Mountain bike rider Valentin Anouilh realized a childhood dream this week when he successfully jumped over the peloton during Stage 10 of the Tour de France.
The 21-year-old Frenchman told USA Today/For The Win Outdoors on Saturday it took he and friends two weeks to construct the launch and landing areas, and six months of training with a jump every week leading up to the event, resulting in his perfectly executed launch and landing.
“I’ve jumped over roads before, but it’s when I saw the route of the Tour de France last October that I had the idea to jump the peloton,” Anouilh told For The Win Outdoors. “It was a childhood dream of mine since seeing Dave Watson’s jump.”
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Watson of Canada was the first person to leap over the Tour de France peloton in 2003, though his landing was anything but a success. Alexis Bosson did it cleanly last year, also in the 10th stage, between Annecy to Grand-Bornand.
RMC Sport reported that Anouilh’s leap was performed between Saint-Flour and Albi, and clearly he was prepared.
“The jump was calculated to the hundredth ready,” he told For The Win. “My friends and I prepared everything perfectly for the time of the jump. Training was great and the leap was perfect. A success.”
Also on FTW Outdoors: Watch: Bear sprints across mountain bike park
Video of the jump posted to Facebook was met with mixed reactions, however.
“You should be imprisoned for putting other lives at risk,” one wrote.
“It’s so right but so wrong,” another wrote.
“And likely no doping involved in that jump,” one quipped.
Anouilh wrote on Facebook he was disappointed by the reaction of some who thought it was stupid and irresponsible. But he had his defenders, too.
“Thank you Thomas Voeckler for defending me on the fact that I knew what I was doing and that there were risks only for me!!” Anouilh wrote.
Photos courtesy of Valentin Anouilh.
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