Born: 8 January 1934 Died: 18 November 1987
Nickname: Maître Jacques
Stand-out victories: Five Tours de France (1957, 61-64); two editions of the Giro d’Italia (1960, 64), one Vuelta an España (1963)
Normandy son Jacques Anquetil has a list of attributes lined up under his name, the chief of which is surely that of a founding member of the Club Cinq — the roll call of five-time Tour de France winners. Following close behind are perhaps his physical features. A sort of French equivalent to Fausto Coppi, Anquetil was chiseled, blond, and impassive; his riding style was a mirror image of this aloof personality – metronomic rather than swashbuckling. He was also very good at portraying the poker face of the modern rider, never allowing rivals, or onlookers, a glimpse of his suffering. In the words of Tour director Jacques Goddet: “He conducted himself like Fangio, the greatest racing driver I’ve ever seen. He took no unnecessary risks, avoided mechanical problems, and limited himself to answering each rival with the reply required to shut him up.”
Anquetil won his first Tour de France in 1957 aged just 23, and then in 1961 settled into a period of dominance, winning his fifth Tour in 1964.
A little like Miguel Indurain in the Nineties, his wins were based on time trialing ability – he didn’t win a mountain stage until 1963; this didn’t add to his popularity either.
Anquetil’s cause was not helped by the fact that his chief rival was fellow Frenchman Raymond Poulidor. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, his plucky trier status in the Tour and attacking style saw the French public take Poulidor to their hearts much more than they did Anquetil.
For all Anquetil’s coldness, he was certainly good for a quote. Perhaps his most famous is his description of readying himself for competition: “To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman” – a protocol that would likely get you dropped from the squad in a modern team like Ineos.
He also had his quirks – he was deeply superstitious – and made no bones about the level of drug-taking in the sport, saying that anyone imagining a professional cyclist could keep up without using stimulants would have to be “an imbecile or a crook”.
Born: 12 March 1925 Died: 13 March 1983
Standout victories: Three Tours de France (1953-55)
After a war-ravaged eight-year break, France desperately needed a hero when its home tour started again after the Second World War in 1947. It briefly had one that year when Jean Robic led an all-French podium to the win, but the following five editions saw the plaudits shared between Italy and Switzerland, as the Coppi-Bartali era got fully underway, accompanied by Ferdi Kübler. Thank goodness then for Brittany’s Louison Bobet, who in 1953 turned the promise of his four Tour de France stage victories — plus one King of the Mountains prize — into victory in Paris.
While the number of riders who have won the Tour de France twice ran almost to double figures, Bobet’s third consecutive win in 1955 made him the first rider to complete the hat-trick.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The six BIGGEST irritants of MODERN bicycle design
Which areas of bike design could do with... a little bit of tidying up Michelle Arthurs-Brennan shares her thoughts…
Specialized S-Works Crux £10,750 | 6.9kg
Is racing still the core principle of the Crux? Hannah Bussey finds out
WINTER NUTRITION FUEL THE FIRE
Getting the most out of your winter training means making sure you are optimally fuelled for every ride. Joe Laverick investigates the specific demands of cold season nutrition
Why I'll be in Lee Valley and why you should watch
I hope, like me, you are looking forward to the UCI Track Champions League at the Lee Valley VeloPark in December. Saturday is sold out and – as I write – the Friday evening is very close to selling out too, demonstrating that, when it comes to passion for track cycling, there are few places like Britain.
Mountain runner, hill-climber, road racer, Zwift supremo, scientist, sheep farmer… How does one person have so many talents? CW meets Mary Wilkinson
LAUNCH OF THE RAINBOW WARRIOR
Off-road aficionado Evie Richards no longer needs to chase rainbows. The rainbows come to her...
THE RACE FOR YOUTH
Young riders are signing – and winning – for the biggest teams more than ever before. CW looks at some of the challenges facing young riders in the WorldTour, and how we got here in the first place
Confused about what a Non-Fungible Token is? So is the Doc, but that hasn’t stopped him considering flogging them
Bigham fields flood of tips on the Hour record
Brit welcomes advice as he considers venue
Archibald heads to London leading Champions League
Scot proves unstoppable in Lithuania, reports Vern Pitt
Walking In The Venetian Hills
Just a train ride from the canals of Venice, the serenity of the Euganean Hills is yours to discover
TIME FOR TINY TOTE
Going out for a fun time with friends with just the essentials? Use one of these luxurious tote bags that’ll set just the right mood.
NO STOPPING BOB OLINGER CLIMB TO TOP
Andrew Ayres with the handsome horses who have caught his eye
THIS IS NO COUNTRY FOR OLD HORSES
Andy Newton looks at the Haydock Trial
Aldo Rossi: From scale to scale
Domus presented the Teatro del Mondo or Venetian Theatre – a floating structure designed by Aldo Rossi in 1979 for the 1980 Venice Biennale – in issue 602 (January 1980).
Symonds is living his own dream
Nick Townsend talks to trainer Tom Symonds, once assistant to Nicky Henderson, now successful in his own right
This month’s products include wish list items that will make perfect gifts this festive season. From beautifully sculptural storage pieces to home fragrances, there is something here for everyone.
EASY TO FOIL TIGER
MUCH to the disappointment of Tiger Roll’s numerous fans, EASYSLAND (3.00) can again confirm his superiority with the dual Grand National winner when they lock horns at Cheltenham today.
THE BOAT WHISPERER
Eddie and Chris Barford have enjoyed decades on the waterways
Forevermark Diamonds stand by its commitment to protect the environment and wildlife this Environment Day
Forevermark, the diamond brand from the De Beers Group believes what they do every day builds a lifetime of moments that will build your Forever. On International Environment Day, Forevermark reiterates their commitment to protect wildlife and keeping responsible sourcing at the very centre of their business to build a beautiful tomorrow.