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2000 – The fantastic breakaway of François Simon

The Troyens were impatient to admire the Jalabert, Virenque, Pantani, Zabel, Ulrich, and other Simon. Jean Marie Leblanc retained Troyes as stage for this Tour of the year 2000, what a good idea !
While the Tour was already played, Francois, the youngest Simon, had vowed to accomplish what would be a historic feat : to win in his hometown. He would join his three brothers (Pascal, Régis and Jérôme) in the winners of the Tour, he who has the honor of wearing the tricolor edging of champion of France.
It was hot on 22th July in Belfort. The survivors of this 87th edition had to swallow this penultimate stage of marathon of 254 kilometers, the longest of the Tour 2000. From the first kilometers, the “Petit Sim” (François Simon) was positioned in front positions of the pack. At kilometer 139, he triggered an offensive and was joined by Hinault and Gwiazdowski. The three breakaways were 4 minutes ahead in Bar-sur-Aube. The spectators on the boulevard Victor Hugo, where the line of the finish line was, followed the stage on the giant screens. The atmosphere was electric. Daniel Mangeas, the voice of the Tour, heated the crowd.
In Lusigny-sur-Barse, the gap had fallen back to the minute. Simon entered alone in Saint-Parres-aux-Tertres. He was transcended by the cheers of the supporters who pushed him to continue until the last blow. But he couldn’t resist the irremediable return of the pack that swallowed him on the boulevard Pompidou, at 1800 meters of the goal. What a cruel denouement! Now inevitable, the massive sprint of a hundred riders gave the advantage to Zabel.
François Simon was assaulted by the media and his fans. In consolation, he received the price of combativity.