Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Maitre Jacques

Le Légende


I just finished reading Graeme Fife's, 'Tour de France: The History, the Legend, the Riders.' 

If there ever was an informative account of Le Grand Boucle, especially the early days, then this is it. Star rider & huge personality, Jacques Anquetil rode with panache and never was shy about doping. In fact, he was outspoken on the subject. Never one to dilly dally he rode with a crushing superiority winning nearly everything there was to be won...

"This is a tough profession and we're not in it for pleasure it is hard and dangerous, we risk our health for many reasons. I consider myself a professional: I do my job, just like anyone going to an office or a factory."



1960...
what a haul!


The Tour de France was his domain. He knew winning it would guarantee his prestige and his income, very important to him. Anquetil was the first Frenchman to win five Tours (1957, 1961-'64) and the Giro/Tour double (1964). He was expert in the time-trial. When he started his first pro season in 1953, he was 19 years old and won the Grand Prix des Nations. He won it a record nine times.

Jacques Anquetil was larger than life, without a doubt, and his austere way for winning was unique...

"Strange people, bike riders. They imagine a racing bike is made for going quickly. They're wrong: a racing bike is made solely for winning races." 

...Maitre Jacques just knew!



1964...
another vintage Anquetil year.

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