Not a happy camper…Vale Pou Pou

Dear Rouleurs,

I’ve been neglecting this blog to the point of it also being defunct. The combination of juggling work, life, 2 kids and a crappy run with bronchitis and hayfever has reduced MMT’s output on the bike to a trickle in the last few weeks. This has been deeply frustrating hence the title of this blog.

However in the time since MMT’s last blog, besides a very interesting, weather impacted set of results in the World Championships in Yorkshire, only one important albeit sad event occurred. Vale Raymond Poulidor, cyclist and French folk hero, passed away on Nov. 13 in a hospital outside Limoges, France, aged 83.

Poulidor, who became universally known as the “eternal second,” was on the podium as a second- or third-place finisher for eight out of the 14 Tours he entered. Not only did he never win; he also never wore the Tour leader’s yellow jersey for even a single day, a feat achieved by numerous far less accomplished riders.

Anquetil and Poulidor going head to head on the Puy du Dome in the 1964 Tour de France

What some athletes might view as failure, however, only enhanced Poulidor’s status among French cycling fans, who have a soft spot for underdogs. For decades after Poulidor retired at the advanced age (for cyclists) of 41, “Poupoularité” remained strong. He became the unofficial patriarch of the Tour.

MMT’s favourite Poulidor story, was retold recently on the Rapha Cycling Podcast. Poulidor visited Jacques Anquetil, on his death bed back in 1987. Anquetil and Poulidor had bitter rivalry in the early 1960’s and had become good friends after both retired from professional cycling. Anquetil is said to have quipped to Poulidor, something like, ‘It looks like I’ve beaten you in this as well’. Somehow MMT thinks Poulidor wouldn’t have minded too much.

Hopefully MMT will resume proper cycling soon, in the mean time ride safe.

MMT

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