July 22nd, 1987. A day I will never forget. It was the 21st stage of the Tour de France, and I sat on our living room in suburban England watching an event unfold on the television that forever changed my life.
Changed my life.
What words those are, and how often they are bandied about without substance, without the full realisation of the weight inherent in their letters.
But this did. It was seismic. To my 15 year old self, sports obsessed and wanting, forever it seemed, to be a professional athlete at anything, this was massive.
In my bones I knew – this was it. This was the single greatest thing I had ever seen. An Irishman and a Spaniard and bicycles on a mountain in France.
A whole history of pedals being pushed, mammoth killometers, a man dying on a volcano called Ventoux, a Cannibal, a Badger, another Frenchman who carried a comb in his pocket so that his hair was perfect for the finish line salutes and the impossible cool of an Italian superhero. And now this.
I was mesmerized…