Peter Cossins

Kim Andersen: “You get very pure bike racing in France”

Kim Andersen (right) with Mads Pedersen (left) and Kiel Reijnen - pic by Getty Images

Kim Andersen raced the Tour five times, finishing a career-best 17th in 1982. The Dane then became a directeur sportif, notably with Team CSC, which featured the Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara, then with Leopard-Trek and, since 2014, with Trek.

Stelvio: What was your first memory of the Tour?

Kim Andersen: I have to go back a long time for that. I honestly don’t know. It was probably reading about it in magazines when I was a kid in Denmark.

Stelvio: What was your first experience of the race?

Kim Andersen: We started in Nice in 1981. I was riding for the French Miko-Mercier team, which was led by Raymond Martin and featured nine French riders and me. There was a long team time trial on the second day and we finished third. Then I took third place for myself the day after. A couple of days after that I crashed in a corner and broke a rib and that was the end of my Tour. I always raced in France a lot because I was always a member of French teams as a pro and as a result of that I don’t just love the Tour but all of the races in France, even the very small races. I think it’s often really pure bike racing, not always easy, but on roads that are up and down, that encourage pure bike racing, the kind I love. I wish we could do some of them more often, but as a WorldTour team it’s not easy.

Stelvio: What do you most look forward to when you come to France?

Kim Andersen: I like it when we’re outside the big cities, out in nature and on these beautiful roads that offer a really hard test, up and down all the time. This for me is what France is all about. I don’t come for the petit déjeuner or the croissants. I’m not a fan of things like that. I simply like France as a country. They have every kind of terrain, the mountains, the flats, as well as the sea and the sun. They have everything.

Stelvio: Does French wine feature among the things you like about the country?

Kim Andersen: I like a little bit of red wine. For a long time, I really liked the French reds but now I’m starting to get a taste for Italian reds. I’m not a big wine fanatic but I do know what I like, the reds down in Provence for example. Like I said, I’m no expert. I taste the wine and if I like it, it’s a good wine. I don’t look at the label.

Stelvio: Is there one city in France that you particularly like to visit?

Kim Andersen: If I were to live in France, I think I’d go for the south side of the Ventoux. I love that area, the towns and villages like Bédoin. The mountain is legendary of course, but I like the ruggedness of the countryside and the weather, particularly the weather. Hot and not too much rain.

Stelvio: And what about French food? Is there anything that you particularly enjoy?

Kim Andersen: No, not really. Easy come, easy go. I’m not that bothered when it comes to food. I’m quite simple.

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