Vive Le Tour
From the slip-n-slide first stage to the final sprint on the Champs-Élysées, this year's Tour de France was the most exciting I can remember. With the GC being decided Saturday and the points competition still in play on the final stage, there weren't many kilometers where this race didn't hold my attention.
Writing this article in my head on Friday, I was planning on crowning Stage 18 as my favorite. Seeing the two Ineos riders breakaway and time-trial to victory was something special. What really made the stage extraordinary, however, was the camaraderie on display in the last kilometer when neither wanted to beat the other to the line. Friendship trumped competition as the two riders crossed the line together while embracing. Who could help having just as big of a smile as the two riders seeing that?
And then Stage 20 happened. Primoz Roglic had 57 seconds on his compatriot and Tour debutant Tadej Pogacar. Pogacar had been the revelation in this year's Tour, but few, if any, gave him a chance at taking that much time back from Roglic, even though he had previously beaten Roglic in the Slovenian national TT championship less than three months earlier.
By stage 20, we should have known better than to doubt this Tour's propensity for surprises. We should have known better to doubt Pogacar. He did what even the expert commentators thought was impossible. He not only got back those 57 seconds, he left the day the Tour champion by a 59 second margin over Roglic.
I will never forget that stage. It was perhaps the greatest moment in sport I have ever seen. I both experienced Pogacar's high and Roglic's low. I am not sure which emotion was more dominant. I cheered Pogacar as he was pulling the debt back and mourned with Roglic in the defeat, making Stage 20 the highlight of one helluva race.
Vive le Tour!