The French racing cyclist Alain Santy, had a surprise win on Saturday (16 March) when he turned out to be the overall winner of the Paris-to-Nice Cycly Race - beating such prominent champions as Poulidor (France) and Eddie Merckx (Belgium).
SV PAN NO. 81 (Gimondi) starts on final stage
SV PAN Crowd watch No. 51 (Van Springel) start
SV PAN No. 101 (Van Linden) start
Tracking shot Poulidor climbing hill
Tracking shots No. 2 (Zoetemelk) cycling up hill
Tracking shot No. 11 (Merckx) in pursuit
CU Zoetemelk during race
LV PAN Zoetemelk cycles up hill through crowd
Tracking shot beneath finish lane
CU & tracking shot Merckx through crowds lining road (2 shots)
SV Merckx crosses finishing line
SV Photographers waiting at finish line
SV PAN Santy finishes
SV Zoetemelk putting on winner's jersey
LV & CU Zoetemelk on rostrum with ??? are Merckx
SPORT - CYCLING
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Background: The French racing cyclist Alain Santy, had a surprise win on Saturday (16 March) when he turned out to be the overall winner of the Paris-to-Nice Cycly Race - beating such prominent champions as Poulidor (France) and Eddie Merckx (Belgium).
It was the first time in a major French road race that amateurs had been allowed to take part, and before the race there had been much speculation that the part-time riders might produce upsets for the professionals.
But in the last stage - the Mount Faron hill-climb - it was the professionals who were battling each other for the final placings.
The final hill-climb stage was won by Joop Zoetemelk of Holland, with Thevenet of France second, and Poulidor third. In the overall placings for the week-long race, Santy was first, Zoetemelk second, and Merckx third.
After the first day's racing, seven days earlier, Merckx had been leading, and subsequently led three of the later stages. On the final hill-climb however, he was unable to meet a challenge from the other three riders and was forced into sixth place.
Even on the earlier Bandol-to-Draguignan stage Merckx had turned in a poor performance, and it is thought that he may have been suffering from a fever.
But also during that stage, it became clear that Zoetemelk and Santy were beginning to dominate the race. In the final placing the former Olympic champion, Kulper, was sixth, but the current World Champion, Pilice Gimondi, who is still out of form, did not show in the top ten.
Though mixed professional-amateur contests have been sanctioned by the International Cycling Union for the last two years, they have run up against opposition from professional promoters in France. But there have been demands that cycle racing should be on a reciprocal basis, with countries where cycling has been kept an amateur sport inviting the professionals to participate.
In this year's race, there wore one-hundred-and-twenty competitors, divided into twelve teams. The prizes - for the professionals - amounted to just under seven-thousand-pounds sterling, and the outright winner was presented with a car valued at about two thousand pounds sterling.