Le Tour de France

Let’s be honest, it’s one of the most well know and anticipated professional cycling events on the calendar. It’s such a well known and epic race that even people who aren’t into cycling know about it, or at least know of it. It doesn’t matter which team or rider you support, it’s a fantastic race with an unbelievable atmosphere.

As I’m sure a lot of people are aware, the Tour De France has just finished. I love watching the Tour and seeing how the pros do it. They make it look so easy and with the speeds they get up to and distances they cover, it’s hard not to be slightly impressed.

More impressive is their determination to carry on. Over the years I’ve seen some pretty big crashes. The first one I ever saw was during 2011 when a support car tried to overtake a small group of riders on a narrow country road and swerved to miss a tree. It knocked three of the riders off their bikes, one into a barbed wire fence. What was amazing was what happened next. The rider entangled in the fence, got up, picked up his bike and carried on.

A similar thing happened this year on stage 16 where Philippe Gilbert locked up descending around a left-hand turn and a flipped over a low wall into a ravine. Now, I don’t know about you but I’d have probably asked for a lift back after that. Being a pro though, he managed to climb back up to the road and continue on for another 60 km. It later transpired that he’d broken his kneecap. Good effort.

I’d love to see a footballer, who we seem to idolise, carry on after such an accident. Granted, I realise that falling into a ravine is slightly tricky during a football match but they seem to fall to the ground if a gust of wind is too strong.

Of course, this isn’t the main reason for watching the tour. Although it does make it interesting. Among other aspects of the Tour, the other bit I really enjoy is the sprints towards the end of a stage. Where the win can be taken by millimetres. There are a fair few famous sprinters out there, but the one that always springs to mind first is Peter Segan. When it comes to sprinting he’s usually somewhere at the front and not many people can touch him. Probably why he’s world champion.

As I said before, it doesn’t matter which team you support but as a Brits, I have to say I tend to support Team Sky and this year they’ve done it again. Not Froome though, this year it’s Geraint Thomas! He’s been in such fantastic form over the last three weeks and he deserves the win. Congrats!

I was lucky enough in 2014, when the Tour started in Leeds, to be able to go and wait on the start line. We must have waited for a good 3 hours for the Tour to start and when it did, we probably saw all of about 30 seconds of cyclists and support vehicles. Sounds silly when you put it like that, but it was such a brilliant experience and the atmosphere was immense.

If you ever get the chance to go and watch a professional cycling race I would highly recommend it.

Until next time.

Jack

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