Tour de France 2022: Time trial to be completed on Raleigh Choppers ​

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Organisers of the Tour de France have caused controversy on the eve of the race by declaring that the penultimate stage, the individual time trial, will be ridden on 1970’s classic Raleigh Chopper bikes.

Stage 20 on the final weekend was seen as a pivotal one in deciding who wins the famous yellow jersey, but this latest ruling has thrown things wide open.

“We decided to spice things up a little” a Tour insider told Paddy Power News, “We want all the riders to have an equal chance, so they’ll all be given the same cocktail of performance-enhancing chemicals at the start line and a bike with only three gears instead of those stupid time-trial things with wheels that look like flying saucers.

Danish Jonas Vinegaard of Team Jumbo-Visma reacts as he crosses the finish line at stage 19 of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, a 30,8km individual time trial from Libourne to Saint-Emilion in France, Saturday 17 July 2021. This year’s Tour de France takes place from 26 June to 18 July 2021. BELGA PHOTO PETE GODING (Photo by PETE GODING/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

“The biggest problem we’ve had is trying to find 200 Raleigh Choppers on eBay, because collectors are asking for a ton of money for them these days.”

We managed to grab a word with top British hope Geraint Thomas before Friday’s Grand Depart in Copenhagen, as a decent time-trialist himself, he wasn’t impressed with the last-minute alteration

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“It’s not great” he explained, “We’ve had no chance to ride one of these to try to get used to the handling.

“Luckily, Dave Brailsford’s managed to find an old one in his garage the other day so he’s chucked that onto the team bus so the lads can at least have a go.

“He’s warned us not to dick around and try descending Mont Ventoux on it though cos if a tyre blows he hasn’t another one.”

And the 36-year-old explained how the last-minute change will affect their preparation for the race.

Team Jumbo Visma’s Wout van Aert of Belgium climbs the Mont Ventoux during the 11th stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 198 km between Sorgues and Malaucene, on July 07, 2021. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

“We’ve been watching some old 70’s videos on YouTube to try to get the right look.

“I can’t wait to stick a big aerial to the back seat with a flag tied to it. I’ve also asked if we can put some card in between the spokes to make that flutter sound.”

Thomas’s Team Ineos bosses were also surprised by the late rule change, a spokesman told us that;

“We think it makes a mockery of the whole event. You have great riders like Geraint, who’ve targeted Stage 20 as a key one and now this.

The pack rides on Place de la Concorde in the background during the 21th and last stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 108 km between Chatou and Paris Champs-Elysees, on July 18, 2021. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

“It could have been worse, however,” they continued. “At one point there was talk of scrapping the yellow jersey completely and making the leader wear a beret, striped t-shirt and a bunch of onions around their neck.

“Thankfully, the UCI were concerned that if the rider got the hunger knock and started scoffing the onions, it could give them terrible heartburn.”

The Tour de France gets underway on Friday. In Denmark, naturally.

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