Just read a beautiful post over at Dave Moulton’s Bike Blog. Dave is a bike frame builder of some repute and his knowledge of the history of competitive cycling appears to be second to none.
In today’s post, he recounts the story of two great French cyclists of the 1960s and 1970s, Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor. While Anquetil was the more successful rider, winning the Tour de France five times, Poulidor was regarded with greater affection by the French public and press. Known as Pou-Pou, he was often described as the ‘Eternal Second’, and his futile quest to win Le Tour captivated the country. The pair’s rivalry prevented them from becoming friends until long after their careers had ended. Sadly, that friendship was cut short by Anquetil’s death from stomach cancer in 1987. The day before he died he told Poulidor: “Once again my friend, you will be second to me.”
The picture above shows the pair’s famous elbow-to-elbow duel on the Puy-de-Dome mountain in the ’67 Tour. Poulidor is on the right.