La Pulga del Cantal was a volcano

The Tour has never reached that height of the Puy Mary, but it has seen cycling at its foot, in the Pas de Peyrol, which has been climbed ten times.

La-Pulga-del-Cantal-was-a-volcano

The Puy Mary is located in the heart of the largest stratovolcano in Europe, in the Cantal department. Without eruptions for three million years, its crater has disappeared. Its neighbor Puy de Dôme, also in the Massif Central, is made up of 80 volcanoes. There is only one here. Huge. Its summit, at 1,783 meters, is unprecedented on the Tour. Quite the opposite of its neighbor, a historical climb, inaccessible since the 1980s, which immortalized the image of Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor climbing side by side in 1964.

The Tour has never reached that height of the Puy Mary, but it has seen cycling at its foot, in the Pas de Peyrol, which has been climbed ten times. Its summit has been trampled by four Spaniards: Martín Bahamontes (1963), Aurelio González (1968), Eduardo Chozas (1985) and David de la Fuente (2008). And by other illustrious people such as Van Impe (1975 and 1983), Richard Virenque (2004), Thomas Voeckler (2011) ... The last one to stand out there was Thomas de Gendt (2016). And the first, the pioneer, Louis Bergaud, also known as Lily or the Puce du Cantal… La Pulga del Cantal.

Bergaud, as his nickname implies, was a small and pure climber, who won two stages in the Tour, in Pau 1958 and in Strasbourg in 1961, and finished in the top ten twice, seventh in 1954 and ninth in 1958. That July 9, 1959 he did not win, but he entered the cycling history of his region. The previous day, Cantal had hosted the Tour for the first time, in a stage between Albi and Aurillac in which they finished tenth. The public was insane with the race. That gave Lily wings the next day, with an attack at km 30, along with other cyclists. He suffered a puncture, but recovered quickly. In the ascent to the Pas de Peyrol from Salers, "steep but short", Bergaud crowned the pass, but could not draw differences to remain alone. He entered 13th at Clermond Ferrand.

Lily Bergaud is 91 years old. Born in November 1928, he is from the same fifth as Bahamontes, who just one day after the events narrated here prevailed in the Puy de Dôme time-trial ... And laid the foundations of his victory in the 1959 Tour. The first of a Spanish. Legend.



Photos from as.com
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