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Sportily's thoughts on the Tour de France

The Tour de France is the most prestigious and gruelling cycling event in the world. 2023 is its 110th year, with the first week already showing an exhilarating display of athletic prowess, physical endurance and mental fortitude.

The whole event lasts 3 weeks and sees riders from 22 different teams competing over 19 stages, all seeking to come away with a rider in the coveted yellow jersey. 

The 2023 edition of the Tour de France showcased a meticulously crafted route, covering approximately 3,500 kilometres across diverse terrains. From the picturesque coastal roads to the towering mountain climbs, riders face a true test of skill and determination, with their bodies having to endure the demands of riding as fast as they can, for as long as they can. The route features iconic stages, including individual time trials, punishing mountain stages, and exciting sprints, captivating both riders and spectators alike. 

The Tour de France 2023 attracted a competitive lineup of professional cyclists from around the globe. Reigning champion, Jonas Vingegaard, sought to defend his title against fierce competition, including the likes of Tadej Pogańćar, Ben O'Connor, and Egan Bernal. Intense rivalries and tactical battles emerged as the race unfolded, making each stage a thrilling spectacle.  

Outside of fitness, the teams will all have different game plans in place to deal with the varying weather, mechanical issues, injuries, recovery times and their opponent’s tactics; all of which would have been meticulously planned and thought through by the team managers. Tactics have already proven to be an issue with Brit Mark Cavendish, who rides for Astana Qazaqstan Team, going the wrong way at a roundabout in stage 4.  

As easy as it looks on the TV, just getting to the start line of the TDF is an achievement, yet from there it only gets harder. The average person could not comprehend the ascents these athletes have to race up, let alone the speeds being averaged. In 2015, Rohan Dennis averaged just under 25mph to win Stage 1 of the TDF on a time trial stage. Earlier on in 2015, he had already broken the 1 hour time trial world record, which was later broken 4 times that year, with two of the records coming from British riders, Alex Dowsett and Bradley Wiggins.  

There are so many characteristics and values we at Sportily can take away from the Tour de France riders; their determination and commitment to succeed in the most awful conditions, under high levels of fatigue being one of them.

Instead of flying out to the Alps, our locations have been practising perseverance and understanding what it means to keep giving our best, even when we are tired. This has fitted in nicely with the Sportily Sports Day events that we are running in nearly 20 schools by the holidays.  

Like anything, the more you understand cycling, the more interesting you will find it. So why not take some time getting into the basics of things this year and maybe by 2024, you’ll be carefully selecting your riders for the Tour De France Fantasy Team?