A film in which two cyclists attempt to recreate the route of the 1928 Tour de France – considered the toughest ever in the race’s 114-year history – will be screened at cinemas across the UK next month.
The race saw the participation of the first team made up of riders from English-speaking countries, two from Australia and one from New Zealand, and remarkably all three completed it.
The documentary, called Le Ride, follows two riders who were seeking to follow in their tyre tracks – and what’s more, they did so on steel framed bikes from the era.
The publicity material for the film, which will screen at cinemas across the UK at 6.30pm on 9 November (details here, click the green button to select your region) says:
Le Ride follows Phil Keoghan and his friend Ben Cornell as they attempt to recreate the original route of the 1928 Tour de France. Averaging 240 kilometres a day for 26 days, Phil and Ben traverse both the unforgiving mountains of the Pyrenees and the Alps, on original vintage steel racing bikes with no gears and marginal brakes.
The documentary takes inspiration from the remarkable true story of Australians Sir Hubert Opperman, Ernie Bainbridge and Percy Osborne, and New Zealander Harry Watson as the first English speaking team to compete in the Tour de France. They arrived after six weeks at sea, under-trained and under-resourced, untested and completely written off by the French media.
The 1928 Tour was the toughest in history – a hell on wheels race of attrition. Only 41 finished out of 161 starters yet remarkably three were from the Australasian team. This extraordinary story of achievement against the odds has never been told on film – until now.
To followers of today’s Tour de France, the route of the 1928 race was, in a word, bonkers.
At almost 5,400 kilometres, it was getting around 2,000 kilometres longer than modern editions of the race.
All but seven of the 22 stages were ridden as team time trials (Stages 1-8 and 15-21), with the winner of those latter being the man who set the fastest time on the day.
The five mountain stages, with mass starts, all took place in the middle of the race, with a flat stage in between, Each of those five stages was preceded and followed by a rest day, giving a total of seven in all throughout the race.
The 22nd and final stage was also ridden with a bunch start, taking the surviving riders from Dieppe to Paris.
Nicolas Frantz from Luxembourg led the overall standings from start to finish, and two of his Alcyon-Dunlop team mates would complete the final podium in Paris – the only time one team has made a clean sweep.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.