11 September 2017
The last Grand Tour of the year is over. Time to share some memorable photos of the last couple of days. Just to prove how great this year’s Vuelta has been.
Flying with a helicopter was a dream come true for these guys!
Chris Froome won the Vuelta, but his teammates are even more excited about it!
Six victories for the Quick Step Floors Cycling Team in this Vuelta. Celebrate!
And these guys were having fun on their own teambus after the last stage.
Alberto Contador is waving to his fans. Great ending of a great career.
Time for a nap now. Sweet dreams, Esteban Chaves!
Posted in Column
Tagged Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Cycling, Esteban Chaves, Ilnur Zakarin, Koen de Kort, Madrid, Matteo Trentin, Quick Step Floors Cycling Team, Sam Bewley, Team Sky, Trek - Segafredo, Vuelta, Vuelta a España, Wilco Kelderman
Posted in Creative Biking
Tagged Alps, Bauke Mollema, Chris Froome, Cycling, Marcel Kittel, Michael Matthews, Sunflowers, Tour de France, Wallpaper, Wallpapers, Warren Barguil, Yellow Jersey
Bonjour! It is hard to believe that the last week of the Tour de France is already taking place as we speak. Those weeks fly by in no time. By now, the riders are suffering in the Alps, but luckily for them there are only a couple of days left now. And the second rest day did most of the riders good. It is like they are all fresh and new again.
Every day, the riders are sitting in the bus on their way to the start of another stage. It is up to the riders what they do in the bus to entertain themselves. Luke Rowe (SKY) has no problems with that, it turns out that he is an excellent fidget spinner.
On the second rest day the boys of Astana went for a ride together. But they also need to drink, so during the training they stopped for a cup of coffee.
It seems that the boys of Bora-Hansgrohe could not find a café or restaurant for a cup of coffee, so they stopped alongside the road to take a break during their training.
The riders from UAE Abu Dhabi did find a little café during their ride, but it seems that most riders here are taking a refreshing drink rather than a cup of coffee. Louis Meintjes seems to be the only one drinking coffee.
Now this is what I call sight-seeing! The boys of Cannondale – Drapac do not care about coffee at all on their rest day, they thought it would be nice to explore the small roads around their hotel. And look where it brought them. So pretty!
Still, after another rest day it was time for the last couple of stages. A few big mountains in the Alps were waiting for the riders. It was hard, but the smile on the face of Brice Feillu (FVC) says it all: the mountains are tough, but awesome.
In 1954, Federico Bahamontes came to his first Tour de France. He was excited and all he wanted was to attack in the mountains. This was not without a reason. He showed in his first Tour de France that he was the best climber of the peloton. As soon as the riders started to climb, Bahamontes placed an attack and was gone. You would think that this would lead to a lot of stage wins, but that did not happen. Bahamontes was scared of the descents and would usually wait for the other riders as soon as he arrived on the top of a mountain. The Galibier was one of the last mountains to be climbed in this Tour de France. Bahamontes passed the top as the first rider, but waited. As always. Still, he had proven that he was the best climber and went home with the polka dot jersey.
How different it was ten years later. In the year 1964, Bahamontes was one of the most experienced riders in the peloton. In the ten years as a professional rider he had learned to descent, to think before he attacked and to take a chance whenever possible. He won multiple Tour stages and won the general classification in 1959 and became the first Spaniard to win the Tour de France. Still, he was in love with the mountains and was always pleased to ride in the Pyrenees. Nevertheless, on of his most impressive wins was in the Alps.
It was on the 29th of June, stage eight. Bahamontes placed an attack on the Col du Télégraphe. There were no other riders in his wheel. He was eager to win the mountain classification for the sixth time in his career and although he knew that there were young talents in the peloton (Simpson, Janssen, Altig, Poulidor), he also knew that he still had the legs to beat them. But he wasn’t completely sure of himself, so he went up the Col du Galibier really fast and on the top he had a difference of more than three minutes on the following group. He was safe and, unlike ten years before, he did not wait and went solo to the finish in Briançon. It is one of the great wins of Bahamontes. He won another stage in the Pyrenees and became first in the mountain classification. He took the polka dot jersey home for the sixth and last time. That record still stands until today.
Episode 9 – “Two Smiling Boys”
“You’re late, Warren!” Michael looked angry at Warren as he started cycling again. “I have waited ten minutes for you. We are going to be late for school!”
“Sorry, I took the long road,” Warren said. “With that climb in it?” Michael asked. Warren gave him a nod. The two boys were in the same class. Every day they peddled to school together and shared all kind of stories with each other. “Did you learn for that test today?” Warren asked Michael.
“I wanted to, but I started dancing to the music on the television instead.”
“You fool, and you need to get a good grade for French!” Michael sighed. “Yeah, I know… but I prefer English class.”
The school came into sight. Mister Merckx stood outside and saw the two boys coming. “Hurry up!” he yelled at them. The boys looked at each other and started sprinting. Michael was the first boy who entered the playground of the school.
“I won!” he screamed. He stopped his bike and Warren stopped next to him. “You won this time,” Warren said, but I will beat you in the mountains for sure. And now je veux un baguette!” Michael looked puzzled at him: “What?”
“You are so going to fail that test”, Warren said to him. And then both boys started laughing out loud as they walked into the school.
12 July 2017
This is your last Tour de France. It is actually your last race. At the Champs-Élysées you will ride your final kilometres as a professional cyclist. This is your fifteenth Tour de France. It is the race where it all started for you. Because of that, you thought that it would be a nice honour to also end it here.
I remember the fifth stage in the Tour de France of 2004. You went in the breakaway with five other riders. The group was able to stay away and gained a couple of minutes on the peloton. You did not win that day, but you did claim the yellow jersey. No one thought that you would hold on to that jersey for so many days. You survived the Pyrenees and the whole of France started to believe that there was a possibility that you could actually win that Tour de France. But in the Alps you could not follow the best climbers of the peloton and you had to give up on the ‘yellow dream’.
Afterwards, you became a national hero in France. The French people saw the next winner of the Tour de France in you. Although you never came close again in the next few years, the fans never gave up hope. In 2009 you won your first stage in the Tour de France, in 2011 you even wore the yellow jersey again for ten days and just missed out on the podium in the final classification. In 2012 you claimed two stage wins and went home with the polka dot jersey.
That is only the Tour de France, I did not even mention the other beautiful wins in your career. Two times national champion of France, victories in the Critérium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice, winner of the Brabantse Pijl.
Although you were not always loved by the other riders in the peloton or some of the cycling fans, you made it clear during your career that you were on of the most important French riders of your generation. I hope you will enjoy the rest of this Tour de France. If you get the chance in the mountains, make sure you will place a typical ‘Voeckler’ attack, so we can all enjoy that one last time.