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