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  Louison Bobet    

Picture courtesy of www.classicrendezvous.com
Louison Bobet was born in the Brittany province of France on March 12, 1925. Bobet was a great champion and a complete rider.

Bobet was the first rider to win three consecutive Tour de France titles. He did this in 1953, 1954, and 1955. He was also 3rd in the 1950 race and won the Mountains Jersey that same year.

Bobet was 2nd to Gastone Nencini by 19 seconds in the 1957 Giro d’Italia. Bobet also won the Mountains Jersey in 1951.

Bobet won the World Championship Road Race in 1954, was 2nd in 1957 and 1958, and was 5th in 1950.

Bobet won Paris-Roubaix Classic in 1956, was 2nd in 1951, and 3rd in 1955.

He also won the Milan-San Remo Classic in 1951, the Tour of Flanders Classic in 1955, and the Tour of Lombardy Classic in 1951. In all, he won four out of five of cycling's monuments.

In addition to the four monuments (Milan-San Remo, Tour of Lombardy, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix), he won numerous other major races.

His resume, though not as long as others, is one of a great all round rider who could win in the Grand Tours, the World Championship Road Race and the major classics.

Bobet was blessed with natural ability and a smooth pedalling stroke, but his dedication is what made him a champion.

Bobet taught himself how to sprint and he used to sprint at the end of every race, whether for first place or fortieth.

As a result of this training, he was able to beat the best sprinters of his day.

He also trained in the mountains and could match the climbing specialists on the big climbs.

Bobet’s career was sandwiched between two other greats: Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil.

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Picture courtesy of www.step.es
Coppi said that Bobet knows like nobody else how to suffer and his powers of recovery are unmatched. “The bike means everything to him. It is truly his life blood and his application to his chosen way of life is an example to every aspiring champion.”

Anquetil stated “In Bobet’s eyes there were no little races or unimportant victories. Every race mattered and he wanted to give his everything to his public. Bobet knew only one way of racing and that was to race to win, whatever the sacrifices demanded.”

These quotes reflect the respect and admiration of fellow riders and the public.

Bobet’s career was effectively ended on December 15, 1961 when his car skidded off the road into a boulder. Bobet broke his femur and his recovery was long and difficult.

He eventually raced again, but retired the next year on August 10, 1962 at age 37. He died on March 13, 1983, a day after his 58th birthday.

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