Former Tour de France winners Bernard Thevenet and Bernard Hinault were among hundreds of mourners who gathered in the village of Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat on Tuesday for the funeral of Raymond Poulidor, who died last week at the age of 83.
"We will miss him, that's for sure, there's going to be a big hole in our lives," said Thevenet.
"He was an intergenerational champion. Known by people who never saw him on a bike."
Poulidor clinched 189 wins during his career from 1960-1977 but he will always be remembered for the races he failed to win.
From 1964 to 1976 he finished second in the Tour de France on three occasions and was third five times in an era dominated by Eddy Merckx.
High points included wins in the Tour of Spain, the Dauphine Libere twice, and the Paris-Nice twice.
His grandson Mathieu van der Poel, two-time cyclo-cross world champion, accompanied Poulidor's widow Giselle and their two other grandchildren at the funeral service.
A mourner holds a sign reading "Thank you Mr Poulidor, rest in peace" at the funeral of French cyclist Raymond Poulidor
Raymond Poulidor won 189 races but failed to win the Tour de France, coming second three times