Photo credit: A.S.O./ P.Ballet

Le coq sportif and the Tour de France joined forces for a public auction held at Hôtel Drouot in Paris on Saturday 14 January. Several objects related to the iconic bicycle race went under the hammer, raising €7650 for QHUBEKA, an organisation that fights to improve the lot of South African schoolchildren. This sum will pay for 51 bicycles, making it easier for students to get to school.

The 106th edition of the Grande Boucle marked the 100th anniversary of the famous yellow jersey. To celebrate this momentous occasion, le coq sportif —the long-time supplier of the overall leader’s jersey— and the Tour de France dreamed up an exclusive garment for each stage on the 2019 route. After being autographed by the overall leader at the end of each stage, these 20 unique items were put up for auction by the French brand and the Tour de France to raise funds for the charity QHUBEKA.

Another two lots were added to the project:

– 4 bicycles representing the distinctive jerseys of the Tour de France. These bicycles, which were manufactured by QHUBEKA in South Africa based on the design of the bicycles handed out to schoolchildren, were signed by the winners of the various categories —individual, points, mountain and youth classifications— at the end of the 2019 edition. They were also on display at the Grand Départ of the 2019 Tour de France in Brussels.

– A Tour de France x Le Tanneur bicycle. This work of art by Jeremy Kastelani, a master leather craftsman at Le Tanneur, is encased in full-grain leather (the finest form of leather) tanned solar yellow to represent the Grande Boucle. It is a gift that embodies the friendship between Le Tanneur and the Tour de France.

The non-profit Qhubeka (whose name means “to move forward”) was established in 2005 and has spent the last fourteen years changing the lives of locals in South Africa by giving them bicycles for the primary purpose of increasing their freedom. More specifically, these bicycles are for schoolchildren. 12 million of the 16 million schoolchildren in South Africa walk to school. 500,000 of them sometimes walk more than four hours for want of a better alternative. The bicycles are manufactured by locals in South Africa.

QHUBEKA and the Tour de France
The Tour de France has partnered with QHUBEKA since 2018 in line with its drive to promote cycling everywhere and for everyone. As part of its “Riding into the Future” initiative, the Grande Boucle stands behind QHUBEKA and will buy the charity 176 bicycles (one for each rider on the start line of this year’s Tour). The funds raised at this auction will pay for an extra 51.

Anthony Fitzhenry, founder of QHUBEKA, said, “We appreciate the support of A.S.O. – an organisation that shares our belief that bicycles change lives. They have previously committed to funding a peloton of bicycles, and we are excited to be growing our relationship through events like this one. Thank you for the ongoing support of Qhubeka from A.S.O. and the generosity of le coq sportif and Le Tanneur.”