The founder of what was once North America’s biggest stage race is mired in legal battles probing his role in attempting to overthrow the US Government, according to multiple outlets.
The Florida retiree – Donald John Trump (77), co-founder of the Tour de Trump bicycle race – has been charged in four separate criminal cases in the last four and a half months.
- a New York case investigating the misuse of funds to make hush money payments to a pornographic actor that Trump (who is married to Melania Trump, a compatriot of Tadej Pogačar) allegedly had an affair with
- a federal case alleging that the bike race founder retained highly sensitive classified documents after the completion of his most recent employment
- another federal case in which it is alleged that Trump attempted to disrupt the certification of the 2020 US Federal election, leading to a violent insurrection on January 6, 2021
- and, most recently, a case in the state of Georgia probing Trump’s alleged efforts to interfere in election results in that state.
In total, Trump faces 91 criminal charges across the four cases. These are distinct to a separate civil case which found that he had sexually abused and defamed the American journalist E. Jean Carroll, with the payment of $5 million in damages. Trump is also the sole founder of a major bike race to have twice been impeached.
These numerous legal battles are a far cry from Trump’s most famous incarnation as the founding partner of the Tour de Trump, a major US race that ran in 1989 and 1990 before rebranding as the Tour DuPont. Running over 10 stages along the eastern seaboard of the United States – Trump was at the time based in New York – the race attracted a stellar lineup including America’s sole Tour de France champion, Greg Lemond. The inaugural edition of the race was won by Dag Otto Lauritzen, now a cycling pundit who is perhaps best known for getting a cake smashed in his face by Alexander Kristoff that one time.
Trump viewed the race bearing his name as a potential rival to the biggest races on the calendar, saying that “with a little maturity, with a little time, with a little effort and with NBC’s help, we’ll make this the equivalent of the Tour de France.”
This aspiration was never realised. After a sometimes controversial first edition – which included protests, the inclusion of a team sponsored by a Dutch brothel, and an attempt to sue the organisers of a pre-existing race called the Tour de Rump for having a name that was similar – Trump boasted that the race had been “received almost beautifully”. He exited sponsorship of the race the following year due to financial difficulties, hinting that all might not have been well in Trump’s burgeoning business empire.
In a direct inversion of the popular saying ‘cycling is the new golf’, Trump went on to open a number of golf courses, one of which tastefully features the gravesite of a former wife of his. He also made forays into reality television and had a minor role alongside Macauley Culkin in the 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Trump’s growing interest in public life led to a foray into politics, culminating in his surprise victory in the US presidential campaign. After one term of quietly dignified service, Trump lost the 2020 election – despite protestations otherwise – to avid recreational bicyclist Joe Biden. This led to some disquiet among his supporter base that resulted in several of the charges that are currently being faced by Trump, and risk tarnishing the legacy of the celebrated, but failed, bike race that had been his masterpiece some decades earlier. Looking forward, it seems unlikely that Trump will have the energy or inclination to make a return to the cycling event space.
The UCI – which oversaw the Tour de Trump’s evolution into the Tour DuPont, before upgrading it to 2.1 stage race status in its final iteration – was not contacted for comment on this story.
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