Dramatic race on wheels

VENTOUX, the play that restages a dramatic Tour de France race between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani, will be enacted at the Salberg Studio at Salisbury Playhouse four times, from Thurs­day 27th to Saturday 29th April.

In 2000, two giants of cycling climbed Mont Ventoux in a battle to win stage 12 of the Tour de France. They were Lance Arm­s­trong, who went on to win the Tour and a further five in the years that followed before being stripped of his titles, and Marco Pantani, who never raced in the Tour again and died of an overdose four years later.

Performed with two road bikes, real race commentary and stunning film footage captured by 2Magpies Theatre as they cycled up Mont Ventoux, the company recreates the 60 minute conflict with all the benefit of hindsight, charting the parallels of the early careers of the two competitors, and the stark division in fortunes when the race was over.

Mont Ventoux is legendary in the as one of the most gruelling climbs in the Tour de France and has a grim history, from the death of English cyclist Tim Simpson 50 years ago to the spectacular crash  which left eventual winner Chris Froome jogging several hundred yards until he could get a replacement bike.

The artistic director of 2Magpies Theatre, Tom Barnes, says, “I really got into cycling in a big way in 2012 when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France. I began to look back through some of the greatest races and came across the 2000 Tour de France and Armstrong and Pantani. The way the story played out is so theatrical in itself that it seemed perfect for retelling on stage, from this new angle of hindsight.”

Alexander Gatehouse plays Arms­trong and Tom Barnes is Marco Pantani.

Ventoux  is  suitable for audiences  aged 12 and older For more information, telephone 01722 320333 or visit the website, www.salisburyplayhouse.com