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first in the hearts of the French

A hug with Julian Alaphilippe. It was his last appearance on the Tour in the summer of 2018. Raymond Poulidor would not have missed that for anything in the world. The Tour de France was his family, his passion. A race of legends where he created his own: that of the eternal second, born on the slopes of the Puy de Dome, during the summer of 1964, in an exceptional duel with Jacques Anquetil. That day, Raymond Poulidor took 42 seconds in the yellow jersey, but finally finished 2nd in Paris on the final podium. The curse is on. Exceptional champion, we have forgotten his 189 victories to retain only eight places of honor on the Great Loop. In 1977, at age 41, he hung up the bike.

Son of farmer, fourth of the siblings, he discovers cycling on the roads of Creuse, then the Vienne. This passion will not let go. He became a professional in 1960. Of course, there were the falls, as in 1968, and the misfortune of punctures. But above all, two monsters will get in his way: Jacques Anquetil, who will make him try the famous yellow jersey, and Eddy Merckx, now bereaved. In the peloton, “Poupou” even managed to impress the young champions in the making. At age 83, Raymond Poulidor will not be able to attend this summer the passage of the Great Loop in the village where he lived, Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, in Haute-Vienne.

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