It’s time for the Tour!
3 weeks that make the year
The Tour rolls out again this weekend, starting in Utrecht in Holland. A 14km time trial start could be the whole reason that Alex Dowsett makes his debut with Movistar, being a strong contender for the first yellow jersey.
Cobbles, mountains and the rest make for a tough course. A strong field of overall contenders is what makes the race, Froome, Quintana, Pinot, defending champion Nibali and Giro champion, Grand Tour double chaser, Alberto Contador.
The cobbles may well suit Nibali more than his challengers if the 2014 Tour is an accurate measure. The team time trial may weed out Pinot. The lack of a second individual time trial has branded the route as anti-Froome. The strength of Astana at the Giro, if carried over into the Tour, could be a game changer. The arduous mountain stages could favour Quintana. But in fact it boils down to this, not even the most authoritative pundit can second guess the outcome. That’s the beauty of the Tour!
The Tour isn’t just about racing, the terrain, or the riders, it’s also about the other magical ingredient in cycling, the bikes. Manufacturers hold off on new bike and kit launches for the ultimate shop window, the 1 billion global audience of the world’s greatest sporting event. Cav’s on a new aero Venge, Trek have a new aero Madone, and Pinot may well be on a bike that looks like a Sarto, but is painted as a Lapierre, add to this a host of fresh national championship jerseys, new team strips and sundry desirable madness.
The climbers are out, the sprinters are out, the testers are out, the rouleurs are feeling lucky. This is what we’ve been waiting for…
“I show up ready, I show up motivated, and I show up because I love it” - Hell on Wheels.