I wonder how many times I’ve begun a sentence with the phrase: “if I were a pro cyclist…?”
If you take the fact that roughly 70% of all the words to leave my mouth are cycling related, and multiply that by my propensity for post-lunch day-dreaming, you end up with the answer: “quite a lot.”
At least a hundred, let’s say.
But if I were, and I was riding the Tour de France, on a stage that finished in the town of Vittel, and my surname was Kittel, then I would be very motivated.
“Super-motivated,” as the pro’s might say.
After all, It’s not often you get the chance to win in a town that rhymes with you.
I don’t make a habit of advising multi-national corporations how to produce extra dividends for their shareholders but, seriously: if bottled water behemoth Vittel haven’t made Kittel the face of bottled water for the duration of the Tour de France then they need to sack their marketing team.
Bottles of “Kittel” mineral water would be flying from the shelves.
To really hit the jackpot, of course, he would have to win the stage that (nearly) bears his name. Which unfortunately he was nowhere near.
More of that later.
Guillaume van Keirsbulck was the first name on everyone’s lips today.
The Belgian attacked from the start line and, to his probable alarm, found himself alone and clear with no breakaway companions to help. He then spent almost 200 kilometres off the front of the race at the end of a very long piece of elastic to be reeled in at the peloton’s whim.
I expect he’ll need an extra helping of pudding at the dinner table tonight. A few bottles of “Kittel” wouldn’t go a miss, either.
“But why,” I hear you ask, “are you wittering on about all that and ignoring the Cavendish/Sagan/barrier/crash/elbow/disqualification situation?”
Well, this piece is a bit like the day’s stage: nothing of any note happened for 95% of it, and then everything happened in the finale.
In Vittel, the sprinters bumped and barged themselves into position.
A few contenders (yellow jersey included) had a little tumble, before the sprint finish picked up speed and lunged to the right.Embed from Getty Images
Cavendish, well placed, hugged the crash barriers, and sneaked (at 60kph) up on Peter Sagan who – depending on how generous you’re feeling – either didn’t see him, or helped him from his bike with a stray elbow.
“I’m just confused about the elbow,” said Cav afterwards, strapped up, slightly slurry, and looking about as likely to start tomorrow’s stage as Sagan is to win the green jersey.
Having been disqualified, of course.
Arnaud Demare won the stage. Sagan won’t win the green jersey this year.
Something about the law of averages.
(Elbow image: via pixabay.com)