What I love about the Tour are the images and stories it leaves behind, these more important to me than who beat whom for what. Images such as Valverde’s terrible crash in Dusseldorf that destroyed Movistar’s Tour in the first five-minutes; France’s collective meltdown as young Lilian Calmejane was struck with cramps five kilometers from the finish, recovering just in time to win; the rise and fall of the electric sprinter Arnaud Démare, whose FDJ team went from the Green Jersey to three lonely finishers; the sheer excitement provided by Warren Barguil and his teammate Michael Matthews; Bardet’s dramatic collapse in Marseille; on and on the stories go, there’s one in there for everyone.
The image that’s stood out the most was one-man-army Michal Kwiatkowski’s final pull on the Izoard. It’s sometime difficult for a viewer to understand the efforts the riders are putting in as they roll along. But when Kwiatkowski, deep into insanity-level pain, threw his glasses into the crowd in an expensive move that stunned our properly frugal English TV hosts, you could finally see his contorted face with eyes squeezed shut from the efforts. It was there that you truly saw what this was all about. When the Pole pulled over, stopped and put foot to ground, it only reinforced the image of what it takes to win a Tour de France.
Thank you for following along while I shared my views on the Tour and how to follow it. The Tour represents the last great romantic sport and its racers the final “adventurers”, a merry band of rogues who embark on a new voyage every day for three weeks in July.
I’m going to keep writing, next on my agenda is an examination of American cycling and what needs to be done about it.