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Jacques Anquetil In 1941, his father refused contracts to work on military installations for the German occupiers and his work dried up. Other members of the family worked in strawberry farming and Anquetil's father followed them, moving to the hamlet of Bourguet, near Quincampoix. Anquetil had his first bicycle – an Alcyon – at the age of four and twice a day rode the kilometre and a half to the village and back. There he was taught by a teacher wearing clogs in a classroom heated by a smoking stove.
Jacques Anquetil Anquetil learned metal-turning at the technical college at Sotteville-lès-Rouen, a suburb of the city, where he played billiards with a friend named Maurice Dieulois. His friend joined the AC Sottevillais club with the encouragement of his father and began racing. Anquetil said:
Jacques Anquetil Boucher trained his group first from a bicycle and then by Derny. Anquetil made fast progress and won 16 times as an amateur. His first victory was the Prix Maurice Latour at Rouen on 3 May 1951. He also took the Prix de France in 1952 and the Tour de la Manche and the national road championship the same year.
Jacques Anquetil Anquetil caught Joy — the moment he realised he was going to win the race — even though Joy had started 16 minutes earlier. At 19, Anquetil had become unofficial time-trial champion of the world.
Jacques Anquetil Should he break the record, he and the army agreed, he would give half the rewards to the army and the rest to the mother of a soldier, André Dufour, who had been killed while fighting at Palestro, in Algeria. The chances of breaking it were far from guaranteed, not only because Coppi's record had already defied Gerrit Schulte and Louison Bobet but also Anquetil himself, on 23 November 1955, when he had started too fast, faded and finished 696 m short of Coppi. His second attempt also flopped. He again started too fast. After 54:36 his helpers called him to a stop after 41.326 km. His legs failed him when he got off his bike and he had to be carried to a chair in a corner of the Velodromo Vigorelli, the velodrome in Milan, Italy. The Italian crowd chanted: "Coppi! Coppi! Coppi!"
Jacques Anquetil In my opinion Poulidor was demoralised by Anquetil's resistance, his mental strength. There were three times when he could have dropped Anquetil. First, at the bottom of the climb. Then when Julio Jimenez attacked [and left the two Frenchmen, accompanied by the rival climber Federico Bahamontes]. Finally in the last kilometre. The nearer the summit came, the more Jacques was suffering. In the last few hundred metres, he was losing time. At the top of the Puy it's 13 per cent. Poulidor should have attacked: he didn't. Poulidor didn't attack in the last 500 metres – it was Jacques who got dropped, and that's not the same thing.
Jacques Anquetil Anquetil won all three of the Grand Tours – the first cyclist to do so. Anquetil twice won the Giro d'Italia (1960, 1964) and won the Vuelta a España once (1963). He also won the season-long "Super Prestige Pernod International" competition four times, in 1961, 1963, 1965 and 1966 — a record only surpassed by Eddy Merckx.
Jacques Anquetil The sight of Jacques Anquetil on a bicycle gives credence to an idea we Americans find unpalatable, that of a natural aristocracy. From the first day he seriously straddled a top tube, "Anq" had a sense or perfection most riders spend a lifetime searching for. Between 1950, when he rode his first race, and nineteen years later, when he retired, Anquetil had countless frames underneath him, yet that indefinable poise was always there.
Jacques Anquetil As a partnership they won four Tours de France, two Giro d'Italia, the Dauphiné-Libéré and then next day, Bordeaux–Paris. Géminiani said of him:
Jacques Anquetil "He had a deep love of the land and was at his happiest when driving a tractor. They [his wife and he] both acquired a taste for bridge parties which often continued late into the night. That Anquetil was a highly intelligent man there can be no doubt and he was the nearest thing to a true intellectual that cycling has ever produced."