Luis Ocaña vs. Eddy Merckx

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


Here’s a video documentary from last night’s Informe Robinson show in Spain about Luis Ocaña, the 1973 Tour de France winner. It’s a Spanish production but with a lot of French audio thanks to interviews with Eddy Merckx, Johny Schleck and Ocaña’s French widow. Without subtitles it’s obviously not for everyone but if you’re patient you’ll find rich archive of video, photo and more in a slick package.

It’s also the chance for a book giveaway, with a free copy of Daniel Friebe’s excellent Eddy Merckx, The Cannibal book.

Loyal readers might remember the excellent David Millar documentary from the same show. Now it’s time to go further back and the story of Luis Ocaña. A rival to Eddy Merckx, Ocaña was arguably the only rider capable of challenging The Cannibal but for all his raw power and panache there was a weakness Merckx could exploit – Ocaña’s impulsive mind.

Their rivalry reached feverish levels in the 1971 Tour de France with the back-to-back stages to the ski station of Orcières Merlette and then to Marseille. It marked Ocaña so much that he later named his home Orcières Merlette. His tale is special and the well-produced documentary explains plenty and is well-produced too.

“to speak of Merckx without mentioning of Ocaña is like talking about the sun without a word about the shadow it casts”
Born to Climb – L’Equipe.fr (English article)

The documentary is worth watching and there’s a new biography on Ocaña, Reckless by Alasdair Fotheringham out in May. For now as a bonus the film a good excuse to give away a great read. Along with the review copy of “At Speed” by Mark Cavendish came “Eddy Merckx, The Cannibal” by Daniel Friebe … but it’s been read, enjoyed and reviewed already so here’s pristine paperback to give away.

Quiz: What was Ocaña’s first name?

Rules: post your answer in the comments section, please don’t email or tweet. In the possible event of a tie the names will get posted into a spreadsheet and a random function used to pick the winner.

Feel free to use a pseudonym and you don’t have to leave your email in the field before leaving the answer. I’ll send the book airmail to anywhere on the planet. I’ll pick the winner on Friday at midday.

Note the documentary code can be copied and pasted so if you want to share it, save it and more, make use of it.

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{ 143 comments }

Cyclingbase February 4, 2014 at 10:38 am

Luis Ocana Pernia was his full name. So Luis was his first name.

JoshOwenMorris February 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

Luis?

Anthony February 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

Jesus

Pete G February 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

Luis!

Will watch the documentary later, cheers

John Bernard February 4, 2014 at 10:41 am

Luis

andrew chalton February 4, 2014 at 10:44 am

Luis

Ventoux1991 February 4, 2014 at 10:44 am

Jesus

Benken February 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

Jesus was his first name.

Anthony February 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

Matt Rendell refers to him as Jesus Luis Ocana Pernia, in the The Death of Marco Pantani when discussing the minutes silence at the Giro.

Alasdair Fotheringham is releasing a book this year called – Reckless: The Life and Times of Luis Ocana, should be a good read.

Damo February 4, 2014 at 10:48 am

Luis

Bubu February 4, 2014 at 10:49 am

Jesus.

David Milne February 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

Jesus

Søren Pedersen February 4, 2014 at 10:54 am

The answer is Jesús :-)

Huge fan of Ocaña and many of the riders of that time.

Ronan February 4, 2014 at 10:54 am

Jesus

TomC February 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

luis

Bass Boy February 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

That would be Jesus.

Danish Rider February 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

The asnwer is Jesus Luis :)

Howard February 4, 2014 at 11:02 am

Jesús Luis Ocaña Pernía

So his first name was Jesús

Finn February 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

Jesús

Capo February 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

Jesús is his official first name

MarceloCATALAN February 4, 2014 at 11:12 am

Jesús

Rod February 4, 2014 at 11:13 am

Jesús

Irontwit February 4, 2014 at 11:14 am

Jesús Luis Ocaña Pernía is his full name. Many Spanish children are christened “Maria” and “Jesus” first followed by a given name e.g. Maria del Carmen, Marie Jose etc and are referred to in normal everyday life by their second name as is the the case with Luis Ocaña. So technically, Jesus is his first name but is universally referred to as Luis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_naming_customs

