MTB

Watch the insane moment a MTB rider jumped over the Tour de France

© Alexis Bosson; Facebook
Written by Joe Ellison
Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No it was a mountain bike – and we spoke to the prankster behind one of the most audacious stunts in the history of the fabled race.
The Tour de France is nothing if not unpredictable. With every race comes the possibility of raw drama. And yet – as the riders climbed their way around a rugged hillside in the Alps on Stage 10, nothing could have prepared onlookers for what happened next...
With riders jostling for position on the day's second mountain, Plateau des Glieres, cameras captured the heart-in-mouth moment an MTB rider leapt over an entire peloton. Hovering over the heads of the riders by a matter of metres, most of the pack seemed oblivious to the overhead menace who'd taken off from an adjacent hillside. Footage of the escapade quickly went viral, leaving fans guessing as to who the prankster might be.
Well now the answer appears to have been solved. French mountain biker Alexis Bosson [above] has posted a POV video giving us a first-hand view from behind the handlebars as the cyclists approached and he sped down a cleverly-placed ramp. Not content with merely clearing the pack, Bosson even threw in a no-hander in mid-air.
Of course, it's not the first time the prestigious cycling comp has unwittingly found itself crossing paths with mountain bikers. In 2013, on the 100th edition of the Tour de France, another Frenchman by the name of Romain Marandet jumped over a peloton which included eventual winner Chris Froome.
We tracked down Bosson for a chat about his jump...
How long was the stunt in the making and what was the reason behind it?
Six months. We had the idea as soon as we knew the TDF would come back around Annecy.
How sure where you on a scale of 1 to 10 of not hitting any of the riders?
10 or maybe 15. My plan was to jump in front of riders, and not over them. We calculated with different speeds the point I would need to start to be in front of them at the right time. I had two landmarks in order to maximize my chance. We tried it with a car first.
How big was your team? 
There were 9 of us at D-day, including the photographer.
The ramp was impressive – how long did it take to transport and assemble?
Two evenings to build and assemble. And another evening to modify after the first test session.
How did you feel before it – any last-minute nerves?
We came early in the morning to be here before roads were closed. I spent a few hours chilling with my friends to feel less pressure. When I went to the start of the ramp, I was alone in the woods, with a radio connected to one of my friends who informed me about how the race was going. I think he was more nervous than me so it was easier to relax.
And why the suicide no-hander – was that move always part of the plan?
The suicide no-hander was in my mind from the moment I knew I'd jump. I love this trick.
Were you able to test it out before the day of the race – and how did nobody from the Tour or their organisers spot your ramp?
I did many tests before. The last was five days before. Everything was calculated to the millimetre. We still don’t understand how they didn’t spot the ramp, because we did nothing to hide it.
What do you say to people who would claim your jump was dangerous and put the Tour de France riders in danger?
I say that I didn’t jump over it, and the only person who could have been hurt was me.
Are you normally a fan of the Tour de France? And do you have a favourite rider or team?
I loved bike races in general: MTB, slopestyle, dh, xc, road racing. I like AG2R team and their favorite riders. Alexis Vuillermoz is my favourite.
Where you inspired by your French compatriot in 2013 – and did he give you any tips?
I was involved in the 2013 jump, with the same team in 2013 as we had in 2018. We had this first experience as an example. We were 200% more prepared this year. Nothing was left to chance.