This year’s Tour de France has been a success so far for Britain, beneath the sadness and frustration at having one of our best sprinters, Mark Cavendish, out injured, the nation remains as optimistic and as patriotic as ever. With over 2.5 million attending the Yorkshire stages over the weekend, we’ve done the sport of cycling proud and can safely call ourselves a cycling nation. Hosting the Tour de France is our podium prize after winning gold in the Men’s Time Trial at London 2012 and claiming two yellow jerseys since then.
Stage 1 – Crash, Burn and Going Home
Mark Cavendish is officially out of the Tour de France after crashing in the final metres of the first stage. Fans around the world are heartbroken and lost without the Manx Missile in the race, but there was just no chance of Cavendish continuing after a hospital examination showed a dislocated shoulder. The full extent of his injury is not known, as it was said he got ready to race the next day but was deemed unfit by officials and coaches, Cavendish may need surgery on his injury.
Stage 1 was won by German Marcel Kittel, as he took the stage in 4 hours and 44 minutes.
Stage 2 – Britain shines bright, but still no Yellow Jersey
Television coverage of stage 2 showed a country so beautiful, green and scenic that many of us failed to recognise it. After a few minutes and a few buildings came into site, it became clear that this was England. A country many of us think we know, one we perpetually curse because of the weather and the lack of ‘nice places’, one we shamefully try to forget when we see the Alpe d’Huez on the television, embarrassed that we have nothing to compete with it’s jaw-dropping image. But this year, we saw something different, a new side to Britain, a green wonderland that we never knew existed. It was breathtaking and as corny as it sounds, I think we’re all very proud indeed.
It was Vincenzo Nibali however, that stole the stage with a win. That however, didn’t dampen British spirits across the northern county, as true cycling fans know it’s only early days , and let’s face it; everyone was just glad to have the tour here.
Stage 3 – Kittel takes a second win
Before leaving Ol’ Britannia for France – Touquet-Paris-Plage to be exact – the riders had one more bicycle race left in them. Stage 3 ran from Cambridge to London, and was the first leg to leave the north.
Stage 3 winner Marcel Kittel said, “That is the fastest I think I have been on a sprint finish. The crowd was fantastic.”
Finishing up at 3 hours and 38 minutes, Kittel may have scored one of his fastest sprints, but a more subtle success was in the air for Team Sky.
Chris Froome is now fifth overall, only 2 seconds behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali. Froome may be playing the long game, but it certainly isn’t the slow game.
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