Thursday, August 1, 2019
It was addictive for me and I kept looking at my TV to follow some of the best cyclists from around the world. They rode in large cities, small villages, valleys, near lakes, fields and mountains. It was a treat to watch the risk-taking cyclists in this thrilling race. (Click on collage to enlarge.)
à la française." Truly, the 2019 Tour belongs to smiling Julian Alaphilippe, nicknamed Loulou by his fans. He was the emblem of this tour. Below are photos of Julian, and one in the last stage wearing blue along Egan Bernal wearing the yellow jersey.
Along the way the helicopter team that shoots the race from overhead offered us stunning aerial images. It is like a travelogue of fabulous scenery. (Photos courtesy Helicopteres de France.)
The range of architecture in castles, from medieval to 19th century, is amazing. The aircraft captured the cyclists but also gave us unique glimpses of these historical buildings. No wonder the Tour de France is the most watched sports competition in the world.
One of my favorite riders, the famed and charismatic Slovakian sprinter Peter Sagan, beat Erik Zabel's record and won his seventh green jersey overall in a Tour de France. This prize is awarded to the leader in the points classification dominated by sprinters. Peter said "It's nice to win this seventh green jersey. I'm also surprised. Every year I come back to try my best. I'm very glad that I could achieve something like this because the green jersey is something like the yellow jersey for the GC riders. I'm happy that I could hold the record." Photos of Peter and of his custom-painted S-Works Venge bike, couresy TdeF.
On the side of my blog you can read more on the Tour under the category Tour de France. In my post of July 22, 2009, titled "What is the Tour de France?" I mentioned some of its history; click here to read it. In my post of July 20, 2011, "Tour de France in the Alps" I explained the meaning of the colors of the leaders' jersey; click here to read it. Egan Bernal officially won the 2019 Tour de France last Sunday, July 28th, shown in photo below. He is the first Colombian and first Latin American Tour champion. He is also the youngest winner in modern race history and in addition won the white jersey as the race's Best Young Rider. Peter Sagan won the green jersey. Romain Bardet of France won the polka dot jersey in the King of the Mountains classification. Frenchman Julian Alaphillipe was judged the most combative rider - someone the race jury decided showed a "fighting spirit" during the race.
This has been an exciting Tour, unpredictable and filled with dramatic moments. The French spectators would have liked to see Alaphillipe win the Tour since no Frenchman has won it in 35 years, but, c'est la vie... Jean-Claude Killy, the champion ski racer, said the French love sportsmen and don't really like sports. I believe that Julian Alaphilippe, a brilliant athlete with great personality, won their hearts, even though he did not finish in first place but in fifth. The contest is over for 2019, now we have to wait until July 22, 2020, to see the Tour start in Nice, on the French Riviera. I can't wait ...