I had fun the last 3 weeks watching the Tour, getting up at 6 or 7am for the last half of it and watching it with my morning coffee before the rest of the house woke up.
Tadej Pogacar had the race won in the first week after all his rivals, including Primož Roglič who I expected to win, crashed out early and he maintained a 5-minute lead the rest of the race. It’s his second Tour and his second win, which is very impressive for a 22 year old. Jonas Vingegaard, a 21 year old, finished second which might mean he’s the next cycling star. Carapaz finished 3rd. Sepp Kuss, an American, won a stage for the first American stage win in 10 years.
My favorite story of the race was Mark Cavendish who returned to the Tour unexpectedly after not racing it for 3 years. At 36, he wasn’t expected to do much, but after a couple of his sprint rivals also crashed out early, he ended up winning 4 sprint stages tying Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins that has stood for almost 50 years. Disappointedly, Cavendish did not win the final stage in Paris which would have given him the record-breaking 35 wins. I expect that it’ll be a long long time before the 34 stage wins record is broken as no one else is close to that.
I’ve been watching the Tour de France since 1995 or maybe 1996. That means I’ve been watching it every summer for at least half my life. Yet, I still feel like it’s new to me.
Tadej Pogacar won the yellow jersey yesterday in the time trial, something I’ve never seen. He also won the King of the Mountains jersey yesterday making him the youngest rider to ever win that. And he already had the white jersey. So he won three of the four jerseys, which has never happened. And at 21, he’s the youngest winner since 1904 to win. He is also the first Slovenian to win and his fellow Slovenian, Primoz Roglic, who I expected to win, took second place.
Last year’s winner, Egan Bernal, abandoned the race after a few days of poor performance. After 103 years, he’s only the fourth person to abandon the year after winning (one guy did it twice!). And Peter Sagan didn’t win the green jersey for the first time in eight years, in fact he was out-sprinted in every sprint he contested!
I’m looking forward to next year’s and I hope it is in July.
It was one of the most exciting first weeks of a Tour, but once Froome and Contador crashed out and abandoned, the winner was all but set and it became a race for 2nd place. And Americans Talansky and (Tacoma, WA native) Van Garderen had tough races, although finishing 5th is still good. But I’m sad to see it over nevertheless.
Nibali was a great winner, attacking even with a commanding lead already. It was an impressive victory and Nibali is one of only 6 people to win all 3 Grand Tours. Hard to believe his coach wrote him a letter this year telling him he’s disappointed.