After perusing the newly announced route of the 2015 Tour de France, The Wattmeister’s whole being is flooded with warmth and joy, a bit like the bad old days before the advent of biological passports and random WADA drugs tests.
Firstly, the route will start in Utrecht, Holland. The BBC published a report in October 2013 stating that Utrecht was one of the happiest cities in the world, (I thought that stuff was on the banned list). Anyway, TW’s wife is Dutch, and furthermore, much of their courtship was played out in and around the waterways, canals and segregated bicycle lanes of Utrecht.
The race moves on to the Belgian town of Huy, and the brutal finishing climb of the ‘Muur de Huy’ . The Wattmeister clearly remembers ascending this beast and coming to a stop on the 26% gradient….luckily, the camper van fired up again instantly, but it was touch and go at the time.
Eventually the race moves on to the town of Fougeres in Brittany. This town holds a special place in our hero’s heart. Every fourth year, the legendary Paris-Brest-Paris randonee takes place, and Fougeres is the control at 305 kms on the outward leg, and 915 kms on the return leg.
It is a little known fact that when The Wattmeister hung up his racing wheels in 1995, (just as drug testing got serious, purely a coincidence), he switched to a branch of cycling about which little was known at that time outside France. The PBP takes place every 4 years, involves a qualification process, and requires the rider to compete a 1200 km course within 90 hours. The Wattmeister has completed the event three times which means he is and always will be an ‘Ancien’.
But, back to Fougeres, where, despite the fact that PBP is not a race, The Wattmeister finished third in an international bunch sprint in the wet and windy PBP of the pre-Strava era in 2007. Boxed in on the 14% climb to Fougeres Chateau ramparts, The Wattmeister was forced to deliver his powerful sprint from the blind side of a mobile bakery van and was distracted by the sight and smell of a tray of pain au raisins.
The Tour de France of 2015 then moves down south, eventually stopping at St. Jean de Maurienne, home to a restaurant which served the biggest ‘plat de crudites’ of his summer tour of the Alps in the company of Pistol Pete, Big Mig, Little Al, Rapid Ben and Mohammed Ali ( I kid you not). He puts his subsequent lethargic climb of the Col du Glandon down to the fact that he ate 3 kgs of salami and choritzo as a re-fuelling strategy.
2015 promises to be a special year, with another Tour and Paris-Brest-Paris, don’t miss out on the updates.