Tour de France legend Raymond Poulidor has died

The iconic figure in the world of cycling passed away in the early hours of the morning

(Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Tour de France icon Raymond Poulidor has died at the age of 83.

The Frenchman was a monumental figure in cycling history, best known for his legendary rivalry with compatriot Jacques Anquetil.

Poulidor, who famously finished second in the Tour three times but never won the race, died in hospital in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat in the early hours of Wednesday morning (November 13), after first being hospitalised in early October with fatigue.

Known as 'Poupou' to his admirers, Poulidor's career spanned 18 seasons from 1960 to 1977, seeing him claim 73 wins including both the Critérium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice twice, as well as the 1964 Vuelta a España.

Poulidor had been suffering from heart issues and was reportedly unwell since his summer VIP job at the Tour de France. He was admitted to hospital on October 8 in Haute-Vienne, where the cycling legend has lived for more than half a century.

After his admission to hospital, his family were "very worried" about his condition and told by doctors not to expect good news.

On Wednesday morning, reports emerged that he had died at around 2am.

Poulidor spent his entire career with the Mercier team, taking the overall at the Vuelta, seven stages of the Tour (but never wearing the yellow jersey), and winning Milan-San Remo and La Flèche Wallone before his retirement in 1977.

With the eight podium places in the Tour but no wins, ‘Poupou’ was known ‘The Eternal Second’.

His popularity outgrew that of his great rival Jaques Anquetil, despite the latter's dominance at the Tour de France.

After retirement, Poulidor remained a part of the cycling world working as an ambassador at the Tour de France up until his death.

Poulidor’s cycling legacy continues as his grandson Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) continues to see his stock rise in the professional peloton, having won Amstel Gold Race this year as well as the Tour of Britain.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.