Tour de Trump

Eli Post

Any reference to the current occupant of the White house raises multiple hot button issues, and it is difficult to thread the needle when bringing up even an innocuous matter concerning him. However, I decided to report on a bit of cycling history, which may be of interest to our members, involving the President who was at one time the sponsor of a biking event.

In 1989 Trump promised three years of support for a “Tour de Trump,” a 10-stage mid-Atlantic states race widely welcomed as a possible rival to the Tour de France. Trump’s involvement was minimal and it became more of a branding exercise than any display of intrinsic interest in cycling, including a Baltimore Harbor criterium around the yacht Trump Princess. It ended in an Atlantic City-Brigantine time-trial finishing in front of Trump properties on the boardwalk. The tour was plagued with operational difficulties and a protest demonstration at New Paltz, recounted in the local presses and cycling magazines like Velo News. The 1990 Tour’s last stage went from Northampton to Boston. A large crowd witnessed a wet finish in Copley Square, but the local press was not enthused. Globe sports writer, Dan Shaughnessy, called it “the worst named sporting event in the history of sports.” Another Globe writer, cyclist Susan Bickelhaupt, who regularly covered the Tour de France, and the Women’s Tour de France, was even more critical, "Why didn't he just call it the 'Tour de Me!' and, "To top it off, the T-Man couldn't even see fit to hop onto his own shuttle [Trump Shuttle] and say hello to the cyclists.” In the end, Mexican cycling legend Raúl Alcalá won in the overall standing. Two Soviet racers finished 4th and 5th, and three Americans, all Coloradans, finished 6th 7th and 9th. Sadly, no New Englanders raced. Trump failed to show up at any of the 1990 stages, and as his financial empire teetered, he abandoned the race, a year short, and it was recast as the Tour du Pont—never again to come to Boston.

For more information you could consult a 1989 New York Time article, Wikipedia, or other news sources or just enjoy this remote connection to cycling.  A lengthier rendition of the story is in Larry Finison’s new book: Boston’s 20th Century Bicycling Renaissance.






The information in the article is drawn directly from historical documents including the New York Times, Boston Globe and biking newsletters, including Velo-News.