Some days, on the Tour de France, everything happens, and nothing much changes.
When Romain Bardet and his AG2R team upped the pace in the latter part of the Stage, and Chris Froome then had a badly timed mechanical problem, it felt like a defining moment.
The gap opened up on the road, the TV commentary went up a pitch, and I shuffled to the edge of my seat for a better view.
Fast forward a couple of hours and, implausibly, the top-ten has barely changed. Froome had chased back heroically, with some help from teammate Mikel Landa, and held firm in the group of favourites.
With some minor chaos along the way, no time was lost or gained by the top four, and it’s another day closer to Paris for Froome.
Gloriously, for anyone who roots for the nice guys, Bauke Mollema won the stage with a thrilling solo break.
In the post-race interviews Froome looked as tired as a new parent trying to burp a baby on a night shift. Which is quite apt, because I think I’m right in saying that his little boy is now around 18 months old.
I remember that phase of parenthood well.
It’s all desperate battles of will, random 3am play sessions, and the mentally sapping assessment of every location you find yourself in. To identify danger, or damage, to, or by, a wobbling toddler seeking independence.
My life, when shared with an 18 month year old, gained an unmistakeable veneer of chaos.
I’m not suggesting that Chris Froome’s ill-timed puncture was the fault of his baby boy – if it was, it was an ambitious act of patricidal sabotage for a child so young – Just that, pre-kids, this stuff rarely happened to Froome and his team of control freaks.
Despite the vast, un-crossable chasm that separates Froome’s talent as a bike rider from mine, I know what he’s going through.
Prior to having kids, I had every day choreographed to a routine of my own choosing. I now find that my needs are relegated down the list to fourth or fifth most pressing.
Not only that, but my brain is addled by lack of sleep and the mental pressure that comes from having to parent a tiny human. The simplest tasks are transformed into the kind of complex problems that even a particularly dextrous astronaut would struggle to solve.
I am still, in short, scatter brained and chaotic.
And I think Froome is too.Embed from Getty Images
Last year he had the meltdown on Mont Ventoux, running towards the finish line after a crash with a race motorbike. This year, he leads the race, but not quite with his usual controlled calmness, and certainly with signs of weakness.
I still think he could win le Tour; the fact is that his scatter brained and chaotic still makes him look like a high performing automaton compared to my scatter brained and chaotic.
But NEXT year?
When the ‘terrible twos’ are kicking in?
Get your money on Bardet.