The agony and ecstasy of the most dramatic Tour de France that I have known – .

The agony and ecstasy of the most dramatic Tour de France that I have known – .

It’s hard to describe what it feels like. Of the 550 km we had covered in three days, I think I only spent about 50 in some sort of group. It was full blast every three days. And you can’t catch up with the peloton on the descents like before. This has been one of the biggest changes in the peloton over the past decade.

This is probably why we are seeing more and more runners missing the cup these days. My heart goes out to Arnaud Demare and Bryan Coquard, two of my rival sprinters, who missed it on Sunday. I want to give special praise to Nicholas Dlamini, who crashed into the stage but refused to give up, crossing the line after 7pm local time.

What Nicholas went through even to get here, growing up in a township outside Cape Town, the first black South African rider on the Tour, the determination he showed on Sunday was like a metaphor for his life. Fight against all odds to give hope to others. Truly inspiring.

It is the agony and ecstasy of the Tour de France. Every day there are stories like this.

We move forward. Tuesday’s stage could end with a sprint but I don’t even want to think about it. It may sound boring, but we have to react to what is happening on the road, not to try to guess it. There are still huge mountains to come and I am not taking anything for granted. While our job in sprints is potentially easier now, with some of my competitors knocked out, that also means fewer teams shooting.

And as we saw with Caleb Ewan on the third scene, it can all be over in a flash. I was absolutely disgusted for Caleb and for the race. I spoke to him afterwards and I know that my wife Peta spoke to his wife Ryann. People often forget about families in these situations, but the toll for them is immense.

This is the Tour. For the best or for the worst. It’s brutal, ruthless but magical at the same time. As always, I love it, I hate it sometimes, but still honored to be a part of it. I will continue to give everything I have to get to Paris.


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