2000 Tour de France – 2014 Style

Posted by: admin | Wednesday 28 May 2014 02:43 pm No Comments

Why the 2000 Tour de France?

My mate Kit and I had run, biked and talked about the tour through the years and always said “one day we would bike the whole of the 2000 route”. We dreamed and knew we would do it one day – I keep mentioning to Ralph (Global Adventure Guide) who had organised so many terrific bike trips over the years (always interesting, often challenging, sometimes weird places) through his bike guide company ‘Global Adventure Guide’ that it had to be done before it was too late – so one day he said, “Okay I will organise it for 2014” – that was 3 years ago and I said at the time I would be past it – I have since discovered it’s never to late- you just go a bit slower! Like the day we were biking up the famous Tourmalet in the Spanish Pyrenees mountains – there was a very old guy in the middle of a big bunch of young guys all dressed in red ‘n’ yellow of Spain and going very slowly up the 2500 meters. As I ride past about 4 kms from the summit I asked if anyone spoke English. A 20 something rode with me and explained the old guy was his grandfather and that his sons and grandsons were riding the mountain with him for his 80th birthday as they had all done each decade in the past – was so good to see their celebrations at the top – so it’s never to late.

Thinking back from now to the year 2000 seems like the end of global innocence- remember!

No 9/11, no luggage and body scans at airports, no GFC and global banking meltdown, and we trusted banks, insurance companies, and even government to act in good faith!!!

So back to the year of the 2000 TDF – firstly it was almost entirely in France – no start in London or Yorkshire or Dublin and it took in the best of France from the ridiculous opening day at Futuroscope fun park at Pointers through the cold and wind of Brittany, over the central massif, through the wine country south of Bordeaux, over the Pyrennes to the south and Avignon, though the alps, briefly into Switzerland and Germany, and back to Paris.

Then there were the riders – it was like world war 3 of the nations – David Millar from England who at 22 surprised all the stars by willing the individual time trial on day 1, Lance Armstrong from USA (read my lips – I don’t do drugs) the eventual winner, Jan Ullrick (fat boy) from Germany – second, Joseba Beloki from Spain third and of course the Pirate Marco Pantini from Italy the incredible climber who battled with Armstrong on the Hautacam in the Pyrenees and mt Ventoux just before the Alps ( famous for the clash of cultures when Armstrong throttled of at the finish line to let Pantini win – a gesture of respect to his opponent by Armstong and an unforgivable insult by Pantini). And the others many who featured in the years that followed – Dekker (holland), Zabel( Germany), McEwan (Australia), Durand (France), Otxoa (Spain), and so many others.

They did 3663 kms in 21 stages at an average 39.5 kms per hour – many fueled by dope and transfusions. We will do the same over 44 days with good beer, good wine, and good mates.

So start day 15th June 2014 at Futuroscope Poitiers for the time trial and then off to the finish in Paris on the Champs Elysées 27th July.

I will try to post some pics and comments along the way – but no promises!!!

Cheers, Craig