to Paris. Starting here are Agostinho of Portugal.....
and Zoetemelk of Holland, who was close behind the leader Merckx of Belgium in the overall placings.
This is Eddy Merckx himself starting at Versailles on the final time-trial over thirty-three miles (53 kms) to the finish.
Another one of the leaders overall - Thevenet of France.
And another leading Belgian in the race as well as the redoubtable Merckx was Lucien Van Impe, chasing his compatriot all the way home.
Eddy Merckx had battled his way to the front this year after winning the two previous Tours. Some sympathised with Luis Ocana of Spain, absent from the last stage and considered the moral winner by many last week when he was leading Merckx by seven and a half minutes. But Merckx was never challenged by the 104 riders left in the marathon on the final stage, after a three-week battering by sun, snow and wind over the mountainous course. merckx covered the last stage in an hour and ten minutes, finished two minutes clear of his nearest rival. Agostinho of Portugal, with Wagtmans of Holland third. Merckx won overall from his compatriot Lucien Van Impe, with B. Thevenet of France third.
The Belgian superstar of cycling Merckx was the third rider to win three Tours in succession.