Taking a look back on the first 9 days, we’ve had fireworks, we’ve had drama, we’ve had the spectacular and we’ve had heartbreak. After all, it wouldn’t really be the Tour de France if we didn’t have all of those and, sometimes, all within the same stage.
It’s July, and it’s Le Tour. The pinnacle of road cycling, a grueling 3-week-long stage race where the best of the best riders cover 3,404KM to finish in Paris. We are 9 stages down, with 11 stages to go on the way to the French capital. So, what have we seen so far?
Cavendish’s Crusade is Over
For me, there’s just one place to start. Mark Cavendish and his hunt for the illusive 35th TdF stage victory of his career came to a crashing halt on Stage 8. An innocuous straight bit of road, no finish line in sight, fate has a cruel sense of humour. It was only the day before that Cav finished second in a bunch sprint, with skipping gears playing a devastating role in him not taking the win. With his retirement at the end of 2023 announced during the earlier Giro d’Italia, fate robs us all of one last Grand Tour victory and with it, taking the honour of the cyclist with the most Tour de France stage victories in history. Indeed, it was Cav himself that said the day before in a post-race interview after his malfunctioning gears: “Perhaps it’s not meant to be”.
A Two-Horse Race
On a lighter note, the fight for the Maillot Juane has been anything other than somber. Fireworks from the Grand Depart in the Basque region of Spain culminated in the first GC shake-up on Stage 5 back in France. Partisan fans of País Vasco coloured the roads in red, green, and white as the race rolled from Spain and into mainland France, where Jonas Vinegaard took flight on Col de Marie Blanque taking just over a minute on his main rival Tadej Pogacar. As the days have rolled on, Tadej has managed to claw back seconds here and there, leaving only a 17-second gap into this first rest day. Can the Dane from Team Jumbo-Visma, aboard their range of Cervélo machines, hold off the marauding Slovenian of UAE Emirates? Buckle up as the next 6 days are going to be full of yet more drama.
Powless Dreams of Polka Dots on Puy-de-Dôme
Neilson Powless couldn’t quite pull off a fairytale finish on Puy-de-Dôme, but he added ten points to his lead in the Tour’s King of the Mountains competition with a long breakaway on stage nine.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the EF Education-EasyPost rider leads the classification when he’s aboard one of the lightest bikes in the peloton. Out of the box, the LAB71 SuperSix Evo weighs just 6.8kg, and you can bet your bottom dollar it’s as stripped as it can be to maintain this come race day.
It’s one of the most iconic jerseys of Le Tour, the Maillot à pois rouges is awarded to the best climber of the race but is best known for its eclectic styling of a white jersey with red ‘polka’ dots all over. But did you know, this particular jersey was only introduced in 1975? It’s just a shame that Neilson didn’t go with the matching bib shorts to complete the look…
Stage Honours? More like Stage Promos!
For each Stage in this year’s Tour de France, we’re looking to promote products that we think can help you perform better, no matter if you’re a weekend warrior, a cafe ride hero, or even the next Mark Cavendish. So far we’ve had a range of ride accessories from the likes of Specialized (celebrating Jai Hindley’s Stage 5 Victory), Oakley (#TeamOakley with Jasper Phillepson and Met (Pogacar’s Victory on Stage 6).
All with 25% off, these are limited-time-only promotions celebrating Tour Fever as best as we know it. What better way to celebrate your favorite rider or team winning a stage, than being able to save big on tour-winning gear?