As a 22-year-old, Laurent Fignon won the Tour de France in his first appearance in the race, in 1983. He doubled up a year later before, in 1989, being famously denied a hat-trick by Greg LeMond on the final day after that disastrous time trial in Paris. Five years before Fignon's record Tour loss by eight slender seconds, another Frenchman survived a last-ditch time trial to win the Vuelta on his first appearance in the race – holding on to triumph by an even narrower margin.
Step forward, Éric Caritoux – France's almost-forgotten Grand Tour winner, who rode to victory with a cushion of just six seconds. It remains the slimmest winning margin in Grand Tour history. As a second-year professional, the 23-year-old was called up to the Skil-Sem team as a last-minute replacement for Sean Kelly. After winning the race's first summit finish, he went on to take the Vuelta's Maillot Amarillo, which he then kept all the way to Madrid.
He did so despite suffering a torrent of abuse from the Spanish fans cheering on home favourites Alberto Fernández, Pedro Delgado and Julián Gorospe. Riding without much support from his equally inexperienced French teammates in the mountains, Caritoux defied all expectations – and an entire nation – by ensuring the race came down to the wire. The decisive time trials saw sodden spectators rain down insults and swing their umbrellas at the unknown outsider who wasn't even meant to be there. But Caritoux stood firm to become the seventh Frenchman to be victorious at the Vuelta.
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A tale of two Frenchmen
Born and raised in Provence in the shade of Mont Ventoux, the discreet and unassuming Caritoux was the antithesis of the urbane extrovert Fignon, the bespectacled star whose career went stratospheric after his Tour victory in 1983 – the same year his compatriot turned pro.
As a junior, Caritoux rode with the local club in Carpentras and developed into a strong climber by training in the hilly Vaucluse region. He knew Ventoux like most riders knew the back of Fignon's ponytail; as a 21-year-old amateur, Caritoux caused something of a stir when he won an uphill TT from Bédoin to Chalet Reynard in the 1982 Tour de Vaucluse.
Fignon, already locking horns with French superstar Bernard Hinault and the American LeMond at the Renault-Elf team, was so enraged to be beaten by an unknown upstart that he claimed Caritoux had been paced up Ventoux by a motorbike. The victory caught the eye of Jean de Gribaldy, the manager of the Sem-France Loire team, who snapped Caritoux up in time for the Tour de l'Avenir later that season, where Caritoux finished 12th, 20 minutes down on LeMond.
But Caritoux won again at Chalet Reynard in the 1983 Tour de Vaucluse, days before Fignon was in Spain making his Vuelta debut, where he won a stage and finished seventh overall as Hinault took a second overall victory to defy the otherwise rampant hosts. With Hinault forced to skip the Tour with tendinitis, Fignon grabbed his chance and won on his first attempt. Victory made it impossible for both Fignon and the four-time Tour-winning Badger to stay on the same team. Hinault moved to La Vie Claire, where he was joined a year later by LeMond.
The 80s was the last golden age of French cycling, with Fignon's rise overlapping with Hinault joining the five-Tour club and Jean-François Bernard emerging as the latter's successor at La Vie Claire following LeMond's shooting accident. Meanwhile, in the Classics, men like Marc Madiot – who would win Paris-Roubaix twice – shone.
For all his ability to get up to Chalet Reynard quicker than anyone else in early season skirmishes, Caritoux was not thought to be among these maturing big cheeses of the French scene – as reflected by his 24th place in his Tour debut in 1983, coming in more than 50 minutes down on Fignon. But in Paris-Nice in 1984, Caritoux did it again – winning on Mont Ventoux; and doing so by more than a minute on Fignon to further perpetuate the enmity between the two tyros.
The summit still covered in snow, Caritoux set the tempo on the climb for his teammate Sean Kelly, who was pushing for a third successive victory in the Race to the Sun. His home in the nearby village of Flassan almost visible, Caritoux strung out a select group that also included Kelly's compatriot Stephen Roche and Scotland's Robert Millar, as well as Fignon and Hinault. Kelly's overall lead secured, Caritoux kicked clear to latch on to an attack by Millar before outsprinting the Scot to take yet another win at Chalet Reynard.
As the journalist and author Jeremy Whittle writes in his book, Ventoux: "Caritoux should have been a bigger star than he was, but he raced in the shadow of Hinault, Fignon, Bernard, Madiot and the others, even though on the Ventoux, at least, he often had the better of them all."
