In 2003 and 2005, for the first time in its history, Troyes received the Tour de France for two starts.
Back to the year 2003 …
On July the 10th, 2003, on a hot summer day, the Village du Tour was established in front of the Médiathèque. The municipal services and technicians of the Tour worked all night. François Baroin, Jean-Marie Leblanc and Bernard Hinault proceed to the traditional opening of the Village. This is an opportunity to meet the current riders, from Virenque to Moreau, from Zabel to Ullrich, and the runners retired from the bunch, from Poulidor to Jalabert. The Simon brothers are present and busy signing autographs. They have not lost their popularity with the Aubois.
The crowd began to hurry to the Rue de la République. The departure of the caravan in the middle of the morning is as expected as the riders. The arms stretch to catch flying caps, pens or treats. Young people from the cycling schools (UVCAT and ASPTT) can rub shoulders with their idols. The lucky ones are invited to live the day in the heart of the Tour. The teams of riders scroll on the podium “signature” installed in front of the Fontaine Argence. Daniel Mangeas, the speaker since 1976, knows the ranking of each runner by heart. Since 1987, in Troyes, there is a tradition : the yellow jersey gets his weight in champagne. So, the Colombian Victor Hugo Pena, wins his price.
At noon, the crowd is now dense all along the ride. Jean-Marie Leblanc standing up in his vehicle waves to the bunch before François Baroin waves the flag of departure. The bunch takes the direction of Nevers under the acclamations of the Trojans. The Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi won the stage a few hours later in Nièvres.