The history of the Tour de France

Year 1980


  • Bernard Hinault again started out like a Tour winner. Again he won the Prologue, as he did stages to Spa and Lille. But steady rains reeked havoc on the peloton and Hinault was suffering from tendonitis on his right knee. Forced to abandon before the race entered the Pyrénées, his Dutch rival Joop Zoetemelk took over the lead. Although he did not dominate like Hinault, Zoetemelk rode consistently for the rest of the race and finally won his cherished Tour.

  • Zoetemelk’s victory, on his 10th try, at 33, after having finished six times in second place. Raymond Martin’s long breakaway in the Pyrénées and his third place overall. News of Hinault's tendon troubles dominated the 1980 Tour. Despite the best medical attention, Hinault's knee only got worse. Not even the joy of wearing the yellow jersey could help. And with plenty of climbing still ahead, the French champion had to accept the fact that continuing would only risk long-term, career-threatening injuries. So, late in the evening after the stage to Pau, Hinault announced quietly to the race organizers that he could not continue. And putting his yellow jersey in his suitcase, he discreetly left the race.

  • Zoetemelk not only takes over from his fellow citizen, Jan Janssen, on the Tour’s board, but he also takes the title of “most French of the Dutchmen” away from him. He lives in Meaux, happily married to a French woman. Last rider: Schombacher (85th), 2 h 10 min. 52 sec. behind.

  • Bernard Hinault withdraws while in the lead. Tour starts in Frankfort, Germany.

  • Ex- Beatle John Lennon is assassinated in front of his home in New York; Ronald Reagan becomes U.S. President; Marshal Tito dies after 35 years of rule in Yugoslavia.

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