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A Look Back
While it counts as just one of the three Grand Tours, the Tour de France is the road racing appointment of the summer. In terms of prestige, coverage, and fame garnered from good results, le Tour stands head and shoulders above the rest. Win a stage, have a day riding in a jersey, or even a day in the breakaway—these all constitute success. However, for a lucky few with the aptitude and team attitude, the real goal is winning the race—and retiring happy.
This pedigree translates into significant pressure on the riders and teams throughout the race’s 21 stages, with consequences that are often to the detriment of a rider. In short, there are moments when the race is lost rather than won. From the hectic sprints of the first week to key stages like the Team Time Trial, the iconic mini-Roubaix stage, through to the Alps and Pyrenees, the Tour is a race that is fraught with moments that can catch out the unlucky, or inexperienced, rider, giving the race the moniker by those who know it as “the cyclist destroyer.” Thrive, survive, or retire from the race due to bad luck—the race’s three weeks take us as cycling fans on an equally thrilling roller coaster circuit of France.
Some might argue that the race is too big or that the media interest is disproportionate to the challenge of the race’s parcours. Others argue that it’s too hard for the riders, forcing them to withdraw from the fans as a means of coping with the pressures of the race, when in other races the supporters get unparalleled access to their heroes.
Whatever you think about the issues (of which many have reared their heads in this edition), we’re sure that, like us, you were glued to the TV for your daily fix of drama. From over-enthusiastic fans, over-diligent French police officers, or even the race itself, here is a look back at the trials and challenges, success and distress, that our friends over at BMC Racing Team experienced during the Tour.
Call this your post-Tour cool-down, a gallery to ease you into life without the Yellow Jersey. Alternatively, you could see it as a warmup to the Vuelta, the third and final Grand Tour of the season. We’re already excited.
Vive le Tour, vive BMC Racing Team