Colorado’s Connections to the Tour de France

by Kate Agathon

The 109th edition of the Tour de France began on Friday. 

While over 4,000 miles separates Colorado from France, the iconic road race has plenty of Colorado connections.

From current professional cyclists to legendary cyclists of the past, Colorado has some serious links with cycling’s most famous Grand Tour.

Along with a handful of shout outs, we list our subjectively chosen Colorado cyclists who have ridden in Le Tour de France.

No. 1  Marianne Martin, (Team USA)

marianne martin (1)

In 1984, Marianne Martin became the first winner of the Tour de France Féminin, which ran alongside the men’s race from 1984 to 1989. 

The Boulder resident and University of Colorado alumna was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in 2021.

Additionally, Martin’s team, Team USA, won the best overall team classification at the 1984 Tour de France Féminin.

No. 2  Davis Phinney (7-Eleven)

davis phinney

Coloradan Davis Phinney was part of the iconic 7-Eleven team of the 1980s.

In 1986, 7-Eleven was invited to the Tour de France. Phinney won Stage 3 and became only the second American (Greg LeMond was the first) to win a Tour de France stage.

In 1987, 7-Eleven solidified their American presence in the Tour de France with three stage wins, which included Phinney’s win of Stage 12.

No. 3  Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma)

sepp kuss

Durango native Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma) made his Tour de France debut in 2020.

In the following year’s Tour de France, Kuss won Stage 15. He made his third Jumbo Visma Tour de France appearance on Friday.

No. 4  Tom Danielson (Slipstream Chipotle)

tom danielson

Coloradan Tom Danielson made his Tour de France debut in 2011. He won Stage 2, and finished the Grand Tour event as the highest placed American (8th place).

No. 5  Taylor Phinney (Cannondale Drapac)

taylor phinney

Taylor Phinney (son of Davis Phinney) followed in his father’s tracks and became a pro cyclist. 

He made his Tour de France debut in 2017, where he led the mountains classification and wore the polka dot jersey on Stage 2.

Colorado has strong connections to the Tour de France.  We think these individuals deserve a shout out.

Shout Out – 7-Eleven

team 7 eleven

The only cycling team inducted in the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, 7-Eleven was responsible for increasing interest in bike racing in the United States, while also establishing a strong American presence among professional teams in the Grand Tours for the next decade.

The 1986 and 1987 Tour de France 7-Eleven team included Coloradans Davis Phinney, Andy Hampsten (currently a Boulder resident), and Bob Roll (currently a Durango resident). Phinney won stages (Stage 3 and 12, respectively) during both years.

Shout Out – Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo)

quinn simmons trek

Nicknamed “Quinn of the Mountains” for his stunning performance in last month’s Tour de Suisse where he nabbed King of the Mountain honors, all eyes are on the 21-year-old as he makes his Tour de France debut.

Along with fellow Durango native Sepp Kuss, Simmons is among just seven Americans riding in this year’s Tour de France.

Shout Out – Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing)

tejay van garderen

n 2011, Tejay van Garderen made his Tour de France debut with Team HTC-Columbia. In Stage 8, he earned the King of the Mountains jersey and was named Most Aggressive Rider. He was the first American (Greg LeMond led the mountains classification briefly in 1986’s TDF, but wore his yellow leader jersey) to wear the KOM jersey in the race’s history.

At the following year’s Tour de France while riding for BMC Racing, the sometimes Colorado resident finished an impressive fifth place overall, and became the third American (Greg LeMond in 1984, and Andy Hampsten in 1986) to wear the white jersey. 

Shout Out – Rob Roll (7-Eleven)

rob roll 7 eleven

Affectionately known as “Bobke” in the international cycling world, Bob Roll was part of the legendary 7-Eleven team of the 1980s, and appeared in three Tours de France (1986, 1987, and 1990). 

Along with Phil Liggett, the Durango resident has spent several decades as an expert-commentator for NBC Sports Network cable. Because of his long tenure as a TDF commentator, he has one of the most recognizable voices on television.

Where to Watch the Tour de France in Denver

toms watch bar

Although the Denver Bicycle Cafe is gone, you can still have a Tour de France watch party.

Located in LoDo, Tom’s Watch Bar has multiple screens and publishes its watch schedule on its website, so you know when to arrive.

By Kate Agathon

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