On the first day of rest of the 2018 Tour de France I could not believe how long the race had felt and how much to drive. It is a trick that all travel plays, in which one forgets in the middle of the thing the truth, which is always visible in hindsight – that one wishes in the end, there would be more.
This year's tour was my favorite I've reported on this race. Which admittedly is not very long. I traveled with and reported on the last nine stages of the 2014 tour and wrote about it for this website and the memories of that the journey is special and eternal. But no tour at this time was as compelling as a race like this one.
There is one thing to say: this is perhaps the most perfect victory I've ever seen in a sport. Geraint Thomas is an imperfect rider, yet he was immaculate for three weeks. There was no movement he could not cover, no sprint for which he was not a game, and above all, he was upright and even, even when the chaos broke out around him.
Thomas is one of the biggest Shlimazs of cycling, someone haunted by misfortune on the biggest stages. That he was the one who won so is the greatest miracle of all. The biggest achievement of his yellow jersey was the refutation of the idea that cycling gods exist and that there are some riders who do not lie.
Here are the best and worst things from three weeks in France:
The Best: Friendship
Chris Froome bravely tried to win the Giro d & # 39; Italia as the first man and the Tour de France in the same year since Marco Pantani in 1998. Then he proved why nobody has done it since. Even the four-time yellow jersey winner had no legs and cracked on the 17th stage and the brutal climb to Saint-Lary-Soulan forever.
And yet, he really never seemed to be downcast, not even stealing from his own teammate, what seems to be his right to the yellow jersey. When it became clear that Thomas, and not him, was the best chance for Team Sky to win the tour, Froome even said that he would drive for Thomas and that he was happy with a Sky driver in Paris at the top the podium
Thomas rode for six tours in the service of Froome. It should come as no surprise that Froome is so gracious. And yet this sport has led us to expect drama and fighting. We have seen seemingly irreconcilable relationships fall apart before our eyes. We saw Froome vs. Thomas in the hope of creating delicious palace intrigues.
It never happened because, well, Froome and Thomas seem like good guys.
The Worst: Everything Else About Team Sky
Chris Fontecchio has already demonstrated the beauty of Sky & # 39; s teamwork. Watching the team work together and break the will of their competitors is breathtaking, though it can be frustrating at times.
This tour could even be as good for the evil realm of cycling, if not for everything else about the team.  Doping allegations have been chasing the team since the days of Sir Bradley Wiggins, and the 2018 Tour began with Froome relieved of his Salbutamol bankruptcy a few days before the start of the tour. The decision stank of the influence of the money. And if Froome actually took a normal dose of asthma medication at the end of Vuelta a España 2017, no one could be prepared to give the team the benefit of doubt, according to team boss Dave Brailsford's instructions.
The longtime Sky director accused UCI president David Lappartient of having a "French mayor" mentality, fueling the already-charged French spectators along the street. Nobody involved in the Salbutamol case looks good – not Sky, not Froome, not UCI, nobody – but Brailsford's moaning was a particularly bad look.
He created an even more dangerous atmosphere for his drivers and isolated his team in public perception despite all the great efforts of its drivers.
The Best: The Indestructibility of Bird Lovers
Philippe Gilbert not only got up and rode on after he went over a teakettle into a ravine on a steep descent, he did it with a broken one  Kneecap
Meanwhile, Peter Sagan had to grind his teeth until the end of the tour, where he had to suffer a hard crash on the 17th stage. The best and hardest driver in the world, Stage 19's Monster Stage "The worst day of my life on the bike."
The winner of the tour's unofficial Strongman competition must be Lawson Craddock. The 26-year-old Houstoner suffered a shoulder injury at Stage 1 and somehow ended the tour. This also means that he hops over the cobblestones of Stage 9.
The last place rider of the tour was by far the bravest.
The Worst: The Physical Fragility of Bird People
This is really just a lawsuit for Richie Porte. The Australian is the most notorious unlucky person on the tour, as he already tumbled out of the tour on the cobblestone pavement before the cobblestones began . Porte, for the umpteenth year, was a favorite to win the yellow jersey. And for the umpteenth year he did not even come to Paris.
It's a mystery to me how someone like Sagan bullied the chaos of the tour and Porte is so fragile. Cyclists come in all shapes and sizes, but let's just say that none of them will ever be linebackers.
However, surviving accidents are a big part of cycling, and the ability to ascend from them will forever be an important, if inexplicable, physical asset.
The Best: TRACTORS
Tractor art is indeed an art as described by @nyvelocity excellent:
Truly a tradition that is different from all others.
