Fergus, Haute Route speaker: “I love making people smile!”
Where passion (s)peaks: Fergus Grant has crossed paths with nearly all the participants while serving in various roles over the years. As the speaker in 2024, he shares why Haute Route holds such significance for him and why he’s already looking forward to being in Pau on June 30th.
A quick phone call at the end of October was all it took to introduce the project, and with a resounding “yes,” Fergus happily agreed to be part of the adventure with the new Haute Route organizational team. Fergus’s involvement with the event began in 2013 when a friend asked him to take on the role of Lanterne Rouge: “I had prepared myself physically, and I loved the role! On the final pass with the last riders, meeting the 500 riders coming down and applauding you, it’s fantastic.” Not afraid at the time of the famous Triple Crown (three weeks in a row with the Pyrenees, Alps, and Dolomites), it was during these summers in the gruppetto that Fergus’s love affair with the Haute Route grew.
Fergus, who was born in Manchester, England, has lived in France since 1993 and credits the surrounding mountains for inspiring him to take up cycling: “I reside in La Tania in Courchevel. To be honest, you become bored after fifteen years of skiing, even in the Three Valleys. Madeleine, Col de la Loze, but never on a bike… I always have so much fun on these passes, and I love sharing it with other riders. Fergus has stepped into a new role that’s perfect for him since Haute Route 2017 and an unplanned attempt at filling in as the announcer. He is now the one wearing the microphone from dawn to dusk instead of the red jersey.
“At Haute Route, the announcer plays a crucial role. The riders are nervous and enthusiastic in the morning, so I do all in my power to reassure or encourage them, but most of all, I try to make them smile. If, after all day’s work, I can bring a grin to the cyclists’ faces at the finish line, I’ve won! By supporting and showcasing the courageous riders, I hope to add some festiveness to the marathon.”
When asked what his favorite story from Haute Route was, Fergus instantly recalled one that had stayed with him for years: “I don’t know why; people always say that I got pushed by a cow, but I wasn’t! It was, in reality, a horse, a wild pony known as a Pottok in the Pyrenees. The pony appeared to have been afraid at one time and crossed the road since there must have been a motorcycle behind us. I took off from the pony! Thankfully, I was unharmed when I landed on the grass.”
What does Fergus think about the 2024 season? “A new team is in charge of this chapter, and I have faith in them for the future. I’m thrilled to be taking part since Haute Route still offers cyclists from all over the world a wide range of feelings and challenges. This experience has altered my life. Now that I work as a full-time sports announcer, I am aware of how unique Haute Route is to each rider, individually.
We can’t wait to see you this summer, Fergus!
The Haute Route Team