Born : April 15, 1936 in Masbaraud Mérignat, Creuse, France.
Raymond, known as « Poupou » 1, is a French cyclist, born April 15, 1936 in Masbaraud-Mérignat, Creuse. His popularity (« poupoularité2 ») was exceptional in France, despite his status as « eternal second » on the Tour de France, a test he never won and during which he never wore yellow jersey, but he holds the record of podiums (eight). He won the Tour of Spain in 1964. He is one of the few riders in history to finish more than 10 times on a final grand tour podium.
Biographical references :
His parents, Martial (1899-1970) and Marie Marguerite Montlaron, are sharecroppers, in the field of Drops. They then settle in Champnétery, in Haute-Vienne, where Raymond Poulidor passes his adolescence. He is the fifth child of the family.
He has three brothers : René, André and Henri.
He married at the age of twenty-five on April 16, 1961, in Champnétery (Haute-Vienne) with Gisèle Bardet.
They had two daughters, Isabelle and Corinne, who married Adrie van der Poel, a Dutch sportsman, who is himself a very good cyclist and crowned cyclo-cross world champion, in Montreuil, in 1996.
Their eldest son David van der Poel races on the road in the BKCP-Powerplus team, while junior Mathieu van der Poel has been crowned world cyclo-cross champion 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2018-2019, and junior road world champion (2013).
Cycling career Youth
Raymond Poulidor goes to school in Auriat, commune of Creuse and obtains the certificate of primary studies. His teacher offers him a subscription to Miroir Sprint, in which he discovers the French champions Louison Bobet and Raphaël Géminiani. He accompanies his brothers André and Henri when they compete in cycling races in the region, at the weekend, and ride with local runners, at night, with the bike of his mother. In 1952, André Marquet, a bicycle dealer from Sauviat-sur-Vige, offered Raymond, who was then sixteen, a semi-racing bike brand Alcyon. He begins to train daily, hiding his mother who judges this sport dangerous. He took his first license from « The pedal marchoise », whose seat was in Montboucher [ref. desired]. He is sixth in his first race, won by his brother Henri, Saint-Moreil, and gets a first victory at the Grand Prix de Quasimodo in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat in March 1954.
In August 1956, he was invited to participate in the Bol d’Or, in Chaumeil, as the best regional rider, alongside professional runners like Géminiani and Bobet. He made part of the race in the lead with Bobet and finished in sixth place. A few days later, he began to seriously consider a career as a professional cyclist when he received 120,000 francs for his second place in a race at Peyrat-le-Château4.
At the age of twenty, however, it is time for him to perform his military service. He was first posted to Germany, to Koblenz, then to Algeria, in the region of Bône. He returned home in December 1958. Due to lack of training, he weighs fifteen kilograms more than when he left. He trained in the winter of 1958/59 and in the spring won, eight minutes ahead of the professional Roger Buchonnet, the first race in which he took part. In August, he is second in the Peyrat-le-Château Grand Prix behind Jean Dotto. He impressed another professional participant, Bernard Gauthier. The latter, a member of the Mercier team, encourages Poulidor to become a professional and talks to him about his sporting director, Antonin Magne. After meeting him at the Critérium d’Arcachon, Antonin Magne hired him for a salary of 25,000 francs in the Mercier Cycling Team.
Professional career :
Raymond Poulidor enters the legend as the « eternal second » of the Tour de France and Jacques Anquetil in the 1960s and Eddy Merckx in the 1970s. It is a legend born of unfinished exploits and misfortunes encountered in the Tour de France, but a wrong legend with regard to many major successes. In the twentieth century, he is one of the most popular personalities in France. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, « Poupou » still triggered loud applause during his visits to the caravan of the Tour de France.
Professional cyclist between 1960 and 1977, he was able to run with Louison Bobet, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. He has been working with Cycles Mercier throughout his career, under different names: « Mercier-BP » (1960-1967), « Fagor-Mercier » (1970-1971), « Gan-Mercier » (1972-1976) and » Miko-Mercier « (1977).
