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Re: Long Lives
« on: July 19, 2019, 00:04 »
Sorry to bump this old thread about old men but today is Émile Idée's 99th birthday (19 July), which should be celebrated. Hopefully he'll hold on for one more year.  :cool

In the OP I mentioned that Émile won the GP des Nations during WWII in the occupied zone (Northern France) in 1942. That must be his greatest victory. He won Paris-Reims in that same year, which was back then a placeholder for Paris-Roubaix, which could not take place because of the "circumstances.

His 2nd place to Rik Van Steenbergen at the 1948 Paris-Roubaix is the achievement that made me discover him. He broke away from a 6-man group on the outskirts of Roubaix but Rik 1 countered. It still is the 5th fastest Paris-Roubaix ever. Some say he could've won but was not incisive enough in his attacks to drop Van Steenbergen.

Émile probably also should have won Paris-Tours in 1947. At a time when finish photos did not exist he was declared 2nd to Brik Schotte while claiming he crossed the line first. It's hard to tell on this picture (Émile Idée on the right and Brik Schotte on the left of the photograph).

He was twice French champion in 1942 and 1947. The second title has a funny story. Actually the winner was Paul Neri, who was an Italian migrant and who had not yet obtained French citizenship. So the race had to be raced again. Émile Idée was probably the best French rider in the 1940's but of course, the war shortened in his career. Pierre Chany compared him to Octave Lapize or Henri Pélissier. He was an amazing puncher, nicknamed "Le Roi de Chevreuse" (as he shone on the hills of the Vallée de Chevreuse between Paris and Versailles).

Then he also got demoralised when he saw good friend Camille Danguillaume fatally crashing.

Émile Idée in 2012 (aged almost 92):

I realise that I forgot about several riders in the OP like Sergio Maggini, former Baracchi Trophy winner who is also aged 99 since Valentine's Day. Several other riders have joined the club as well like Federico Bahamontes, André Darrigade or one I really like a lot Jacques Dupont.  :cool
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)


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