Category Archives: Cycling history

“Cyclisme” – A schoolboy description of cycle sport in 1966

I wrote this for my school mag in 1966 aged 15.   “Why don’t you write something about your passion for cycling” my father said.

It’s interesting (almost amusing) to read, and to think how things have changed, but some of my precocious (and rather derogatory) comments make me look like a bit of a sage foretelling the future…

Continue reading “Cyclisme” – A schoolboy description of cycle sport in 1966

Anquetil '65

The Greatest Cycling Achievement Ever?

I refer to Jacques Anquetil’s fantastic 1965 double, winning the eight-day Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré and the 560 km Bordeaux-Paris one-day race the very next day.

It’s an amazing story, and  well documented.  J.B. Wadley tells it beautifully in the July 1965 edition of Sporting Cyclist (where these black and white photos come from).  And there’s British interest in this year’s race, with two Brits taking part: Tom Simpson and Vin Denson.  But this year it was all about Anquetil.  Here’s the story in brief. Continue reading The Greatest Cycling Achievement Ever?

Tommy Simpson

Simpson’s Last Finishing Line – Tour de France 1967

Tommy SimpsonMuch has been written about the death of Tom Simpson on Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France 13th Stage (Thursday 13 July), and indeed I still have the press cuttings.  However, I kept also a cutting from a paper of the morning of 13 July  –  i.e. reporting on Stage 12 the previous day.   J.B. (Jock) Wadley, writing in The Daily Telegraph, captured beautifully the romance of the Tour, and below is the report in full, but your attention is drawn to the last line which is nothing short of ominous. Continue reading Simpson’s Last Finishing Line – Tour de France 1967

Poulidor anquetil janssen

Poor Old Poulidor?

What a Question!

Poulidor and Janssen (1967?)

It is said that Raymond Poulidor was unfortunate in that his career coincided with Jacques Anquetil for the first half and Eddy Merckx in the second. But how unfortunate was he in reality?

He was dubbed the “Eternal Second” as a result of coming off worse in so many of his encounters with Anquetil and Merckx, and he was always portrayed as less sophisticated than the somewhat débonnaire Jacques Anquetil (although they were both farm boys). However, he was very popular with the French public and, it is said, made more money than Anquetil as a result, and also invested it more wisely… and is still in high demand! Continue reading Poor Old Poulidor?