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St. Marie de Campan ... (2002)|
… and the 21 seconds Tour de France
Authors: Wolfgang Schoen and Günter Moritz
St. Marie de Campan lies at the foot of one of the most famous mountains of the world of cycling, the Col de Tourmalet. Each year, when the Tour de France comes to the Pyrenees – it does since 1910 – that little spot and its 150 residents are the centre of the world’s attention for the blink of an eye. On the TV screens of the cycling fans all around the globe, for approximately 25 seconds. 25 seconds – that is how long the crossing of the racing cyclists in the lead through St. Marie takes. And for these 25 seconds the village has worked flat out for weeks in advance.
Seen the sportive side of it, the foundations of the future winners in Paris were laid at the hard Pyrenee-stage in St. Marie on the 16 kilometre uphill to the Tourmalet. Fausto Copi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Richard Virenque or Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich have honoured the little village with their presence already, as stated – for 25 seconds. The Tour-supporters and Tour-opponents split not quite as sportive in that little community. And since massive doping before the great classic the two camps are irreconcilable more than ever. For some the 25 seconds are the “biggest event of the year” – for others it simply is a “visitation”.