#bikeschool: The Grand Bouclé has been Boucléd

Wow! What a month it has been in the world of professional bike racing. In an attempt to keep those post-Tour blues at bay for one more day I thought I’d share the last set of photos and videos from my time at this years Tour…. all the way back in the first week of July, and also some thoughts and feelings about how this years Tour has been played out.

 

If Carlsberg made Tours…

The 2011 edition of the Tour de France has already been called the greatest of all time by commentators, journalists and fans alike due to the awesome sporting spectacle that was displayed. I’m not sure I agree it was the greatest ever… as much as I do not particularly like the man, Lance Armstrong gave us some stunning sporting moments during his reign, most of which are hard to succumb. That aside, it was a beautifully hard way to spend a July and even before a pedal was turned I knew this years Tour was going to be special for me. As well as my impending Tour holiday (which I will stop going on about at some point this year… probably), as June drew to a close I found myself in the privileged position of dishing out help and advice to Tour virgins who were determined to get involved and enjoy what can for some, be a long and uninteresting sporting occasion. I’d need a third hand if I was to try and count the amount of times this month I’ve had to try to explain to people why Mark Cavendish can’t, won’t and doesn’t want to win the Yellow Jersey but they were almost all to people who had very little interest in the Tour. What I was really interested to do (and think I at least partially achieved) was to give those lovers of cycling who do not normally watch professional road racing a head start to enable them to enjoy the Tour. I’ve had personal messages from many people who found my previous posts (here, here and here) helpful and I really appreciated them. I have to remember sometimes that not everyone who loves bikes, loves bike racing but I know I’ve helped a handful of people access and understand, what I believe is one of the most beautiful sporting spectacles in the universe.

There were some fantastic moments in this years Tour which were created by a few key moments:

The new points system for the intermediate sprints and the end of the stages really mixed it up and made the Green Jersey more of a fight which needed to be defended at all times. Commonly known as the ‘sprinters’ jersey due to the amount of points available at the finish lines, this year it was great to see the teams backing the biggest sprinters actually having to do some work during the day to chase back breaks and lead-out for the intermediates. It is a great new system which Christian Prudhomme stated was designed, in part, to ensure a superb sprinter such as Mark Cavendish didn’t finish his career without winning the points classification.

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