The men with shaved legs

loading Thomas Barlow ascending the Col du Galibier.

What’s it like cycling through one of the toughest stages of the Tour de France? The Grimpeurs decided to find out, and in the process, raise money for cancer charities in the UK. Penangite and support crew Bram Tan was there, and fills us in on how it went.

I’m in a support car following a team of seven cyclists on a gruelling challenge to traverse four legendary mountains of the French Alps in a single day. We spot one of the riders making steady progress up a “1:7 gradient”, i.e. one vertical metre for every seven travelled horizontally – our car needs to drop to second gear to manage this! We cruise past so I can get his picture with the mountain behind him. His body language is screaming “tired!” as he pedals past. “I HATE THIS!” he yells, exhausted.

He’s not smiling but I take his picture anyway. Welcome to La Marmotte.


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