Tour de France: return to former glory?

Egan Bernal has won the Tour de France. The 22-year-old is the first Colombian overall winner of the race. But that's not the only reason why commentators are so enthusiastic about this year's Tour.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

The magic is back

That France is once again embracing the Tour de France is above all thanks to the two cyclists Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot, NRC Handelsblad comments:

“With their unexpected performances they have managed to reconcile the French with the most important cycling event of the year - their bicycle race. Doping, or the suspicion of doping, professionalism and above all the predictability this professionalism causes had significantly dampened French enthusiasm in recent years. ... Chauvinism? Of course. We Dutch also find that the Tour de France regains its 'magie' when the Dutch cyclists are successful. But that's only part of the reason. In this year's Tour there was very little talk of 'the whole science of professional cycling which threatens to dehumanise the race', as L'Équipe put it.”

Pravda (SK) /

What we've been waiting for for years

Pravda is delighted with the Tour in general and the Slovak Peter Sagan's performance in particular:

“Wow, what an event! Thrilling from start to finish. This is what we've been waiting for for years now. Tour founder Henri Desgrange would only have been worried about the green jersey. Peter Sagan so dominated the sprint stages that it was almost unfair to the other cyclists. No one could match the Tourminator this year. No cyclist has ever brought seven green jerseys back to Paris. If anyone can break this fantastic record it's Sagan - a year from now.”

Libération (FR) /

The Tour is back

The Tour de France has recovered from the doping scandals of the past, Libération is pleased to observe:

“After the Festina affair and after Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven titles on doping charges, it was clear that the Tour had lost its way. The giants of the road were ethical dwarfs, miserable cheats, propelling themselves to the top of the rankings through the power of the syringe. Doping, the phantom of the peloton, decimated the winners and cast its shadow over every breakaway group. Why should anyone get excited about rigged performances when who got to wear the yellow tricot was determined by crooked medics. That has all gone this year. And so we begin to dream of an epic and clean finale in the hope that the magic is not suddenly destroyed by someone testing positive.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

A true epic

The Tour de France has the nation enthralled, writes an ecstatic Le Figaro about the world's most famous bike race:

“It is the last French epic. Every summer, three weeks long. ... People line the roads across thousands of kilometres, a human tide washes around the gladiators, carrying them upwards to the peaks. ... From Belfort to Albi, from Tourmalet to Galibier, France unfolds like a handkerchief to cheer on its brave fighters. It is the France of modest people, fans. They believe in the beauty of the gesture, the nobility of effort, the greatness of man. This year, two of their compatriots, Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot, are giving them hopes of reaching the moon. Panache, audacity, character: truly something to celebrate.”