One highlight for the Decatur High School graduate was finishing 10th in the individual time trial stage of the tour, competing against the world’s fastest bike racers over a 17-mile-long road course.
It was also nice for Rosskopf to see his parents Ken and Linda, who traveled with a large group of supporters to France to follow him along the course for two weeks. They also got prime seats in Paris to see him cross the finish line in his orange jersey as part of team CCC.
The Rosskopf’s home in Decatur was decorated with flags and signs supporting Joey in the race. (Photo courtesy of Joey Rosskopf)
His parents are not the only ones cheering Rosskopf on. Cycling fans in Decatur and across metro Atlanta have been keeping up with his performance, too. Rosskopf’s parents came home to a sea of small orange flags in their front yard, with a sign that said “Way to go Joey.”
“I’m still blown away by all the messages and support from people in the Atlanta area,” said Rosskopf, who began the sport by joining his father and other local cyclists on group rides around Atlanta.
This year’s Tour de France was marked by a dramatic ending, which saw Colombian Egan Bernal, 22, become the race’s youngest winner since 1909. The early favorite to win the race, Chris Froome, was unable to start the race due to a serious crash, leaving it unclear who this year’s leader would be. In addition, the weather was extreme: a European heat wave sent temperatures over 100 degrees on some race days and a hailstorm that ended with a mudslide across the course cut one stage short.
Joey Rosskopf on the final day of the Tour de France. (Photo credit: Stefano Sirotti)
“The way that the overall classification played out was a lot more unpredictable and exciting than it has been the recent past. Even the riders within the race were getting wrapped up in that,” Rosskopf said. For what it’s worth, he said the weather wasn’t a huge factor for him.
For now, Rosskopf is recovering in Spain, where he usually stays throughout the year. But it won’t be long until he’s back on his bike, since he has another race Saturday. In the meantime, he said, finishing the Tour de France feels like a weight lifted off his shoulders.
“I can finally let my guard down a little bit,” he said, and “not worry about how many minutes per day I’m on my feet, or little things like that.”