Jonathan "Jacques" or "Jock" Boyer (born October 8, 1955, in Moab, Utah) is a former professional cyclist who, in 1981, became the first American to participate in the Tour de France. Boyer grew up in Monterey, California and was a member of the Velo Club Monterey there.
Boyer raced as an amateur in Europe from 1973, after joining the ACBB club in the Parisian suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. The club frequently provided riders for the Peugeot professional team, which had had English-speaking riders since the Briton, Tom Simpson, led it in the 1960s. Boyer, however, turned professional in 1977 for the smaller Lejeune-BP team, sponsored by a Parisian cycle company and an international oil giant. He first competed in the Tour in 1981, when the organiser, Félix Lévitan, encouraged him to wear not his team jersey but a Stars and Stripes design which suggested that he was the American national champion. Many have said that Lévitan, who looked after the financial aspects of the race while his colleague Jacques Goddet managed the sporting side, saw Boyer as a way to attract further American interest and money.
Boyer rode the Tour de France five times and finished 12th in 1983 (French Jean de Gribaldy Sem team with Sean Kelly). He was unusual in refusing to eat meat and became well known for the large quantities of nuts and fruit that he brought to the race. The French team manager, Cyrille Guimard, described Boyer as "un marginal", a description hard to translate but which suggests an outsider, almost a hippie.
The British journalist Dennis Donovan, working for the London magazine Cycling remarked on Boyer's intense religious beliefs. In the 1981 Tour, he said, English-speaking journalists felt sorry for him as a colleague in a French-speaking world and offered him a collection of girlie magazines. Boyer, said Donovan, declined politely and said he preferred to read his Bible.
Boyer also competed in and won the 1980 Coors Classic in the USA, and the 1985 Race Across America completing the 3,120 miles in nine days, two hours, and six minutes. His career included 87 amateur victories and 49 professional ones.
Boyer was inducted into the United States Cycling Hall of Fame in 1998.
In November, 2002, Boyer was convicted of lewd behavior with a minor. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail and 5 years probation. In January, 2006, after successful completion of his probation conditions, his probation officer recommended that Boyer be released from probation.
In 2006, Boyer participated in the Race Across America again, this time in the new "Solo Enduro" category which requires all participants to use 40 hours of rest (stopping) during the race at official stations along the course. Early in the race Boyer showed he was using a different strategy from other favorites. While the two ahead of him were using minimal rests (30 minutes and 2½ hours after the first 36 hours of racing), Boyer had already used 5½ hour of off-bike time. In the end, all Enduro contenders used their required 40 hours' off-bike time well before the finish, where Boyer prevailed in the Enduro division.
Since 2007 Boyer has lived much of the year in Rwanda where, along with Kimberly Coats, his wife, he runs Team Rwanda, a cycling team for Rwandan cyclists, and assists with Project Rwanda, a relief agency focused on providing bicycles and other aid to people in Rwanda. For three months in mid 2010, former Team BMC Racing professional and 2008 AMGEN Tour of California King of the Mountains winner Scott Nydam and multiple national U.S. cyclo-cross champion Clark Natwick assisted Boyer with training, logistics and testing of the Rwandan team. Adrien Niyonshuti has earned a spot in the 2012 London Summer Olympics cross-country mountain bike race for Rwanda.
In 2014, Team Rwanda moved to a new complex only a few kilometers from the Gorilla Park Headquarters in Kinigi, Rwanda. The center is call Africa Rising Cycling Center. The program has expanded to include BMX, Junior Road and MTB, Elite MTB and Women Road and MTB.
In 2009 Boyer completed a motorcycle journey from South Africa to Rwanda on a BMW motorcycle.
- 1977 to 1978: Lejeune-BP
- 1979: GRAB-ON
- 1980: Puch-Sem
- 1981: RENAULT-ELF
- 1981: YOPLAIT
- 1982, 1983: SEM-FRANCE LE LOIRE
- 1984: SKIL-REYDEL
- 1985, 1986, 1987: 7-Eleven Cycling Team
- 1977 3rd, Chateauroux and Auzances.
- 1979 2nd, Coors Classic.
- 1980 1st, Coors Classic.
- 1980 5th, World Professional Road Championships
- 1982 2nd, Druivenkoers-Overijse (Race of the Grape) and Prix d'Haaltert.
- 1984 1st, 6th stage of the Tour de Suisse.
- 1985 1st, the Race Across America (RAAM), Solo
- 2006 1st, the Race Across America (RAAM), Enduro Solo
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2009)|
- [dead link]
- Climbers by Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker, July 11, 2011
- Friedman, Steve. "The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer". Bicycling (Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale).
- Team Rwanda Web page
- Documentary Film: Rising From Ashes
- Sydney Morning Herald, June 8, 2014 Article: by Phillipa Hawker "Rising From Ashes documents Jock Boyer's uphill cycling battle in Rwanda"
- The New Yorker, July 11, 2011 Article: "Climbers" by Philip Gourevitch,
- Jonathan Boyer Claims Inaugural Solo Enduro RAAM
- Torelli's History of the Tour de France: the 1980s
- Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda's Cycling Team