The absence of competitive road cycling from mid October has not really been a big issue for me in the past. As a kid and then as a teenager I only followed the Tour de France and never even considered the fact that cycling had a wider season which waxed and waned around it. The Tour was everything and everything was the Tour. It was like going on holiday – something that only happened in the Summer and would not even be on the radar in April or September.
A good few years ago, when I finally became aware of the Giro, the Vuelta and the Spring Classics I realised that the Tour was part of something bigger but even then I paid little attention to it in truth. The stars of the day were increasingly focussing on specific races so it was natural that I did too. I consumed my cycling through Channel 4 and ITV rather than through Cycling Weekly or Eurosport so options were pretty limited. From August to May I followed football. In June I watched a bit of cricket. I really didn’t know what I was missing.