The 11th stage of the Tour de France was won on thursday by the Spanish rider Luis Ocana.
The 11th stage of the Tour de France was won on thursday by the Spanish rider Luis Ocana. He finished the Grenoble-Orcieres race a full nine minutes ahead of the belgian star, Eddie Merckx over this hilly stage. His victory gave him the leader's yellow jersey with an overall time of 58 hours 33 minutes, with the champion, Eddie Merckx, 9 minutes behind in third place. Second is another Belgian, Van Impe.
SYNOPSIS: Leading the field in the 11th stage of the Tour de France...Joaquim Agostinho, the tough Portuguese rider. He wasted no time and attacked soon after the start of the 83-mile stage from Grenoble, leading Zoetemelk and van Impe with the Champion, Eddie Merckx, already some way behind. Then Sequena followed by a tight bunch piled on the pressured up hill behind Agostinho.
Agostinho reached the summit of the 3,000 feet Cote de Laffey 15 seconds ahead of Zoetemelk and the others, with the Belgian champion, Eddie Merckx, already two minutes behind.
The three riders continued to make the pace, leaving the bunch further and further behind. Ocana began to hot the pace up. In the overall times he was leading, and hoped to increase his lead over Merckx, the hot favourite for another victory.
Ocana started to pull ahead, but then had trouble with his rear wheel. With one of the swiftest wheel changes on record, Ocana was off again. He lost only ten seconds.
Ocana really showed what a strong challenger he is to the almost legendary Merckx by quickly making up his lost ground and surging off into the lead. On the 5,000 foot Col de Noyer, he was minutes ahead. A fearless display of fast descending and time-trials on the flats pulled him further ahead. Behind him, Merckx was with the leaders.
There was no stopping Ocana. His racing in Spain had given him practice in racing under the boiling sun, and he looked cool all the way.
Behind Ocana, Merckx's fallow-countryman van Impe led the first bunch of riders, with the early pace-setter Agostinho and the Dutch star, Zoetemelk. but they were far behind, and were racing by now for second place.
First across the finishing line at Orcieres-Merlette, the Spaniard Ocana. He was a full nine minutes before Merckx, who finished third, and six