This is their last picture together. It dates from July, in Brussels (Belgium), during the big departure of the Tour de France. Eddy Merckx has lost a beautiful friendship born of a great rivalry. “It is not because he did not win the Tour de France that he is not a great champion, but after Anquetil, Hinault and Bobet, he is perhaps one of the greatest French champions. I have never knownsays the former Belgian champion. Raymond Poulidor is also a model for the younger generation of French cyclists. In 2016, Romain Bardet made “a Poulidor”, finishing 2nd of the Tour de France. He salutes the memory of a figure in his sport.
Julian Alaphilippe, yellow jersey on the last Tour de France, is one of those who react on social networks. “Happy to have crossed your path, goodbye Raymond, goodbye Champion”he writes. For Laurent Jalabert, “the world of cycling is in mourning”. The President of the Republic ensures that “Poupou” will stay “forever yellow jersey in the hearts of the French”. In Paris, those who pedal in the cold also have a thought for him. “He'll be the first up there, maybe”smiles a passer-by. The heritage of Raymond Poulidor is also called Mathieu van der Poel, his grandson. At 24, he is already cyclo-cross world champion and promised a bright future. He published a photo in memory of his grandfather followed by these few words: “Always so proud” A feeling shared by many French, for whom the second will remain forever the first.
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