The news is "not good" for French Tour de France star Raymond Poulidor, according to his wife two weeks after he was admitted to hospital.
Poulidor, 83, has heart issues according to French media and has not felt good since working his summer VIP job at the Tour.
"Raymond has been very tired since the last Tour de France," his wife Gisèle told Le Parisien. (opens in new tab)
"The news is not so good. The doctors tell us that they need to carry out tests, but that we should not prepare for good news. It's been a few days and he hardly says anything any more. He only answers yes or no if you ask him if he ate or slept. I am very worried."
Poulidor is famous for finishing second three times in the Tour, behind Eddy Merckx in 1974, Felice Gimondi in 1965 and Jacques Anquetil in 1964.
With the eight podium places in the Tour but no wins, 'Poupou' was known 'The Eternal Second'. He finished second in Milan-San Remo to Tom Simpson, but had already won the Italian Monument in his first participation in 1961.
Born in 1936, two years after eventual five-time Tour winner Anquetil, he was one of France's best at the time. He won seven stages of the Tour, a Grand Tour overall in the 1964 Vuelta a España, twice the Paris-Nice stage race and Flèche Wallonne.
Poulidor's family continue to write cycling history as his maternal grandson Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) makes waves in the peloton.
This year, the reigning cyclocross world champion rode a remarkable season on the road that included victories in the Amstel Gold Race and the Tour of Britain.
Poulidor is in hospital in the Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat (Haute-Vienne), where he has lived for 50 years. Over the last 20 days, Poulidor's strength has declined, reported Le Parisien as two weeks ago, it was considered just "minor fatigue" but now the alert level has risen.
Since the last day of the Tour de France in Paris this year when Colombian Egan Bernal won, he had complained that he felt unwell. He continued, however, and went to his local Tour du Limousin at the end of August. Driving on his own in mid-September, he got lost and was only found four hours later with the help of geolocation.
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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