The Tour de France is over. The Greipel sprints, Quintana climbs and the strange enjoyment we glean from watching Froome awkwardly pedal his way to the maillot jaune came to an end this Sunday in Paris.
Yeah, it's a total bummer.
The Tour de France amounts to three weeks of cycling nirvana. And once it's complete, the party-is-over syndrome can quickly take hold of any cycling fan. That's why we're here: to taper off your withdrawals with a steady dose of continued Tour de France coverage.
No, we can't provide the loquacious, witty insights of Bob Role and Phil Liggett, but that won't stop us from trying. Below, relive the beauty, heartache and grueling majesty of this sport and marvel at every competitor's amazing accomplishment: finishing the Tour de France.
Stage 11 of 24
A mere six seconds separated Fabian Cancellara from the Tour's first rider to don yellow, Rohan Dennis. For time trial specialists, this was supposed to be their sole opportunity to taste glory at this year's tour – the short, 13.8K course was this year's only time trail.
Stage 22 of 24
Coastal winds tore the peloton apart, and Andre Greipel bested a deep sprinting field to claim the stage victory. Meanwhile, Cancellara's third-place finish was enough to force the maillot jaune to exchange hands. So much for the first stage being a time trial specialist's last chance at glory...
Stage 33 of 24
Two horrific crashes forced the race to stop temporarily at the foot of the Tour's first climb, the Cote de Bohisseau. One of the crash's many victims included race leader Cancellara, who rode to the stage's finish despite a broken back. He would later announce his grim prognosis and abandon the Tour.
Stage 44 of 24
Traversing the cobbles always creates drama. The jarring ride is grueling, dangerous and unpredictable. This stage didn't disappoint.
While the riders escaped the cobbles relatively unscathed, the yellow jersey showed its fickle nature yet again. After coming up just short of the maillot jaune the past three days, Tony Martin broke away in the final kilometers to take the stage and the lead in the overall classification. This would mark three straight days of different race leaders.
Stage 55 of 24
Greipel proved himself the strongest sprinter in the field, picking up his second stage victory and remaining undefeated in sprint finishes thus far. The German has now racked up nine stage victories between 2011 and 2015 at the Tour.
Stage 66 of 24
It was a bittersweet day for the Etixx-Quick Step team. The team captured their second stage victory with an impressive acceleration by Zdenek Stybar. But a few hundred yards behind his celebration at finish line, his teammate, and current race leader, Tony Martin, sat on the curb, clutching his collarbone. With the help of his teammates, Martin would return to his saddle and finish the stage, but his Tour was officially over.
Stage 77 of 24
The seventh stage opened with Eritrean cyclist Daniel Teklehaimanot draped in red polka dots, making the first black African to race in the Tour the leader of the King of the Mountains points classification. His team, MTN-Qhubeka, a wild card selection to join the other 21 teams in France, also became the first African-registered team to compete in the Tour.
Stage 88 of 24
Traversing the beautiful French countryside and small villages along the way, one can get entranced with the beauty of the sport and the place.
A short climb to the finish was enough to give France its first victory at this year's tour. Alexis Vuillermoz counter-attacked overall leader Chris Froome 1K from the finish, crossing first and claiming a stage victory for the home crowd.
Stage 99 of 24
Pre-race chatter suggested Colombian climber Nairo Quintana's chances at the GC could be undone by the two time trials. The team time trial requires power, geometry and synchronicity for success, and Movistar displayed all of the above after finishing a mere five seconds behind winner BMC.
Rest Day10 of 24
Stage 7 winner Mark Cavendish catching some much-needed shut-eye.
Stage 1011 of 24
Crossing the line first while wearing the maillot jaune is like playing the final round of the Masters while wearing the green jacket. It's a flashy, booming statement of dominance.
Entering the Pyrenees, the triple-headed snake of Team Sky came out of the woodwork. Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas led Chris Froome to a statement victory, gaining significant time on all his competitors and establishing himself as the man to beat.
Stage 1112 of 24
Mountains and hills are where Peter Sagan racks up the points for the sprint classification. After stage 11, a stage that traversed the steep Pyrenees, the three-time sprint classification winner returned to the green jersey and would never relinquish it. Despite his successes, the Slovak sprinter has not won a stage at the Tour in more than two years.
