I have a very, very good job, and I am very, very fortunate to do it, but it does have one caveat.
It’s not a frustration or a complaint, just something that should be a sort of disclaimer to those watching on from afar that have a slightly romanticised vision of what covering the Tour de France amounts to. Behind the curtain if you will.
Let me take you to the top of the Col du Tourmalet, Stage 18, the final day in the Pyrenees. My cousin, Anna, had messaged to say she was going to be in the Pyrenees, and that if she’d make it to any Tour stage, she’d be making it to the 18th. She wanted to be on the Tourmalet.
Six months ago we didn't know whether Michael Rogers would even continue in the sport. Tuesday, in Bagnerres de Luchon, he won his maiden Tour de France stage.
It was an emotionally-charged moment for the 34 year old. The last year of his cycling career has been nothing short of tumultuous; a positive result for clenbuterol, a career in limbo... a successful appeal.
"Sometimes it takes the difficult times to see the silver lining when it comes," Rogers said after his Stage 16 win. And indeed while it could have been disastrous, a forced retirement, a shattered reputation, the turnaround, has been remarkable.
Away from the features, the research, the long drives, writing diaries like this one, there's one part of my day that always stands above. The scramble at the finish.
It's a blur of sound and colour. The crackle of french voices on the loudspeaker. An obscured view of a monitor displaying the final few kilometres of racing. An eager press pack.
There’s nothing quite like it. Pure adrenalin. The collective feeling of every single reporter, wondering how best to position themselves, and which rider they’re about to target. An atmosphere that's replicated every single day.
Bonjour again from France!
The Tour's been great, rah-rah Richie, yada, yada... anyway. To important matters!
It pains me to say that after the first nine stages of the Tour de France, I’m trailing our internal tipping competition, hanging on by the skin of teeth to the back markers as our lead editor powers away. The gap is not insurmountable, but it will require some clever picking in the Tour’s latter half.
It's been a whirlwind 72 hours for team SBS at this year’s Tour de France and I’m only now, catching my breath.
My last diary entry came just as we were leaving London. We were packed up, making a mad dash to St Pancras Station to make the 730 Eurostar to Lille. Then, chatter around the compound just as we were leaving that the Eurostar was delayed. Then cancelled. Electrical fault. Bugger.
We were going to be stuck in London, but at the very least Tomo and Mark, our Editor, needed to be in France to record the links for Stage 4.