It is the magnificent loser, but with a good track record, and especially a hero extremely "doll" that the press greeted Thursday, the day after the disappearance at 83 years of the cyclist.
"Poupou", can we just read roughly on the black and white A L'Equipe, with a portrait of the young Poulidor seen three quarters, the dark eye. Spread on the second page "It was the doll", with a photo this time of Poulidor in 2009, yellow shirt and smile sneer. Eternal second and popular hero, difficult to escape. Exactly, "the final breakaway", title Libération in One, with a picture of the exhausted Limousin, face up and eyes closed, at the arrival of a stage of the Tour de France 1976. West France and the Republican Lorrain also use the escape metaphor.
"Eternal second," the national "Poupou"? He had more victories of competitions than second places. But if he has never won the Great Loop, he will nevertheless remain "forever the first", as the title of the editorial of the Latest News of Alsace. With him disappears a time "where to win could pass for a rather vulgar ambition. Losing was human, that's all, "wrote Pascal Coquis. "Forever first in the hearts of the French," says Le Figaro on the front page. "The French admired Jacques Anquetil (winner of five Tours de France) who flew with ease the peloton but it was Poupou they liked. Not because he was a loser, as was often said badly. No, because he was a good loser who always kept smiling, "says Franz-Olivier Giesbert for La Provence.
The team devotes a long article to the "eternal first" behind a double page of photos captioned to the "magnificent loser". Loser, winner, the question crosses France, for example from north-east to south-west. "If the record of Poupou testifies to the huge athlete he was, his second places have shaped a stature apart. It is, indeed, the defeats that reveal that behind sportsmen, hide great men ", observes Laurent Bodin in Alsace. "A loser, Poulidor? What joke ! How many famous athletes could envy such a career, blooming superb bouquets that are the love of the public, the esteem of teammates, loyalty to a single jersey. Was not all this worthy of the yellow tunic and its name among the winners of the Tour de France? "Answers Christophe Lucet in Sud-Ouest.
Finding Benoît Gaudibert in the Republican East, "Poupou", it was "Johnny of the little queen"! All dailies naturally insist on this strong popular dimension ("A popular hero" in the Telegram, "Popular Poulidor" as editorial of the East Republican or "The popular class" in the inner pages of Liberation). Popularity, people … and politics: "Poupou, rather Yellow vest than yellow jersey?", François Wojtalik's chance in the Courrier Picard, under the title "Second of cordée", a nod to the "cordial leaders" mentioned above by Emmanuel Macron. Because popular, Poulidor was also because the people identified with him, in the France of yesteryear. "It's because through its breakaways, the Limousin personifies this France of the time, more rural than urban, keen on these heroes rubbed with the roughness of the soil that snake roads barely asphalted", notes Xavier Brouet in l editorial of Republican Lorrain.
It is part of the "intangible heritage of France, as it has symbolized the France of the regions, the one that does not spend more than it earns, the one that does not show," judges Jean Levallois, in La Presse Channel. And then, says Denis Daumin in The New Republic, Poulidor went so far as to register in the vocabulary of the French language, "become a common name in his lifetime, thus signing an unsurpassable posterity". Let's cross the finish line behind Stéphane Siret and his editorial in Paris-Normandie, the daily newspaper of the Anquetil region: "It leaves orphans a bit of bike lovers. We still have his enigmatic eponymous theorem: The more you pedal less quickly, the less you advance! "
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