Tour de France - 1997 Edition

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Without doubt, the Tour de France is the biggest race in the world watched by milions of cycling fans across the globe.  With such a big race, it would be easy to put the predicable sets of pro team jerseys worn by the famous winners, but I thought I'd make it more personal by selecting a specific edition of the race.

The 1997 was not the first edition of the race I saw in person, that was the 1994 edition when it came to Brighton and Portsmouth.  It was however the first time I saw the race in France and more importantly it was the first time I saw the riders take on the Alps.

Along with my brother Barney, we packed our bikes up and got on a Graham Baxter coach at London and made the long journey down to Saint-Etienne in time for the twelevth stage - the individual time trial.

By this time, Jan Ullrich had already taken the field apart in Andorra making himself pretty unpopular with team leader Bjarne Riis but uber-popular with the German fans many of whom we met en-route!

This was the mid-1990's, so Chris Boardman was the only real hope of any kind of result, but Boardman only finished 23rd on the day a whooping 6 minutes 45 seconds down on Ullrich.  

The first thing that you noticed was just how small and lean these riders where in the mountains.   I was pretty fit myself at the time (around 74kg) I felt positively obesse, but I did enjoy riding such iconic climbs like l'Alpe d'Huez and Courchevel all on steel bike, with 52/39 and 12/25 - those were the days!

On this page, I'm going to try me very assemble all of the team jerseys that were represented on the start line in Rouen that year.    Wish me luck!

 

 

Belgian Champion/Mapei GBBelgian Champion/Mapei GB
Second place on the second stage was as good as it got for Tom Steels, abandoning the race on stage 7.
Saeco/Estro 1997 
JerseySaeco/Estro 1997 Jersey
Two stages and the leaders yellow jersey for "Super Mario" were no doubt the highlight for the Saeco team after Giro D'Italia winner Ivan Gotti was a DNS on stage 7.
ONCE Pink JerseyONCE Pink Jersey
During the Tour, ONCE rode in a pink version of their ONCE team jersey so that they were not confused with the race leader.
Mercatone Uno 1997 JerseyMercatone Uno 1997 Jersey
Worn by the team riders in the 1997 Tour De France, this version of the jersey contains more blue to avoid of clash with the leaders yellow jersey.
Batik/Del Monte JerseyBatik/Del Monte Jersey
Worn by double stage winner Nicola Minali in the 1997 edition of the Tour, this Batik/Del Monte jersey is better looking than I remember!
Banesto 1997 JerseyBanesto 1997 Jersey
Team leader Olano finished fourth and also took a stage win thanks to the ITT to Disneyland, ahead of the eventual Tour winner Jan Ullrich.
USPS 1997 JerseyUSPS 1997 Jersey
Although the team did not have any stage wins during the 1997 Tour de France, they did finish all nine riders! Quite an accomplishment for a team that had never ridden Le Tour!
TdF 1997 JerseyTdF 1997 Jersey
This yellow jersey was made by Nalini to celebrate Jan Ullrich's victory in the 1997 Tour de France.

Website: Tour de France - 1997 Edition