pro cycling Vuelta Espana 2018

Vuelta Espana 2018 Stage 16: the TT party

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As anyone who has been watching this year’s Vuelta Espana will know, Simon Yates is managing to lead the race while simultaneously exploring his own personal sense of style. I’m all for this: conservatively dressed identikit sports people are boring.

Having said that, Yates is currently a work in progress at best.

Particularly above the neck.

Luckily, his TT position on the bike is stock still.

This means I can stick a strip of gaffer tape on my TV screen right where his head is, relieving me of the need to look at those vast shades encased in that elaborate aero helmet.

Which, I have to say, is quite an ornament.

Camouflaged and shell-like, with great leaves hanging over his ears. I initially assumed he was taking on the TT in fancy dress, for charity.

Had Valverde rolled down the ramp as one half of a pantomime horse (with Quintana the other, of course), I would have happily applauded the fundraising efforts of all the main contenders and chucked a couple of euros in the bucket.

But no.

The helmet was a contractual obligation choice.

As for Rohan Dennis – pre-stage favourite turned dominant winner – there was no element of a frivolous costume. He and his bike just looked fast.

Rohan Dennis

The actual facts of the sophisticated timing mechanism are all well and good, but I prefer to trust my own eyes. Gliding around the thirty-two kilometre course today he appeared smooth, slippy, and in perfect union with his bike.

Perfectly calibrated to sneak between the wind molecules.*

Beyond Dennis the TT did what the TT does. Within twelve minutes of completion of the stage no-one present can remember a single note-worthy detail of the event other than the following facts:

Quintana finished several months behind the winner (my estimate…again, own eyes rather than sophisticated timing mechanism).

As did Lopez.

Steven Kruijswijk, the Angular Dutchman™, gave it the beans, and scrambled his way up to a podium position overall.

Valverde is second.

Yates retains the red jersey.

It was all very important, and necessary, and mundane. Next year, when it’s time-trial day at a Grand Tour, I’m going to host a TT party to liven things up.

It’ll be all back to mine where the drinks will flow (an easily digestible combination of carbohydrate and electrolytes, of course), the dress code will be “aero,” and should anyone pop outside for a spot of fresh air they’ll be followed by an estate car with their name written across the front.

There’ll just be one rule.

NO fancy dress.

*What? Wind molecules. They’re “a thing” (as the youngsters might say). Ask a scientist. 

(Bottom Image: Rohan Dennis via Marc at Flickr CC)

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