“What sport in the world demands the same focus and attention to all details, all the time, that the Tour de France does of its potential winners?
A Grand Prix? Nope, that’s over in two to three hours or so. A 15-round boxing match? Again, too short.
The closest I can imagine is a non-stop individual sea voyage lasting a similar time, but even then there are periods of monotony there, of peaceful seas and relaxation.
No, nothing on the planet compares with the Grand Tours and in particular the Tour de France in terms of the focus and concentration required – no traditional sporting event in any case.
These men are tough physically, but it all stems from the core of their being, from an inner steel that the normal man in the street will never comprehend.
Like Scott and Amundsen crossing frozen wastes, Cook setting off into uncharted waters and Hilary and Norgay Tenzing reaching the summit of Everest, these riders are driven by something else, something almost other.
It all makes no sense when considered rationally, and yet it all makes such absolute, perfect and beautiful sense in so many other ways.”
I take a look at the physical and mental strain of the Greatest Race on Earth here on The Roar.