The Tour de France is over for another year. Every day for the next week now there will be moments when I'm not sure what to do with myself. I'll fidget, wondering what it is that I'm missing. Withdrawl. Watching Bradley Wiggins pedal up those mountains I was reminded, by his physique and style, of the figure of Miguel Indurain - and realising how many years it was since "Big Mig" won the Tour I realised how many years I've been watching it.
Cricket? Yawn. Wimbledon? For Wombles. The Tour de France is something else. It's the sort of thing you imagine they might get upto in Valhalla on Sports Day. For years, I think, a lot people have been put off watching it by the drug scandals that have rocked it for as long as anyone can remember. However, I suspect it's now cleaner than it ever has been. The Tour is now proving that it is bigger than its troubled past.
For me, there's nothing quite like it. The last four stages, thanks to Wiggins, Cavendish, Froome and the rest of the Sky team, were particularly gripping - if the words "Arise, Sir Bradley" aren't heard soon then there's even less point to the honours system than I thought there was. Still, it would be a shame to forget all the other dramas that made up the 2012 Tour. What sticks in my mind is Stage 8: Thibaut Pinot, at 22 the youngest rider in the race and riding his first Tour, broke away and rode on to win the stage. His performance was almost upstaged by that of Marc Madiot, his team manager and former racer, leaning out of the team car behind him, yelling and waving his arms in -I presume,as my French is limited- encouragement. Unfortunately, Madiot's (potentially Oscar winning) performance has been cut down to a few seconds in ITV4's 3 minute stage highlights.
4 years ago