It's been just over a month since we learnt that the UK had voted in favour of leaving the EU. Understandably, the nation has been inundated with TV and press coverage ever since so I have found it rather refreshing to have a break from it all by watching the Tour de France over the last three weeks.
The Tour de France was established in 1903 with an aim to increase sales for the magazine L'Auto. It has been held annually since, except when it was suspended during the two World Wars. As the race gained popularity, the race was extended and its reach began to extend around the globe.
The Tour de France is usually overshadowed by European riders, so I was amazed that this year, the year of the Brexit vote, we have witnessed the dominance of British cyclists. Out of 21 stages, British riders have won seven of them.
Mark Cavendish won the first stage of the 2016 Tour de France to Utah Beach and with it, the coveted Maillot Jaune. This was Mark’s 27th victory at the Tour, keeping him third in the all-time stage winner rankings, one behind Bernard Hinault.
Chris Froome pulled off the unexpected by advancing on the descent of the final climb on Stage 8. He took the stage victory and overall lead on day eight, which set him up for a defence of his Maillot Jaune for the rest of the Tour. On Sunday 24th July, Froome proved he belongs among Britain's cycling elite after claiming his third Tour de France crown; making him one of only eight men to have won three Tours.
Also, Adam Yates was awarded the Best Young Rider Award and is the first ever British winner of the Tour’s white jersey. Yates ranked an impressive 4th overall.
Over the last three weeks, we have seen a great deal of liberté, égalité and fraternité (liberty, equality and fraternity) - hopefully, traits we will see much more of, as a nation, in the future!
A date for your Diary
Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain (Carlisle to Kendal) will finish at the top of Beast Banks in Kendal on Monday 5th September.
See the route map at www.tourofbritain.co.uk