Why we must love the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish wins Stage 5 of the 2013 Tour de France from Nice to Marseille beating Peter Sagan and Andre Greiple
Mark Cavendish wins Stage 5 of the 2013 Tour de France from Nice to Marseille beating Peter Sagan and Andre Greiple
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Le Tour arrives in Sheffield this weekend and although cycling’s popularity in the UK is at an all-time high and many people are tipping this to be one of the greatest sporting events that our region has ever hosted, there are still some who remain to be convinced.

So for those who are wondering what all the fuss is about, here are five reasons - as if hearing Cote de Jenkin Road isn’t enough - why you should at least stick your head out the window when some of the world’s best athletes ride by.

Sheer endurance

It’s roughly 126 miles from Sheffield to Norwich - that’s some going in a car and you’re going to need a stop at a services and a stretch of your legs. Now imagine cycling that, only you’ve already done something similar the day before and you’ll do it again the following day...and almost every day for the next three weeks!

It’s not a marathon

Some who aren’t so well versed on how the event actually works, think it’s a straight race. What we will see in and around Sheffield is Stage Two and whoever wears the yellow jersey then, will be dependant on how they performed in the first stage. This makes each stage worth keeping an eye on.

The tactics

There’s a lot more to it than just hitting the road as fast as you can. The elements, the strengths of individuals and the make up of the stage will dictate how the riders take it on and it makes for an intruiging sporting spectacle.

Team Players

How many sports do you know where there are men or women whose job it is to help someone else win? The selflessness of the supporting cast can’t help but be admired as they fight the elements head on to make it easier for the leading lights, and also put pressure on the opponents which itself can lead to some pretty heated exchanges which add to the drama.

We’re not bad at it

Britain has become one of the best around in the cycling world and Chris Froome leads our challenge again. Alas he will, controversially be joined by just two more Brits - Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas - but Froome is one of the favourites and well worth throwing your weight behind. Sadly no Sir Bradley...but you can’t have everything.