Perseverance, patience, hard work and reverence all of this and more is what one witnesses in the most prestigious of all bicycle races, the Tour de France. Twenty one days long testing journey where team work counts the most. One hundred and three year old tradition that is getting richer and stronger with every passing year.
As a viewer it has only been five years since I started watching Le Tour, sitting glued to the television sets for the two or so hours that the race is telecasted here in India, enjoying every second of it, cheering for the yellow jersey and hoping for a miracle for the ones who dare to attempt a breakaway. Not even the advertisements spoil my fun, though these ads come right when someone attacks the Peloton.
This wonderful sport, I felt, is so inspiring that one feels full of determination and positivity to achieve the life goals. That with concentration, will power and a never-say-die attitude we can fulfill all our dreams and learn – about oneself and about life.
Chris Froome, the humble supersonic rider, won his third Tour de France this year and got a place booked amongst the legends of this sport. The defending champion’s surprise attack in the eighth stage, sprinting down the descent in a strange, but apparently an aerodynamic position, got him the stage win as well as the yellow jersey, for which he and his teammates worked hard so that it stays on his shoulders throughout the race.
My favourite was the eighteenth stage, the individual time trial stage where no one, not even Richie Porte’s fabulous attempt could beat Tom Dumoulin’s time, except of course Chris Froome’s. The yellow jersey started in the last and came first, reaching twenty seconds before the best time. Seconds are precious in this sport.
I’ll leave you with Chris Froome’s words that he spoke at the podium in Paris, which reflects the true spirit behind this marvelous race.
“To my teammates and support team, this is your yellow jersey too. I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for your commitment and sacrifice. A massive thank you to Dave Brailsford and my coach Tim Kerrison. This is one special team and I'm so proud to be a part of it.
To Michelle my wife and my son Kellon, your love and support make everything possible. Kellan, I dedicate this victory to you.
This Tour has obviously taken place against the backdrop of terrible events in Nice and we pay our respects once again to those who lost their lives in this terrible event. Of course, this kind of event puts sport in perspective, but it also shows why the values of sport are so important to a free society.
We all love the Tour de France because it's unpredictable, but we love the Tour more for what stays the same. The passion of the fans from every nation along the roadside, the beauty of the French countryside and the bonds of friendship, these things will never change.
Thanks again for your kindness during this difficult period in France. You have the most beautiful race in the world and it's a great honour to wear this maillot jaune. Vive le Tour and vive la France.”
[For the highlights from 2016's Tour de France - https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2016/jul/25/tour-de-france-2016-chris-froome-wins-for-the-third-time-video-highlights ]