Every start of July I try to justify the many hours I spend with my kids watching le Tour de France. Outside of it being family time, and compelling television, it is lots of hours. So, I might as well reflect and consider what I’m observing in the leaders of this race.
Chris Froome – Never let your opponents have a chance to even hope for victory. Froome’s had the chance to sit back and use his 4-5 minute buffer, but instead he’s answered every attack, he’s stayed with Contador on dangerous descents and he’s attacked on the time trials, winning two stages so far and steeling hope when possible.
Alberto Contador – Don’t sugar coat reality. From the day that Froom took the race lead, Contador has said that second place is not his goal and has declared that he’ll have to attack. Every stage he’s been honest about the challenge and direct on his need to do everything possible to win in Paris (where the tour ends.
Jens Voigt – Let your work speak for you. The only rider in the tour who’s older than me (he’ll be 42 later this year) has continued to look for long breakaways. Voigt has been a dangerous breakaway rider for nearly 2 decades. Sometimes they pay off and other times they don’t, but everyone continues to respect this man’s body of work.
Ryder Hesjedal – A good leader serves the team. He’s hurt and not challenging to win the tour this year, but he continues to ride and help his teammates to have a good and exciting tour. And he’s Canadian! Go Canada!
Peter Sagan – Give credit where credit is due. On the day his team ripped apart the peloton by riding hard and fast up the hills (and dropping all the other sprinters off the main group), Peter finished by pointing at his jersey and giving the credit to his team.
Mark Cavendish – Don’t give your competitors psychological fuel. When Cav got beat in a sprint, his only comment was, “I got beat by a better sprinter today.” The next day, he left them all behind in the final meters to win his second stage of the tour (25th in his career).
Richie Porte – Loyalty is underrated but not unnoticed. Watching Porte hang back and help his captain Chris Froome get up Alpe-d’Huez twice was inspiring. Froome did similar duty for his captain Sir Bradley Wiggins last year and learned that loyalty earns you credit with your team and your leaders.
There. That justifies my time. I’m learning and reflecting and I can watch some more tour tomorrow!