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Moment of First Selection - PBP 1966

Photo: Bernard Déon
(Source: photo provided by Jean Richard)
(Caption/commentary by Jean Richard)

This modest black and white picture was taken with a common pocket camera by Bernard Déon, the later historian of P.B.P., on September 07th, 1966, 05:00 p.m.

Bernard Déon was on the N.12 (the road from Paris to Brest) in La Queue-les-Yvelines, some 40 km after the start, waiting for the participants of P.B.P.: he could not be aware of the event's tactical evolution, and as a pedestrian, he could as well have stood at a distance of 100 meters upwards or downwards from the location he found himself; in such a case, he would have shot some picture or other, but not this one: well, he was there, and by pure chance he has fixed the very moment of the first selection, in the lower acclivity of La Queue-les-Yvelines (there are three of them, separated by short flat sections).

Four members of the U.A.F. (known as the "Blue Train", because of their sky-blue jerseys) are leading the party: Jean Richard, then Rolland Bailly, Robert Demilly and Maurice Macaudière respectively. Between Rolland and Robert, on the right side of the road, the high silhouette of Roger Baumann (wearing a two-coloured cap) can be seen. The rider with dark hair and jersey following Maurice is Serge Veau. Nearly 20 riders are still together, and at the right margin of the picture, the first rider (or at least the front wheel of his bicycle) of a second group can only just be distinguished, at a distance of some 10 meters behind the last riders of the first group. This slight disconnection has been irrevocable for the riders of the second group, who should never see those being in the first one again, except maybe after the turn in Brest, as the better placed riders were already on the way back to Paris…

From the top of the third acclivity (after having covered 45 km during the first hour), until Pré-en-Pail, the riders of the first group remained together. Then, further attacks have made the final decision, as related minutely in the statement by Maurice Macaudière.

(At the next general meeting of the U.A.F., during the winter 1966-1967, Bernard Déon gave a copy of this picture to all the members of our association who could be identified on it, but he did not published it in his book, either because of the relatively poor quality of the picture, or perhap because he was unaware that his picture had captured such a decisive moment in this event).

Comments from Jean Richard, May 2004

PBP Photos - 1966