23 Days in July 2019 – Le Tour – Stage 8.

The Tour de France seems to have become for the French what Wimbledon is for the British – the best sporting event of its kind in the world but one the host country struggles to win. In fact the last French winner was Bernard Hinault in 1985. Despite wanting the British contingent of riders to top the general classification and/or win stages, there is part of me which does cheer on the French riders, particularly around Bastille Day on July 14th.

In the ITV Tour Podcast – I highly recommend it, especially since Peter Kavannah joined it, very informative and highly funny! – they aired an interview with Team Ineos boss Dave Brailsford. He talks about his association with the town of St. Etienne, where he moved at the beginning of his career as a cyclist. He details moving there without being able to speak the language and not even having a team/job. Then he finds his feet with the help of a guy working in a cafe on the corner down from his apartment. Cycling like most sport/things where people are passionate and knowledgable soon develop communities which help and support each other. Dave Brailsford might not have been able to speak French but he could ‘talk’ cycling. Go and find a community which ‘speaks’ your kind of creativity. Learn to communicate with them and see what happens. Dave Brailsford may not have made it as a cyclist but his team riders have won six out of the last seven Tours!

Stage Summary:

Exciting finish. Crash involving Team Ineos on the last climb bringing down Geraint Thomas and having to work their way back up to the lead part of the peloton. Alaphilippe and Pintot off the front to try and chase down De Gent, but also for Alaphilippe to gain back the Maillot Jaune ahead of Bastille day tomorrow. De Gent held on for the stage win which he deserved. Alaphilippe and Pinot took advantage of their positioning on the last climb, and possibly realising that Geraint Thomas was somehow off the front, maybe even knowing that he had gone down in a crash, and chased down de Ghent – not catching him but catching some much needed seconds and bonuses which left Alaphilippe back in the Maillot Jaune, just in time for Bastille Day.

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