René Vietto and the Missing Toe

Max Leonard
20 min readJan 6, 2016

Originally published at

October 1988. A crowd of 500 people waits on the 1,002m Col de Braus as Jean Vietto, only son of one of the best grimpeurs of all time, rides a yellow René Vietto-branded bike to the top. This remote col outside Nice was where René sealed his first ever victory and it was his wish that his ashes be scattered up here. Jean arrives and takes his bidon from the cage on his

Max Leonard

Writer. Lapsed hedonist, failed ascetic. Books: Higher Calling. Bunker Research. Lanterne Rouge.