With one last turn of the pedals, Backstage Pass finishes with praise, by yours truly, for the achievement of Svein Tuft and Michael Hepburn. They both survived and finished in Trieste from a decimated squad. It's almost hard to believe a 'team' can ride with only two riders where in a stage race the team is paramount to victory. Gutsy was Tuft and Hepburn able to survive in the mountains, come back and challenge on stage 21. Credit goes to DS Matt White and staff for superior managing when times were Tuft.
For the resilient Svein Tuft who garnered his fair share of bruises, he was a source of inspiration to the younger Hepburn.
"There were days when I was struggling and Svein was there for me, and I helped him when he had his crash earlier in the race. It was never an option for us to pull out. We owed it to one another. We said we were going to the line no matter what."
- Michael Hepburn, 22 and competing in his first Grand Tour.