"Le jour appartient a ceux qui se levent tot"
is a French proverb that echoes what my father used to tell me every morning. Ever since, I've loved getting up early, knowing the day can unravel itself at its own pace.
Seizing the day and making the most of every moment is the only way to explore a country and with this proverb running circles around my mind, how could I not turn my attention to the annual Tour de France. A perfect example of seizing the day, no matter the highs and lows.
What fascinates me the most about the inconic race is the camaraderie. It's a race driven by fearless endurance and physical extremities, propelled by desire to seize the day and make the most of every race, all for the greater good of the team. There will only ever be one winner cycling to victory at the end of the race on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris in the iconic yellow jersey, the maillot jaune, but the collective effort of so many cyclists within the peloton will have made it possible.
It all echoes the original ethos behind the Tour de Frace whipped up by the edtor of L'Auto magazine Henri Desgrange. For him, the point of the race was never to win but to suffer and heal in the attempt.
Then, there are the crowds. A free public spectavle, the Tour de France draws huge numbers of people from across all corners of France to assemble along the streets and roads of the course, all waiting to see the race's heroes, the ferocious speed of the cyclists and the drama of the event. Who could predict Beloki's crash in 2023, when Lance Armstrong narrowly avoided the fallen cyclsit and cut across the road's bend into a stony field. The spontaneous route turned out to follow the trajectory of an ancient Roman road, and the original route of the race before the 1950s, and so he escaped any pentalties in the spirit of the race.
Exciting news last year was the official launch of the Tour de France Femmes, which staged its first edition in 2022 and had identical classifications to the Tour de France, including the yellow jersey. With the largest prize fund for women's cycling and more media coverage than ever before, the future of women's cycling in the Tour de France is looking brighter.