Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 preview: Digne-les-Bains - Pra-Loup, 161 km

Who knows how the history of the Tour de France might have been different if the road to Pra Loup was made of better quality Tarmac?

In 1975, one of the most famous Tour moments of all time took place, on one of the long north-south switchbacks of the climb of Pra Loup. Eddy Merckx, the invincible five-time champion, was caught, passed, and left for dead by his French rival Bernard Thévenet. Merckx had attacked Thévenet over the top of the Col d’Allos, and built an advantage on the tricky descent, where he knew Thévenet was vulnerable. However, Merckx started to falter, and Thévenet started to close the gap. When he pulled up to Merckx, he saw that the road surface had melted in a long strip down the middle, just ahead. He jumped to one side of it, knowing that Merckx wouldn’t risk riding through the sticky bitumen to take his wheel, and rode away, into the yellow jersey, into the hearts of the French public, and into the annals of Tour history.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews