Whatever happened to Lance Armstrong?
EIGHTEEN years ago, two giants of cycling climbed Mont Ventoux in a dramatic battle to win stage 12 of the Tour de France: Lance Armstrong, who went on to win the Tour and a further five in the years that followed before being stripped of his titles, and Marco Pantani, who never raced in the Tour again and died of an overdose four years later.
Now, that moment in history is to be recreated at South Street.
Performed with two road bikes, real race commentary and stunning film footage captured by the company as they cycled up Mont Ventoux, 2Magpies Theatre recreate the 60-minute conflict with all the benefit of hindsight, charting the parallels of the duo’s 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 gruelling climbs in the race and has a history which has inspired a solemn reverence of the Giant of Provence, from the death of English cyclist Tim Simpson 50 years ago to the spectacular crash last year which left eventual winner Chris Froome jogging several hundred yards until he could get a replacement bike.
Tributes are still left to Tim Simpson on the mountain side.
Artistic director of 2Magpies Theatre Tom Barnes said, “I really got into cycling in a big way in 2012 when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, and 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 in itself that it seemed perfect for retelling on stage with this new angle of hindsight.
“We've had a lot of cycling fans come and see it – it's brilliant to see.”
Ventoux premiered at Summerhall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015 and has toured ever since.
It will be at South Street on Wednesday and Thursday next week.
For more details, or to book tickets, call the box office on 0118 960 6060 or log on to www. readingarts.com