The dust has set­tled on the Tour and Jens gives us his ver­dict on the race's big win­ners

Procycling - - CONTENTS -

Our race colum­nist on the lat­est events

"Ju­lian Alaphilippe is a fu­ture su­per­star of French cy­cling, or even global cy­cling. He was so brave and coura­geous in his break­aways"

The Tour is over for an­other year, and I can’t wait for the next one al­ready! What a Tour it was. There were so many new things, yet we also saw many things stay the same. As al­ways, Team Sky won the yel­low jersey. As al­ways, Peter Sa­gan won the green jersey. Those things are get­ting pretty nor­mal and some­times I think these two things will hap­pen for the next five years.

But it wasn’t all the same. It was a dif­fer­ent Sky rider – Geraint Thomas, who won. I’m bloody happy and proud for G – it was a great win and so de­served. And how great was it to watch new chal­lengers rise up? Primo Roglic, for ex­am­ple – what a story. From a ski jumper to a Tour de France stage win­ner, and if he hadn’t just cracked a lit­tle for the fi­nal time trial, he could have kicked Chris Froome off the podium in Paris. Roglic’s team­mate Steven Krui­jswijk also made the top 10. Egan Ber­nal from Colom­bia was a loyal helper this year, but I see him as a fu­ture win­ner – maybe in three years’ time. And next year, Tom Du­moulin will be fo­cus­ing only on the Tour. No Giro for him and I think that should give him the miss­ing ex­tra two per cent of strength to re­ally go for the win.

Did you no­tice how big the breaks were in the last week? I think that was caused by the fact that all the teams had only eight starters in­stead of nine. It meant less con­trol, be­cause there was sim­ply less work­force avail­able to con­trol the race. I like this new el­e­ment – it keeps the race more open and in­ter­est­ing.

An­other nov­elty was the 67km moun­tain stage. Wow! That was pretty cool to watch, and the Mo­toGP start was great for the fans. I think we’ll see more short stages in the com­ing years – it’s more in­ter­est­ing for fans, they are eas­ier to or­gan­ise and it is eas­ier for TV to cap­ture the images. Ev­ery­one wins – that is the fu­ture of cy­cling, right there.

Geraint was the hero of this year’s Tour, though. Af­ter years of loyal ser­vice to his lead­ers he fi­nally had it all fall­ing in line for him. And he did not waste this maybe unique chance. I could not be more happy for him, he is a great rider, a great cham­pion and a great hu­man. A good lad, as Brits would say. And how good was Chris Froome, sup­port­ing him, with­out any jeal­ousy? Cha­peau to Froome.

Ju­lian Alaphilippe is a fu­ture su­per­star of French cy­cling, or even global cy­cling. I like at­tack­ing riders most of all, and he was so brave and coura­geous in his break­aways. He was happy as a win­ner and fair and straight when not win­ning. Merci Ju­lian. And félic­i­ta­tions to young Pierre La­tour for win­ning the white jersey.

And of course the all-time leg­end Peter Sa­gan was in green. Un­beat­able, un­stop­pable, and adding a bit of a hu­man touch to show us that he is al­ways able to work hard and to re­ally dig deep af­ter his crash. He showed true char­ac­ter. And that made him even more like­able for fans and sup­port­ers.

Jens Voigt re­tired in 2014 fol­low­ing an 18-year ca­reer as one of the sport's most loved and at­tack­ing riders. He held the Hour Record for 42 days. Com­men­ta­tors never did agree how to pro­nounce his name.

Alaphilippe seizes the mo­ment, and Didi the Devil's fork, while climb­ing on stage 17

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