pro cycling

TDF 2017 Stage 21: The law of averages

TDF art

One year, it’ll happen.

You’ll be slumped on your settee with one eye on the Sunday papers, and one on the TV coverage, as the final day procession of the Tour de France around Paris plays out.

The commentary team will be muffled by the sounds of summer; neighbours mowing lawns, kids screeching and hollering, and drunken adults burning sausages on an ill-tended barbecue.

And then the pitch will change.

You’ll jump, startled by the sounds of sporting drama and crisis, and as your eyes flick to the TV screen, there it is.

It’s happened.

The wearer of the Yellow Jersey has hit the Tarmac, he’s injured, and he doesn’t look like he’ll be re-mounting his bike any time soon.

He’s fifty kilometres short. His (plastic) glass of champagne shattered across the tarmac as if placed there by a cunning TV director for maximum metaphorical impact.


The rest of the riders don’t know what to do.

They coast, and chat, and wave arms questioningly. They know it’s not done to attack the Yellow Jersey on the final day, but he’s on the ground and not keen on re-mounting his bike.

Should they freewheel until his broken bones heal, and let him catch back up, they wonder?

How long would that take…four weeks…six?

‘I’m not sure that’s practical,’ they’re thinking.

But what has happened is clear, as is what must be done, and it takes a clear-headed no-nonsense rider – probably an Aussie – to say: “look lads, this race is ON again!”

And three weeks of cat-and-mouse come down to a fifty-kilometre dash around Paris, because there’s a Yellow Jersey to race for.

One year it’ll happen. The law of averages says so.

Fortunately, for Chis Froome and Team Sky, that year was not 2017.

Embed from Getty Images

Froome stayed upright. His bones remained unbroken. The champagne was duly quaffed. Dylan Groenewegen won the stage and catapulted himself towards sprinting royalty. And we’re all done with this whole shebang for another year.

Now…can we PLEASE have a French winner next year?

Law of averages ‘n’ all that.

Vive Le Tour.

(Image: Sasai Icco via Flickr CC)

2 comments on “TDF 2017 Stage 21: The law of averages

  1. I’ve always wondered what would happen if the leader had a full on mechanical or crash on the final stage.

    My money is on Romain Bardet for a future GC win.


  2. Archetype

    Bardet will need to vastly improve hi TT abilities if he is to win the Maillot Jaune. Uran is closer, but can he carry that form over to 2018? Doubtful What about Bargill? he is a wild card as well. Perhaps the Sky Lie will be exposed before then…that way the race will be truly wide open. Let’s face it, it was a lot of hype, the TdF was over on Stage 5. Froome and Sky were sandbagging about being worried.

    Sky’s supplemental p[program gives him the clear edge. It’s not the direct performance so much, it’s the RECOVERY. He was more fresh than ANYONE else. He was hardly breathing hard after that final TT. Their ‘program’ whether micro or nano dosing, is amazing. Cannot be detected (yet) and helps the body recover like nothing else can. Hey when you have 30m at your disposal… it’s a bit easier to have an edge… and that slight edge is science and pharmacology.

    Still, vive le tour! The greatest cycling event in the world…


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