Setting the scene: the 1984 Vuelta
Without any races lined up for the rest of the spring, Caritoux was tending the vines at his family farm at the foot of Ventoux when he received a call that would change his life.
"It's Monsieur de Gribaldy!" his grandmother called out from the house.
His boss Jean de Gribaldy – known as both De Gri or Le Vicomte (The Viscount) – was in a bit of a pickle. He had forgotten about a promise he had made at the start of the year to the Vuelta organisers that his Skil-Sem team would take part. Back then, the Spanish tour started in the second half of April, and the organisers had made it clear they would impose a hefty fine if De Gribaldy's team was not present for the opening prologue at Jerez de la Frontera in four days.
So, De Gri had called up Caritoux to tell him to drop what he was doing, pack his bags, go to Geneva and fly to Malaga.
"I thought we weren't racing the Vuelta," a bemused Caritoux said to his boss.
"I've changed my mind," came the abrupt reply.
Kelly was the team leader at Skil-Sem but he had not ridden the Vuelta since 1980, when he finished fourth. The Irishman was in stellar form that season, but after winning Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and Liège (following runner-up spots at San Remo and Flanders), Kelly asked for a rest. De Gribaldy needed a back-up plan to avoid copping a fine and to keep the Vuelta organisers sweet. He decided to send Kelly's apprentice, Caritoux, to Spain instead.
The organisers did not care whether Skil-Sem brought their star man; in fact, they were reportedly prepared to double the team's appearance fee if they left Kelly behind – for it would give the Spanish riders a better chance to shine. Although Hinault emerged victorious in 1983, the Spanish Armada had put on a dominant display – winning nine stages, all the other classification jerseys, and placing seven riders in the top 10. The organisers wanted this success to continue – with a home rider on top of the podium in Madrid.
And, so, the 23-year-old Caritoux was made the de facto leader of a young and inexperienced 10-man team that featured just one rider in his 30s and a total of five Grand Tour debutants. In fact, only one of the Skil-Sem riders had tackled the Vuelta before – and they had a mere eight Grand Tours between them.
"I had nothing to lose, but I did not have that strong a team around me either," says Caritoux tells Eurosport in his thick Provencal twang. "Two of my teammates were riding their very first professional race; many of them were first year pros – it was a real band of youngsters."
De Gribaldy's expectations were so low that he did not even turn up at the race, choosing to send his assistant Christian Rumeau as sports director. What's more, Caritoux and his pals were told that their results didn't matter. They simply had to turn up and ride. But he had loftier ambitions – within reason.
"I'd picked up some good results in the spring, so I went to the Vuelta targeting a stage win and a good place in the General Classification,” Caritoux explains. “But I never thought I was going to win the race."
In the absence of defending champion Hinault and Renault duo Fignon and LeMond, the big favourite for victory was Alberto Fernández.
Nicknamed El Galleta (‘The Biscuit’) because his hometown of Aguilar de Campoo boasted a number of cookie factories, the 29-year-old had come third behind Hinault and Marino Lejarreta one year earlier before finishing third again in the Giro. A strong, all-Spanish Zor-Gemeaz team had been built around him, featuring the dependable climber Eduardo Chozas and all-rounder Alvaro Pino, who would win the race in 1986.
Lejarreta, the 1982 winner, was present but lacked fitness and race days in his legs. But there were high hopes for the promising Pedro Delgado, who had finished in the top 15 in his previous Vuelta and Tour appearances before he had even turned 24. Also on the start list were defending Giro champion Giuseppe Saronni and another Italian, the former world champion Francesco Moser.
While the start list was far from stellar, no one expected a virtual unknown like Caritoux to have even a sniff of glory. And with Fernández, Lejarreta, Pino and Gorospe having all enjoyed stints in yellow the year before, the hosts had pinned their sights on glory.
Caritoux crushes it at Covadonga
Our French outsider hardly pulled up any trees in the opening prologue. In fact, he came home in 89th place – out of a field of 130 – some 55 seconds down on Moser.
The Italian kept the Yellow Jersey for the next six stages, all won by Belgian riders as the GC favourites kept their powder dry ahead of the first summit finish. Stage 7 featured four climbs in the Pyrenees, including the finish on the Alto de Rasos de Peguera in Catalonia.
