Death of Robert Cazala, faithful teammate of Poulidor

The former yellow jersey of the Tour just passed away at the age of 89. He had made the role of team member popular over the years, especially his own with Raymond Poulidor at Mercier.

The 1959 edition of the Tour de France had made him a real star, him, the solid sprinter, stocky and versatile but with a kindness that prevented him from seeing bigger. However, he won four stages of the Tour de France, including one in his Pyrenees at Saint-Gaudens in 1962. At the start of his career in the Mercier team, his sporting director Antonin Magne had already criticized him "for not being offensive enough. You forget that racing is a fight and you are far too brave, Robert,” he once told him.

Robert Cazala had therefore found his way into a model team-mate role which eventually suited him, all the more at a time when the leaders were more inclined to give team-mates opportunities to shine. His victory at the Parc des Princes during the last stage of the 1961 Tour almost sums up his career as a servant. Present at the entrance of the velodrome in the wheel of his leader of the French team, Jacques Anquetil in yellow, he had seen the Norman launch the sprint and deviate to give him the honor of victory.

"The funny thing is that Robert Cazala was then running for the Mercier team and was Poulidor's faithful teammate, remembers Jean-Christian Biville, friend of Anquetil, but who also wore the purple jersey. He was a real nice guy, appreciated by everyone and if Jacques had helped him win this stage at the Parc des Princes, it was certainly not by chance. He wanted to thank him for all the work he had done for him during the Tour. »

His career had lasted ten years, always serving his leaders, mainly Poulidor and always at Mercier. In 1968, when he decided to end his career at 34 after ten years of career, Mercier offered him a position as a brand representative in the Pau region, because he had been an important figure in the history of the crew.

Robert Cazala left a name, a reference of these simple and devoted cyclists who preferred the shade to the spotlights.