Jean Pitallier was the former president of the Fédération Française de Cyclisme (FFC), or French Cycling Federation, and a living legend in the field. A former competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Pitallier occupied a string of senior positions in the federation after he stopped racing in 1962.
In fact, Mr. Pitallier’s love for the sport reputedly started at age three when he first watched the Tour de France with his godfather, which eventually inspired him to become a keen amateur cyclist himself. He won five races in 1956 before he was called up for mandatory military service, where he took part in the Algeria War.
After the war, he joined national utility Gaz de France as an engineer, while taking on the roles of race official and timekeeper for Tour de France for two decades. He was elected as general secretary of the FFC in 1981 before assuming the top job at the French federation in 2001.
Elected to the FFC’s top job in the wake of a doping scandal, he served as president for nine years, a period when French cyclists won a total of 562 medals, including six at the 2008 Olympics. After three terms, Mr. Pitallier did not seek re-election in 2009, a year after a spat with the UCI over jurisdiction over the Tour de France.
Before he became management, Mr. Pitallier personally timed every Tour de France from 1973 to 1980 with the pair of Longines split-seconds stopwatches.
And he meticulously recorded everything on paper. The lap results of all the participants and the points they earned during the matches were carefully recorded and calculated. Some finish line photos were also captured to determine the ranking, in addition to the timing results.
Excerpt From: SJX
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