Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Grand Ducal Couple at Tour de France

All photos: Claude Piscitelli / Cour grand-ducale
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were on hand this morning for the start of the fourth stage of the Tour de France. The third stage of the world's most legendary cycling race yesterday already led through the Grand Duchy from north to south.
The fourth stage of le Grande Boucle today started in Mondorf-les-Bains in the south of the country before cyclists left the Grand Duchy via Schengen, that tiny Luxembourgish village where the Schengen Agreement was signed that let's you travel through a borderless Europe.
The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess also met several politicians including PM Bettel, Tour director Christian Prudhomme, as well as current and former Luxembourgish cyclists including Andy and Fränk Schleck (on the picture below) alike.
Even though Luxembourg is only represented by one rider, namely Ben Gastauer (seen talking with the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess below), the Grand Duchy has long and strong ties to the Tour de France.
Considered the world's hardest cycling race, four Luxembourgers have one the Tour de France. François Faber won in 1909, Nicolas Frantz in 1927 and 1928, Charly Gaul in 1958 and most recently Andy Schleck in 2010.
All in all, 70 stages of the Tour have been won by Luxembourgish cyclists and ten riders from the Grand Duchy have collectively worn the prestigious yellow jersey for 91 days. For more random facts about Luxembourg and the Tour de France, have a look here.

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