Here, Caritoux put in a surprise attack to drop Fernández in the final kilometre, and Delgado took over the race lead after rallying to second place. If Caritoux's win was unexpected, so too was the destruction in his wake: Fernández faded to fifth, the best part of one minute down, while Moser shipped five minutes, Lejarreta 10 minutes and Saronni double that.
"After one week, I won the first summit finish and Delgado moved into the leader's jersey," Caritoux recalls. “But I was second or third in the standings and I felt I had a good chance of causing an upset – perhaps not win the thing, but to finish in the top five.
"But things just got better for me. Delgado kept the lead for a week and then we had a finish at Lagos de Covadonga, which was like the Alpe d'Huez of Spain back in those days."
That year’s Stage 12 was only the second time the Vuelta had visited Covadonga lakes; the inaugural visit one year earlier saw Lejarreta solo to victory ahead of Hinault and Fernández. Fernández was expected to make his move on the misty climb, but Caritoux was only 11 seconds down on Delgado in the General Classification and was proving no push-over. He had lost two Skil teammates in the opening week but had managed to stick to Delgado's wheel as the race headed into the Asturias mountains.
An attack from Fernández saw Delgado dropped and Caritoux distanced. But the Frenchman rode back into contention with Germany's Reimund Dietzen to set up an exciting finale, as Delgado's Reynolds teammate Gorospe also entered the fray. Going shoulder-to-shoulder in a narrow chicane ahead of the finish, Caritoux and Dietzen pulled clear of their rivals. Dietzen boxed in the Frenchman on the final bend, causing Caritoux to raise his hand in anger as they crossed the line. Either that or the new Yellow Jersey was erroneously celebrating a second win. Behind, Fernández settled for another third place at Covadonga.
The result propelled Caritoux into the race lead at the expense of the faltering Delgado, who had come home 1'29" down after a torrid final climb. The Frenchman's closest challenger was now Fernández, 32 seconds adrift, while Dietzen was pushing Delgado for third.
"From that point, my objectives changed,” Caritoux says. “It was my intention to defend the Yellow Jersey.
"There were still two time trials, but I tried not to put too much pressure on myself. Some days I rode well, others less well. But I never started the race with the intention of winning, so I had already succeeded in meeting my targets. I knew that if I finished in the top three or four with a stage win, I'd be happy with my performance."
Caritoux and stick: holding on to yellow
Two major obstacles stood between Caritoux and the overall win: on a sporting plane, he had to stave off the threat posed by Fernández in the two TTs; but beyond that, there was the not-insignificant matter of the highly-partisan Spanish fans whose riders were being denied the top spot by the French outsider. Two weeks into the race, the hosts were still without a stage win – and now Caritoux had taken Delgado's Yellow Jersey while keeping Fernández at bay.
The supporters were enraged. Seeing Hinault win a year earlier was one thing – the Badger was, after all, the most prized rider of his generation. But Caritoux – dubbed by the Spanish media as, quite simply, "El Francés", the Frenchman – was a complete underdog. These two dynamics came to a head on Stage 14, a 12km time trial up Monte Naranco. Despite his TT victory at Chalet Reynard in 1982, Caritoux's form against the clock was unheralded.
"When the Spanish journalists asked me what I was like in time trials, I told them I was pretty rubbish and that I had no chance," Caritoux told Whittle for Ventoux. Fernández, for one, clearly underestimated his rival. For while Gorospe eased to victory, Caritoux defied expectations by finishing second to extend his lead over his main rival by another five seconds.
But it came at a cost. Caritoux was subjected to a torrent of abuse during his ride up Monte Naranco; fans insulted him, spat at him, doused him in cold water, threw newspapers at his wheels, and pelted him with rotten fruit. Some even tried to shove umbrellas into his spokes.
"The Spanish fans were rather unruly," Caritoux recalls. "Because it was a Frenchman in the lead ahead of a Spaniard, they made things very difficult for me. Sometimes they even threw stones at me, and I always had to be accompanied by a bodyguard when making my way to the podium. But I was young and didn't fully grasp the severity of the situation. It also gave me extra motivation."
The hostility reached such a level that the race leader had to ask for calm in the press: "I can't spend the stage dodging punches, receiving insults and watching them throw cold water at me," he implored.
