In the end you could’ve thrown a blanket over them. Which, to be clear, would not be a good idea. You should never throw any kind of linen over a cyclist. Bad enough in the amateur ranks but in the Tour de France?
Are you kidding?
Back in the day it would’ve been enough to qualify this with a “if I told you to jump off a cliff would you?” but the world has changed. Every public utterance a potential court case.
Well, your honour, you know that road|THEORY chap who writes daft stuff about the cycling? He told me to do it. He Tweeted it. Look, I have a screenshot.
When I were a lad this stuff rarely made it to court, and when it did they nearly always found in favour of the defendant. But now? 2020? All bets are off. The world is a basket case.
Just don’t even take your blanket with you to the bike race, then you’ll never be tempted.
Good.Embed from Getty Images
Our location for the day was Poitiers, a small city in central France. Medieval place. Massive cathedral. You know the stuff. On a day that had always promised a sprint the minor climb through the city streets was the leg-sapping fly in the ointment of our wide, boulevard finish.
At three K’s to go the road rose for a kilometre, at around four percent in gradient, which was rather naughty of it. It had the effect of draining any final joules of energy from the lead-out men and presented us with an every-man-for-himself-where-are-my-muscular-bodyguards kind of a sprint.
Mano y mano y mano y mano.
With three hundred metres to go Wout van Aert launched way to early and put, and please excuse my use of a piece colloquial English last heard in the 1970’s, the willies up them.
You don’t launch a sprint at three hundred metres, but he’s Wout, I suppose, and he can do-it-all. He’ll probably win, we all thought, rolling our eyes at the extravagant talent of the man. Sagan thought differently and gave him a shoulder barge on his way past, knocking Wout of his stride and provoking a stream of abuse.
Sam Bennett and Caleb Ewan, meanwhile, had a quick bike throwing competition to decide a winner. It’s as good a method as any.
Ewan took it.Embed from Getty Images
The four, spread across the road could, as discussed, have had a banket gently laid across them. But we’ve agreed that this wouldn’t be ideal. It was close, let’s just say that. All within half a wheel of each other.
Only for Lord Sagan to suddenly find himself a couple of hundred wheels in arrears, relegated to last for his beefy indiscretion.
Right now, little Caleb Ewan is edging it in the sprinting stakes, with two stages to one each for Bennett and Van Aert. Sagan seems grumpy. Tomorrow is a horrid stage, which might not cheer him up.
Two hundred kilometres, with medium mountains, it could suit a puncheur, a true climber, even a highly motivated sprinter. And it takes the race back through the Massif Central which, due to being neither one thing nor another, is somehow the hardest place in the world to race a bike.
Each day a standalone episode in a highly binge-able box-set.
Expect things, one way or another, to happen,