Buying a copy of the L’Equipe after a big stage in the Tour de France has long been a tradition of mine. We first bought a copy in 1992 and anytime we have been back to see the Tour de France since i always try and get a copy as a momento.
Front page of L’Equipe featuring Thibaut Pinot on Alpe d’Huez. There was a newsagents in the train station beside the Avis office so we stopped off to see if any papers were reporting on the Tour de France. In 1992, I remember on Sunday morning being unable to get any newspapers as papers don’t print on Sundays in France. Incredibly, it is still the case today for most papers but L’Equipe had a Sunday edition and Thibaut Pinot was on the front page. So Noel bought 2 copies, one for himself and one for me.
Andy Hampsten about 1 km from the finish on Alpe d’Huez in 1992. In 1992, we had to wait until Monday to get L’Equipe to read about Saturday’s stage to Sestriere and Sunday’s stage to Alpe d’Huez. At that time, there was no internet or smartphones so we had no idea of any time gaps or if Indurain was still in yellow until we got a copy of L’Equipe. That year, Claudio Chiapucci won the stage to Sestriere after an epic solo attack of over 100 km but he wasn’t able to repeat the feat the next day and it was Andy Hampsten who triumphed on Alpe d’Huez.
Front and back pages of L’Equipe on July 20th 1992. Incredibly, Hampsten was the only non-Italian winner during the Nineties on Alpe d’Huez. The Tour de France visited the Alpe 7 times between 1990 and 1999 and there were Italian winners on 6 occasions, including twice by Gianni Bugno and Marco Pantani. Anyway, here is the front and back pages of L’Equipe from Monday 20th July 1992.
Pages 2 and 3 from L’Equipe in 1992. Only the front and back pages were in colour. All the photos inside the paper were in black and white.
Pages 2 and 3 from L’Equipe in 2015. In 1992, L’Equipe cost 6 Francs or roughly €0.90 (1 euro = 6.56 Francs) whereas today L’Equipe costs €1.40. Allowing for inflation, L’Equipe costs less now than it did in 1992. Obviously, in the last 20 years, printing costs have dropped and the internet has also forced papers to be more competitive. What is also interesting is how little coverage of football there was in 1992: 40% of the pages were about the Tour de France, 20% were about the build-up to the Olympics in Barcelona, 15% were about motorsport, especially Formula 1 and only 10% about football. In contrast, in 2015, 40% of L’Equipe pages were about the Tour, 40% about football, mostly the draw for World Cup 2018 and Ligue 1 pre-season, 10% about motorsport and 10% about other sports.
Reading L’Equipe in Donegal. Anyway, back at the hotel Noel had time to read his copy of L’Equipe but I had so much stuff to sort out that I hadn’t time to even open the paper. Anything I didn’t need on the rest of my tour I gave to Noel to take back to Ireland and that included my copy of L’Equipe. Indeed, it was only when I got back to Donegal about a month later that I actually got a chance to read all about Pinot’s victory on Alpe d’Huez.