Rouleur Magazine – Issue 104: Tour de France
Cycling culture for cultured cyclists
The finest cycling journal in the world, published eight times a year. Each issue is classic and collectable, bringing together the very best cycling writers and photographers to convey the essence, passion and beauty of road racing.
“The Tour is the Tour.”
A cliché uttered by a thousand riders, the ultimate bike racing truism, yet such a perfect statement. There is nothing quite like the Tour de France. To race it is the dream of any young male cyclist; to win it, the ultimate accolade.
For Tadej Pogačar to take the maillot jaune in such dramatic fashion the day before Paris last year at the tender age of 21 was another level of fantasy. Can he repeat the feat? Andy McGrath meets the team behind the young man and Tadej himself to find them all raring to go again.
How would a Lance Armstrong supporter react, going from ultra-fan and Livestrong fundraiser to feeling humiliated and betrayed by his hero’s downfall? Letters From America, a work of fiction by Philippa York.
It would not be our Tour special issue without some local flavour for you to savour. Breton musician Yann Tiersen was born in Brest, where the race begins, loves cycling and Le Tour, and wrote the best-selling soundtrack to the film Amelie – but there is much more to this man’s body of work. A true artist, who is partial to touring by bike.
We also have abiding memories from Marianne Martin, winner of the first Women’s Tour de France in 1984. Rouleur readers share how they will be watching the race in these travel-restricted times – TV, casquettes, snacks and beer abound. Another lockdown favourite emerged over the last year, as Flamme Rouge gave us vicarious racing thrills in board game form. It was highly competitive. And extremely messy.
Peter Cossins asks if the King of the Mountains competition has lost its appeal in recent Tours. Olaf Unverzart contributes a fine photo essay on the brutalist architecture of ski stations visited by the race. Meanwhile, the men who scour mountain climbs in search of offensive graffiti – mostly in the form of huge painted phalluses – tell us how they turn dicks into butterflies. Genius work.
Elsewhere, recent Liège–Bastogne–Liège winner Demi Vollering is our Question Time subject, we meet Canyon-Sram talent Mikayla Harvey, the Explore ride is a sensational 300km gravel route from the D-Day beaches to Angers.
Plus columns from Ned Boulting and Orla Chennaoui.