The Skype conversation went like this:
Brett: “Remember Laurent Dufaux?”
Frank: “How can I forget? Twat.”
Brett: “What was that fucker on? Always hanging on in the Alps, suffering like a dog but never once did he attack. Ever. Just always hanging on.”
And that was all that was said on the matter.
Our little Swiss friend seemed to be around in the peloton forever; he was there in the days of Indurain and Pantani. He was there when Ullrich and Riis ruled the roost. And he was still there when Gunderson was lording it over everyone. He hung out in teams such as ONCE, Festina, Saeco and QuickStep with the likes of RichÃ¡rd, Aldag, Jalabert, Bruyneel, Virenque, Stephens, Zulle, Frigo, Mazzoleni, Pellizotti, Rogers and Museeuw, a fine collective of shadiness indeed. Yet he always flew just that little bit under the radar, perennially lurking at the back, in the shadows. At least that’s how I remember him racing his bike.
Little Laurie could easily qualify for a Riding Ugly post, with his lurching, out of the saddle style, mouth agape, cheeks of a blowfish, face contorted like a twisted sandshoe as he grovelled up the big mountain passes just behind the main protagonists, shortly before popping out the back and losing just enough time to put him ever so slightly out of contention for a podium spot. Sometimes, he’d manage to stay hidden in the group and spring out at the last minute and take everyone by surprise to nab a stage win.
Larry led his life by the smallest of margins, a ‘so near yet so far’ kind of guy if ever there was one. He was generally Rule Compliant (except for the rampant doping, obviously), Survived on V for the duration of his career, and came out the other side with his reputation relatively intact. And for that, we salute him.
If only we could find him.
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Larry’s palmares here…