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Although Raphaël Géminiani may not be a rider instantly recognizable to cycling fans in North America, to this day he remains wildly recognizable (and popular) in France. He was a beast of a rider. His ability to read races was the thing of legend and his loyalty and hard work helped ensure Louison Bobet’s three Tour de France titles. One of Gem’s most noted victories was when he was crowned 1953 French national champion—a point of celebration in this original vintage poster from our collection.
Géminiani has always held a fond spot in the hearts of French cycling fans. He was a no-nonsense kind of guy and was seemingly always willing to share his unvarnished thoughts with reporters and teammates alike. He had no problem smacking a pump into the face of an annoying spectator whose version of “helping” him on a climb was not appreciated by Gem.
Following his strong racing career that ended in 1960, Géminiani immediately shifted roles to being an extremely successful directeur sportif. During his tenure as a team director, he looked after many of the greats of the sport including Anquetil, Janssen, Altig, Stablinski, Sercu, Aimar, Merckx and many more.
Our family looks forward to being in the stands in a few years’ time to witness Raphaël (now age 94) take the hour record for 100-year-old riders!
This article originally appeared in issue 88.