The rivalry between Anquetil and Poulidor is one of the great oppositions of French sports, with the culmination of an elbow-to-elbow fight on the slopes of the Puy de Dome in the Tour 1964. This balance of power between the two men is evoked. in a subject from the show Les Coulisses de l’exploit dedicated to the career of Raymond Poulidor in 1969. Although having fewer victories than Anquetil, Poulidor, thanks to its popularity will be, from 1964, more asked in the criteriums, where he will be able to obtain remuneration superior to that of his rival 6. The rivalry with Merckx intervenes in the second part of the career of Poulidor, in his 30s and then in his forties, or « quadragineur » according to Antoine Blondin. « Poupou » won the Paris-Nice 1972 but lost in the Tour 1974 despite a victory at Pla d’Adet.
Winner of 189 races including Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Spain, the Grand Prix des Nations, he was awarded the Super Prestige Pernod in 1964. Poulidor never won the Tour de France in fourteen participations, nor even worn the yellow jersey would be just a day. He failed fourteen seconds of the yellow jersey at the top of the puy de Dome in 1964, or, in the 1973 prologue in Scheveningen, eighty hundredths of a second of Joop Zoetemelk.
His fans say he should have won at least three Tours de France, without the misfortune and clumsiness in 1964 for forgetting a lap course in Monaco that gives the victory and bonus minute to Anquetil while he loses his turn for fifty-five seconds; a fall and a puncture in the Andorra-Toulouse stage; a bad choice of gear in the Puy-de-Dome with which he still takes forty-two seconds at Anquetil; the « amazing » help of Anglade at Gimondi in the Ventoux in 1965; and the bike that overthrew him in 1968, forcing him to abandon at Aurillac when victory was promised. He however holds the record for the number of podiums on the big loop (eight) and won several stage victories in the greatest adversity.
Puncheur of very high lineage, very good wheeler, he won on all terrains. According to Antonin Magne, his first sports director, there could be no glory without virtue.
His second athletic director was Louis Caput. Raymond Poulidor will have only one agent-manager in the person of Roger Piel.
After Career :
Raymond Poulidor at the 30th Brive-la-Gaillarde Book Fair, November 5, 2011.
Raymond Poulidor retired from the pack in December 1977, after eighteen seasons at the highest level.
He worked for a while for Manufrance then France Loire, which then makes bicycles under the brands Mercier and Poulidor.
For a few years, he has been involved in the Tour de France on behalf of the LCL bank (yellow jersey partner).
In January 2003, he was promoted to the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honor9.
In 2004, his memoirs Poulidor by Poulidor were published with the complicity of Jean-Paul Brouchon and the preface by Eddy Merckx.
In 2008, he agreed to become, after Henri Desgrange and Jacques Goddet, the 3rd honorary president of Audax.
In 2012, in collaboration with the journalists Serge Laget and Jean-Paul Vespini, he publishes, at the age of seventy-six, the book My 50 tours de France, telling all those he followed, as a runner, reporter and lover of this sport.
In 2015, in collaboration with the journalist Bernard Verret, he published an even more complete book, retracing his life and career: Champion, published by Le Cherche Midi. « It’s the best, » he says.
In April 2016, he celebrated in Limoges his eighty years, with his family and more than one hundred friends, including Jean-Marie Leblanc and Christian Prudhomme, the last two directors of the Tour de France. Former champions include Bernard Thévenet, Lucien Aimar, Rolf Wolfshohl and Michel Dejouhannet.
On July 6, 2016, the Tour de France will be held in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, and a party will be held in honor of the most famous Miauletou. He stops and cuts out a giant cake, symbolizing his eighties. Bernard Hinault and Bernard Thévenet share this convivial stop.
Raymond Poulidor is sporting director of the Tour Limousin.
Poulidor has never been suspected of doping in seventeen years of career. However, in the newspaper L’Équipe on January 17, 1997, he said: « Of course, we too, we took a few vitamins, some exciting, but nothing too risky for health. In Cash investigation of June 27th, 2016, Elise Lucet asks Poulidor if he has consumed doping substances, Poulidor answers « no », but when she asks him if he has consumed amphetamines, Poulidor answers: « Yes, no » . The interview ends, Poulidor, believing that the camera is no longer filming, ends up returning in more detail to his troubling response: « It was amphetamines. We took nothing twice. It had been said that students took one or two Maxiton, that was it. But it had nothing to do with now. It was to hold, it was for morale. «