The Grand Tour Files 2020: click here to buy in paperback or kindle e-book.
On one hand we had a crisis. Nothing less than a public health emergency. On the other, several dozen skinny blokes racing bikes to win a colourful t-shirt.
If you were tasked with designing an event to effectively propagate a virus further and wider across a continent it might well look like a Grand Tour. A thousand-strong caravan of riders, staff, journalists, liggers, and hangers-on moving from town to town, in and out of every hotel from Sicily, via Nice and Paris, to Madrid.
A spectacle to which people traditionally gather at the roadside, get as close as possible to each other, and bellow with open-mouthed saliva-spraying excitement.
The Grand Tour Files 2020 tells the story of a lunatic year. Most of us stopped making predictions early on when weird, unprecedented stuff was happening both on and off the bike. The sensible course of action just to sit back and let it be.
The Grand Tour wins of Tadej Pogacar and Tao Geoghegan-Hart raised some serious eyebrow. Primoz Roglic, at the Vuelta, less so. But the season was chock full of other highlights:Embed from Getty Images
Peter Sagan winning Stage 10 of the Giro, solo, for example, by simply pedalling faster and harder than several dozen of the world’s greatest bike riders. The appearance of a rainbow on the finishing straight, and Sagan’s wry, understated ‘remember me?’ celebration, reminding us that he’s one of the greatest of all the humans, and how could we ever have doubted him?Embed from Getty Images
Or what about Lancashire lad Hugh Carthy scaling the horrifying twenty-percent gradients of the Alto d’l’Angliru at the Vuelta Espana? Dropping the leaders on the final tortuous ramp, nailing the final kilometre to seal the biggest won of his pro career, and looking totally baffled as to what all the fuss was about. GLORIOUS!
The Grand Tour Files 2020 tells all these tales and more, of a season the like of which we (dear god…let’s hope) will never see again. From a suitable social distance, of course.