If you’re missing the Tour de France already, imagine what it’s like for the riders. Maybe the last three weeks saw you adjust your routine around TV broadcasts, your reading habits changed and even colleagues at work might have talked cycling.
But for the last three weeks the riders in the bunch things were even more different. They awoke to find breakfast waiting for them. They emerged from their hotels to find people asking for autographs. They pedalled past an estimated 12 million people who waited to applaud them. They crossed the finish line to find journalists ready to interview them. They found team helpers on hand to feed them, provide fresh clothes and even give them a massage. It wasn’t easy but all they had to do was race.
Today they’ll make their way home. A few will find their lives change, Cadel Evans will be a far more recognisable figure, within France Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland will be in demand. But for most the changes are more mundane. FDJ’s “Super Combative” rider Jérémy Roy writes in L’Equipe that:
“from one day to the next the bubble bursts, you rediscover the routine of the ordinary person. Opening letters, paying bills, cooking, clearig the table, doing the washing, going shopping“
From Super Combative to Super Dad, many will enjoy being home and can take satisfaction from finishing the world’s biggest bike race, from first to last everyone has something to be proud about. But it’s a change going from three weeks of being applauded to being a man-with-a-weird-suntan in the supermarket, with white eyes and stripes from the sunglasses and helmets. Just as fans of the race might have got used to the routines and action, many riders and team staff will feel at a bit of a loss today.