This has been Britain’s greatest ever Tour de France, with more wins than any other nation thanks to Mark Cavendish and fourth overall courtesy of Bradley Wiggins.
Cav’s six stage victories exceeds all expectations, but Wiggo’s efforts, particularly his ride on the Ventoux, still defy belief.
Less than a month ago we were pinning our hopes on Wiggins winning the opening time trial as his best shot of taking the yellow jersey. He finished third but instead of fading away as soon as the serious climbing began, he stayed in contention throughout, never falling lower than sixth and right up until the penultimate day he was still only 15 seconds away from a place on the podium.
We were all glued to the screen for Saturday’s stage, willing Bradley on as he clung to Lance Armstrong and Frank Schleck on the upper slopes of Ventoux. Twice he was dropped in the final four kilometres, but he fought back both times. With two to go, the relentless pace proved too much and our man was dropped. He didn’t panic, he stuck to his task and struggled in with three seconds still in hand over Frank Schleck in the overall standings. What a ride.
And then Cav signed off in such spectacular style on Sunday on the Champs-Élysées. We’re getting pretty used to seeing Mark win bunch sprints, but this one really was quite special. There simply wasn’t any contest and with his lead-out man Mark Renshaw getting second it was the perfect ending to a fantastic Tour.