Issue 120 - The Tours
The Tours Issue
It’s apt that as the Tour de France celebrates its 120th birthday in 2023, the 120th edition of Rouleur is flying off the presses and into the hands of our readers. Rouleur 120 is our Tours de France themed magazine. Or rather, magazines. There are two front covers, and two magazines, back to back; one based around the Tour de France Hommes, and the other around the Tour de France Femmes.
So what’s in the mag? We’ve got an exclusive interview and photoshoot with Tadej Pogačar, the rider who more than any other has defined the last three Tours, the first two as champion, the last as the defeated but tenacious runner-up to Jonas Vingegaard.
The Tour de France is a bike race, but it is also an exercise in geography. Part of its appeal is that it covers so much ground in a country that is extremely varied in terms of geology and terrain, so each day’s racing plays out against the backdrop of the French landscape. We celebrate the places of the Tour as much as the athletes. So we’ve included two quite different features which look at the landscape and geography of the world’s biggest bike race.
We also have interviews with three very different athletes in the Tour Femmes half of the magazine. Jeremy Whittle spoke at length with 2022 French road champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who has endured a year of terrible challenges, with two teams collapsing around her and, far worse, a stroke. Our staff writer Rachel Jary caught up with the up-and-coming star Charlotte Kool, who has emerged as one of the best sprinters in the world in 2023. And finally, Isabel Best spoke with Betsy King, the American cyclist who took part in the Tours de France Féminins of the 1980s.
What’s in the magazine?
Who is Tadej Pogačar
Our resident photojournalist James Startt met the Slovenian with the instruction to dig a little deeper into his psychology and work out a little more what his relationship with the sport is. Pogačar was searingly honest about his failure to win the 2022 Tour, going into detail about the working-over he received at the hands of Vingegaard and his Jumbo-Visma team on the Cols du Galibier and Granon.
For our feature A Lighthouse, I went to the Puy de Dôme in mid-May with James Startt, to sample the atmosphere, take a few photographs and find out a little more about this iconic Tour climb, which appears in the race for the first time since 1988, even though it was a stalwart from the 1950s onwards. The Puy de Dôme is a lava dome, formed from volcanic activity in the Massif Central, and it’s more rounded than the mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees, and remarkable for the spiral road which leads steeply to its summit.
Never Give In
Jeremy Whittle spoke at length with 2022 French road champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who has endured a year of terrible challenges, with two teams collapsing around her and, far worse, a stroke. Cordon-Ragot is outspoken, determined and honest, and extremely popular with fans, and her story is an inspiring one.
Our staff writer Rachel Jary caught up with the up-and-coming star Charlotte Kool, who has emerged as one of the best sprinters in the world in 2023. Kool spent her teens as a speed skater, but the cross-training on a bike eventually took over. She obviously has physical talent, and trains well, but what Rachel really brought out of her was the cold, analytical strategic thinking which enables her to make the most of that physical talent.
King was and is an irrepressible individual, whose talent and marketability was such that she was invited to take part in the gruelling Bordeaux-Paris race, one of only two women to have done so. The organisers had made the event an open one, so that non-professionals could take part, and as a publicity stunt for the 1984 Tour Féminin, they invited King to race. These three features cover generations of female cyclists, with brilliant portrait photography by James Startt and Henry Hung.
Also in the magazine
- An exclusive interview with five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain.
- A look at the relationship between the Tour and flowers, which has given us our cover for this edition.
- A long chat with the ‘voice of cycling’ Phil Liggett, who has covered 50 Tours.
- An interview with Jean-Étienne and Aurore Amaury, the president and director-general of Tour owners ASO, who are the third generation of their family to take the helm at the world’s biggest bike race.
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