Despite stretching his lead to 37 seconds over Fernández, Caritoux was downbeat about his chances of holding on all the way to Madrid – especially given the flat 33km time trial on the penultimate day. In what could well have been another bluff to quell the unrest against him, that night, Caritoux admitted to the press: "I have the lost Vuelta, I know that Alberto will beat me in the final time trial and that I have to attack, but I don't know where to begin."
The prospect of that final time trial, however, had made Fernández and his Zor team complacent.
"He thought he'd be able to get rid of me easily in the time trials, so he'd got his team to neutralise the racing. But that suited me," Caritoux told Whittle.
Caritoux lost another teammate in the final week but he still had compatriots Eric Guyot, Gilles Mas and Jean-Claude Bagot supporting him when they could.
"There was always someone there until the final climb – but then it didn't really matter, I could cope on my own. With seven or eight kilometres to go on a summit finish it's always each man for his own anyway," Caritoux continues. "The medium mountain stages were harder because I was kept on a leash. We didn't have a strong cohesive team that could control the race, so I had to put out lots of fires myself. We weren't the kind of team that rode on the front to prevent attacks."
On the undulating 15th stage to León, it was Delgado's Reynolds team who took the bull by the horns – bringing their Plan B, Gorospe, a bit closer to the top five while consolidating Delgado's third place on GC.
If Fernández seemed content to sit back and wait for the final time trial, Perico, as Delgado was known, had not given up on causing an upset. He attacked two days later on the last proper mountain stage to Segovia; this time Caritoux received an unlikely helping hand from the Italian Moser, who controversially helped neutralise the move to keep the Frenchman's lead intact. As the final TT approached, another attempt was allegedly made to derail Caritoux. In 2009, the Frenchman claimed that Javier Mínguez, the manager of the Zor team, approached Skil-Sem with an offer of 100,000 francs to throw the race.
"The Vuelta champion in those days won just 40,000 francs. We got together and decided, as a team, to turn it down. I thought that winning the Vuelta was priceless," Caritoux later told Whittle.
Mínguez denied this, of course, telling MARCA: "This is a lie. We never bought a race. I swear on my mother." Well, she was sitting next to him at the time…
After enduring a fortnight of abuse at the hands of the Spanish fans while in yellow, Caritoux was now one day away from glory. The penultimate leg of the race featured a split stage – 145km on the road followed by the decisive race against the clock.
"It was so tight going into the second time trial,” says Caritoux. “The race was far from won. I had 37 seconds but Fernández expected to overturn the deficit. Luckily for me, I managed to hold on."
Earning an unlikely victory
It had been a frustrating race for the Spanish. They had five riders in the top nine and had dominated vast swathes of the Vuelta. But it was not until Gorospe's victory in the Stage 14 time trial that the hosts had notched their first win – and although three more were added in the final week, there remained the galling prospect of Fernández losing out to Caritoux, and Delgado being pushed off the podium by German powerhouse Dietzen.
Heavy rain added yet more pressure to the 33km time trial to Torrejón de Ardoz and increased the feeling that things were out of control for the hosts. If the fans were agitated, so too were the press. Now 29, Fernández was hitting his peak years. After two third place finishes in Grand Tours, this could well be his only remaining chance at standing on the top step in a major race. But the weather added to the fear that he had botched his opportunity.
"Today we will find out if Zor's conservatism will have served a purpose or if it turns out to merit complete ridicule," read the editorial of one newspaper.
If they had been watching from the start zone, Caritoux and Fernández would have seen the likes of Delgado, Moser and Gorospe all go the way of so many others – skidding on the wet paving stones and hitting the deck. The conditions asked for caution. And yet Fernández needed an epic ride; needed, by virtue of his position, to take risks. The last man to roll down the start ramp, Caritoux held the advantage on paper – but he had to keep his cool and ride out of his skin to crown one of the most unlikely Grand Tour victories in history.
"In my head I had already met all my expectations," he says. "Whatever happened in the time trial, my race had been a success. Finishing second when I had only just become a professional would have been a huge victory. That took the pressure off me a little. Anything else was a bonus.
"But it was very confusing. There were no time checks out on the road. Normally, Fernández would have gone out just before me because he was second and I was first. But the organisers decided to put two riders between us to keep us apart. The rain also made it harder."
