Nicky writes, Christine and Roger Kahane are special people to us, and to Chechu. They are a wonderfully elegant Parisian couple. Although Roger is English, he's lived in Paris too long not to savour life like it's an interesting claret.
Three times, Christine has fought and survived cancer. Now she lives life with an insatiable energy. She is an inspiration.
Cycling has been important to Christine most of her life. Her uncle was France’s number one TV news presenter for over 20 years, and reported on many major sports events, including cycling. Christine would accompany him to the cycle races in France. She understands cyclists. We've watched her with them. She's sincere and respectful and crucially, knows when to step back and let them get on with their job. Although Armstrong comes close, Chechu is her favourite.
Chechu's website is special because of Christine's exclusive photos and stories. And she has excellent contacts! This is a her story of getting to know her Chechu querido.
Seven years ago I was very ill, experiencing my third cancer recurrence, and undergoing exhausting chemotherapy treatment in a Paris hospital.
It was a hot July day and there was no air conditioning. To take my mind off the awful drip that felt like it was poisoning my whole body, I switched on the TV set. Suddenly nothing mattered any more. I couldn't take my eyes off those live pictures from Stage 10 of the Tour de France. The peloton was on the steep climb of l’Alpe d’Huez, an elegant mountain resort where I spent skiing holidays as a child.
On the screen, Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, was going through a bad patch and was hanging at the back of the pack, surrounded by team-mates. The French commentator said his chances of winning a third Tour de France were probably over, and there was a very stressful atmosphere in the peloton.
Suddenly, like an avenging angel, the man in blue started to fly towards the summit, overtaking all contenders one by one. He won the stage that day, the yellow jersey two days later, and ultimately another Tour.
The cyclist leading the charge of the US Postal blue train, which caught then dropped Jan Ullrich, was a rider called José Luis Rubiera. I remember noticing this handsome, elegant rider during that stage in July 2001, and wanting to know more about him.
My husband Roger, drawn by my enthusiasm, became a cycling fan and my accomplice. From that moment, my state of health improved, and we started to drive all around France to attend race departures and encourage the Posties.
Year after year, we got to know Chechu and he got used to our presence. We would regularly travel to the start of Paris-Nice, the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, stages of the Tour de France, and Paris-Tours, and would meet Chechu several times a year.
But until the creation of the website, we maintained an athlete-fan relationship.
I am normally a rather shy person and reserved. The website changed everything, helping me to overcome my timidity. It gave me a goal and a reason to approach Chechu, and an opportunity to converse with him in Spanish.
In May 2006, when Roger and I travelled to Seraing in Belgium to attend the departure of the Giro d'Italia, Chechu and I became friends. We even stayed in the same hotel as the Discovery team.
We met in the hotel car park on the eve of the prologue, Chechu was leaving for his training ride. When I explained to him (in my best Spanish) that I was working for his fans’ new English-language website, he stopped and chatted to me in a friendly manner, and let me take as many photographs as I wanted.
The following morning, we met at the breakfast table and we swapped e-mail addresses. Something happened there that gave my life a new outlook.
Since that breakfast in Belgium, we have exchanged many e-mails. We've visited Asturias, met Laura and his parents, Loli and Pepe. Even Boris and Lola, his dog and cat.
We have travelled to almost every race in France, Spain or Belgium to support Chechu Rubiera. To this day, Chechu’s charisma has never stopped attracting us.
Chechu is a special person and it's impossible not to surrender to his charm and elegance. He has film star looks. He is intelligent, kind and generous, modest and easy-going. We love his sense of humour and beautifully civilised manners. We've never heard him speak ill of anyone.
Above all, Chechu is a good man. We’ll miss his presence in the peloton when he retires.
Buena suerte, Campeón, nunca te olvidaremos!