Philip Whiteman wrote: ↑
27 Jul 2019 08:05
- The machine like dominance of the former Sky team et al, meaning nothing other than predictability.
Which of the events at this year's Tour did you successfully predict, Phil?
- Lead-out man Teunissen wearing yellow for two days?
- Alaphilippe's audacious attacking to take yellow?
- Alaphilippe winning the TT?
- Alaphilippe climbing with the best in the Pyrenees?
- Alaphilippe finally cracking in the Alps just when everyone had started to say maybe he can
- Pinot looking like the best climber in the race and then crumbling in tears?
- Caleb Ewan snatching three stages by opportunistic Cav-style last-second manoeuvres?
- De Gendt's 230-km solo, where he still had enough in the last 12km to hold off two of the best in the world going full gas to catch him?
- Kruiswijk finally making the podium in his thirties?
- Wout van Aert experiencing career-defining triumph and career-threatening disaster within days?
- Fuglsang arriving as podium contender only to hit the deck again and again, until he couldn't go on?
- Adam Yates being a flop?
- Simon Yates showing fantastic ability and tactical nous to win two stages?
- Quintana getting dropped by his own team, then blowing the race to pieces a couple of days later?
- The mudslides and hail?
- Thomas subordinating personal ambition to team loyalty?
- Etc, etc.
Like all pro sport, bike racing serves up plenty that's dull, and plenty to be cynical about. But this year's Tour was a great example of why most of us still watch anyway: when it's good, there's nothing that can match it for drama and excitement. Some of my most cherished memories involve driving for hours on end across France, camping at the roadside or booking in to in some back-of-beyond auberge, then setting out at dawn to join a gradually funnelling stream of fans cycling towards some enormous mountain, crawling up in searing heat, carrying bagettes, litres of water and sun protection, and joining a throng of people from every corner of the world at the summit, all there to support their own national heroes, but also to encourage every single rider (especially the strugglers and unsung stalwarts), and to celebrate the astonishing scope of human endeavour.