Every second counts

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Not until Jacques Anquetil had retired from the saddle did he and his great rival Raymond Poulidor make up; and only then because Poulidor came to ask his nemesis for a signed hat for his son.

“Raymond, all your life you’ve been making yourself a nuisance to me and now your son obviously plans to do the same,” Anquetil laughed, fetching a cap and autographing it.

Jacques died, aged 53, the year Stephen Roche won the Tour de France; an achievement Anquetil annexed five times. Poulidor, the great nearly man of French bike racing, who was nicknamed “The Eternal Second”, has just passed away at 83. Content for once to finish after his old adversary.

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