ŠKODA ENYAQ <span>i</span>V conquered the iconic climb of the Tour de France

ŠKODA ENYAQ iV conquered the iconic climb of the Tour de France

ENYAQ iV

What better way to test the brand-new all-electric SUV ŠKODA ENYAQ iV on the Tour de France than by climbing Col du Galibier, one of the highest climbs in this race? Embark on the journey with Cameron Jeffers, a popular cycling influencer.

18. 9. 2020

The eighth highest place in France that can be reached by an asphalt road, 2,642 metres above sea level. This is one of the highest ever points of the Tour de France. The silence is not even broken by a car climbing up the twisting road, following a toiling cyclist. The heart of every Tour lover can now be heard, even more so than the couple who are getting nearer every second. The car is the brand-new ŠKODA ENYAQ iV, serving Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France. Since the car is powered exclusively by an electric motor, it moves in perfect harmony with the surrounding wilderness: riding smoothly and quietly, accompanied only by the sound of tyres and the whistling wind.

The list of cyclists to first climb one of the highest passes in the French Alps includes Nairo Quintana, Primoz Roglic, Andy Schleck, Eddy Merckx and Marco Pantani. But the roaring of fans is now replaced with silence. Mont Blanc looms on the horizon, a bird of prey is circling high in the sky, the sun shines brightly, with an almost beach-like intensity, and the late summer afternoon is refreshed by a cool breeze.

“Hi, I'm Cam,” the 23-year-old Northern Irishman who has just dismounted from his bike says. Cameron is a professional athlete and internet influencer whose YouTube channel has over one hundred thousand followers. “This is my first time here, this place is perfect. The views around are simply breath-taking - just like the air which, at this altitude, lacks the usual amount of oxygen,” he says, adding that just a few passages were enough for him to understand how difficult this is for the cyclists when a Tour de France stage takes them here. Not only do they have to cycle a huge number of kilometres, but they also have to get ready for really arduous climbs.

You can’t miss the Tour director’s car red paint.

While the traditional ŠKODA SUPERB iV plays the main role in most stages, this year it was replaced with a new car on certain days: the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV in velvet red metallic. It differs from the future mass-produced electric cars from Mladá Boleslav has several modifications: above the rear seats, there is a sunroof from which Director Christian Prudhomme starts the race. There is a five-channel radio inside for excellent connection with other Tour stakeholders, especially with his commissioners and other escort vehicles. Signal transmission is provided by six antennas protruding from the roof and the rear of the car. Between the rear seats, there is the famous refrigerator for cooling Champagne which the race manager serves to his guests.

The red paint of the Tour lead car cannot be overlooked, and it is no wonder that the ENYAQ iV attracts attention wherever it goes. People stop, take pictures and ask about various details. It is obvious that the Tour de France is deep in the minds of the French and most people recognize the race logo at a glance.

ŠKODA ENYAQ iV in velvet red metallic paint accompanying Cameron Jeffers at Col du Galibier.

The ENYAQ iV has impressed me with its lightness and silence. Although it is slightly larger than the SUPERB, its handling is extremely easy,” Cameron says about it; of course, he enjoyed a test drive in the car, premièred a few weeks before. “The impression has been underpinned with its spacious interior and aesthetic, cultivated user interface. All commands and instructions can be easily entered by simply touching the screen,” Cameron notes.

Cameron Jeffers (23)

Hails from Ballinderry, Northern Ireland, currently lives in Wigan, between Manchester and Liverpool. This Saint Piran rider has gained popularity with his bold cycling projects which he presents on his YouTube channel. In the past, he documented his trips when he bought the cheapest ticket to a European destination and cycled back home, or when he passed through three different countries in one day. He cooperates with the WeLoveCycling platform, operated by ŠKODA AUTO.

Without exaggeration, the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV is a fascinating record of the evolution that electric vehicles have undergone. In the morning, before the filming, the indicated range was 510 km. After a full day of riding up and down the winding road, it had only dropped to 430 km. Its energy recovery is magical. Thanks to frequent braking, the battery recharged over each descending section.

Cameron Jeffers and ENYAQ iV created a well-coordinated duo during the shoot and ride.

During the shoot, Cameron Jeffers had to cycle over a peak several times. “It would certainly have been more comfortable in a car,” he laughs and admits that when the ENYAQ iV goes on sale, he will consider buying one. “Despite the advanced technologies and excellent properties, it should be available at an affordable price. I'm excited about it because the ENYAQ iV is a car that must inspire everyone who is a fan of advancement and innovation. I think it might be the first electric car for the general public,” the young Briton says.

Col du Galibier and the memory of the first Tour Director

In the pass below the summit of the Col du Galibier, more precisely at the southern tunnel portal, there is a monument dedicated to Henri Desgrange, a cyclist, sports journalist, promoter and the first Director of the Tour de France. Every time the Tour visits the pass, a wreath is laid at the memorial. Since 1947 this has happened thirty-one times, but unfortunately, it is not planned this year. The cyclists were supposed to visit the pass in 1996 but the snow cover was so high that year that the organizers cancelled the 190 m long stage at the last moment and replaced it with a 46 km long sprint. In 2011, Tour riders climbed there twice to celebrate the centenary of the first-ever inclusion of the pass in the race itinerary. That year, one stage even ended there. That stage was won by Andy Schleck, after a phenomenal 60 km solo ride. To this day, it has been the highest finish in the history of the “Old Lady”.

profimedia-0017432212_bez-1The director of the Tour de France Henri Desgrange with Italian cyclist Amerigo Caccioni before the start of the stage Montpellier-Marseille on July 1932.

Related Stories Based on tags: 2020, ENYAQ iV, iV, Tour de France

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