In 2000, Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantini, two giants of cycling, climbed Mont Ventoux in a relentless battle to win stage 12 of the Tour de France. Armstrong went on to win the Tour and a further five in the years that followed before being stripped of his titles, while Pantani never raced in the Tour again and died of an overdose four years later.
Performed with two road bikes, real race commentary and stunning film footage captured by the company as they cycled up Mont Ventoux, the production recreates the 60-minute conflict with all the benefit of hindsight, charting the parallels of the riders’ early careers and the stark split in fortunes following the race.
Mont Ventoux has become legendary in the Tour de France as one of the most grueling climbs in the race. Its history has inspired a solemn reverence of the ‘Giant of Provence’, from the death of English cyclist Tim Simpson 50 years ago to a more recent crash which left eventual winner Chris Froome jogging several hundred metres until he could get a replacement bike.
“I really got into cycling in a big way in 2012 when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France,” explained Tom Barnes, Artistic Director of 2Magpies Theatre. “I began to look back through some of the greatest races and came across the 2000 Tour de France and Armstrong and Pantani.
“The way the story played out is so theatrical that it seemed perfect for retelling on stage with this new angle of hindsight. We’ve had a lot of cycling fans come and watch it – it’s brilliant to see.”
Touring in Scotland for the first time, Ventoux is performed live at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, 7.30pm, Fri 16 September. Tickets £16, £14, £8 available from Box Office on 01721 725777 or online.