Tour de France by Kraftwerk
The symbiosis of techno and road-cycling may never be fully understood, but there are some obvious common themes – both require endurance, focus, a love of repetition, and an almost fetishistic reverence of the machinery that leads you to a transcendental plateau.
Released in 1984 by electronic super-group Kraftwerk, the song used state-of-the-art digital sound samplers to record vocal panting and chain noises. Anyone who’s exerted themselves on the bike can instantly identify the quintessential sound of the cycle ride. It doesn’t get more iconic that this.
Bicycle Song by Queen
The most iconic song on this list, Freddie Mercury’s love song to the bicycle and everything it represents – freedom, rebellion, and therapy. In a true rock’n’roll fashion, Freddie tells his audience he likes to ride his bike where he likes.
Inspired by Le Tour de France, the video infamously features some of the sexiest machinery any cycle fan could lay eyes on – Campagnola groupsets, Gitane steel framed and lug-welded frames. Beautiful. That is why Škoda is using this song to evoke all the joys of cycling in the video below.
Walking Indurain by Fred Poulet
Miguel Indurain won five Tour de France Yellow Jerseys in a row between ’91 and ’95, so arguably he earned a song in his honour. However, the song is as much a meditation on the pleasures of watching Le Tour as it is of Indurain himself.
Poulet stated that he actually watched Le Tour for the strange and crazy things that happen along the route, saying he preferred the parts like, “a stage in the Ardennes, slightly hilly, with a horse that runs next to the peloton for a while – it suits me”. The lyrics are minimal and you can hear the humour as Poulet mimics a TV commentator.
Le Champion Espagnol by Jean-Louis Murat
Not one to follow convention, Jean-Louis Murat penned what can only be described as a deeply spiritual song about the Toledo Eagle, Federico Bahamontes, winner of the 1959 Tour de France. Bahamontes also won the mountain classification six times and is widely regarded as one of the sports great climbers.
The lyrics to Murat’s 2011 opus are a tone poem of competitive life on Le Tour as well as a sympathetic portrait of one of cycling’s most popular characters – the Toledo Eagle is described as having kind eyes, of being tenacious, and of throwing everything into the beautiful madness that is Le Tour.
Vive Poulidor by André Verchuren
You’ll want to turn this one up loud – if this doesn’t get the blood pumping in anticipation of Le Tour 2017 I don’t know what will. The music instantly takes you back to Poupou’s heyday of the 60s’ and early 70s’, when French riders were very much in contention.
Poulidor’s career coincided with another French great – Anquetil, but this song is testament to Poupou’s enduring popularity with race fans who were happy to see him wear the Yellow Jersey in 14 Tours, including his final Tour de France when, at the age of 40, he finished in 3rd place.