WITH my body still recovering from last week’s ride with Ed Clancy, this week was a week of good days and other days where my legs refused to work. 

One man who I know wasn’t experiencing similar issues was Tom Pidcock. 

The Olympic Mountain bike champion and World cycle cross champion captured one of sports biggest prizes at the Tour de France.  

On what was set as one of the hardest stages of the Tour de France at this year’s race, Pidcock gave a master class in descending.

Hitting speeds of over 100km an hour as he navigated the tight corners, the Olympic mountain bike champion was simply on another level.  

As a schoolboy Pidcock watched the Tour when it departed from Yorkshire and now the youngster who is riding in his first Tour de France just became the youngest ever rider to win on l’Alpe d’Huez. 

At 13.8km and an average gradient of 8%, Alpe d’huez is one of the most iconic climbs in the tour, and in this week’s stage it came at the end of a 12th stage of the race which lasted a punishing 161km. 

I guess if you’re going to win a stage then winning on Alpe d’Huez is a special one to win on.  

In a breakaway which saw Chris Froome back in the thrilling form we cycling fans have not seen since a crash which would have seen most people never riding again, Froome has fought back.

He proved many of his critics wrong as he cycled himself onto the podium in stage 12. 

I can’t imagine what must have been going through Froome’s mind as he held Pidcock’s wheel on the descents. 

To have the confidence to let the bike go at those speeds after a crash that almost killed him is incredible.

Okay, the four-time winner of the Tour de France admitted to backing off slightly as the speeds were hitting over 100km an hour, but Froome gave us all a lesson on mental strength and perseverance that transcends sport.  

This year’s Tour has given us stories which inspire us and show that the human is capable of so much. 

In the first week we saw the return of Fabio Jakobsen, the Dutch rider who was selected in front of Mark Cavendish.

It was a decision which was seen by many as the wrong move by the Quickstep team. 

That still felt like the wrong move as you can never write Cavendish off from winning a stage and in doing so taking the record for most stage wins. 

But we can’t grudge Jakobsen the slot. Like Froome the Dutch rider was involved in a crash which almost cost him his life.

It was in the Tour of Poland in 2020 when he was forced into the barriers by Dylan Groenewegen in the final sprint when Dylan deviated from his line.

The resultant crash left Jakobsen in a life-threatening situation, and he was put into an induced coma. 

But amazingly Jakobsen was back racing in 2021, and then winning stage 2 of this years Tour. 

Like Froome, he displayed the remarkable mental strength that athletes can possess that transcends their sport.  

As if that wasn’t enough of a story, stage three, Groenewegen took the win - putting the tin lid in a mentally tough few years which saw the rider getting death threats after causing that very same crash in 2020. 

It is safe to say that this years Tour de France has given not some gripping moments - whether you are a diehard or someone who has simply happened to turn on the tv to watch.  

With three British riders in the top ten in the general classification, it will be Pidcock’s win on stage 12 that will inspire another generation of riders - just like he was inspired in Yorkshire as a schoolboy. 

As for me, seeing both Froome and Jakobsen back racing at this level is what makes sport so special. 

Seeing two athletes refusing to give up on what they are passionate about no matter what adversity they faced, and knowing first-hand the work that goes into going from a hospital bed to getting back on a bike, having these guys riding at this level in this year’s tour is nothing short of amazing.