Chasing the dream: A Tour like no other

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Chasing the dream: A Tour like no other

Photographs by Getty Images | Jared & Ashley Gruber

by Murray Buster

Riding with the EF Pro Cycling team in the 2020 Tour de France – our photo diary.

The 2020 Tour de France almost didn’t happen, but through sheer perseverance the world’s biggest sporting event was another for the history books. Each team battling soul-destroying stages and deploying artistic team tactics, and all for the glory of wearing the famous Yellow Jersey on that final day in Paris.

Here, we enjoy exclusive access – and take a look back, in pictures - at the 2020 Tour de France and one of the most flamboyant teams in the peloton – EF Pro Cycling – with a cast of the most talented and characterful riders in cycling. We’re proud to be part of this incredible team and to see our bikes at the front.

One final bike wash in getting ready for the big show – 21 stages over 2,000 grueling miles, the world’s finest cyclists and support crews behind them all fighting for supremacy in the mountains, valleys and cities around France.

The first stage of the Tour de France is always filled with nerves as anxious riders look to make the most of their chances to secure the storied Maillot Jaune – the yellow race leader’s jersey – the 2020 Tour was no different. Torrential rain made for very slippery roads resulting in many crashes throughout the stage – not the best way to start a three-week race!

The unsung hero of every Grand Tour roster is the domestics who makes sure the team leaders are fueled during each stage. The team’s dark-horse rider Dani Martinez suffered two crashes and would lose three minutes on the day, effectively ending his hopes for a podium – his compatriot, Sergio Higuita, finished 5th on the stage and moved into 4th overall.

There are no easy days in the Tour de France which means some days you are chasing the peloton from the caravan.

The toughest start to a Tour de France in recent memory put mountain stages front-and-center in the first week.  Thanks to a strong team of climbers and intelligent riding, EF Pro Cycling took the lead in the team classification and Martinez worked to get back on terms with the leaders of the race.

After a very fast stage four the team effort was on display as EF Pro Cycling donned the yellow helmets which denote the leaders of the Team Classification.   

Tour first-timer, Nielson Powless, went out in the break to celebrate his birthday, finishing 4th on the stage as a hard-earned gift to himself.

A deceptively difficult 168 km/101-mile stage gripped at fatigued legs after a solid first week of racing.

Speed, skill, and a boatload of confidence – all are required by riders in mountain descents. And EF Pro Cycling’s Neilson Powless puts those skill on display in the break-away.

The GC favorites began to separate themselves from the rest as the race returns to the climbs with another test in the Pyrenees.

A moment to relax – although there’s never an off-switch on the Tour – as the riders headed out for a short and easy team ride.

An easy day on paper doesn’t mean an easy race day. Coastal winds buffeted the peloton and split the group.

A moment to breathe allows a moment to chat with another flat stage from Chatelaillon-Plage to Pointers.

Teamwork kept EF’s riders safe and sound on the Tour’s longest stage with 218km/167-miles of rolling hills over the route for stage 12.

The stage was set for EF Pro Cycling to put together a masterclass in team tactics with seven categorized climbs in a very difficult stage 13. The team set up Dani Martinez to power his way to a textbook win. See you at the top!

Stage 14 was another day in yellow helmets as the team was energized by Dani’s stage win.

Finding moments to smile through everything as EF Pro Cycling built more momentum for the team. Rigo put in a hard day’s work to move into third overall. 

A meeting of the minds – the second rest day allowed for a moment to focus on life outside the race. 

All in a day’s work. EF team staff have some of the longest days of anyone on the Tour. Race action in stage 16 saw Neilson Powless and Alberto Bettiol go out on the breakaway to try and grab stage glory.

The Queen stage with 170km / 102 miles – this pushed riders to the absolute limit. The highest climb in the year’s Tour that greeted the riders at the finish ensured that nothing was left in the tank after a grueling day.

The final day in the mountains from Mèribel to La Roche-Sur-Foron, complete with five catagorized climbs that put the final general classification podium in sharper focus.

A view from the small villages and towns across France who dress-up the town and come out to support the riders as the Tour rolls by at full speed.

Time Trial – and one more climb for the riders – this stage is a solo race against the clock where Dani Martinez finished eleventh and teammate Rigoberto Uran came home in tenth and secured his top ten overall in General Classification.

La Fin! The ceremonious arrival in Paris as the peloton raced around the Champs Elysées. 2020 has been one of the most challenging Tours in memory and the riders had a reason to celebrate.

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