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.
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.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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