Jimmy Casper may have held off the Tour de France peloton to win Stage 1 of the 2006 race at a canter, but last week it was one of France’s leading trotters that prevailed as the former FDJ and Cofidis rider went head to head with a racehorse over 500 metres.
The race, in Amiens, tied in with the opening round of the 2011 Grand National du Trot, billed as buggy racing’s Tour de France with none other than Bernard Hinault, Laurent Jalabert and Jeannie Longo all acting as ambassadors to the 14-round series this year.
The man versus beast race is apparently one of a series of seven between now and November, but this time the Saur-Sojasun man found the going a bit too soft for his liking, on a track that looked like it had been imported from the Tour of Qatar and then had more sand dumped on it.
After losing his race against Origano Lap, Casper said: “The track was a bit soft and I lost a little ground in the turn. I tried everything but at my every acceleration, the horse replied," reports the website Standard Bred Canada.
Buggy driver Pierre-Yves Verva said: "My horse has a lot of speed and he did well to hold off Jimmy."
We can't help wondering, however, how Mark Cavendish or Sir Chris Hoy might have got on?
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.