We have a rule at our house that no travel, no company – no nothing in July – except watching the Tour de France (and of course, riding the bike). We had to breach that rule this year because my dear mother-in-law turned 80 years old the last weekend of the Tour.
We wouldn’t have missed that celebration for anything (not even the best Tour in forever) so we flew out during the very exciting Stage 19 – Alp d’Huez. We were able to watch most of the stage at home and then followed the remainder of the stage via cell phone and netbook from the airport and plane – we had Wi-Fi as it turned out!
Being the wonderful people they are, my in-laws recorded the Stage for us and we watched the wrap-up show that evening. We watched Stage 20 time trial live and then watched the processional of Stage 21 (including the exciting sprint) live too. No questions were asked, or looks of concern or disbelief observed, when I cried watching the podium presentations. I’m not so sure there weren’t others tearing up.
I’ve followed the Tour de France since the 1990’s and I do not remember a Tour like this one. If you like the sport of racing and the event of the Tour more than you follow/support one rider over another – you had to love this year’s Tour.
This Tour was more competitive and apparently cleaner than any Tour I can remember; consequently it was exciting and fun to watch! I loved the 2011 Tour de Franceand miss it!
Thank goodness for DVR and the internet. I’ve already watched Stages 18 and 19 over again. Love that Thomas Voeckler held on with everything he could muster, loved that Cadel Evans raced such a smart and brave race, loved that the Schlecks handled defeat with such class. I would have loved for Voeckler to have been on the podium, but seeing both Schlecks up there was nice too.
This was a Tour for the ages, and I hope a sign of things to come.
Viva le Tour de France!
By now you’ve all seen Stage 18, don’t know about you but that was the most epic stage I’ve ever seen. Andy Schleck’s ride coupled with the off-the-chart ride by my favorite bike racer in all the world – the one and only – Thomas Voeckler!
As I’ve said here before, I’ve followed the Tour since the mid-90’s and nothing compares to what I witnessed today. As good as Andy Schleck’s ride was and it was, it can’t compare to what Voeckler did. Not for me anyway, and I don’t see how it could for anyone.
Schleck’s ride was something the invincible Lance Armstrong would have done. But, what rider of the caliber of Voeckler has done what he has done this Tour? I can’t think of one either. Sure there are probably some from back in the day, but none in the modern era.
I will never forget what I witnessed today. It will live on in Tour de France lore forever. It deserves to and should. I’m not ashamed to admit that when Thomas Voeckler crossed that finish line, managing to keep that Yellow Jersey against all odds – I cried. I could not believe he did it.
Stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France is the single greatest sports event I have ever witnessed. Kudos to Andy Schleck and Thomas Voeckler, and Cadel Evans too for taking it on himself to cut his losses even though he hauled his rivals (except for Contador who cracked) up too. A special thanks to Evans for towing Voeckler!
Queen Stage indeed!