Nothing makes this Tour de France winner happier than being on top of a mountain – and he’s cycled some of the world’s finest peaks.
Surf Coast, Victoria
1990: I’ve travelled all over the world but the Great Ocean Road is one of the most beautiful coastal stretches anywhere. It’s also a special place I’ve visited since I was a kid. We’d go down to Anglesea – my mum and dad, the aunts and uncles.
I’d go surfing and skateboarding – all the teenage pursuits – before I started racing.
My favourite part of the Great Ocean Road is the start, at Torquay, but the further you go, you’re so close to the water that you can check out the surf from your bike.
When you get to Teddy’s Lookout at Lorne, you can see right down to the bottom of the water and all the blues changing with the seasons, weather and currents.
Park City, Utah
1999: I recently returned to Park City and it was my first time on a mountain bike since I started in the sport of cycling there almost 20 years ago. I felt like a kid again. The town has a sporty ambience that I find refreshing. When there are rules and regulations and trails you can’t go on, it’s so discouraging. But here everyone’s cycling, running and hiking – there’s an amazing network of trails. Everything is designed for being active outside, which is what I live for. Growing up in rural Australia as an only child, my entire life was spent outside. There were horses, pushbikes, motorbikes, cars and tractors on the farm. For my son [Robel, aged six], life in Switzerland is different – but with me, he’s always outside. There is so much to see and learn, so many beautiful mountains to explore.
2013: I’m attracted to mountains – I like the tranquillity – and with the snow and barren rock, the Dolomites in northern Italy is one of the most scenic ranges in the world. If you pick the right time, you can have the top of a mountain to yourself.
Right now, I’m staying in Cortina d’Ampezzo, where they shot Cliffhanger and the Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, where Roger Moore skis through the forest, chased by two motorbikes. I first came here on a course reconnaissance for the Tour of Italy
– the roads were steep and there were fallen rocks. As an athlete, you look at everything for training purposes; there’s a certain amount of climbing you must do in a day. Now I just ride to the top to appreciate the view, stop and take a photo then send it to my friends like a true cycling tourist. I still ride the same mountains – but not as many and not as fast. ￼
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