The Tour de France is one of the most gruelling sporting events on the global calendar. Over the course of 21 stages the competitors will be taking on an enormous 3,351 kilometres. It’s exhausting, it’s demanding, and at the equivalent length to over 80 marathons it requires a superhuman level of endurance.
But it’s not always the most exciting watch in the world.
Don’t get us wrong, the mountain stages are exhilarating, the breaks exciting and the sprint finishes have us on the edge of our seats, but often, by their own admission, the 170kms before that spring finish often simply involve watching a hundred-odd cyclists riding through some beautiful French scenery, which while no doubt extremely tough, doesn’t make for the greatest popcorn material.
That’s where the little quirks come in - the farmers who arrange their tractors and field equipment to look like a Da Vinci painting of Kylian Mbappe, the first-time Tour riders who have a chat to their nana mid-race while riding through their home town, and, of course, the mountain bikers who, increasingly regularly, decide to jump from one high bank over the heads of the peloton before riding off the other side.
It might feel like it happens every year now, but actually the feat has only been completed a handful of times. First, of course, was:
Dave Watson jumps the Tour de France (2002)
For those who don’t know, Dave Watson is an icon in mountain biking. He completed his Tour de France jump 16 years ago at the Col du Galibier in Alpe d’Huez, well and truly sending it off a cliff, over a road, and landing - albeit horribly - on the other side, before the footage was released to the public as part of New World Disorder 4.
Dave’s is the original, and will always be the best mountain biking jump over the Tour de France mob. Duly, he got arrested after he brushed off the dirt on the other side.
Romain Marandet jumps the Tour de France (2013)
In 2013, 11 years later, someone decided it was time to give Dave Watson’s famous effort an update and perform an homage themselves. The result was this jump from Romain Marandet.
Our favourite part of this jump is the behind the scenes footage from Romain and the team that put this together, where you can see them building the ramp to send it over Le Tour.
Check out both the jump and the making of below:
Random Dude jumps the Tour de France (2018)
The final, and most recent, in our list, is from the 2018 edition of the Tour de France, and comes courtesy of a mystery jumper who sent it over the peloton on stage 10 of the Tour de France, from Annecy to Le-Grand Bornard, the first proper mountain day in the tour this year, and the first appearance of a mountain bike. How fitting.
Check out this suicide no-hander over the Tour de France peloton on 17th July 2018:
Bonus: Szymon Godziek backflips over Tour de Pologne (2017)
Szymon Godziek is of course a freestyle god in the mountain bike world. Szymon started on BMX, moved onto mountain bike, and regularly wows crowds with his trick bag. He once did exactly that, not at the Tour de France, but at the Tour de Pologne, on a road bike, wearing lycra and full on backflipping high over the entire peloton.
The eagle-eyed amongst you of course will have recognised that Szymon is actually our featured image up top for this article, and is the only one not actually jumping over le Tour de France. But come on. Look at that photograph. What a man.
Bonus 2: Wheelie Guy at Le Tour de France (2014)
Vincenzo Nibali may have been the one riding to the win on the final day of the 2014 Le Tour de France, but the real winner of the stage was this guy, who decided to pull a wheelie alongside Nabali and his crew while they were celebrating. Good work sir.
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