Stunt at Tour de France ahead of yellow jersey 100th

The stunt by Valentin Anouilh saw the rider soar over the peloton on the 10th stage of the Tour de France

A mountain bike rider has performed a stunt jump over the peloton of the Tour de France, in the same week as the famous yellow jersey celebrates its 100th anniversary, today (Friday July 19).

Valetin Anouilh, aged 19, performed the stunt during the 10th stage of the famous cycling road race, between Saint-Flour and Albi.

Jumping off a ramp he had set up in precisely the right place, Mr Anouilh and a group of friends timed the jump exactly, to coincide with the passing of the official peloton.

In a video of the move, he is shown jumping nearly nine metres off the ground - soaring over the race for a second - before disappearing down the mountain on the other side of the road.

The video of the stunt instantly attracted acclaim on social media.

Mr Anouilh said: “It took me six months to find the right spot. Then, I calculated it all with my friends so that I would land well. Then I jumped on the day.”

 

100 years of the Tour de France yellow jersey

The stunt took place just one day before the official 100th year anniversary celebrations of the famous Tour de France yellow jersey - the much-coveted cycling shirt awarded to the general classification winner, according to points. This classification is then used to help determine the overall Tour winner.

Although the exact details are contested, it is generally agreed that the jersey first entered use in the Tour in the town of Grenoble, 100 years ago today (July 19), and was first worn by French cyclist Eugène Christophe, on the stage from Grenoble to Geneva.

It was initially fairly unpopular; some riders complained that its bright colour would encourage other cyclists to ride against them more, and Eugène Christophe is even reported to have complained that spectators mocked him with “canary noise” shouts of “cri-cri Christophe” as he passed by.

(Georges Seguin / Okki / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The yellow jersey is celebrating 100 years today (seen here on rider Simon Gerrans)

The origin of the yellow colour is also contested: some say that it was chosen to match the colour of the sponsoring newspaper - L’Auto - but others say that it was chosen simply because it was the only shirt colour available at short notice.

Its oldest living wearer is Antonin Rolland, aged 95, who cycled professionally from 1946 to 1963. He most notably wore the yellow jersey for 12 stages in the 1955 Tour.

Today, the Pyrenees town of Pau was chosen to host the celebrations, due to its close location to the Tour on the exact day of the anniversary.

The town has been decorated with a giant yellow jersey, and there will also be an array of events. The location also marks the final town before the race’s daunting time trial stage.

Director of the Tour, Christian Prudhomme, explained: “It will be a real homage. I wanted there to be a symbolic town for this anniversary. Other towns were shortlisted, especially Grenoble, but as we left Brussels on July 6, we would not have arrived in Grenoble by July 19.

“In contrast, we could be in the Pyrenees - therefore Pau - the 70th time the Tour has passed through, [and celebrate] for all the champions who have won [the yellow jersey], for previous climbers, for sprinters today; for the adventurers, and the riders.”

French rider Julian Alaphilippe is the current holder of the yellow jersey in this year’s Tour. Speaking ahead of the time trial stage, he said: “It is a beautiful course. [Time trial] is not my area of expertise but I have made a lot of progress, and done a good job...I will have to push the boundaries.

“It will be hard to compete with the best, but with this jersey, I hope to surprise myself.”

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