In a moment almost too 80s to believe, Donald Trump once owned a bike race, which he intended as a competitor to the Tour de France, the most (and only) famous bicycle race in the world.
Naturally, the race was called the Tour de Trump, and in 1989 Trump himself sat down with Dick Enberg to explain how great the venture was and how successful it was bound to be.
Enberg asks Trump why he gave it that dumb name, and Trump responds that many of the bicyclists entered the race specifically because of the name. Enberg lets that go without explanation, setting up Trump to predict where the Tour de Trump would be in 10 years.
I think that with a little time, a little maturity, a little effort and, with NBC’s help, we’ll make this the equivalent of the Tour de France.
This whole thing was not Trump’s idea. It was Billy Packer’s. Yeah, the old college basketball analyst. Packer had gotten fixated on the idea of an American rival to the Tour de France, and wound up asking for (and receiving) $750,000 from Trump to get it going.
Packer even thought of the name.
So Packer tried again. Just before the meeting with Trump, Packer remembered this afternoon, he told an associate, ”If he asks me, ‘What’s the name?’ I’ll say, ‘Tour de Trump.’ ”
It was a name too tacky even for Donald Trump … at first.
”When it was initially stated, I practically fell out of my seat,” Trump remembered as he sat in his office. ”I said, ‘Are you kidding? I will get killed in the media if I use that name. You absolutely have to be kidding.”
According to the New York Times, Trump thought that for all of 20 seconds before decided to go with it. The first Tour de Trump attracted a strong field that included Greg LeMond, who was at the time the only American to win the Tour de France.
Trump started having money problems about that time, and only sponsored the Tour de Trump for one more year. The race then changed its name to the Tour DuPont, because it was sponsored by DuPont, and was last staged in 1996. Lance Armstrong is a two-time winner.