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Jacques Anquetil
Anquetil at the 1966 Giro d'Italia
Personal information
Full name Jacques Anquetil
Nickname Monsieur Chrono
Maître Jacques
Born (1934-01-08)8 January 1934
Mont-Saint-Aignan, Seine-Maritime, France
Died 18 November 1987(1987-11-18) (aged 53)
Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France
Team information
Discipline Road and track
Role Rider
Rider type All-rounder

Jacques Anquetil (8 January 1934 – 18 November 1987), born in Mont-Saint-Aigan was a French road racing cyclist. He was the first cyclist to win the Tour de France five times, in 1957 and from 1961 to 1964. Anquetil was very good at riding time trials, and this helped him to win grand tours. He also won the Giro d'Italia in 1960 and 1964, and the Vuelta a España in 1963. This made him the first cyclist to win all three grand tours. In 1956 he rode 46.159 kilometres in one hour, making a new hour record.

Anquetil was a smooth rider, a beautiful pedalling machine according to one writer. The American journalist Owen Mulholland wrote:

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.

Anquetil was fascinated by astronomy and was delighted to meet the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Retirement and death

Anquetil's memorial at Quincampoix
A memorial to Anquetil in Quincampoix, France

Anquetil rode his last race on 27 December 1969 on the track at Antwerp, in Belgium. He retired to become a farmer. The château was surrounded by 170 hectares.

Anquetil became a correspondent in many roles. His radio analyses were considered especially sharp and he gained a notoriety in Belgium for telling Luis Ocaña, the Spanish rider living in France, how to beat the Belgian star Eddy Merckx during the Tour de France.

He rode his bike only three times in retirement, saying he had already ridden enough. He rode the Grand Prix des Gentlemen in Nice, a race in which old riders were paired with current competitors; he went out for an afternoon with friends in Normandy; and he joined his daughter for a bike ride on her birthday. Other than that, he did not ride his bike after 1969.

On 18 November 1987, Jacques Anquetil died of stomach cancer in his sleep at 6 am at the St-Hilaire Clinic in Rouen. He had been there since 10 October. A statement from the clinic said: "His state of health had visibly deteriorated over the last hours and he died in his sleep after showing great courage throughout his illness." Anquetil is buried beside the church in the village of Quincampoix, north of Rouen, where a large black monument by the traffic lights lists all his achievements. There is a further monument at the Piste Municipale track in Paris, where the centre is named after him.

The Jacques Anquetil sports stadium at Quincampoix was dedicated in 1983. There are moves to open a museum in his memory.

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