Legendary Eleven Cities Tour winner Reinier Paping
The 1963 Eleven Cities Tour is still the most infamous of all fifteen tours that have ever been organised. It was hellishly cold and just 69 out of 10,000 competitors reached the finish. Reinier Paping was the winner, with Jan Uitham and Jeen van den Berg following behind him. He won two tickets for the Deventer skating rink and a silver cigarette box.
Reinier Paping had always been a good sportsman and had been trained as a gym teacher. He left Leeuwarden early in the morning and got away from the lead group. Eventually, after 10 hours and 59 minutes, he reached the finish 22 minutes ahead of the others.
A fair win
There was a small riot when video images showed that he had skated in the slipstream of local ‘front runners’ but the number 2 in the race said he had done it all by himself. Since that time the name of Reinier Paping will always be connected to this legendary ride, which covers 200 km of ice.