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The Crazy Bet
In 2008, a team of leading cycling journalists are seeking to inspire road riders everywhere by taking Rapha up on a crazy bet – to attempt to ride the two most gruelling cyclo-sportives in Europe on two consecutive days. And Rapha is offering you the chance to win one of the bikes they will use to do it.
The Crazy Bet is inspired by the exploits of Jacques Anquetil, the enigmatic French genius who, in May 1965, accomplished an extraordinary feat of cycling endurance. Stung by what he perceived to be the greater popularity of his arch-rival, Raymond Poulidor, Anquetil responded to a challenge from Raphael Geminiani, Directeur Sportif of Anquetil’s St Raphael team, to prove beyond all doubt that he was the superior athlete. At 3pm, on 29th May, Anquetil won the Dauphiné Libéré, a week-long stage race ending in the southern French city of Nîmes. Less than four hours later, having completed several rounds of interviews and the post-race reception, the often controversial Frenchman boarded a plane for a 40-minute flight to Bordeaux. At 1am the following morning, Anquetil lined up for the start of the Bordeaux-Paris, the punishing 557km one-day classic which would end later that morning in the French capital.
Supported by his team mate, Jean Stablinski, and goaded by insults from Geminiani – and very possibly other performance enhancers about which the Norman was famously indiscrete – Anquetil raced through the night. Battling exhaustion and stomach cramps so severe he could only take on fluid, he eventually claimed victory and an unprecedented double.
In July 2008, the team of riders brought together by Rapha will attempt to emulate the achievements of ‘Master Jacques’ by taking on the two most demanding amateur road riding challenges in Europe back to back. On Saturday 5th July, the riders will tackle the Marmotte, the 174km sportive which includes the dreaded climbs of the Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Telegraphe and Col du Galibier.
Riding Independent Fabrication XS bikes and kitted out in Rapha clothing, the team will cross the finishing line on the mighty Alpe d’Huez before boarding a private plane, accompanied by a masseur, and flying to Pau. The following morning, 6th July, they will head out on the Étape du Tour, the 10th stage of this year’s Tour de France, and whose 156 kilometres include the fearsome climbs of the Tourmalet and Hautacam. The team will be accompanied by dedicated photographers and the story of what promises to be the riding weekend of a lifetime should make for epic reading, both in Rouleur magazine and beyond.
- John Bradley - Senior Editor, Outside Magazine
- Guy Andrews - Editor, Rouleur
- Bill Strickland - Editor, Bicycling Magazine
- Simon Richardson - Deputy Editor, Cycling Weekly
For your chance to win your own Independent XS frameset, the same as that which will be used by the Crazy Bet riders and worth $6000, simply guess how long you think it will take one of the riders, Outside magazine’s John Bradley, to complete both legs of the Crazy Bet. Enter your guess (accumulated ride time only) – in hours, minutes and seconds – using the form below and the winner will be the closest entry.
For more information on John Bradley’s preparation for the Rapha Crazy Bet challenge, visit http://www.outsideonline.com/thecrazybet, and see his training blog at http://outside-blog.away.com/blog/the_crazy_bet/index.html.
Entries for the Crazy Bet competition are now closed.