Jacques Anquetil

From Academic Kids

Jacques Anquetil (January 8, 1934 - November 18, 1987), was a French cyclist and the first cyclist to win the Tour de France five times, in 1957 and from 1961 to 1964.

Born the son of a peasant farmer in Mont-Saint-Aignan, Normandy, Anquetil took the French amateur road title in 1952, one year after he began racing. In 1953, Anquetil's first year as a semi-professional cyclist, he won the 19th running of the cycling Grand Prix des Nations individual time trial. Over his career, Anquetil was to win the Grand Prix des Nations nine times (1953-58, 1961, 1965/66), and proving his mastery of the discipline, on 29 June 1956, on the velodrome at Milano (Vigorelli), Anquetil broke the 14-year-old hour world record of the legendary Fausto Coppi (46.159 kilometres).

In 1957 Anquetil, won the 23rd Grand Prix des Nations, and the Tour de France - the most important stage race of the world - on his first attempt with nearly 15 minutes lead and wins in four stages. The foundation stone of his success was his performance in the time trial stages, which brought him the nickname Monsieur Chrono. At the same time, Anquetil kept up on the mountain climbs with the climbing specialists.

After three moderate years without tour stage success, Anquetil began a second victory streak in 1961 winning the Tour de France thereafter until 1964 - the first rider to win four successive times and the first to win five times in total, and a feat since emulated by Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Induraín and Lance Armstrong.

His last Tour victory (in 1964) was also his most famous, featuring, as it did, a legendary elbow-to-elbow duel against public favourite Raymond Poulidor on the roads up the Puy de Dôme mountain. Suffering badly from indigestion after his excesses on a rest day, Anquetil received treatment from his coach in the form of a swallow of champagne. Poulidor gained precious time on that stage but when they reached Paris, Anquetil had a 55-second lead over the eternal second Poulidor.

Anquetil won all three of the Grand Tours - the first cyclist to do so. Anquetil twice won the Giro d'Italia (1960, 1964) and won the Vuelta a España once (1963). He also won the season-long Super Prestige Pernod International competition four times, in 1961, 1963, 1965 and 1966 - a record only surpassed by Eddy Merckx.

More popular in England than in his native France (Jacques used to tell cycling fans that he was only "in it for the money"), Anquetil was invited to the RTTC awards ceremony at London's Albert Hall in 1961 to present trophies to champions Brian Kirby and Beryl Burton.

Anquetil was not as successful with the classical single stage races but toward the end of his career he won once in each of three of the Classics:

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, the Bordeaux-Paris the following day. He was famous for preparing for races by staying up all night before drinking and playing cards.

Anquetil finished in the top 10 in the World Championship on six occasions, but second place in 1966 was the nearest he ever came to winning the Rainbow Jersey.

Despite his tremendous successes, which made him one of the best French cyclists of all time, the always cool, calculating and dissociated Maître Jacques was never as popular with the French public as his rival Poulidor. He retired to Normandy in 1969 to be a gentleman farmer.

In 1987, after battling stomach cancer, Jacques Anquetil died in his sleep at St Hilaire Clinic in Rouen.

Complete Palmarès (http://biciclopedia.com/palmares/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=52&Itemid=30)

When I was small, he was for me the champion cyclist. But above all he was a gentleman for his personal qualities as much as his sporting achievements. I have always been irritated by the game of comparing champions from different times but to be compared to him was an honour. -Bernard Hinault

Jacques simply tries harder than anyone I have met. In a time trial you can hear him catching you, you don't have to look round, there is this hoarse sound of breath being drawn in gulps, and then he's past you. Then it's like being in a thunderstorm, with the sweat simply pouring off him as he goes by. -Tom Simpson

Anquetil had a unique pedalling style which held many secrets. He did biomechanically what the best engineers have tried in vain to do by mechanical means, which is to eliminate the entire dead spot area on the pedal stroke. He was also able to do that which is impossible with normal pedalling, combine arm resistance with leg power when riding at speed in the saddle. While Anquetil could never have known it, his technique is the key to the elimination of all cycling related lower back pain.de:Jacques Anquetil es:Jacques Anquetil fr:Jacques Anquetil it:Jacques Anquetil nl:Jacques Anquetil pl:Jacques Anquetil pt:Jacques Anquetil


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