Watch: Jan Janssen’s amazing pursuit to win 1963 Tour de France stage

When Dutch rider Jan Janssen missed the start of stage seven in the 1963 Tour de France, there was only one thing to do...

Dutch rider Jan Janssen seemingly did the impossible during a stage of the 1963 Tour de France in a story that almost defies belief.

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Taking part in his first Tour de France, Janssen turned up in Angers at the start line of stage seven with fellow Dutchman Dick Enthoven only to find that the other riders had departed some 15 minutes earlier.

Rather than give up, Janssen and Enthoven elected to follow the arrows showing the race route and try and catch up with the peloton – much to the delight of spectators.

It took 80 of the stage’s 236 kilometres for them to reach the back of the bunch, and were greeted with derision from other riders in the race. Janssen ignored the taunts. Having checked out the route to Limoges in the road book, he saw that there was a tough climb toward the finish.

With 50 metres to go, Janssen attacked, gapping the bunch and taking a memorable victory. He would later crash out of the race but went on to win the race overall in 1968, as well as victories in the world championships (1964), Paris-Nice (1964) and Paris-Roubaix (1967).