Luis Otaño silenced Van Looy: "Today it is not time to go slowly"

Otaño was already living the twilight of his career at age 32, in the ninth of his ten appearances on the Tour. His best crop had been collected in other races.


Privas hosts for the first time a goal of the Tour, but it had already had a presence on the route with a departure in 1966 that landed in Bourg d'Oisans, on the slopes of Alpe d'Huez, with the victory of a Spaniard: Luis Otaño ( Renteria, 25-1-1934) .

Otaño was already living the twilight of his career at age 32, in the ninth of his ten appearances on the Tour. His best harvest had been collected in other races, with three stages in the Vuelta, where he also finished second in 1964, 33 seconds behind Raymond Poulidor; with two other partial wins at the Dauphiné, and with two Spanish Championships. The Guipuzcoan was an SUV that stood out mainly as a domestic. Especially from Bahamontes, with whom he formed the team that crowned the Águila de Toledo in 1959, whom he later accompanied the Margnat-Paloma. And also from Roger Riviére, who signed him for Saint Raphael after seeing him roll in a Vuelta time trial.

Together with Fede, he witnessed some of his notorious fights with Jesús Loroño: "They were always fighting. As Bahamontes never drank wine at dinner, Loroño did and the other one got angry. If Bahamontes said that the tomatoes were bad , then Loroño praised its flavor and they argued again ".

On that July 6, 1966, Otaño ran for his own interest. The day before, he told his Fagor director, Periko Matxain, that he was going to book the Vals les Bains time trial. His friend Leopoldo Michelena, an industrialist who had helped him a lot during his career, advised him on the phone during Luchon's rest day: "You have nothing to do in the general classification. You better cover yourself in the clock, and then attack the first day of the Alps ". And so he did. For the first few kilometers, Rik Van Looy tried to block the stage. "Slowly, slowly ...", said the Belgian while driving the gutter. "When you had to go slowly it was in the time trial, today it is not time," replied the Basque, before leaving with Julio Jiménez and Joaquín Galera, whom he took down for the first time in the descent of the Grimone, before suffering a fall. The next blow was already the final one. Matxain was scared during the last descent of the Ornon, but it was Luis Otaño's day. It was written.

Otaño retired after the 1968 season. He suffered a fall in a race at Vizcaya, ruptured his cruciate ligament, and no longer competed. His associates had advised him to train to open a business, a hardware store. He did so. And there it continues: in the center of Renteria.

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