Philippa York's Tour de France analysis: Waiting game ends as the Alps beckon

Philippa York analysis: Does Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde still think that he – and not Enric Mas - is the leader for this year’s Tour de France?
Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde at the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Things are hotting up at the Tour de France – quite literally, as it's 30°C most days, and it's meant to get warmer over the weekend and into the third week. That's not good news for anyone who is feeling tired, and there are many, given the manner in which this race is being ridden.

Nerves are getting frayed with the number of crashes and controversies, and incidents like the Peter Sagan shoulder charge are adding to the tension. Fittingly, just as the peloton entered the rugby-playing territory of central France, the seven-time points classification winner threw a spanner in his own works with a move that hints at the frustration of not taking a win rather than physical exhaustion.

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Philippa York

Philippa York is a long-standing Cyclingnews contributor, providing expert racing analysis. As one of the early British racers to take the plunge and relocate to France with the famed ACBB club in the 1980's, she was the inspiration for a generation of racing cyclists – and cycling fans – from the UK.

The Glaswegian gained a contract with Peugeot in 1980, making her Tour de France debut in 1983 and taking a solo win in Bagnères-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees, the mountain range which would prove a happy hunting ground throughout her Tour career. 

The following year's race would prove to be one of her finest seasons, becoming the first rider from the UK to win the polka dot jersey at the Tour, whilst also becoming Britain's highest-ever placed GC finisher with 4th spot. 

She finished runner-up at the Vuelta a España in 1985 and 1986, to Pedro Delgado and Álvaro Pino respectively, and at the Giro d'Italia in 1987. Stage race victories include the Volta a Catalunya (1985), Tour of Britain (1989) and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1990). York retired from professional cycling as reigning British champion following the collapse of Le Groupement in 1995.