Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Aberdeen man recalls friendship with legendary Tour de France-winning Bobet family

Post Thumbnail

He was one of the great figures in the history of the Tour de France: Louison Bobet, who won the gruelling race in three consecutive years from 1953 to 1955.

And now, one of the Aberdeen students who was taught by Mr Bobet’s brother, Jean, has shared the fascinating story of how the French brothers made Tour history.

Bill Cooper, who is now 83, was a teenage student at Robert Gordon’s College when he first rubbed shoulders with Jean and has followed his former teacher’s life ever since.

Indeed, although his old master turns 90 this year, Mr Cooper believes that Jean should be invited to the north-east in advance of the Granite City staging part of the Tour of Britain in the summer.

He said: “I knew Jean through our French classes at RGC long, long ago in the early 1950s, but I remember being introduced to a slim young man and being told: ‘This is Monsieur Bobet who is going to improve your spoken French.

“Well, thereafter, in a mixture of English and French, we were taken on a wonderful journey following the ups and downs of the Tour.

“There was little, if any, TV coverage of the race and we were amazed by its three-week length and the distances covered and, above all, by the height of the formidable mountain passes.

“Jean told us of his brother’s dream that he would one day win the Tour and I never forgot it. A few months later, he left Aberdeen to help his brother and, of course, in the next few years, Louison enjoyed a remarkable amount of success.

“They worked closely together and it was a fantastic feat for Louison to win the Tour three years in a row.

Cycling aficionado Bill Cooper, who lives in Cults in Aberdeen.

“I’ve never forgotten it and it would be wonderful if Jean could return to Aberdeen later this year. His story is very much worth telling.”

Mr Cooper and his family themselves become prolific cyclists and he is excited about the sport’s recent surge in popularity in Scotland.

He recalled: “We did the things that most boys in my part of the city did. We cycled alone or in small groups to Ellon and Collieston as well as up Deeside and to Stonehaven. And quite often to school as well.

“The real cyclists in my family were my wife Gillian and our son David. Both were members of the Cyclists Touring Club and regularly covered up to 105 miles on week-end runs including carrying their bikes over Mt Keen as part of a round trip on the south side of the River Dee.

“As a family we have long enjoyed TV coverage of the Tour de France and in recent years of the Italian Giro and the Spanish Vueta as well and now of the Tour of Britain too. A whole summer of cycling viewing.

“So I really hope we shall see Jean Bobet in Aberdeen later this year. I am sure he would receive a warm welcome.”

Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council have agreed a two-year deal to host the Tour of Britain, beginning with the final stage of the 2020 race on September 13.

Not only will this mark the first time the Tour of Britain has visited the region, it will also be the furthest point north the race has ever reached.

Full details of the route have yet to be revealed, but the winner will be crowned in Aberdeen, following a day of racing in the stunning Aberdeenshire countryside.

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from the Press and Journal News team

More from the Press and Journal