You'd Be Concerned, Too

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.

vrau_van_est

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.

4 Responses to “You'd Be Concerned, Too”

  1. DJ November 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    …and the genesis of a commercial slogan for the watchmaker Pontiac who sponsored Van Est: ‘Zeventig meter viel ik diep, mijn hart stond stil, maar mijn Pontiac liep’ (70 meters was my fall, my heart stood still, my Pontiac not at all).
    btw Vrau is not entirely correct…in german it would have been Frau, in dutch Vrouw or (better) Mevrouw.
    keep up the good work!

  2. bikes northampton November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    Brilliant image, what is the website address for the free to use image collection? Nice blog site, I will have to have a read of your previous posts.

  3. buttcandy November 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    Was he wearing a helmet?

  4. Hans November 12, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Amazing story. I read here that once he reached the top he wanted a new bike to rejoin the race, but his manager insisted he be taken to the hospital to be checked out.

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