Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jacques Anquetil: 1965 Dauphine Libere and Bordeaux-ParisJacques

Anquetil and a Derny

In 1965, Anquetil won the eight-day Alpine Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré stage race at 3pm, sat through two hours of interviews and receptions, took a 6:30pm chartered flight to Bordeaux and won the world's longest single-day classic, Bordeaux–Paris the following day. The race started at night and continued, from soon after dawn, behind derny motorcycle pacers.
Anquetil was upset, said Raphaël Géminiani in his autobiography, that his rival, Raymond Poulidor was always more warmly regarded even though he had never won the Tour de France. In 1965, when Poulidor was perceived to have received more credit for dropping Anquetil the previous year on the Puy-de-Dôme than Anquetil had received for winning the whole Tour, Géminiani persuaded him to ride the Dauphiné Libéré and, next day, the 557 km Bordeaux–Paris. That, he said, would end any argument over who was the greater athlete.
Anquetil won the Dauphiné, despite bad weather which he disliked, at 3pm. After two hours of interviews and receptions he flew from Nimes to Bordeaux. At midnight, he ate his pre-race meal and then went to the start in the city's northern suburbs.
He could eat little during the night because of stomach cramps and was on the verge of retiring. Géminiani swore at Anquetil and called him "a great poof" to offend his pride and keep him riding. Anquetil felt better as morning came and the riders dropped in behind the derny pacing motorcycles that were a feature of the race. He responded to an attack by Tom Simpson, followed by his own team-mate Jean Stablinski. Anquetil and Stablinski attacked Simpson alternately, forcing him to exhaust himself, and Anquetil won at the Parc des Princes. Stablinski finished 57 seconds later just ahead of Simpson.
The historian Dick Yates said:
It had been one of the hardest and closest derny-paced races in history but much more than that this double of Anquetil was one of the greatest exploits ever seen in cycling. At the Parc des Princes, Anquetil received the biggest ovation of his career, certainly much bigger than after any of his wins in the Tour. The race record was broken, Jacques was mobbed by reporters and photographers but he was tired and really had to get some rest. Few people realised it at the time but he had to make the long journey to Maubeuge in north-eastern France where the following day he was riding a criterium!
There are strong and undenied rumours that the jet laid on to get Anquetil to Bordeaux was provided through state funds on the orders of President Charles de Gaulle. Géminiani mentions the belief in his biography, without denying it, saying the truth will come out when French state records are opened to scrutiny.

On the Paris' Parc des Prices Velodrome

Geminiani and Anquetil shake hands across the hood of a 1965 Ford Mustang.

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