“La Maglia Ciclamino est une consolation. C’est un nouveau Giro qui commence et on va essayer de le défendre” said French sprinter Arnaud Demare after a second-place finish on stage eleven, with a glint in his eye that said “and yes muthaf****r I’m speaking in French, and there ‘aint nothin’ you can do ‘bout it.”
The glint in his eye, for some reason, evoking Pulp Fiction era Samuel L Jackson.
We need more of this. Riders using their native tongue, I mean (the Samuel L Jackson element should always be optional). Because English, nowadays, is the language of the peloton. It’s expected.
And where’s the mystery and romance in that?
I don’t want a rider talking ‘good legs’ and ‘full gas’ and ‘super happy,’ the roll call of second language cycling cliché. Fully formed sentences in a language I don’t understand give far more insight into the character of a rider.
Because I don’t understand Demare I can fill in the gaps and give him a personality of my own choosing. And, let me tell you, the personality I’ve chosen for him is absolutely sparkling.
I love that guy!
I also want to hear the Equadorian Richard Carapaz speaking Spanish, as a minimum, and ideally some kind of Amerindian dialect. I’d like Rafa Majka in Polish, and Roger Kluge’s guttural German. I want, above all, breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt to communicate entirely in Flemish.
All of which is my way of telling you that not much happened on stage eleven. It was flat. There was a sprint. Please refer to yesterday’s stage for full details. All you need to know about stage eleven is the following:
Caleb Ewan, sprinting into a headwind, used that tiny frame to full advantage; being so small, you see, he can duck and dodge between the wind molecules. That’s just basic science. He timed his sprint to perfection and beat our man Demare into second.Embed from Getty Images
Pascal Ackerman, bruised and battered from his stage ten crash, managed third, while Italian Elia Viviani continues to demonstrate all the decisiveness of a Cocker Spaniel torn between a ball and a bowl of food. Following his lead-out man one second, the wheel of a rival the next, he dribbled home in fourth; a man whose killer instinct, for now, has deserted him.
For Ewan, though, this was his second stage win of this Giro d’Italia. And, I’m delighted to confirm, he delivered all his post-stage debriefs, following Demare’s fine example, in his native language.
That language was English, obviously, but still, it’s sets a good example.