Fernández rode a solid time trial to finish in fifth place, 54 seconds behind Gorospe, the winner. The clock started ticking down. Caritoux, once again forced to dodge projectiles from the Spanish spectators, then came home in ninth place, 1'25" down on the winner.
"Even after I crossed the line I didn't know if I had done enough,” he recalls. “I had to wait for half an hour to find out if I had won."
The gap between the two riders was 31 seconds. Fernández had come up short by six seconds. Perhaps the fan who tried to punch Caritoux after he crossed the line had already made the calculation. The Spanish misery was compounded by Dietzen's fourth place, which saw him leap-frog Delgado by 10 seconds to take the final spot on the podium. It wasn't quite over. Although protocol frowns upon racing on the final day of a Grand Tour, the tiny gap between the two best riders was impossible to overlook. Even without an ambush, Caritoux had to get through the final 139km unscathed.
"Even in the final stage on the city centre circuits in Madrid, Fernández attacked me several times – so I had to respond and jump on his wheel," Caritoux says. "It wasn't too complicated, but I had to remain vigilant right to the end. He certainly didn't sit back and give me the win. I had to earn it. There was always the chance that I'd get a puncture or crash. It wasn't over until I crossed the line."
After 3,593km of racing in Spain, Caritoux held on to become the seventh Frenchman to win the Vuelta – after Jean Dotto, Jean Stablinski, Jacques Anquetil, Raymond Poulidor, Roger Pingeon and Hinault. The narrowest winning margin in Grand Tour history was five seconds fewer than the 11 seconds by which the previous record holders, Fiorenzo Magni and José-Manuel Fuente, won the 1948 Giro and 1974 Vuelta respectively.
Caritoux's six-second win was also 32 seconds fewer than the narrowest Tour de France triumph at the time – the Dutchman Jan Janssen's victory by just 38 seconds in 1968.
Those who view Caritoux's win as a fluke do so with the same misplaced conviction as those who deem Roger Walkowiak's 1956 Tour de France victory to be the product of a lucky break. Both are unfair assessments and do the worthy winners a gross disservice.
As Philippe Brunel, summarising the race in L'Équipe, wrote the next day: "The two men [by which he means Caritoux and Fernández] went head to head in a riotous atmosphere that is difficult to put into words, such were the attempts by the public for the French leader not to emerge victorious from the duel. Some spectators threatened him with umbrellas, others threw things in his face or into his wheels. But the Frenchman remained impervious to these insults that rained down upon him and kept going with superb indifference. Lucid, Caritoux weaved across the road to avoid all dangers. What he achieved in the circumstances was worthy of the greatest admiration."
What happened next?
Celebrations were muted back home in France and, two days later, Caritoux was at the start of the Tour de Romandie. Despite winning the Vuelta, the unassuming man from rural Provence stayed very much in the shadow of Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault.
Fignon won his second Tour later that July, ahead of Hinault. Caritoux, back in a support role for Sean Kelly, finished 14th – more than half an hour down on his ponytailed rival. Shy and reserved and not as media-friendly as his attention-grabbing compatriots, Caritoux was never hailed as a star back home. And he would never again scale the same heights as that spring in Spain.
"Of course, winning the Vuelta was the highlight of my career," he says. "When you're young you don't think of these things. I was happy to win at 23 but, for sure, I would have appreciated it more had I won aged 30."
Although he finished sixth in the 1985 Vuelta, when Delgado opened up his Grand Tour account in questionable circumstances, Caritoux would never win another stage in Spain.
Over the course of his career, the Frenchman notched 30 victories, but he never managed to crack the top 10 of the Tour de France. Success came with back-to-back national titles in the late 80s, but his best Tour in 12 appearances was 12th place in 1989 – the year he came closest to a stage win, finishing second behind Ireland's Martin Early in Pau.
Injuries and team changes – including two torrid years at the Spanish Fagor outfit – broke his morale and produced a string of mediocre results. He was never the same rider who tore up Ventoux with such carefree abandon when making a name for himself, and who denied an entire nation in a race he wasn't even meant to be part of.
"Caritoux was a man out of time," writes Jerermy Whittle in Ventoux. "His bashful peasant demeanour, his thick accent, his love of his vines, didn't play well with metropolitan France in the mid-1980s. Instead, it was Fignon, the urbane Parisian, twice beaten on Ventoux by Caritoux, who was the man to watch."