The Worst: The Fans
Yes, the adrenaline rushes that you get when you climb manic steep mountains while the spectators shrill screaming from their faces is something. It is one of the countless things that sets cycling apart from all other sports on earth.
But this adrenaline rush is not worth the safety of the drivers. Vincenzo Nibali broke his collarbone as he drove through the clouds of smoke on Alpe d & # 39; Huez and held his handlebar to a camera strap he could not see:
But at least that was an accident. There's no excuse – no, zero, abso-fucking-lutely zip – to knock a rider off his bike, as a spectator Froome did:
Tour riders have enough to worry about on the road without a donkey attacking them. I wish this aspect of cycling could change more than anything else. But how do I have no idea. I'm sure there's a lot more the Tour organizers, ASO, can do, but no one can properly monitor 2,100 miles of the road.
The Best: Racers
Grand Tour races have been criticized in the recent past for being robotic. With the advent of earplugs and instant power data, there was a lament over the death of instinctive attacks and the deliberation of Bernard Hinault.
This complaint was always a bit too loud. The poster boy for the power meter era is Froome, and yet he has always been a bolder driver than people want to blame.
Still, in 2018 it was nice to see those long, daring attacks once again. Dan Martin was a deserved winner of the Most Combative Award, and has made good on his promise to complete the tour like 21 one-day races.
My favorite attack was an unfortunate one. On the 12th stage, Steven Kruijswijk forced himself out of a breakaway on the Col de la Croix de Fer and with his lonely hope for a stage win against Alpe d & # 39; Huez prevailed. It would have been well deserved after the Dutchman was stripped of a Giro d & # 39; Italia victory because of an accident in 2016.
He was caught by a group of general classics 3.5 kilometers from the finish, but I hope the legend of this effort never dies.
The Worst: Flat Stages
Stage 7 was perhaps the most boring touring stage I've ever seen. Sprints are fine, but flat stadiums suck. Let's go on.
The Best: Cobblestone
Cobblestone is exquisite. The Ardennes are mysterious and beautiful, and the challenge of staying upright on rugged cliffs is unique and yet an integral part of the sport. If cobblestones were part of the Tour de France every year, I would be thrilled.
The worst: cobblestones
And yet … I understand the argument against them. Bernard Hinault once described Paris-Roubaix as a "bullshit", although he towered over pavé . And this year it seemed, at least as far as the yellow jersey was concerned, that drivers lost time only through bad luck. Last year's second overall finisher, Rigoberto Uran, was the biggest loser and nearly two minutes late due to a late crash, forcing him to finish the race.
Cobbles could be an important part of cycling, but tour winners are increasingly smaller, for the Parcours unsuitable climbing. Chaos in the tour can be fun, but if cobblestones make chaos for the sake of chaos during the tour, and if that's a good thing, I'm not sure yet.
Best of all: Peter Sagan and Julian Ala-f-ing-philippe
Cycling can be a dull sport, especially for the uninitiated. No one has done more to make the race more fun than the winners of the green and polka-dot jerseys.
Sagan is simply the best talent in the world. And he was at the head of every impersonal mountain stage, battling against every goal, coming home with two stage wins and 10 top 10 stages. It is a pity that the young Colombian Fernando Gaviria was forced out of the race due to a time cut – the young Sprinter was to make the points competition exciting again in the next few years – but Sagan was still great.
Alaphilippe gave the King of the Mountains competition more importance and style than any driver of the recent past. He drove a perfect mountaineering campaign, entered every Big Mountain escape, and beat back all comers, usually with a smile on their faces:
One of the best moments of the tour was consoling Adam Yates on the 17th stage, Yates slipped on a steep descent to lose the stage to Alaphilippe, who won his second leg of the tour.
I can not wait for Alaphilippe to evolve as a driver and maybe the climbing arts lays out in the direction of a yellow jersey campaign.
A chaotic Phase 16 began with a peasant protest that was disbanded by the police, but not before they accidentally spattered the field with pepper.
Tuesday was the 16th stage of the Tour de France interrupted by a protest from local farmers.
– NBC Sports (@NBCSports) July 24, 2018
But even that faded in comparison to the cop, who somehow confused Chris Froome – That's the four-time Yellow Jersey winner Chris Froome – for a crazy fan and shoved him off the wheel.
Best: Tour de France spokesman
I listened to NBC by Robbie McEwen and Matthew Keenan six hours a day Sports Gold for 21 stages, and somehow not only 1) never go out to say things, but also 2) somehow never lose their enthusiasm.
I can not talk for five minutes in a 30-minute conversation and feel physically and emotionally drained. I can not say that much of what they said contained much substance, but I enjoyed it. Chapeau to her efforts. I can not wait to do it again next year.