Cycling Weekly

FRENCH MASTERS

JACQUES ANQUETIL

High five

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 a España (1963)

Normandy son Jacques Anquetil has a list of attributes lined up under his name, the chief of which is surely that of 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 chiselled, 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

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