Nicolas Portal: 'He was human, beyond the numbers'

British Sky cycling team manager Nicolas Portal speaks to journalists at the end of the 1725 km eighteenth stage of the 100th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 18 2013 between Gap and AlpedHuez French Alps AFP PHOTO JOEL SAGET Photo credit should read JOEL SAGETAFP via Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A native of the southwest of France, Pierre Carrey closely covered the late Nicolas Portal’s career as a rider and later as a directeur sportif. The following article originally appeared in Libération

His heart derailed for the first time in 2009: Nicolas Portal was then a professional bike rider, a canard from the Gers. The cardiologist had warned him: "Have you taken [doping] products? Now is the time to tell me, because if you've taken hormonal products, I'll see it quickly." Portal said "no". The tests said no. He had surgery for cardiac arrhythmia. He was made to rest for six months. His contract with his team was torn up, proof that sport was finished for him. The doctor added: "There's a risk… You understand? A risk that the heart might stop. Do you really want to keep riding?" 

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