You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better day of cycling than what the Tour gifted us yesterday. It was cruel, dramatic, heartbreaking and beautiful – I hope that Sunday’s stage made it clear to all why cycling is one of the great sports of the world.
Where to begin? The cavalry of Arnoud Démare whose team sacrificed three good riders to try and shepherd him to the rest day – unsuccessfully as they all missed the time limit. Now that team will feel lonely and lost at the dinner table each night for the rest of this Tour.
The crash and elimination of Geraint Thomas, one of the most admired racers in the world. He crashes a lot this Thomas does, could it have something to do with his extreme team pursuiter – ie: track racing style, very far forward and high saddle – position that moves his weight off the back wheel? This is a big loss for Froome.
All the non-stop action that justified French Television’s decision to show the stages start-to finish. You didn’t want to miss a moment because something was always happening. Contador crashing; Sunweb’s brilliant attacking race – how strong is Matthews btw? – the low class move of Aru attacking when Froome had a mechanical; the horrific crash of Richie Porte that ensnared poor Dan Martin and dealt a blow to his up to that point excellent Tour; the delicious tension created by the two attacking French riders, Bardet and Barguil followed by the incredible descent and nail-biting ride into Chambery by Bardet.
Then that final sprint, with Uran stuck in the 53 x 11 as his gears were broken, and the complete foul-up by the Tour media services, who before getting the official results – which would be normal with a photo-finish – hauled Warren Barguil to the interview space and, live, in front of a world audience turned his tears of joy into ones of despair. That was one of the cruelest things I’ve ever seen in the sport. Can you imagine Barguil’s head? Here he is, a stage winner, childhood dream come true, in front of millions of telespectators, his big moment…then… oops!
I’m very happy for the Cannondale-Drapac team and that their gamble of bringing Rigoberto Uran back to his winning ways has paid off. I know both Jonathon Vaughters and Doug Ellis – Doug I see a few times a year – and I know that they are truly committed to clean sport. It’s hard for them, there’s not the money of many of the other teams but they are an organization very much worth supporting as they proved yesterday.
John Eustice, is the organizer of the Thompson Bucks County Classic in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and a long-time cycling analyst who has contributed to ESPN, ABC Sports, Time Magazine, and CNN among others. The Bucks County native resides in New York City. He was a pioneer on the European racing circuit and is a two-time United States Professional Champion.