What it's like to ride the Tour de France

When the credits roll on the Champs-Elysees, the winner takes the top billing, his name in foot-high letters, filling the screen. But the cast of supporting actors and crew is long and everyone has a role to play in creating the drama. Even those without a speaking part add something to the story.

Cycle Sport has asked some of those who have suffered and survived the great race to reflect on the parts they played. Some enjoyed a moment of great joy. For some it was the springboard to further success, for others a single glorious memory to cherish. And for others the Tour pushed them to their limits.

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Edward Pickering is a writer and journalist, editor of Pro Cycling and previous deputy editor of Cycle Sport. As well as contributing to Cycling Weekly, he has also written for the likes of the New York Times. His book, The Race Against Time, saw him shortlisted for Best New Writer at the British Sports Book Awards. A self-confessed 'fair weather cyclist', Pickering also enjoys running.