pro cycling Tour de France 2018

Tour de France 2018 Stage 18: Strange thoughts


A slow day on Le Tour. A lull. Tomorrow is a big day of Pyrenean punishment and legs are being saved. For us armchair fans there’s not much to see. The mind wanders. Strange thoughts drift in and out.

Like, how does Chris Boardman manage to be Greater Manchester’s commissioner for walking and cycling, and a lynchpin of the ITV cycling coverage, and the figurehead of his own bike brand, and the father to six children?

It just sounds so busy.

Are we sure there’s only one of him?

We know he likes a bit of technology – maybe he’s cloned himself.

The Venn diagram of pro cycling and progressive politics has very little overlap; if he was appearing in front of a government select committee whilst simultaneously recording pithy TV links with Ned Boulting, would anyone really notice?

Maybe the famous “Dolly the sheep” experiment all those years ago was just a way of testing the technology before it was rolled out on Boardman in his quest to be the busiest man in Western Europe?

Also, what the hell is a commissioner for walking and cycling?

Did he just stroll into Manchester Town Hall one day and say: “Now listen here…I’m Chris Boardman and I’ve just invented a new job for myself. When do I start?”

Like I say – strange thoughts.


For those of you still reading, and interested in what happened today, stage eighteen of Le Tour, it may have looked like nothing much to us, but to Arnaud Demare it was his very reason for being.

Embed from Getty Images

As a variety of sprinters have suffered and said goodbye through the mountains of this race, Demare has very visibly hung on by the skin of his gritted teeth. He’s done that for two reasons: to try and win today, on the flat out sprint to Pau, and again on the Champs Elysees on Sunday.

In a slightly ragged end-of-term sprint, thinned out by tired legs and those multiple withdrawals, Demare’s team got organised and delivered him. He finished the job beautifully.

Nicely done.

As for our race leader Geraint Thomas I imagine he’ll have had a few strange thoughts of his own today.

Largely about tomorrow. Paranoia kicking in. Wondering what tricks Dumoulin, Roglic, Kruijswijk, Bardet (and Froome?) might have up their sleeves.

(Top image: via



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