Before he was the most unusual presidential candidate in US history, Donald Trump was the sponsor of what was intended to be the American version of the Tour de France. Dreamed up by future entertainment tonight co-host John Tesh, and organized by college basketball commentator Billy Packer, the Tour de Trump (later the Tour DuPont) featured cyclists such as 1995 and 1996 winner Lance Armstrong (who won in 1995 and 1996) and 1992 winner Greg LeMond and it passed right through the DC area.
“I’ve never been to a cycling event in my life. I don’t even know how to put air in the tires,” admits Packer, who announced every NCAA Final Four from 1975 to 2008. But when Tesh gave him the idea, he was intrigued. “I thought: Hell, Jersey’s got some mountains, and I had business investments in Atlantic City, so I know that the casinos would possibly be a sponsor,” the 76-year-old says of his original concept, which he planned to call “Tour de Jersey.”
Trump offered to be the cycling competition’s primary sponsor and partner with Packer on the new venture. As for the name, Packer threw out the suggestion of calling it the Tour de Trump. Trump agreed.
The Tour DuPont ran for five years, from 1991-1996. In 1993, a young rising cycling star named Lance Armstrong finished second. But DuPont pulled its sponsorship at the end of 1996 after planning delays for the 1997 race and after a legal fight caused a rift between Packer and Plant. (The end of the sponsorship also happened to come months after DuPont heir John du Pont murdered wrestler Dave Schultz.)
16 monotonous laps between the United States Marine Corps War Memorial and the Pentagon.
And the Post wrote
that stage was in an isolated area and drew few spectators, unlike the Richmond stage, which finished downtown and drew more than 150,00
Davis Phinney was the winner. The next day they went to Baltimore.
The 1990 race skipped the DC area, though it too went to Baltimore.
In 1992, the Tour DuPont held, on the "rim-jarring streets of Washington, D.C.", a time trial for the final stage. It appears to be a ride from RFK Stadium up to the northern portion of Rock Creek Park and back. LeMond won the race, but not the stage.
(I'll be on vacation this week, so no blogging).