Raymond Poulidor’s condition has ‘improved significantly’

A close personal friend of Poulidor's provided an update on the 83-year-old's condition

Raymond Poulidor’s condition has “improved significantly”, according to a close personal friend of the Tour de France star who was admitted to hospital earlier this week.

The 83-year-old is apparently slowly recovering from treatment according to Bernard Verret, a journalist and long-time friend of Poulidor, who visited him in hospital on Thursday.

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Poulidor’s former team-mate Claude Mazeaud was also in attendance and the trio watched the Milano-Turino race together. Over the past three weeks the Frenchman’s health has been in decline, with doctors this week becoming more concerned that it wasn’t just “minor fatigue” as had originally been suspected.

Poulidor suffers from heart issues and has apparently not felt well since his summer VIP job at the Tour. He was admitted to hospital earlier in the week in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat (Haute-Vienne), where the cycling legend has lived for more than half a century.

Earlier this week his family were “very worried” about his condition and told by doctors not to expect good news. His wife Gisèle told Le Parisien on Tuesday: “Raymond has been very tired since the last Tour de France. 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.

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.