«The Devil» No 1 fan of the Tour de France

«The Devil» No 1 fan of the Tour de France
«The Devil» No 1 fan of the Tour de France

Dieter Senft (71) is probably the best-known supporter of the Tour de France. For thirty-one years, the German has spent three weeks a year on the side of the roads of the Grande Boucle with his black cape, his trident and his horned hat, gesticulating when the cyclists pass in front of him. “I like to be noticed, it makes me happy,” he explained to us last week a few kilometers from the summit of the Col du Galibier, where he had parked his Volkswagen bus and waited for almost twenty-four hours for the cyclists to arrive. “For a month, I live, sleep and eat in my vehicle.”

Before becoming “El Diablo”, Didi Senft was always passionate about cycling. In his native East Germany, he took part in a few races before turning to a career as an artist. He built more than 200 bicycles, including the largest in the world, and broke 17 records mentioned in the Guinness Book. Some of his creations are now exhibited at the Bicycle Museum in Chippis (VS).

But he has another goal: to attend a stage of the Tour de France in person. A project that took shape in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. “But I waited until 1993 to have my first experience.” Once the budget for the operation was raised, he arrived on the Tour with his wife, a tandem and his devil costume. Since then, if we ignore the 2012 edition, when he was unable to travel for medical reasons, he has been yelling daily at the side of the road, without his wife who is now waiting for him at home, and posing with thousands of admirers.

Yesterday, Didi Senft was of course there, alongside the peloton, on the 187 kilometers which separate Orléans from Saint-Amand-Montrond.

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