The Tour de France can seem such an overwhelmingly physical endeavour, and it is, but that's not to say the mind is bereft in a race like this. More often that not, in fact, it's the very thing that separates winning from losing, writes Anthony Tan.
Let's, for a moment, take away all the fawning, flattery and waxing lyrical we've seen and heard over the performances of Michael Rogers and Vincenzo Nibali in recent days at the Tour and drill down what they said - because when translated into everyday vernacular, it says quite a lot.
Rogers, Stage 16: "I knew that once I got to the bottom of the last climb (of the Port de Balès), then the race began for me."
One bad day. All Grand Tour riders have them. But it's how you ride on those bad days that determine how you fare across three weeks, more so than your good days, that define you, writes Anthony Tan.
'Did you think, though, that, "This might be an opportunity I might not be in ever again, second position in the Tour de France"?'
"I mean, I there last year, too, but...
Sometimes, you have to be man enough to admit the better man won, rather
than find excuses that do nothing but highlight your own failings,
writes Anthony Tan.
"In a swerve with 3k or 3.5k to go, (Thibaut) Pinot accidentally touched my gear (rear derailleur) with his front wheel. It didn't work well, it was jumping from one ring to another and I had to climb on a big gear, I was super stuck."
I'm going to call Alejandro Valverde out on this.
After their phenomenal performance of yesteryear, the clock is ticking for Orica-GreenEDGE to repeat the feat at the 2014 Tour de France, or at least do something similar. They need not look far for a solution, writes Anthony Tan.
Time is running out for Orica-GreenEDGE.
There may be nine stages remaining, but if you accept it would require a minor miracle for them to win one of the four big mountain stages with a hilltop finish, then they are left with just five to choose from.
The Tour is not over. Vincenzo Nibali has not yet won. Because so long as there's fight left in Richie Porte, there's still a contest, writes Anthony Tan.
Can you win the Tour de France this year?
"Oh, I mean, anything's possible, isn't it?"