The friends of the cycling champion, who died Wednesday in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat (Haute-Vienne), gathered in the tobacco-press of the town to share their memories.
The emotion is very strong in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, in Haute-Vienne, where Raymond Poulidor died at the age of 83, Wednesday, November 13th. It must be said that “Poupou” was everywhere, with a wooden sculpture with his effigy, an avenue, and even a stadium in his name. He was especially a figure in the city, present every day at the tobacco-press of Marie-Jeanne, in the central square of Saint-Leonard. “I remember his smile when he was walking through the door, his newspaper, his bike parked in front of the shops and his wand under his arm,” entrusts the shopkeeper. “There were always friends who joined him.”
It is here that his friends have chosen, once again, to meet on Wednesday, November 13 to share their memories. Hubert Fraisseix grew up with Raymond Poulidor, and he has trouble imagining the rest. “When we went to the meetings of former professionals in Marseille, in Lyon, it is always me who brought it, with my car.Now, I will not be able to bring it any more”he laments. “He said to me 'you know Hubert, we're lucky because we managed to get out of a very poor environment.' We did not have water at home, we did not have heating in the rooms, no toilets, nothing. “
Starting from scratch but still simple, this is the image that everyone keeps of Raymond Poulidor in his village of Haute-Vienne. This also explains his popularity according to Bernard Verret, former journalist, become one of his relatives. “He came from the depths of the Creuse, from the earth, he had no promise of life, we could identify with him, and with his legs he had challenged everyone.”
Starting with the greats: Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and even Bernard Hinault. Jean-Pierre Micaud, his friend for 64 years, came with a photo showing “his” Raymond, posing proudly alongside Anquetil and Hinault. “It's been 64 years that I live in 'poulidorism'”, He says. “He was the person who was worshiped, when he felt his last days coming, he always looked us in the eye, and he told us' it's over this time. 'I said' no Raymond, it's not over, 'and he said,' Yes, but I know you're still thinking of me. '
I'm proud to be his friendat franceinfo
Pride, a sentiment shared by all the inhabitants of Saint-Léonard, who came to fill Wednesday the 13th of November the guestbook at the town hall. Among the words, we can read: “Thank you for this fine example of courage.” Popular to Peru, my Peruvian daughter-in-law never failed to look for her “Poupou” at every step in the Pyrenees. “