Former US Secretary of State John Kerry attended the Tour de France on Sunday, stepping onto the #GreenArgyle bus to address the Tour de France nine and speaking with media, including CyclingTips, before spending the afternoon behind the peloton in Cannondale-Drapac’s first race car. Kerry, a recreational cyclist and long-time Tour enthusiast, is a friend of Slipstream Sports boss Jonathan Vaughters and a supporter of the team’s new climate change initiative: <2°C. He spoke politics and Paris Accord alongside sporting issues in Laissac-Sévérac l’Église.
The Tour de France is known for high profile guests, with a range of celebrities attending the event over many decades. The latest to visit was the former US presidential candidate and past Secretary of State John Kerry, who was a guest of the Cannondale-Drapac team on Sunday’s stage 15.
“It is the most beautiful spectacle. I was here [years ago] with my father,” he told journalists at the start in Laissac- Sévérac l’Église.
“I saw all the old riders – Indurain, Eddy Merckx, Anquetil, all that. That was my introduction. “This is incredible – the spectacle of these three weeks, with the completely inhuman stages.”
Kerry has ridden a bike most of his life and said that when he was younger, he wanted to be a Tour de France rider. Instead his life headed in a different direction; he served in Vietnam, worked in law and then went into US politics.
He ran against George W Bush in the 2004 US Presidential elections, but lost out. He then served in the Obama administration, working as US Secretary of State between 2013 and January 2017.
He is friend of Cannondale-Drapac CEO Jonathan Vaughters, and attended the race because of that.
“I am going to follow in the car for the first time in all the years I followed the Tour,” he explained in the run up to the stage start. “I have never done that, so I am going to follow. I followed a time trial segment [before], but I never followed the entire all day long segment. So that is going to be fun.”
However he said there was another reason for his attendance, and that it was linked to politics.
Kerry is an opponent of current US President Donald Trump’s policy against climate change and made his feelings clear on the subject.
“I am really pleased to be riding with Cannondale today because Cannondale is making a powerful statement about the environment, and the need to keep the earth’s temperature at the two degrees centigrade that we set in Paris,” he explained, referring to the Paris Accord signed in April 2016 and since abandoned by Trump.
“So I am very happy that there is a team that has put the environment on the agenda. And cycling is a sport that is environmentally respectful and friendly, so I think it is something that is very appropriate.”