One of the greatest sporting events in the world again delivered one of the greatest sporting dramas. Since 1903 le Tour has captured the world’s imagination as an amazing spectacle. It highlights some of the best athletes on the planet competing through some beautiful countryside.
In numbers, it is 176 riders from 22 professional teams covering 3484 km. Riders averaged just under 40km per hour for the Tour which is amazing considering the 20% climbs in the French Alps.
Yellow, Green Polka Dot and White
In le Tour riders are competing for different coloured jerseys. The team leaders are after the yellow jersey as the overall race leader. Climbing specialists whose skills in the mountains see them chasing the red polka dot jersey as the king of the mountain leader.
Sprint specialists, who, despite having to ride the same course and distance over the mountains, are trying to win sprint points to win the green jersey. The white jersey is awarded to the best under 25-year-old rider.
In reality, this produces a tactical web, a chess game on wheels. Tactics for each stage are planned and adjusted by the team manager who relays instructions from the team car to his riders via two-way radios.
The Race Of Truth
One of the most exciting stages in this year’s race was the penultimate event, the individual time trial. Riders compete together through most of the tour while in the time trial pits each rider against the clock.
The time trial is called “the race of truth” because there is nowhere to hide. Just the athlete riding as hard as they can for 36km with no help from their team.
For over 10 days Slovenian athlete Primož Roglic had held the yellow jersey. However, in a breathtaking effort, countryman Tadej Pogacar gained almost two minutes on him during this time trial to take the lead and snatch the yellow jersey as the overall winner.
A similar dramatic move occurred for third place with Australia’s own Richie Porte overtaking Miguel Lopez for a place on the podium. In such a difficult sport with such a mix of international riders, having an Australian on the podium is outstanding. Only one other rider, Cadel Evans, has achieved this when he won the Tour in 2011.
The 2020 Tour de France produced one of the best races ever. A close event with aggressive riding created an event that captivated the world. Having an Australian in the fix has increased the profile of this great race and helps grow the sport back home.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html