“Y’see how uncomfortable he looks, drinking champagne on the bike and taking the applause of the crowd,” said the Welsh man on the radio. “It really shows you how normal he is. He’s a man of the people.”
It’s a nice theory.
I couldn’t help noticing all the Sky riders looked equally awkward and unimpressed by the traditional slurp of fizz from a plastic glass. Which leads me to the only sensible conclusion.
The French people, as we know, are not universally enamoured with Team Sky and their relentless winning. It’s seems clear to me that, on behalf of the citizenry, and in order to claim the last laugh, the Champagne was not, in fact, Champagne.
Before you jump to your own conclusions I’m not for a moment suggesting it was anything sinister.
I’m simply proposing that some generic French race organiser popped the vintage Champagne back in the cellar, and instead poured several glasses of the kind of rough Prosecco usually served warm in a Wetherspoons on a Wednesday night.
Luke Rowe certainly gave the confused, slightly alarmed face that I give when I drink cheap Prosecco. It’s a face that says: “Ummm, errrmmm, yeah…that’s enough for me thanks.”
It was a cheap shot, on an otherwise classy final day.
Thomas negotiated it in the same, calm, uneventful way he’s negotiated the previous twenty.
Luke Rowe took to the front with around ninety kilometres to go and upped the pace a bit; the sociable dawdle had begun to resemble a family bimble to the ice cream shop.Embed from Getty Images
Eventually, the race entered Paris.
Breakaways came and went. Riders punctured on the city streets. The TV director showed off with long, lingering, side-on shots of the riders bouncing and juddering over the cobbles, and that swooping shot of the obelisk at the Place de la Concorde.
All was present and correct.
Alexander Kristoff won the sprint, and Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France: a fact that was simultaneously predicted by no-one and yet, strangely, came as no surprise.
The most normal thing in the world.
Geraint Thomas, Tour de France winner 2018.
And with his speech – in which he committed to thanking his teammates by reeling off their names, got stuck after about four, had a bit of help from Tom Dumoulin, and then remembered he was one of the eight – he managed to end the day even more endearingly than he started it.
Man of the people.
(Featured Image Main Menu: Flowizm via Flickr CC)