The Col du Tourmalet was witness yet again to an exciting stage finish yesterday in the Tour de France, as Alaphilippe extended his yellow jersey lead. This day in the Pyrenees may yet prove to be the defining stage of this year’s Tour, which settles the grand classification.
I don’t spend a lot of my life watching sport; I participate rather than spectate. But I love watching the Tour. It really shouldn’t be good telly, yet it is. There is an extra frisson with the Pyrenean stages, as well as some of the Alpine, in that I have cycled them myself. I did the Tourmalet in 2006 and seeing yesterday’s footage, I am right back there, grunting up the wonderfully maintained tarmac, recognising the shifting perspectives of the mountains, finally seeing the pass open up in front of me. Last month, I did Superbagneres and, despite it being an unremarkable overcast day in a lonely ski resort in summer, it was easy to visualise colourful crowds on the » Continue Reading.