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."
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.
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...
On Sunday, close to 7,500 female riders took part in the Rapha Women’s 100 across the globe. These numbers signify a worldwide shift in the perception of cycling and its role in many people’s lives, writes Kath Bicknell.
The Rapha Women’s 100 is about inspiring ladies all over the world to ride 100km on a chosen Sunday in July. A milestone for some, a new route or adventure for others, a community building exercise for all.
This year saw numbers almost double after last year’s inaugural event. Not only did 7,470 women register to ride in the Rapha Women’s 100, but over 320 organised rides took place across 40 countries.
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.