Back to the grind: coping with Tour de France 2013 withdrawal

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Back to the grind: coping with Tour de France 2013 withdrawal

So here we are:  back to the daily grind, work to be done, and just the photos and memories of our glorious time together.

We shared moments of joyous celebration, agonised together at the near-misses, winced at the pain suffered by some our heroes.

We were promised the 100th edition of cycling’s greatest race would be a spectacular occasion, and we were not left disappointed.

We winced at the suffering of our heroes and shared the elation of their success. Is it really less than a week since the hundredth Tour de France ended?

If I am honest, I would not have considered myself a cycling fanatic before this year.

Sport is my passion, be it on two wheels, four wheels or four legs; bats, balls, rackets or arrows.

The Tour de France, to me, was a special occasion, but in a summer full of occasions – the Lions, the Ashes and Wimbledon to name just three – it could quite easily have become just one of many.

But instead, stage after stage we were treated to drama, epic performances, heroic rides, spectacular crashes, blistering time trials and defiant climbs.

Heroes aplenty

Reporting on each stage on Twitter I often asked for people’s favourite moments, their best stages, the rides set to stick in the memory for some time.

The huge variety of responses I got back just highlights how special this Tour was.

From the chaos and confusion of the bus crash on stage one, to ‘Sir’ Jan Bakelants attacking the peloton solo and holding off a ferocious pack of riders on his tail to not only win stage two but grab the maillot jaune too.

Joy for the Belgian, but an elation followed by a shared disappointment for David Millar when it became apparent just how close he had come to claiming it himself.

Then there was Simon Gerrans, kicking Orica-GreenEDGE’s now infamous bus driver off the back pages by grabbing an historic stage win before his team shocked the world champions to grant him the yellow jersey.

PURE ELATION: Christophe Riblon was one rider to shine after he conquered ‘double d’Huez’ day

Mark Cavendish continued to create his own history by blasting to victory in stage five, while Daryl Impey’s pure delight at taking Africa’s first ever yellow jersey sticks in the mind.

The acceleration of Chris Froome up Ax 3 Domaines was also a highlight for many people, as was his solo victory on the Giant of Provence.

Others preferred the fast men, Marcel Kittel dethroning the King of the Sprints, before Cavendish mastered the winds to reclaim the headlines.

Heroic feats to applaud

There were heroic feats to applaud, such as Geraint Thomas defying a fractured pelvis to support Chris Froome’s yellow jersey bid or Tony Martin overcoming a serious crash to record a phenomenal individual time trial.

While the yellow jersey never really looked like leaving Chris Froome’s grasp, we were still able to enjoy the battles around him as Nairo Quintana proved he could one day claim the Kenyan-born Brit’s crown.

Elsewhere, Christophe Riblon made himself a national hero on the spectacular ‘double d’Huez’ day and Dan Martin, Matteo Trentin and Rui Costa also wowed us with their stage victories.

But how can we pick just one?

For what it is worth, Froome’s ascent of Ax 3 Domaines would have to go down as a personal favourite.

The Arc de Triomphe was lit up to mark the end of the 2013 Tour (Credit: Dave Winter/SWPix.com)

On a weekend which saw the Lions conquer Australia and Andy Murray win at Wimbledon, Froome ensured he shared the back page headlines with a spectacular climb, setting the tone for the rest of the Tour.

Next stop: Yorkshire!

So now what? Where do we go from here? As the withdrawal symptoms start to decrease and we return to ‘normal’ life, what do we do now?

Well it is just 344 days until the next stage – and it will be taking place on our shores.

Corsica was special, so just imagine what Yorkshire can deliver.

Until then, it is au revoir. It has been a pleasure, we must do this again.

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