Luxembourg minister embarks on French bike tour

"I'm a little worried about the storms forecast for tomorrow, but otherwise it should be OK," said Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn (pictured September 2018) before setting off on his solo bicycle trip (AFP Photo/Aris Oikonomou)
"I'm a little worried about the storms forecast for tomorrow, but otherwise it should be OK," said Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn (pictured September 2018) before setting off on his solo bicycle trip (AFP Photo/Aris Oikonomou)

Luxembourg (AFP) - As cycling fans followed the Tour de France's progress through the Alps on Friday, Luxembourg's septuagenarian foreign minister pedalled off in the opposite direction on his latest solo jaunt.

Despite having been in intensive care as a result of a fall as recently as June, and record high temperatures in western Europe, Jean Asselborn left the Grand Duchy bound for Provence's iconic Mont Ventoux.

"I'm a little worried about the storms forecast for tomorrow, but otherwise it should be be OK," the veteran diplomat texted cheerfully to AFP from the route.

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On his Facebook page, however, Asselborn's enthusiasm was a little more nuanced, and he admitted that the route chosen for his fifth annual tour is ambitious and will be a test for his powers of recovery.

"We'll see in the next few days whether the risk can be managed," he wrote. In June, he spent several days in hospital -- admittedly while taking a meeting with UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi -- after a fall.

Before Mont Ventoux, the scene of epic uphill battles in the professional race, Asselborn's Tour De France will take him through Champagne country, up the Massif Central and south to the Vaucluse and le Gard.

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