Dramatic restaging of Tour de France battle comes to Cambridge

Drew Forsyth

Drew Forsyth - Credit: Archant

A restaging of a dramatic Tour de France race between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani is coming to the Cambridge Junction this month.

Ventoux, which shows on April 26, tells the story of the two giants of cycling who climbed Mount Ventoux in a dramatic battle to win stage 12 of the Tour in 2000.

Armstrong went on to win, plus a further five in the years that followed, but was eventually stripped of his titles, while Pantani, who never raced in the Tour again, died of an overdose four years later.

The production is performed with two road bikes, real race commentary, and stunning film footage captured by the theatre company as they cycled up the notorious mountain.

With the benefit of hindsight, 2Magpies Theatre has recreated the 60-minute conflict between the pair, charting the parallels of their early careers and the stark split in fortunes following the race.

Tom Barnes, artistic director, 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.”

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Mont Ventoux has become legendary in the Tour and is known as one of the most gruelling climbs in the race - from the death of English cyclist Tim Simpson 50 years ago, to the spectacular crash last year which left eventual winner Chris Froome jogging until he could get a replacement bike.

The production premiered at Summerhall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015, toured in 2016, and will now embark on a further 39 dates across the UK.

The roles are taken on by Alexander Gatehouse, playing Armstrong, and Tom Barnes, who, as well as being artistic director, will play Pantani.

Tickets for the performance at the Cambridge Junction at £12 and £8 for concessions.

The show starts at 7.30pm, and can be booked on 01223 511511 or at junction.co.uk.