The 1964 Tour de France, Part I

The best Tour de France ever? Some say 1989, take your pick. During the 1989 Tour many knew it was an exceptional edition and many held up 1964 as a reference point or even the vintage edition. With this in mind here’s a mini-series to take a look the 1964 Tour. Part I below looks at the year in general, the cycling season, the race’s route and format.

Read more

Raymond Poulidor Obituary

Raymond Poulidor died on 13 November, aged 83. A champion cyclist, he made a name for himself as a loveable loser, a moral winner and a dependable emblem of rural France during a period of societal change. His reputation reaches far beyond cycling and there are Poulidors in sport, politics and life.

Read more

Roads to Ride: The Mont du Chat

French magazine Le Cycle has labelled the Mont du Chat “one of the hardest” climbs in France and it’s back on the route of the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France after vanishing from these races for decades.

A challenging climb, almost traffic-free and with superb views from the summit. What’s not to like? Actually it’s hard work with few rewards along the way and a useful example of how the enjoyment of a climb depends on more than the road itself.

Read more

Roger Pingeon Obituary

Roger Pingeon, an early advocate of marginal gains and a fighter of adversity who often came off worse, has died aged 76, a few months short of the 50th anniversary of his 1967 Tour de France win.

Read more

The Myth of Raymond Poulidor

Raymond Poulidor

Raymond Poulidor is 77 today. The Frenchman has two nicknames “Pou-Pou” and “The Eternal Second” and unfortunately for him his Wikipedia entry begins ” ‘Pou-Pou’ redirects here. For other uses, see Poo-poo (disambiguation)”. But two names are linked as Poupou was a term of affection for an underdog, a rider who finished second so often that he won fame and fortune for losing.

But the more I read about him, the more he seems to be a misunderstood rider whose myths and simple labels mask the truth of an efficient and calculating rider.

Read more