Triple Olympic skiing champion in Grenoble in 1968, Jean-Claude Killy is also a cycling lover. And the Tour de France that he attended closely when he was president of ASO (including organizer of the Tour) from 1992 to 2001. He is very touched by the death of Raymond Poulidor, who died at 83 on the night of Tuesday See you on Wednesday. The disappearance of a great sportsman, a giant of cycling. Jean-Claude Killy, who had met him a lot, tells his "Poupou".
"Raymond Poulidor was a reflection of a certain France, a France of the sixties, confident, united. A France that looked to the future with confidence. And until the end, he kept that look. He served as a benchmark, to know where we came from and where we were going.
He had real values, values he always relied on, with which he never traded. Raymond is, was a great lord. I do not see him at all as a second. He had that image but he was a huge champion. In order to be convinced of this, it is enough to look at his record.
For reasons professionalI was closer and friend with Anquetil (Editor's note: five-time winner of the Tour, who died of cancer in 1987)but I respected him in the same way. These two embodied a France that trusted, who recognized himself in one or the other, or in both. It was a France good child but competitor.
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Raymond was for many the magnificent loser, but when you know the sport of high level, when you know the Tour de France, we must consider it as a model. I never thought that he had to embody the handsome loser. He had such a panache!
I crossed it a lot. He always had a lot of respect, kindness, courtesy. With everyone. I had read, it struck me, that with his first sous he had bought two or three apartments in Limoges, not far from Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, his town of Haute-Vienne. He was doing what France was doing at the time. He had hope for a better life than his parents, he was working on that. The social elevator was working hard.
In recent years, he remained young thanks to Mathieu van der Poel, his grandson. What a cyclist, too! Like his grandfather.
We are all sad this morning. France has lost its reflection, its witness of easier times. With his heavy, earthy accent, he pulled us towards our roots. The Tour de France is an orphan, it will not be quite the same. This tour he loved, packed but never offered to him, loses a real personality and a little of his soul. "