Interesting interview with Barry Hoban. "Barry's sojourn at the Tour bridged a significant part of Tour history - his first Tour was Jacques Anquetil's last, he rode alongside Eddy Merckx, and his last Tour was Bernard Hinault's first."
Excerpt: Race Directors
Felix Levitan was co-director of the Tour de France with Jacques Goddet throughout the whole of the 1970s.
BH: The Tour director at that particular time was brought up in the mold of Henri Desgrange, whose ambition was to get ONE rider to finish in Paris. He tried everything he could to make that happen! One Tour in the 1970s, after the prologue on the first day there were three separate stages. We started the first 110km stage, had a one hour break, the next stage was 120km, and we finished with another stage of 130km! The Tour de France was over 1000 km longer. We had stages of 395km...
Nowadays thankfully the sport is run correctly, but when Levitan was running it, he was a Godfather figure, and he used to overrule the commissaires! The race director, theoretically, has no control over the race. Once the race is in progress, the commissaires are the ones who should define what happens, if someone infringes a rule. But Levitan used to just overrule them.
Chuck Schmidt South Pasadena, CA