One notion that I took away from the travels behind the story of The Breakaway was a sense that the climbs we had tackled were essentially the exact same roads the Tour peloton had been riding since the race first tackled the high mountains over one hundred years ago. The road surfaces had improved (tarmac laid onto the mud tracks of those pioneering days) but in essence the Col du Tourmalet I huffed and puffed my way up was the same that created the legend of Eugène Christophe in 1913, the same over which my hero Robert Millar led the race in 1989 (en route to stage victory at Superbagnères). Many of the climbs that the race will tackle this July will be the same sweet and savage roads I was lucky enough to ride during my own tour of France.
On Saturday 29th of June the peloton will roll out of Porto-Vecchio on the island of Corsica for the start of the 100th Tour de France. Whilst a sprinter, such as Mark Cavendish or Peter Sagan, is likely to don the first yellow jersey, it will be in the mainland’s high mountains that the race overall is decided.