A predictable outcome in the end in Paris, yet a Tour de France to be savoured, especially for the French. Ironically, national interest in Le Tour from the French public is at its lowest for many years, perhaps a hangover from the dominance of Lance Armstrong in the 21st century and the lack of a French Tour winner for well over two decades. The riders and fans have been enduring what Graeme Fife refers to as a “crise morale” (see Rouleur no.12). Yet 2010 – the year where Mr. Armstrong takes a final floundering bow and is forced to remove his Livestrong jersey by A.S.O (he’s no Gérard Depardieu, after all) – is also the occasion where French riders stormed the race with some delightful attacking flair.
Sylvain Chavanel’s zesty escape to reclaim the yellow jersey on stage six, Thomas Voeckler attacking for victory on the Port de Balés wearing the French tricolore, Pierrick Fedrigo’s follow-up stage, and Anthony Charteau claiming the overall climber’s prize, all proving that the French can still ride with class. Not quite a revolution, but certainly a show of joie de vivre on two wheels.