For some who drop out of the race, it is welcome relief after two weeks of riding at a punishing pace, often in blistering temperatures.
For others, who are left trailing so
badly that they are picked up by the Tour’s “broom wagon,” it is downright humiliation. Pierrick Fedrigo, a 24-year-old Frenchman who rides with the Credit Agricole team, held his head in his hands and tried to hide from the roadside spectators when he was collected by the dreaded broom wagon on Sunday.
“When you start your first Tour, that’s the only thing you really worry about,” said Fedrigo referring to a symbol of failure in the eyes of riders – and some unforgiving spectators.
“When I got inside it was worse than I had imagined. I could see people looking in through the windows and all I wanted to do was hide.”