July 17, 2006
One former pro rides one Tour stage
Paul Kimmage is probably best known for his 1990 book on his efforts to break into the peloton, A Rough Ride, where he discussed drug use in the field.
This year, he's keeping a diary for The Times of London, and he also rode l'Etape du Tour, the sagged ride for amateurs along the exact course of one Tour stage. This year's l'Etape rode tomorrow's course, to the top of l'Alpe d'Huez.
L'Etape draws some celebrity riders: Formula One driver Alain Prost and former pro rider Stephen Rooks were on this year's ride, and Miguel Indurain rode one recently.
Kimmage still got a buzz from approaching l'Alpe d'Huez:
14:45 I’ve reached the outskirts of Bourg D’Oisans and I’m looking skyward towards the ski resort perched on top of the mountain; L’Alpe D’Huez, the Mecca of cycling. As a boy, on training rides after school to the Hill of Howth, I must have won that stage a million times in my head. As a pro in 1986, it wasn’t quite as much fun struggling to keep pace with Hinault and LeMond, but even when you were on your knees, the sight and sound of that crowd was always a buzz.
A great rest-day read.
Mark Sharon's encyclopedic three-parter for CyclingNews on this year's ride.