The 1968 Tour de France was the 55th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 27 June and July 21, with 22 stages covering a distance of 4,492 km (2,791 mi). Eleven national teams of 10 riders competed, with three French teams, two Belgian teams and one from Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, and a combined Swiss/Luxembourgian team.
The 1968 Tour marked the first time the race end at the Vélodrome de Vincennes taking covering a distance of for the now-defunct Parc des Princes Velodrome, which served as the final stop from 1904 to 1967. The general classification was won by Jan Janssen, who overtook Herman Van Springel in the final time trial.
The 1968 Tour started with 110 cyclists, divided into 11 teams of 10 cyclists.
The teams entering the race were:
The 1968 Tour de France started on 27 June, and had two rest days, in Royan and Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via.
In the fifteenth stage, Raymond Poulidor was hit by a motor and had to give up. The Tour ended with a time trial, and before the time trial, Herman Van Springel was leading, followed by San Miguel at 12 seconds, Janssen at 16 seconds and Bitossi at 58 seconds. Janssen won the final time trial, with Van Springel in second place, but the margin was large enough for Janssen to win the Tour.
In the 1968 Tour de France, 163 doping tests were performed. Two returned positive:José Samyn, after the sixth stage
Jean Stablinski, after the eleventh stage, for amphetamines
Both were removed from the race, suspended for one month and given a fine.
There were several classifications in the 1968 Tour de France, two of them awarding jerseys to their leaders. The most important was the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification is considered the winner of the Tour.
Additionally, there was a points classification. In the points classification, cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification. The jersey for the points classification leader was red in 1968, unlike all other years since its introduction in 1953, when it was green.
There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorized some climbs as either first, second, third, or fourth-category; points for this classification were won by the first cyclists that reached the top of these climbs first, with more points available for the higher-categorized climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification. The leader of the mountains classification, which had been calculated since 1933 but had never had a jersey, also became identifiable by a "macaron" on his jersey.
A newly introduced classification was the combination classification. This classification was calculated as a combination of the other classifications. The leader was not identified by a jersey, but wore a "macaron" on their jersey.
The fifth individual classification was the intermediate sprints classification. This classification had similar rules as the points classification, but only points were awarded on intermediate sprints. In 1968, this classification had no associated jersey.
For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time. The riders in the team that lead this classification wore yellow caps. The Switzerland/Luxembourg team finished with only two cyclists.
The combativity award was given to Roger Pingeon.
It was the last edition in which the cyclists participated in national teams; from 1969 on, commercial teams were used.