NOIRMOUTIER-EN-LÎLE, France (VN) — By the time the first stage of the Tour de France rolls around, the pros have already been through countless training rides and tedious press conferences. The journalists are harried and mostly smell terrible. It only gets worse as the Tour wears on. But the pros maintain an uncanny cool.
So comparing the faces of the pros at the beginning of the race to the faces at the end is perhaps the only way to figure out if the Tour has worn on them at all. They’re pros, after all, so they’re supposed to stay cool under pressure. (See: Peter Sagan after being ejected from the 2017 Tour de France.) They’re supposed to keep going even when they’ve just broken a bone or two. (See: Lawson Craddock after stage one of the 2018 Tour de France.) They’re supposed to be unflappable when the rest of the world is cheering for their failure. (See: Chris Froome as the entirety of France boos him at every turn.)
To maintain that perspective, take a look at the faces focused on day one of the 2018 Tour de France. Bookmark this page. Keep checking back to see how the faces draw downward, how they sweat, how they flirt with the gaunt parasite of calorie cravings. You can see them here now, and understand what three weeks in the July heat of France can do to a rider focused on the finish line. Some will make it; some won’t. But they all started, just like this.
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