I’m still wallowing in post-Tour euphoria; and you thought it only applied to the riders. I’ll come crashing back to earth later this week when I start to miss my daily fix. Fortunately, help is at hand, as I’m heading to the Basque country this week end to watch a star-studded Clasica San Sebastian. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Firstly, I’d like to congratulate everyone who reached Paris: no mean feat. Secondly, a huge thanks to all the stage winners and the wearers of the various jerseys for making the last three weeks so entertaining, enthralling and absorbing. It’s much appreciated.
Now, let’s examine some of the firsts:
- Cadel Evans, first Tour de France winner from Australia
- Frank and Andy Schleck, first brothers on the podium
- Mark Cavendish, first Brit (and Manx man) to win the green jersey
- First time the Norwegians have taken 4 individual stages
I’m sure there were many more firsts but these were the ones which sprang to mind.
Not forgetting, of course, that there was plenty of cheer for the home nation:-
- Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler’s 4th place was the first since 2000 (Christophe Moreau) having spent 10 days in the maillot jaune
- Five Frenchmen (Voeckler, Peraud, Rolland, Coppel, Jeannesson) in the top 15 was the best result since 1991
- First best young rider classification (Pierre Rolland) since 1999
- First winner (Pierre Rolland) atop Alpe d’Huez since 1986 (Hinault)
- FDJ’s Jeremy Roy voted most combative rider
- Amael Moinard, the only Frenchman on the winner’s team (BMC)
The hopes and dreams of a number of notable riders were dashed largely due to crashes in the first week. Some struggled on to Paris, others departed the Tour in ambulances. A speedy recovery and return to two wheels to you all. Sadly, one of my favourite riders has decided to retire. It was on the cards and his fall in the Tour only accelerated matters. You’ll be sorely missed Alex but I’m sure you’ll lead your team to many more victories albeit from the team car.
Finally, congratulations to the winners of the various jerseys and classifications. I’m sure Dave Z was touched to see his full-sized cardboard cut out atop the podium as part of the winning team. I wonder, does Garmin Cervelo have one for each of the team?
It seems as if the entire world has proclaimed this the best Tour for the past 20 years. I can’t comment as I’ve only been addicted since 2004.