rmeloa February 4, 2014 at 11:14 am

Jesús

Jere Valkonen February 4, 2014 at 11:15 am

Jesús

Rasmus Hansen February 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

Jesús

Oliver McCarthy February 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

Jesus

TorresLondon February 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

Luis

Richard French February 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

Jesús

Stephen Pert February 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

Jesús

noel February 4, 2014 at 11:35 am

Bob

Bisi February 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

Jesús Luis

Griffto February 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

Jesús

Little Tom February 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

Jesús

Ulf February 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

Jesús

Piers February 4, 2014 at 11:47 am

Jesús

wordery February 4, 2014 at 11:47 am

Jesus

Ian Tivey February 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

Jesús Luis

Ian Tivey February 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

brianthemagical February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

Jesús

Assuming you mean the cyclist.

NDM February 4, 2014 at 11:57 am

Jesus.

Lasto February 4, 2014 at 11:58 am

Jesús

Jonathan February 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Luis

Ankush February 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Jesús

Bom W February 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Jesus

Bom W February 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Jesus

Dave February 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Señor

folano February 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Jesus

Dave H February 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Jesus

andy w February 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Jesús

with the accent :o)

Art Vandelay February 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Jesús Luis

Joe Marsden February 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Jesus Luis Ocana

Whelsucker February 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm

I’m going to draught along with Jesus.

Welshcakes February 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Jesus

Itamar February 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Jesus was his first name!

Dossard51 February 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

This is nice and timely.

I am a big fan of Ocaña (Jesus Luis, as many have indicated above) and I’ve recently been reading “Ocaña” by Spanish journalist Carlos Arribas. I was really looking forward to it, but it’s a huge disappointment, I’m afraid: Arribas is perhaps Spain’s best-known cycling reporter and I find his style “infumable”. He’s adorned the facts of Ocaña’s life with page upon page of invented, barroque dialogue which he believes “may” represent the spirit of the conversations held between Ocaña and his managers, wife, friends, journalists, team mates and just about anybody else he thinks Ocaña may have come across. It’s a trick that might have worked in another writer’s hands, but I find it mind-numbingly boring :(.

A shame, as Ocaña has a very interesting story.

So it’s great to see Michael Robinson’s documentary about this great cyclist and intriguing personality and to see that Fotheringham is to publish a biography.

For those who really have it bad, here’s a video of a documentary about Ocaña screened last year on Spanish TV. It may be hard going for those who don’t understand Spanish, but it has some fine footage of Ocaña going about his business on his bike.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOp5-j76iSA

Tris February 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Jesús!

Qwerty February 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Jesus Luis

thetobyjug February 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Jesus…

Antonio February 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Jesus

scott February 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Jesús

Jack February 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Jesús Luis

Jackson67 February 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Jesus

Peter February 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Jesús

Craig February 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Jesus

Angus February 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Jesús

Eric February 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Luis

Steve Potts February 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Jesús was his first name. And God, I hope I win something this time!

Steve

haps February 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

jesus

conor February 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Jesus

TonyS February 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Jesus

cd February 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Jim

Scott February 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Jesus

gavin February 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Jesus

tv_vt February 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Jesus was his first name.

Jimbo February 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Jesús

Dave February 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Jesús

Rob R February 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Jesús Luis

David February 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Jesús

DNF February 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Jesús.

Tambo February 4, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Jesús Luis

Eric February 4, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Luis

EkItaRoe February 4, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Jesús Luis.

Dr. May February 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Jesús

Reallon February 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Ocaña

Bundle February 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm

I’d really like to win this one… But it will largely depend on your definition of “first name”.

1) If you use the Merriam-Webster definition “the name that stands first in one’s full name”, then it is Jesús.
2) If you use the Oxford definition “a personal name given to someone at birth or baptism and used before a family name”, then it is Jesús Luis.

Actually, if you stand by the expression “being on first-name terms”, Ocaña was nothing else than Luis.

