There was never any doubt that 2020’s Tour de France was going to be like no other which had gone before it. Taking place almost entirely in September, with little racing beforehand for the riders to sharpen their form, set to unfold with limited fans on the route each day.
Of course, COVID19 was the backdrop for this year’s edition of cycling’s greatest event, but the race itself grew beyond the current concerns and delivered three weeks of drama to cement itself in the history books in its own right.
For PaceUp Media, it is a chance to see some of our clients on the sport’s biggest stage, as well as enjoying the most iconic race as lifelong fans. After all was said and done after 21 unpredictable stages, we sat down to pick some of our favourite moments from this unique edition of Le Tour de France.
Sam – Marc Hirschi
“No rider embodied the spirit of fighting for stage honours against the odds continually, no matter if outnumbered or outgunned, more so than Marc Hirschi. The performances of Hirschi were a brutal announcement of his prowess at the highest level of the sport for many, but from our time working closely with Team Sunweb, we were confident this day was coming soon enough for the gifted Swiss rider.”
“Just missing out to the recently crowned world champion on Stage 2 was a powerful opening statement of intent, followed by a phenomenal solo attack on Stage 9 which was only extinguished by the general classification big guns, though still sprinting home for third place.”
“However, it was the profile of Stage 12 which had Marc Hirschi’s destiny etched into the parcours, where a perfectly timed attack saw him shake off his fellow escapees with ease and power to victory solo.”
Tom – Stage 16 Lennard Kämna
“Though there had been limited racing in 2020 due to COVID19, the Critérium du Dauphiné allowed us a glimpse of what to expect from a clutch of riders at Le Tour de France, with the form of Lennard Kämna catching the eye after winning the gruelling stage from Ugine to Megève. During lockdown, PaceUp Media ran a series of social media workshops with professional riders, where we got to know plenty of the peloton’s most highly rated youngsters; including Lennard.”
“It soon became clear that there was an abundance of excitement for the belated season ahead, with the belief that a statement performance could be on the way from Lennard at Le Tour de France. Having seen him leading the charge for BORA-Hansgrohe amongst the breakaways, including being edged out for the win on Stage 13, it certainly looked like something special could happen.”
“Victory proved to be lying in wait on the road from La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans, featuring some truly indomitable ascents to be conquered en route to glory, but Lennard Kämna was more than equal to it. He took the stage in excess of a minute back to his chasers, dispatching his rivals with enviable ease and firmly announced his arrival at cycling’s top table with the first win of what will be many more to come.”
Ben – Stage 10 Sam Bennett
“For quite some time at Le Tour de France the battle for the green jersey has been a forgone conclusion, where the unstoppable consistency of Peter Sagan proves a silver bullet against the pure sprinters, who simply cannot match his ability to amass points on such a variety of stages. This year proved a contrast however, on a polarising route to Paris which provided few flat stages for the sprinters and even fewer intermediate stages for Peter Sagan to dominate. Instead it looked like we were going to see the two fastest men in the race duke it out for the honours, between Caleb Ewan and Sam Bennett.”
“Having watched Bennett since leaving his role as leadout man at BORA-Hansgrohe for Peter Sagan, there is no denying his immense turn of pace and rightful place amongst the ranks of the fastest men in the bunch. An elusive Tour de France stage win was top of the wishlist, but after an opening week which only produced top 5 placings, it looked like Bennett may never get off the mark.”
“Stage 10 looked tailor made for Bennett, which surely only added to the pressure, knowing that a better opportunity to take a stage was unlikely to be afforded to him; let alone the need to reignite his green jersey campaign. Having previously mistimed his sprints in the opening week, the Irishman demonstrated greater patience against a strong headwind, crossing the line barely a tyre’s width ahead of Ewan.”
“He was sure at first, but then doubtful of his success, awaiting confirmation from the team radio that he had indeed broken his duck and set himself on course for his first green jersey. An immense release of pressure and frustration poured forth, the emotion of justifying his belief in himself and that invested by the team; a truly special moment.”
Burt – Stage 20 Tadej Pogačar
“Three stage wins at your debut Vuelta a España, all of which upon fearsome stage profiles, and a third place finish on the final podium should probably confirm your talent to the world. Yet Tadej Pogačar still arrived at his first Tour de France as an outsider, despite winning a national time trial championship and finishing just outside the top ten of two monuments ahead of the race start.”
“As a result of our work with Scicon Sports, we have kept a close eye upon the immensely talented Slovenian, though he still blew our expectations out of the water. Having lost time in the crosswinds early on, many made the assumption that the goal was now stage wins, a conclusion which will now haunt his rivals. This undoubtedly gave him greater freedom once the race reached the mountains, where he reeled back his losses and collected a couple of stage victories in the process.”
“He arrived on the penultimate day’s mountain time trial 57 seconds down on his compatriot Primož Roglič, who he defeated in the Slovenian national championship earlier in the summer. For those who had watched him since last year’s Veulta a España, there was an understanding that this could be a close run affair, yet it would take more than a good day from Pogačar to win the yellow jersey. As the deficit on the road continued to evaporate up the final climb of 2020’s Tour de France, a lead began to build for Pogačar and it became clear that Roglič was suffering his only bad day of the three weeks when the greatest damage could be dealt – the rest is history.”