Raymond Poulidor (died on November 13th 2019 aged 83), was one of the great road cyclists of the 20th century and, while never winning the Tour de France, remained the French public’s most beloved.

Poulidor started in the Tour de France 14 times, finished 11 and stood on the podium in Paris eight times, but never wore the yellow jersey, not even for one a day.

The first Tour
Poupou starts his first Tour de France - with a broken hand! Nevertheless, he wins the 19th stage and finishes third.
The elbow duel
Final at the Puy de Dome. Poulidor and Anquetil climb shoulder to shoulder. Poupou attacks too late late and becomes second in Paris with a gap of 55 seconds.
Second again
Behind Felice Gimondi, Poupou once again finishes second in the Tour. 2:40 minutes separate him from the overall victory.
The cannibal
After third places in 1966, 1969 and 1972, Raymond Poulidor finishes second for the third time, behind the cannibal Eddy Merckx.
The last Grand Boucle
For the last time Poupou competes in the Grand Boucle. At the age of 40, he once again finishes third.
A monument, an icon. You can't imagine how much loved he was in France. Every year, I saw that again with the Tour de France. France loved his charm. I have rarely come across such a charming person


The champion

The “Eternal Second” indeed won 153 races. As a second year pro in 1961 he took Milan-Sanremo with a solo win on the Via Roma. He’d go on to win the Tour of Spain, Paris-Nice, the Dauphiné, the French Championships, the Flèche Wallonne and seven stages in the Tour de France.

Poupou and the grand boucle

He retired from competitive cycling in 1977 and worked in publicity for Credit Lyonnais, who sponsor the yellow jersey during the Tour de France. He subsequently became part of the publicity caravan, missing only one edition, in 1987. The cycling world will certainly miss him even more during this year Tour de France, the race that made him so immensely popular.

Grandson Mathieu van der Poel continues the story

45 years later, his grandson Mathieu van der Poel and the Alpecin-Fenix Cycling Team are trying to take the yellow jersey on their first Tour de France participation to honouring and saying “Merci Poupou”.

Meet Mathieu