Photos courtesy of www.letour.fr

It has been a gruelling 3 weeks for the riders as the Tour ended in Paris yesterday, with Team Sky being the most dominant team, grabbing a total of 6 stage wins as well as first and second on the general classification (GC). More significantly, Bradley Wiggins makes history as the first British winner of the Tour de France and an impeccable achievement which goes well for Great Britain as they host the Olympic Games later this week.

Stylish Sky

There’s no doubt who is the strongest team this year. But what is even more commendable is how the team seem to manage two seemingly opposing goals, which was to put Wiggins in yellow and also to allow Mark Cavendish to pick up stage wins. The conventional thinking was that sprint stage wins would not go well with GC ambitions because both goals require varied team support from the other riders. However, the other team riders such as Edvald Boason Hagen, Michael Rogers and Riche Porte are rather versatile riders, being able to keep Wiggins safe in the mountains but yet also able to set up a train to put Cavendish in a good position for stage wins. What’s even more amazing is how, Wiggins, the yellow jersey wearer himself, helped Cavendish in the lead out for at least 2 of his stage wins. Truly, the Sky’s the Limit for them.

Team BMC: Evans’ woes and team revelation, Tejay van Garderen
Most of the attention for the BMC Team was placed on last year’s Tour de France winner and defending champion, Australian Cadel Evans. Unfortunately, Evans was not able to repeat his stellar performance last year as Team Sky was too strong and he lost too much time during the mountain stages. If he was against the Schleck brothers for the Time Trials (TT), he would have be able to take some time from them. But the brothers were pretty much out of contention this year, as younger brother Andy had an untimely pelvic injury and Frank did not complete the race. Bradley Wiggins is a TT specialist, which did not bode well for Evans at all.
Evans would likely give it a shot for top positions in the GC next year, but the real relevation of the BMC team is young American rider Tejay van Garderen, who was placed 5th overall in the GC and wins the white jersey award for best placed rider under the age of 25. Van Garderen had a better overall position than the team’s designated leader Evans, who came in 7th. With such an incredible position over the course of 3 weeks of racing, it is expected that van Garderen would be a strong overall rider to be reckoned with in future Tours.

Voeckler, the entertaining Frenchman

As host to one of the biggest and most prestigious cycling grand tour races in the world, the French would be thrilled to see one of their nation’s riders do well or nab stage wins in the Tour. While there were some stage wins by French riders in the Tour this year, none of them are as entertaining and exciting by France’s cycling hero, Thomas Voeckler from Team Europcar. Most of us would remember his courageous fight to stay in the yellow jersey for 10 days last year before conceding it to Andy Schleck. He kept saying that he would not be able to keep the jersey but he fought on day by day, always riding in the front with the Tour contenders. This year is no less exciting-the French man won 2 stages and even won the polka dot jersey for the best climber in the race, though he is not exactly a mountains specialist. Looking forward to see more dramatic action from him in Tours to come!

Hope you all have enjoyed the short 3-part reflections on this year’s Tour de France. Do check out the first and secondparts!

Vive Le Tour!