And then, away they went. The absence was present this morning. I missed waking up to Le Tour, though I must say I did NOT miss some of those commercials I’ve now seen more times than I care to count! Still, my favorite official teaser that could now use some fresh additional clips, for today gets a parting reblog.
I’m just glad the new Royal baby waited until the day after Le Tour was over to make his debut, so as not to divert British celebratory energies of course. Great Britain has much to celebrate this week– a second Tour win yesterday, a new heir to the throne today— what’s next? In any event, until 101– Vive Le Tour!
Category Archives: 2013 Tour de France
From a chaotic beginning to a first-time evening end, along with everything good, bad, high and low spanning three weeks time, the 100th Tour de France has reached its always much-celebrated final destination. With the major standings in place, one big question of course remained to be answered at the last moment of stage 21: Would the Missile get his beyond record-breaking fifth consecutive win on Le Champs-Elysees?
Peter has his green, Nairo has his white AND his polka dots, the U.S. got a top-ten overall win even without any stage victories, and as we knew for a while would be the grand result, Chris Froome keeps yellow as the winner of the Tour de France. On the other end, fun-themed Orica GreenEDGE— seeing all nine teammates to the finish– includes 36-year-old rookie Svein Tuft in last place overall– a distinction Phil Liggett quickly reminded us today that for the feat of completing this 3404-kilometer journey, carries no disgrace whatsoever.
As for Cavendish, certainly no disgrace for him either. It was close– very close— as his four consecutive Paris stage wins stand as a record not about to be broken, yet not to be added to today. He lost his would-be fifth by a bike length to none other than “new sheriff” Marcel Kittel.
Altogether, another spectacular French summer display of professional cycling prowess has now come and gone, all the more colorfully concluded with Paris’ well-planned Centennial year celebration. Personally, I’m happy to have been able to stay in the cycling spirit with my own rides on every day of this Tour. More than ever I look forward to my own miles to come in the saddle– as well as those of the awesome pros!
A 41-year-old Tour de France competitor leading a stage is quite a reassuring sight for those of us cyclists nearing that age! Jens Voigt— the oldest rider of this year’s Tour– shed the breakaway and set the pace for more than 30 miles heading into the finish of stage 20. This impressive moment not to be overlooked, youth ultimately prevailed however. The very steady and poker-faced Nairo Quintana finally earned himself not only a stage win in his first Tour, not just the polka dot jersey in addition to the white jersey he was already wearing, but perhaps the biggest accomplishment for the 23-year-old Columbian, a bump up to second place overall. Maybe now this newest rising star of cycling will relax and show us some more personality, perhaps after a lesson or two from the master show-off himself, Peter Sagan.
Speaking of the colorful Slovak, green remains his main one as it has throughout this Tour, aside from his Cannondale kit of course. The green jersey that became Sagan’s after stage 3 and stayed on his back ever since, is sure to be his for keeps in Paris tomorrow, again! This champion sprinter– also 23 by the way– has the right to show off!
Last year’s second is becoming this year’s first. In other words, yellow today did not change shoulders. And on that note, this Centennial Tour is set for its grand finale, as 170 surviving riders– far more than last year’s number– get set to pedal their last 83 miles in this 2,115-mile journey, ending on Le Champs-Elysees as usual, while unusually– at night! I can’t wait to see this, while for other obvious reasons surely the 170 can’t either!
France might just have done it again, as another victory du jour looked promising for a long stretch of the day with Pierre Rolland in the lead. As it happened though, Rui Costa stole his own encore performance— all alone to cross the finish line once more– in a water-logged stage 19 finish.
Le Tour seems always beset by interestingly timed natural challenges. Today it was torrential rain in the stage’s final miles, just enough to create a soaked and all-the-more dangerous last descent to the line. With no wet-road wipeouts fortunately, and the main breakaway group kept huddled together, the general classification remains mostly unchanged at the end of this penultimate day in the Alps. Just one more, Chris!
Not once, but twice it was on this most difficult day of Le Tour– an arduous climb up the famed Alpe d’Huez, followed by the obvious descent, and then to reach the finish of stage 18, encore! The much-anticipated second zigzagging ascent of the same mountain clearly put the D in difficulty.
Capping off unpredictability aplenty, this iconic Tour leg finally earned France its first stage victory of the year, following the near miss in Lyon. For a good stretch it looked like it might have been this Tour’s first American winning day with Tejay Van Garderen in the lead up that wall-hitting final climb. At just two kilometers to the line however, the result made itself clear, and a French win could not have come on a more celebrated day than this. Christophe Riblon is France’s well-deserved hero du jour.
What was I just saying earlier this week about spectators? Today’s extremely crowded finish has to exemplify cycling fans at their craziest, so much so that in sections without barricades, thousands of overly amped onlookers consume nearly the entire road! While this is not new of course, it leaves me pondering the detriment to riders such as Van Garderen in this case, who might have better maintained his line and his concentration if not for getting chased, slapped and screamed at in the face by such “spirited” fans. Their passion and energy notwithstanding, should not a bit more control in such crucial moments be imposed?
In any case, now second-place Contador still can’t catch the leader, even with Froome’s 20-second penalty today. Le maillot jaune remains on the same shoulders with a now more than five-minute gap and two remaining climbing days before the ride into Paris. As always, anything could happen yet– even France shouting “encore” for another stage victory!
The so-called “sunshine tour” came to an end today. After more than two weeks of dry weather throughout France, the rain arrived on stage 17, just in time to make the mountain time trial a bit more interesting.
As it happened, the Tour leader held off his main rival both today and overall, winning this second and final individual trial by a sizable nine seconds while increasing his yellow jersey lead by a significant 20 seconds. What was looking good for Froome is now looking even better!
Rarely does the peloton come to a standstill, but today it did so momentarily for a passing train!
In a single-man breakaway from the breakaway, Team Movistar’s Rui Costa scored a solo stage 16 win, 42 seconds ahead of his closest threats and more than 11 minutes ahead of the yellow jersey group. This does nothing however to change Chris Froome’s overall standing– his more than four-minute hold on le maillot jaune– despite apparently increasing efforts by his biggest rival, two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador. Even with the Alps to come, it’s obvious the leading riders are beginning to see Le Tour’s end.