Five years after Caritoux was the author of the narrowest Grand Tour victory in history, Fignon entered the record books himself – as the Tour's narrowest runner-up. Where one Frenchman held on to a Yellow Jersey on a final time trial by six seconds, another lost it, in Paris, with the whole world watching, by an eight-second gap that would go down in the annals of the sport as far more memorable. Did his own success over Alberto Fernández help Caritoux appreciate what his compatriot must have endured the day he was beaten by Greg LeMond in 1989?
"The big difference is that Fernández was never in the Yellow Jersey,” he says. “It's true that to be in the Yellow Jersey for, what, nine days and to lose it – and the Tour – on the last day by eight seconds, like Fignon, was worse than what Fernández experienced. The gap was smaller, but he never led the race, so it was less of a disappointment. It must have been really hard for Fignon.
"If I had lost like that when I was young and I had never won a Grand Tour then, sure, it would bad, but perhaps it would have never been as bad as it was for Fignon. Losing by eight seconds was far worse than if I had lost the Vuelta, because I would still have been happy with my second place. For me that would have also have been a success."
The mid-80s remains the last dominant period of French cycling: it was the last time France had a Tour winner, and the last time they had a bitter rivalry in the form of Fignon and Hinault. Caritoux played his part – perhaps the most unlikely part – in that success, although his achievement is largely forgotten today.
"It's still a little tragic that so few remember Éric Caritoux, the peasant lad called to the phone from the vineyards of the Ventoux by his gran; a champion by accident, just to save his boss's face," says Whittle.
In 1994, a decade after his big win, Caritoux retired from cycling. In an ideal world, he would have won Stage 15 of that year's Tour in his birth town of Carpentras – but lone escapee Eros Poli held on over the top of Mont Ventoux before soloing to victory as Caritoux rolled in seven minutes back, in 18th place.
"Of course, it would have been nice to have won a stage on the Tour,” says Caritoux. “I came close, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. There was stuff I was not prepared to do, and to have won I would have had to have done things differently. But I have no regrets."
Take from that what you will, but it is perhaps worth noting that Willy Voet, the masseuse of the notorious Festina team that later found itself at the centre of the sport's most infamous doping scandal, always vouched that Caritoux was one of the few clean riders from that era.
In hindsight, could Caritoux have done anything to have given himself a better chance at building on the early success of his career?
"I don't look backwards much," he says. "If I had won a stage, it wouldn't have changed much in my life. Forty-five minutes later, it would just be the same. It's not like today when winning a stage on the Tour can make such a difference to the career of a rider.
"Perhaps I would have raced a bit less – or been more selective with my programme. I did the Tour in my first year as a pro, then two Grand Tours the next year. Maybe it was too much and I suffered for it later in my career. But it's easy to say that now. It was different in those days – that was how we did it. And it was not as if I had any choice – we were told what to do and we did it."
Although the Frenchman's career never really took off after his Vuelta victory, fate was far kinder to Caritoux than it was to Fernández.
The Spaniard never got another shot at winning the Vuelta. On December 14, 1984, one month short of his 30th birthday, Fernández and his wife were killed in a road accident after a French-registered Citroen CX veered into their lane. They were driving back to their home in Santander from Madrid, where Fernández had picked up the award for Spain's best cyclist of the year.
The couple left behind a son, three-year-old Alberto Junior, who would go on to have a brief professional career as a cyclist, competing once in the Vuelta in 2009. Since 1985, the Vuelta organisers have dedicated the prize for the highest summit of the race to Fernández in his memory.
"It was difficult for me after he died," Caritoux says. "I never had any problems with Fernández – he always congratulated me after the stages and he shook my hand in Madrid. My problems that year were with the spectators, who wanted a Spanish rider to win."
They got their wishes in 1985 when Delgado – by hook or by crook – beat the Scotsman Robert Millar in controversial circumstances.
After retiring from cycling, Caritoux returned to the family farm and helped his brother Jean-Claude, in cultivating a small parcel of land at the foot of his beloved Ventoux. Today he runs a holiday home for tourists tucked away on the slopes at Flassan. He also tends to his cherry trees and sends his grapes to a local wine cooperative, which produces the ‘Cuvée Éric Caritoux’ – a dark red wine with a spicy finish. Santé!
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