We enjoy nothing more than a good bike ride, and bike rides get no bigger than the Tour de France.
The internet is awash with Tour de France news and blogs – so I thought that instead of regurgitating the same old news, I’d mention some of the classic stories that don’t ordinarily get much attention. Stories that don’t make the back pages, but are comedic gold, and interesting little facts about the upcoming stage in the tour. So here we go:
Stage 1: Rotterdam > Bruxelles – 223 km
Stage 1 is officially, a ‘Bloody long way’ on the ‘How-far-they-gotta-ride-O-Meter’ which makes it one of the longest stages on the tour, only being beaten by Stage 7 at 227 km. Makes that commute to work look tame, although they do have clear roads and no London traffic!
As I’m sure you’ve seen, Stage 1 saw a crash involving the Scottish rider David Millar and a dog. Surprisingly, dogs seem to have been the cause of a few crashes over the years.
So here are our top 5 “GET OUT THE WAY!” crashes…
- Marcus Burghardt – Another dog! Lovely golden lab casually walks into the road oblivious to the oncoming traffic only to bust Burghardt’s wheel. At least the dog was OK! Watch
- Lance Armstrong – Spectators bag catches Lance’s handlebars and sends him to the floor! That was a bad day at the office for Lance as he narrowly avoided 2 other crashes too. Great work from 7 times champ as he went on to win the stage. Watch
- Sandy Casar and Frederik Willems – Sweat little dog runs out in front of the lead riders only to get clattered! Casar still went onto win stage 18 though. Watch
- Djamolidine Abdoujaparov – Ok, so Abdoujaparov kinda brought this upon himself but still, resulted in concussion and a broken collar bone. Watch
- Wilfried Nelissen – Caused by someone that should probably know better, a policeman taking a photo during the sprint finish, only to get hit which proceeds to cause all sorts of mayhem! Not one for the squeamish. Watch
Have we missed anything? Chuck it in the comments and let us know what escaped us.
Stage 2: Bruxelles > Spa – 201 km
Stage 2 kicks off in Bruxelles, home of the rider that the French magazine vélo called, “the most accomplished rider that cycling has ever known” Eddy Merckx. This 5 times Tour de France champion won all the classics (a set of prestigious one-day professional cycling road races.), won Giro d’Italia 5 times and the Vuelta a Espana. He won the world championship both as an amateur and a pro and held the World record for the furthest distance travelled in an hour (49.431 km) for 12 years.
The 1969 Tour was his first victory and on this tour he became the only rider in history to do the triple, that’s winning the Yellow jersey, Green jersey and the Polka dot jersey, and still holds the record for the biggest winning margin, beating the second place rider, Roger Pingeon by 17 minutes 54 seconds!
Merckx went on to win the tour in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974, only missing 1973 because as was asked not to ride because the French were getting rowdy, Typical!