Falkirk’s Gary joins Tour legend on his Sunday bike trip

Picture taken by Lance Armstrong
Picture taken by Lance Armstrong

When seven-time Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong said he fancied going for a Sunday ride, one Falkirk-based cyclist was quick to get on his bike.

Gary Hand, a member of professional bike team Endura Racing, was tipped off about the last-minute cycle in Dornoch after Lance announced it on Twitter.

But the 29-year-old didn’t expect to have his picture taken with the inspirational athlete from Texas and have a one-to-one chat with the cycling legend.

Gary said: “When we got there, there was a happy, relaxed atmosphere. Lance was right at the front of the group when all the cyclists rolled out.

“Then, after about five miles, there was a bit of a climb, so I sneaked my way up to the front,

“Just at that time, we got on a single-track road, so there was only room for two cyclists.

‘‘I was right next to him and was with him for about seven miles.

“It was amazing. Even just to shake his hand would have been great, but to get all that time talking to him and get a picture taken was one of the best moments of my life, not just my cycling career.”

Hundreds of fans flocked to Dornoch last month to take part in Lance’s 30-mile loop ride.

Gary said: “I saw it on Twitter and decided that, come hail, sleet or snow, I would be there.

“I had been in Dunoon so it took me hours to get there. But it was worth it. It’s something I’ll remember forever.

“He’s a great guy and really laid back. He took the picture of us, and he didn’t stop until we got a good picture.

“It was fantastic.”