Vive la Rest Day at the Tour de France ☕

That opening week of the Tour de France was just bonkers. A rest day at the Tour normally means boredom and and a strange feeling of emptiness for us here, but this year was different. Rest day number one was an opportunity for the whole cycling world to decompress and calm down after possibly the best opening week Grand Tour of racing we've ever seen.

We've taken this rare moment of tranquillité to put together a quick recap from Le Tour's crazy opening week. Handmade Cyclist, as always, has you covered with a curated selection of original art, ceramics, tees and gifts inspired by the biggest bike race in the world.

The Tour de France - Stage 1 to 9

Stage 1 - Romain Bardet was comfortably a Tour de France legend before starting this race: 2 podiums, 3 stage wins, a polka dot jersey and the hearts of every French cycling fan, he'd won a lot. Stage 1 would be the cherry on the icing of the cake. A brave 50km attack to pair up with his young team-mate before holding off a charging peloton by a matter of seconds to take the yellow jersey wasn't on our bingo cards, but we loved every second of it. 

Stage 2 - From a Frenchman at the twilight of his career, to one just starting. Kévin Vauquelin grabbed his breakthrough win on Stage 2 with a dominant breakaway ride, distancing his rivals on the final few climbs. As if back-to-back French winners wasn't enough, we also had the first punches thrown by our Superhero GC group with Tadej's late acceleration on San Luca.

Stage 3 - The first sprint stage didn't disappoint. Biniam Girmay won a hectic bunch kick to become the first Black cyclist to win at Le Tour and grabbed Intermarché - Wanty's first Tour win in the process. As Bini proudly exclaimed in his post-race interview, "It is our moment, it is our time. This win is for all Africa".

Stage 4 - Col du Galibier. The first mountain test came unfashionably early this year with the peloton being sent up the formidable Galibier just four days into the race. A brutal headwind couldn't stop UAE Team Emirates' mountain train and they launched Tadej into a final attack that distanced his main rival, Jonas Vingegaard. We were hiding behind pillows watching them descend in the wet as Pogacar took a convincing stage win. We also kept our eyes open long enough to see a certain Manx sprinter crawl over the mountains to make the time cut...

Stage 5 - I don't have the literary finesse to present this in words, so I'll do it in stats. 
Mark Cavendish: 39 years old
First TDF: 2007
First TDF win: 2008
Last TDF win: 2024, Stage 5
Total TDF stage wins: 35 (Record)
Time taken for our limited edition print to sell out: 10 hours

Stage 6 - It took six days for the Tour to deliver one of it's traditional "sprint transition stages"; a welcome relief from the madness that preceded and followed this stage. Groenewegen grabbed a spicy bunch sprint that saw his rival, Philipsen, relegated for deviation.

Stage 7 - The first of two TT battles this year was a lumpy 25km route that Remco used to show us more proof of his good form with a stage win. All four of our GC favourites, Roglic, Pogacar, Vingegaard and Evenepoel finished within 37 seconds of each other. Tadej might be in yellow, but this race is far from won.

Stage 8 - After seven stages of unique winners and teams, Bini was the first to double up at the Tour. A lumpy sprint day for the sprinters that could also climb is always an exciting watch. This win was somehow just as emotional as the first; everyone loves watching Bini on top form, fulfilling the potential we all knew was there after his epic Gent-Wevelgem win in '22. 

Stage 9 - Strade Bianche fused with the Tour de France? Yes please. Stage 9 was a gravel blockbuster with attacks being thrown by breakaway hopefuls, GC favourites and everyone in between. Remco and Tadej flexed their Classics muscles with multiple long range attacks, but the calm head of Jonas Vingegaard kept them in check and put an end to any crazy moves. The breakaway would eventually battle it out for the win with Turgis grabbing another emotional French win ahead of a promising Tom Pidcock performance.

That "quick recap" got out of hand, but that just speaks to how absolutely wild that first week was.

We hope you're ready for two more weeks of full-gas racing, the mountains are calling...


July 11, 2024 — Neil Wyatt