Tomashuuns February 4, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Jesús

AshB February 4, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Jesús

Chris February 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Jesús

Brian W February 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Jesus. Thanks for the opportunity and I always enjoy reading your articles.

othersteve February 4, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Jesus

Larry T. February 4, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Already have and have already read this book – highly recommended, perhaps the best of the English language (including translations) books I’ve read on Eddy. …and we have a few of ‘em here in the CycleItalia library!

Tom February 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Jesús

Henrik Olsen February 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Jesus Luis

CJ February 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Jesus

yossarian February 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Jesús

Detlef February 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Jesús

Steve Crawford February 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Jesús

Danilo R icco February 4, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Jesús

Vanilla_Thrilla February 4, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Jesús

Peter Banco February 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm

The answer is Jesús

Kim February 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Jes’us

Kim February 4, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Jesús

Budge February 4, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Jesus

wes February 5, 2014 at 1:43 am

jesus

John S. February 5, 2014 at 2:37 am

Jesus

Michal February 5, 2014 at 3:53 am

Jesús

Hoh February 5, 2014 at 4:53 am

Jesús Luis.

I’m going by the Oxford definition.

Sally Gap February 5, 2014 at 5:07 am

You’re all wrong.

It’s a little known fact that the rider in question was actually born in Mayo, in the west of Ireland.
He rode for Westport Wheelers as a youth, and was immediately successful, ellicting cries of “Jaysus, he’s good in the hills”.

Following a package holiday to Toremelinos in 1967, he then got his spot with Fagor, and the rest is well known. He took the Hispanic name Jesús Luis Ocaña Pernía, however his real name is …
Louis O’Connor.

If you don’t believe me, see this video of the 1971 Tour de France.

http://www.nbcsports.com/cycling/tour-de-france/100-years-tour-merckx-vs-oconnor

I’ll get my casquette…

Igam Ogam February 5, 2014 at 9:52 am

Truly brilliant, and no one has corrected it. Better than Fox news (almost)!

The Inner Ring February 5, 2014 at 10:07 am

That’s hilarious, thanks.

MD February 5, 2014 at 6:24 am

Jesús

Henry_m1 February 5, 2014 at 7:22 am

Jesus Luis

pat de bruyn February 5, 2014 at 7:42 am

Luis

Venky February 5, 2014 at 9:11 am

Jesus Luis!

Eivino February 5, 2014 at 10:02 am

Jesús Luis

Anonymous February 5, 2014 at 10:08 am

Jesús! The prizes sound great, so I wish I knew the answer to the question.

DJ February 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

Jesús. His son, Jesús Ocaña Quintana the second, goes by his mothers’ name and has achieved considerable local fame in the Los Angeles’ bowling alleys.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Euaxoe4XMls

Graham Campbell February 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Jesus

Jeremy February 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Jesus

Eli February 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Jesus

DanL February 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Jesús

Thanks for the info — didn’t know much about his story.

Simon February 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Jesus

Nick M February 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Jesús

Cattydcat February 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Jesus was his first name

Withoutanyhills February 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Jesus (please let it be me!)

Bosskardo February 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Luis

124g February 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Brian and so’s my wife

yakov February 5, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Jesus (Luis Ocaña Pernía), let me win. Please.

Larrick February 5, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Jesús

Jean A February 6, 2014 at 1:31 am

Jesús Luis

Tom February 6, 2014 at 2:06 am

Jesús

GoJu February 6, 2014 at 7:42 am

Jesus

LudoS February 6, 2014 at 8:15 am

Jesus

LudoS February 6, 2014 at 8:16 am

Jesus

Nodrik the Left Handed Maggot February 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Dave

Peloton.pl February 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Jesús Luis

AJW February 6, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Jesús

Greg Keble February 7, 2014 at 9:25 am

Jesús

The Inner Ring February 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm

The winner is…. Jeremy.

Please email me with an address and I’ll send the book off soon.

I hoped the references to Luis Ocana would trick more people but it didn’t last long. Anyway, the point was to show the documentary and I hope enough people enjoyed it.

Todd February 8, 2014 at 12:00 am

Luis

Gallupwala February 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Jesus

The Tashkent Error February 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

Jesús

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