Tour de France – 12th stage – Alpe d’Huez on July 14, the highest French fantasy

He wins on July 14th. Victory in the Alpe d’Huez. It is a double closed circle. A club where the membership card is acquired with charity. But once you are part of it, you belong in one case to the collective memory of French cycling, in the other to the history of cycling in general. Here, it is more the nature of pleasure that differs, rather than its intensity. Emotional strength or significant success.

This year, for the first time, the stage on July 14 coincides with the queen stage of the Tour and the arrival at the legendary station of the Isère, whose ascent of the 21 cords will be preceded by the climbing of the Galibier and after the Iron Cross. . If a French driver is lucky enough to win this Thursday, he will sign the victory of a lifetime, the one we’ve been talking about for years, even decades later.

Since World War II, the winning tricolors on July 14 are 13. Jacques Anquetil, unique case, even lived a double castle of fireworks, in 1961 and 1964. But each has its own story. Vincent Barteau, for example. Laurent Fignon’s former comrade not only raised his arms on July 14, but on July 14, 1989, the bicentennial day of the Bastille assault. “I haven’t earned much in my career, He said but I did two things that people always talk to me about: wearing the yellow T-shirt for two weeks (in 1984, ed.) and my victory on July 14, 1989. It marks people.. “

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Every year, until Warren’s victory, they called me, I was entitled to my little article because it was the last one

People remember it. This is the common point among all the witnesses of these Frenchmen who had the opportunity to strike like no one else that day. In 2020, during the first month of July without a Tour since 1946 since it had been postponed in late summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Eurosport had brought together the last two tricolor heroes of July 14, David Moncoutié (2005). ) and Warren Barguil (2017). His words often overlapped, especially in this commemorative aspect.

People remember it more easilyassured Moncoutié. When I meet people who follow the bike a bit but no more, they know I won on July 14th. My victory at Figeac (a year earlier, July 15), no one remembers the date. The media also always talk about it, even years later. Every year, until Warren’s victory, they called me, I was entitled to my little article because it was the last one. “

Royal flight, solitary incursion: Barguil and Moncoutié explain their victory on July 14

On the same day, everything is different. From the morning. “The briefing is a little differentcontinues David Moncoutié, who was at Cofidis. ‘Needs’ the French ahead. I know that at FDJ, for example, Marc Madiot gave a very special briefing. I wasn’t on that team but it was known“Warren Barguil wore the colors of a foreign team, Sunweb, during his success in the Pyrenees in 2017.”In the briefing we talked about it, just for me. It was ‘Wawa, you know what to do today’“, says the Breton.

When the site exceeds the date

Before departure, attention is also focused more on the premises than on other days. And not just the French media. “Even foreign media come to see more of the French pilots on July 14thconfirms Barguil. I remember in the morning I had many more foreign journalists coming to see me. They know how important it is to us. ”

In the course, people are in tune. “We see a lot of French flags. There’s still a little more fervor, it’s festive so maybe there’s still a little more people“for Moncoutie.”When I’m on the run, I feel the crowd behind meBarguil slips. I also had the polka dot t-shirt. I wouldn’t say it was pressure, but it took me. It was amazing. When I think back, it’s still a very strong memory.

What could be more unforgettable for a Frenchman than clinging to the July 14 stage? Not much. But in some cases, the place weighs even more than the date. In this record, nothing is the same as the Alpe de Huez. This club has only four French members: Bernard Hinault, the first, in 1986, then, in quick succession, Pierre Rolland (2011), Christophe Riblon (2013) and Thibaut Pinot (2015). They are four successes in 30 stages in Alpe, but three of the last four.

Sportingly, it is another thing to succeed at the heights of Bourg d’Oisans than on July 14, although, as Barguil reminds us, “.July 14 is rarely a flat scenario, not easy in general“But it’s almost always less difficult than a goal in the Alps. In short, almost any French runner can dream of raising his arms on July 14 one day or another. The Alps probably aren’t.

Rolland was flying: his royal arrival in Alpe in 2011

Riblon: “If I had to choose only one victory in the Tour, I would have chosen the Alpe”

Christophe Riblon would not trade his 2013 victory for anything in the world for a July 14 bouquet, as he told us: “May! I’m absolutely sure not. In the other direction, I would have swapped, that’s for sure. The Alpe d’Huez is one of the mythical steps of the cycling legend. In the history of cycling we remember those who won in such and such stretches, we do not remember those who won on July 14th. No matter how you ask the question, it’s Alpe. “

For the former AG2R team rider, nothing can be placed above the Alpe d’Huez. “Sif he had to choose only one victory in the Tour, he would have chosen the Alpe, he assures. I have been watching cycling for 6-8 years, these are the images I have in mind, this ascent, this audience around me, the fervor. If there was any doubt, it would be, in a different profile, with the arrival at the Champs Elysees.. “

Riblon, the victory of a lifetime: his success in the Alpe d’Huez in 2013

However, relatively young in the history of the Tour, as it only first appeared in 1952 before returning to the course a quarter of a century later, the Alpe d’Huez crushes it all. Pierre Rolland, Bernard Hinault’s distant successor, recalled last year in the west of France this revealing exchange with Andy Schleck: “Once, we did a cross-interview with Andy Schleck. He told me he was exchanging his Galibier and his Tourmalet for my Alpe d’Huez. This is to give an idea of ​​the value of this climb. “

Nothing is, therefore, the same as the Alpe, which sits enthroned in its own mythology. But not much can compete with the excitement of a July 14 victory for a Frenchman. On Thursday, both could accompany each other. Then, without a doubt, it would be a milestone for tricolor cycling. Like merging two dreams into one fantasy.

The profile of the 12th stage: Galibier, Croix-de-Fer, Alpe-d’Huez, three monsters for the queen stage

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