This rest day was full of anticipation for the next five days of racing. Many commentators calling this the most open Tour probably since 1989.
Would Alaphilippe’s charisma fade as France’s maillot jaune hope only to be replaced by the mercurial Thibaut Pinot? Were Team Ineos a thing of the past along and would Geraint Thomas be usurped by the younger Egan Bernal, with the race moving into the high Pyrenees? Then what of the other riders in the top six on GC going quietly about their business, were they as serious as contenders as their times to Alaphilippe suggested?
The Tour is a bike race and a soap opera. There is all the gear and plenty of ‘oh no he won’t’ and ‘oh yes he will’. There are the riders you like to hiss at – or if you are a French supporter then you probably throw something which rhymes with hiss at Tour leaders – and the riders you like to cheer. The showman, like Sagan, and the quiet winners of the day, like Simon Yates. The glitz and glamour of famous people at the stage starts and finishes. The speed and the spills.
When the second rest day comes you know there is only a few days left of one of the greatest sports events in the world, so you better make the most of it.
What will you do in August?
No live stages, no highlight shows, no podcasts, no daily articles, a final review in the next cycling magazine, and like the Tour caravan itself, it all gets packed up until the same time next year.