“What a joke” at the Grand Colombier
Tour stars curse chaos descent
07/14/2023 9:21 p.m
It’s not just the ride up the Grand Colombier that’s tough, the descent obviously is too: at the end of the stage, the professional cyclists have to ride down the mountain again, passing through the fans returning home. Not everyone finds this ideal.
Louis Meintjes was well served after the 13th stage of the Tour de France. “Cycling is such a joke,” the South African cursed, annoyed, parked his racing bike and disappeared into the bus of his Intermarche-Circus-Wanty team. The reason for the excitement of the German Georg Zimmermann’s teammate: the descent down from the final climb on the Grand Colombier.
The drivers who had officially finished the race at the Jura summit then had to roll back down the same path to get to their team buses – in general chaos between fans and cars. A solution that Zimmermann also found anything but ideal.
“We came up the same way as down. You have to imagine that,” said Zimmermann. “Let a football team run a lap through the stadium at full speed after 90 minutes. They wouldn’t do that, but for us it’s normal that we have to walk 18 km through the chaos past the pretty drunk fans.”
According to Zimmermann, he doesn’t want to blame the fans at all – “but that’s dangerous and uncomfortable,” he said. “A different evacuation plan wouldn’t be bad. That was the most uncomfortable part of the day.”
Zimmermann had been in the leading group for a long time on the stage that ended at the Grand Colombier, but in the end he was no longer able to follow Michal Kwiatkowski, who later won the day. The 25-year-old from Augsburg finally finished 13th, 1:34 minutes behind. Meanwhile, in the fight for the overall standings, Tadej Pogacar attacked the leader Jonas Vingegaard again and was able to reduce the gap to the yellow jersey to just nine seconds.