How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Roger Pingeon


You might be forgiven not being able to remember the winner of the Tour de France fifty years ago, because the most noted event to transcend the decades since the 1967 race remains, not the victor, but the death of Tom Simpson on the Mont Ventoux. 

The 1967 TdF was an interesting one in that it saw a return to the national team format - France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, and Switzerland/Luxembourg, all had teams entered in the competition, with Belgium, Spain, and Italy each entering an additional second team, and France entering an additional two teams. Roger Pingeon would win the race that year by more than three minutes ahead of Spanish rider Julio Jimenez. Some of the other prominent racers in 1967 included Pingeon's teammates, Raymond Poulidor and Lucien Aimar, as well as Felice Gimondi, Herman van Springel, Jan Janssen, and Jean Stablinski.

Though the victory was the crowning glory of Pingeon's career, the ten years in which he raced as a pro were not without other moments of merit. In 1969 he won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana as well as the overall title, and finished 2nd overall at the Tour (behind Eddy Merckx), with a stage win. He also won a stage at the 1972 Criterium du Dauphine Libere, and in 1974 the Grand Prix de Plumelec. Pingeon was a climber of no small ability winning the KOM at the 1969 Criterium du Dauphine, and finishing 2nd in the climbing competition at both the Tour and Vuelta that same year. Beside those there were numerous top ten finishes at such notable races as the Grand Prix des Nations, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and Tour of Romandie.

I am not sure when the above photo was taken, or its attribution (the only link I could find does not seem to work), but it is certainly in the classic style - grime-covered face reflecting long wearying miles on the road, and accentuating that far-away look of the eyes. And, of course, a well-worn cap perched atop the head.

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