Perry’s Tour diary: Stage 21 – Rambouillet to Paris

The Tour finished yesterday in Paris and I have to say that the annual post-Tour blues have kicked in. To be honest, it actually starts during the last stage because you start thinking ‘oh no, I’ve got to wait another year until this all happens again’.

Working on the Tour is a great thing to do, but it’s quite hard going as well. You’re travelling so much and you don’t get much sleep, because you’re in the car for half the day, but it’s still a massive buzz. For example, what happened on the Iseran stage – everyone in the Zone Technique was dumbfounded, but it was incredibly exciting, and being there on the ground when something like that happens is quite an experience.

Bernal has been a sensation but Caleb Ewan was seriously impressive. He won three stages on his first Tour de France! It was quite sad when he left Mitchelton-Scott, because he’s an Aussie and that’s an Australian team and he looked at home there, especially watching the team’s Backstage Pass videos it was clear he was an integral part of the team.

But he went to Lotto Soudal, got a place in the Tour de France and won three stages in quite spectacular fashion. In my eyes he’s the best sprinter in the world at the minute, just about pipping Elia Viviani to that post. Consistency is key to winning the green jersey – Sagan only won the one stage but kept going for the points. I can see Ewan getting the green jersey once Sagan is done.

Sagan looks a bit bored at the minute, he makes it look so easy. Maybe he needs another challenge. He’s reached the pinnacle of what he can do as that type of cyclist. He’s not going to win in a flat out sprint against Ewan or Dylan Groenewegen because he doesn’t have that top-end speed but he’s the highest-paid cyclist so where else is there to go?

Romain Bardet wasn’t particularly good this year. In the past we’ve seen him on the podium and even though he won the polka dot jersey this time, it was still a disappointing Tour for him. Another disappointment was not seeing Julian Alaphilippe in the top three because I think he deserved it and, of course, the injury to Thibaut Pinot and him having to withdraw.

Alaphilippe, for me, was the rider of the Tour. Even though Bernal won it, Alaphilippe doing what he did, mostly on his own, and still coming fifth was one of the most outstanding rides I have ever seen in the Tour de France.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying he shouldn’t concentrate on being a GC rider but I disagree. He could be one of the greats with a decent team around him. He’s great in the Classics but I would love to see him win a Grand Tour and I am sure he could do it.

In terms of surprises, Emanuel Buchmann did remarkably well, again, considering he didn’t really have a team around him. The Bora team is built around Sagan and for him to do what he did was outstanding.

You also have to mention Egan Bernal. He’s 22-years-old and has only done two Grand Tours. He hasn’t won a stage in a Grand Tour but he’s won the Tour de France which is quite a remarkable record really. He’s going to win five Tours very quickly and, theoretically, he can do that by the time he is 26.

The one thing I’d be wary about, as I said yesterday, is him burning out. But I’m sure Dave Brailsford and his staff will keep his eye on that. I think he’s the best talent we’ve seen in cycling for a very long time. Merckx and Anquetil were both a similar age when they won their first Grand Tour and he could definitely be up there with them.

Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov are very promising, but I think they’re going to be later developers like Geraint, but with Bernal, he’s a package and he’s already there.

Earlier in the day, I was lucky enough to ride around the Champs Elysees a few times, thanks to friends at POC Sports and EF Education First. I borrowed a very sexy Cannondale SuperSix EVO from the team and pretended to be Geraint/Cav/Wiggo/Cadel/Bettiol/Quinziato etc. for about an hour. I am an incredibly lucky bastard.

It’s back to the day job now for me. I’m not going to do anything today, I’m going to spend some time with my wife and my little boy. But tomorrow I’ll get the guitar out of its case and start playing again.

I’ve got some recording to do with my band Pendulum, but, then again I might apply for the job of general manager at Movistar or Jumbo Visma because those teams need a kick up the arse!

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