Nov 10 2009
As Jens Voight’s crash reminded us this summer, there’s no end to the danger lurking in the high mountains of the Tour. But the woman in this image—taken from the excellent, free-to-use collection of the Nationaal Archief—has special reason to be concerned.
Wim Van Est was the first Dutchman to don the yellow jersey in 1951, winning the 12th stage to Dax from a break that finished well clear of the field. He was still in yellow the next day when he flatted (or misjudged a bend) and went flying off the Col d’Abisque and down 200 feet into a nearby ravine.
Miraculously, Van Est survived the tumble intact. However, the rock face he soared off of was so steep—and the state of his understandable mental collapse so total—that he had to be hoisted back to the roadway with a daisy chain of tubular tires.
I suspect that this remarkable tumble was the genesis of Vrau Van Est’s radio-and-portrait setup.