“'Poupou' was a bike giant,” reacted on franceinfo Wednesday, November 13 Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, after the death of Raymond Poulidor at the age of 83 years. “It was someone whom everyone loved was the one who gave me the passion of the Tour de France. Poulidor is the era of Eddy Mercks, Luis Ocaña, Bernard Thevenet. A champion who ran with Jacques Anquetil “, tells the boss of the Great Loop.
Christian Prudhomme explains to Franceinfo that he had on the phone last Saturday one of the former runner's daughters. “She told me there was no other way out,” says he.
Christian Prudhomme paid tribute to Raymond Poulidor and his 18 years of career started late after going to the army in Algeria. “Poupou” it was “the eternal youth, the second of the Tour at 38, the third at 40. This smile, this good man and” this glory without yellow jersey “, says the director of the Tour de France. “It's really a monument of the bike, the Tour without him it's hard to imagine, Poulidor, it's this” yellow jersey “touched 8 tenths in 1973, his falls were also for the people of the bad luck … told him that it was on the contrary very lucky not to have serious falls “.
Without victory on the Tour de France, Raymond Poulidor still won more than 180 races, says Christian Prudhomme. He was champion of France, winner of the Tour of Spain, the Vuelta in 64, Paris Nice in 72 and 73. He also won eight stages on the Tour de France. “It's true that against the giants Eddy Mercks, Jacques Anquetil, he missed the boat, continues Christian Prudhomme. Absolute symbol of his bad luck: he was sure to win and he was knocked down by the back, by a motorcycle that grabbed his rear wheel “, explains the director of the Tour.
He was a very funny gentleman. For the centenary of the yellow jersey: he went on stage with Eddy Mercks, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain and he said 'we four of us won 15 Tours de France', he who had never won the Tour and never worn the yellow jersey, everyone laughed. at franceinfo
“He rightly said that this is it, his lack of victories, who made his fame “, continues Christian Prudhomme. “After every lost Tour de France, there was a legitimate disappointment, but he also knew that it was thanks to that that he was also known: the eternal second”.
To be always second allowed him to return in the common language, estimates Christian Prudhomme. “He had completely overtaken the world of sport and the Tour de France.” The Poulidor of Politics, Writing “almost became a common name Poulidor, he left the pro world in 1977 and he always signed autographs! And most importantly, always with a word for the people who were in front of him “.
It was “the peasant Limousin who had chosen the bike not to work all the time in the land because it is something very very hard this rural France, which is also the expression of the love of TDF in the the 60s and today of course, continues Christian Prudhomme. On the edge of the roads of the Tour de France you still had signs for Poulidor! I have always seen on the edge of the Tower signs to the glory of Raymond “.