The Tour de France is an obvious talking point this time of year and a reflection of the grand tour is always uber interesting. Each year it is an incredible event. Congratulations to the organizers for putting on a great show! Everyone has a perspective on the result, outcome and events of the month. Personally, I think the 2018 tour was an impressive spectacle of athletic challenge and might.
For me, without a doubt, the Arras/Roubaix stage, stage 9, was the most captivating. An epic battle on the most epic roads of Europe. Some would say that the mountain stages are the benchmark of a true tour and I respect that, in the past I’d agree, but this stage, to me, was one of those moments where you felt like you didn't have to know what or who was where, just turn on the coverage on and get into it. This was the iconic and most captivating 2018 TDF stage for me.
As for the politics, and regulation topics surrounding the race and the competitors this year, I feel that the 2018 tour was not just about Froome. My take on it was that he was a little forgotten in many respects. And although the team Sky power house still commands the victory, there was less of Froome’s affect taking over every legged word.
I have also found it interesting that the tour officials have recently released some possible ideas for the tour going forward. One of which I am TOTALLY into, NO RACE RADIOS! In my opinion, right there is the changing face of cycling. The elimination of race radios would mean that every rider would have to use brains, foresight, and tactics. Like the old days when you had guys trying to run to team cars and epic off the front breakaways, all done on the desire to be first across the line. Which reminds me, wasn’t John Degenkolb's TV victory interview so special! Tears, emotion and drama. It’s the raw emotion and authentic passion from moments like that, that make watching the TDF year after year, so incredibly special!
Now, as a bicycle shop owner, for me the TDF is an observation of the industry, the evolution of the sport and the ever-changing world of biking. Because we live in the southern hemisphere, having the TDF occur during our coldest months lends some inspiration to us to stay on the bike or just keep moving. It’s often the loan reason that many of us stay motivated to get out training or compete in local events, like the winter worlds. But now things like indoor trainers and programs like Zwift have taken “off season” cycling to an unimagined new level!
Zwift and online platforms are giving the busiest of people who were weekend warriors the ability to be weekday warriors too! Competitive cyclists can still compete in the winter months with interactive races! Indoor trainers certainly aren't what they used to be, nor is the actual training side of training the same as the old days! And it’s fair to say that the advancements of the stationary trainer have taken cycle training to a level we all haven't experienced before! It is not only helping people stay on their bikes when the weather is bad, or we are time poor, but these interactive tools and machines have allowed athletes to have more precise training measures allowing them to be stronger and faster than ever before!
Cycling is and always has been a sport of evolution and ingenuity. Change is the heartbeat of evolution and though many of us may question things outside of our familiarity, the bike industry has never been “standard” and it excites me to watch all these different directions that it moves. But whatever our motivation is, every turn of the pedal is helping our mental state, our waistlines and most, continuing our two wheeled culture. So, let the progression continue! Ride safe wherever you are, love bikes and love being out there.