[History] UNITED WE FALL / WIM VAN EST : THE FLYING DUTCH MAN
Willem van Est (25 March 1923 – 1 May 2003), A.K.A “The Flying Dutch Man” was known for being the first Dutch cyclist to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France of 1951, and for falling into a ravine while wearing it.
Prior to his cycling career, he used to smuggle tobacco by bike, he get caught and served several months in prison.
He started his cycling career (as an amateur) in 1946 and won the 600-km Bordeaux–Paris race in 1950.
In 1951, Van Est was part of the Dutch team for the Tour de France.
He won the stage and gained 19 minutes on the leader, enough to move up to first place overall.
The next day, in defence of his position, Van Est was chasing the leaders in the descent of the Col d’Aubisque.
Due to a flat tyre (according to Van Est himself), he slipped away and fell into a 70 m deep ravine.
Miraculously, he survived the fall and had no serious injuries.
Using a chain of tyres, and helped by spectators and his manager, he managed to get back to the road.
Van Est wanted to continue, but was persuaded to go to the hospital.
To remember this event, a monument was placed on the mountain 50 years after the event, on 17 July 2001.
Pontiac, which had supplied watches to the Dutch team in the Tour de France, started an advertising campaign “Seventy meters deep I dropped, my heart stood still but my Pontiac never stopped”.
He won Bordeaux–Paris two more times, two national road titles, four national titles in the individual pursuit on the track, as well as three medals in the pursuit at the World Championships.
And after that you still think you are a thug on your fluo fixie, hu?