Stage 1213 of 24
Stormy conditions greeted riders on the difficult climb up Port de Lers, a welcome climate change that sprung rejuvenation in the field. With his rain-soaked cycling jersey, now transparent, Joaquim Rodriguez claimed his second stage victory at this year's tour.
Stage 1314 of 24
Greg Van Avermaet took the stage victory, surprisingly defeating sprinter and green jersey wearer Peter Sagan in a, well, sprint. It marked the Belgian cyclist's first stage victory at the Tour. He would later drop out to be at home for the birth of his first child.
Stage 1415 of 24
Whether it's destiny or fate or some higher force at play, certain things seem to fall into place. Celebrating Mandela Day, MTN-Qhubeka, the first African team to race across France, wore orange helmets, and team member Stephen Cummings won the stage. The victory was a cathartic, joyful experience for all involved.
Stage 1516 of 24
In the last hundred yards of Stage 15, few have seen someone sprint as hard as second-place finisher John Degenkolb, a cycling veteran with a single accomplishment absent from his impressive resume: a stage victory at the Tour de France. His exhaustion and, ultimately, disappointment are evident as he collapses to the ground. But the unrelenting race carries on.
Stage 1617 of 24
Peter Sagan continued to pursue the stage victory that had, thus far, eluded him. Again finding himself in the breakaway, attacking, counter-attacking and racking up green jersey points along the way, Sagan has easily been the most aggressive rider at this year's Tour. Alas, Ruben Plaza would defeat Sagan at the line, giving the Slovak his fifth second-place finish. Now, the devil awaits the riders in the Alps.
Rest Day18 of 24
A stage winner three times already, Andre Greipel finds a hammock to rest.
Stage 1719 of 24
In third place and primed to get an American (legitimately) on the podium for the first time in eight years, Tejay Van Garderen abandoned the race after falling ill. His struggles were evident as he struggled up the first climb of the Alps, a mountain range that suited his climbing abilities and left the door open for him to attack the race leaders. But his time in the mountain range was tragically short-lived.
Stage 1820 of 24
Cars rarely travel the picturesque road up Lacets de Montvenier. But today, 160 cyclists dared to traverse its narrow, windy passageways. At the top of the climb, the breakaway managed to stave off the peloton, and Romain Bardet claimed his first stage victory at the Tour de France.
Stage 1921 of 24
In the unfortunate case of a competitor's misfortune, do you repress your competitive nature and wait for a fair fight? Or is sport about taking advantage of your opponent's weaknesses? It's a debate few sports have like cycling. If a car breaks down during the Indianapolis 500, no one stops. If a basketball player twists his ankle, teams play on. Bad luck and mishaps are, after all, a part of sport. But in cycling, there's an unwritten rule that you do not take advantage of your adversary's misfortune. A code of respect and sportsmanship few sports share.
Did reigning Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali have every right to attack race leader Chris Froome when he encountered a mechanical problem? Yes. But his stage victory will be clouded by what many perceive as an unsportsmanlike move.
Stage 2022 of 24
Oft referred to as cycling's grand stadium; the winding, desert road up alp d'huez is to cycling what Fenway Park is to baseball. Fans gather in droves to run alongside the struggling competitors, taking advantage of a fleeting moment when cyclists aren't whizzing by the spectators. It's the perfect arena for an epic finale.
Despite constant attacks from his nearest competitors, Froome held on for dear life to the maillot jaune. After nearly 85 hours of racing, the Kenyan-born Brit finished a mere 1 minute and 12 seconds ahead of Niro Quintana.
Stage 2123 of 24
Rain welcomed cyclists to the final stage of the Tour, a procession of sorts that allows cyclists to tout their magnificent accomplishments in the crowded streets of Paris. Cyclists drink champagne, pose for photographs and chat amicably before a brutal sprint to the finish.
Greipel took home his fourth stage victory, Froome the yellow and KOM, Sagan the green, Quintana the white and every rider takes delight in the race's completion. But the epic journey around France: the twenty-three days, 2,200 miles and hundreds of thousands of spectators, await the riders again next year.