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.
I joked, driving through Harrogate with my cameraman Dom, on a quiet
grey day before the Tour de France Grand Depart, that the town’s reception appeared
This morning, on the BBC, ahead of the Tour’s third and final stage in Britain that the support for the Tour had been at record levels. Officially, some 2.5 million people had turned out for the first two days in Yorkshire. ASO’s Tour director Christian Prudhomme has bullishly speculated that those numbers might even be conservative.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised. And that’s without arguably the premier stage in Britain, London.