To have all of your effort count, you have to finish the race.
You win because you have the best mates. No one wins the Tour alone.
The last finisher in the race, the one they dub “the sweep”, is still a better professional bike rider than most of the world.
The yellow jersey winner shares the prize money with the team. No hogging the benefits at the expense of those who helped you get there.
You can have a really hard time at some points in the race, and even crack briefly, and still win as long as you can gather yourself, recover, and keep riding.
Right before the end you have to put forth one more burst of effort — in the race, the sprint on the Champs Elysees. In life, who knows. But for most of us, the late stages of life will bring unexpected demands. You keep going as best you can. You finish the race.