She was the “blonde lady”. In reference to the white lady who accompanied Fausto Coppi. Janine Anquetil, the widow of the five-time winner of the Tour de France, died at the age of 96 on Sunday in Corsica, reports L’Équipe. Married to a doctor who, in Rouen, treated a promising young professional rider, she was caught in the whirlwind of “Maître Jacques”, the first rider to successively win five Tours de France (1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964) , before Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

In Vélo Magazine, Janine Anquetil, the indispensable, the essential who had accounted for half of the successes of the Norman, had recounted the very beginning of a life of madness, of excess, of parties, of success: “I m I was found in a dressing gown and underwear in the street. We took the train to Villefranche… It was crazy. A madness that at no time have I regretted. It’s strange, sometimes I think: ‘But why did he come into my life?’ And, the next moment, I thank chance for putting him on my path.”

She had opened the door to a life of romance with the scent of scandal. Unimaginable today. Mother of two children, Janine Anquetil shared the life of “Maître Jacques”, the king of the chronometer. Who, upon retirement (in 1969, after having collected 2 Giros, 9 Grands Prix des Nations or Liège-Bastogne-Liège and experienced a legendary rivalry with Raymond Poulidor which cut France in two) wanted to experience the joys of fatherhood but Janine could no longer have children…

“To keep him at home, Nanou gave him her daughter (Annie). They played with fire. His private life was his entire property just as his family was his entire property,” recounted Sophie, the daughter born from the union of the champion and his daughter-in-law, in Libération on the occasion of the release of her book “Pour l ‘love of Jacques, Éditions Grasset). At the end of his life, Jacques Anquetil (died in 1987) had another child, Christopher, with the wife of… his stepson, while remaining married to Janine.

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