We’ve seen Marc Hirschi do this before. He’s clear of the field and we grip our seats and breathe sporadically. Twitching and flinching at every curve. Precipitous drops, off camber Tarmac, the growl of the camera moto drowning out the childlike yelps that betray our nerves.
Chilled. In control. Mundane.
We know that (currently injured) Remco Evenepoel is the new Eddy Merckx, which makes twenty-two-year-old old Hirschi the Swiss Evenepoel. It’s getting confusing. Whoever has their hand on the crank arm of this conveyor of absurd young talent can they please just flick it off for a bit.
Give us a chance.
Give, quite frankly, everyone else a chance.Embed from Getty Images
The surprise of the day, perhaps, was that the Yellow Jersey group had a (relatively) easy day. Relatively. In the context of France’s Massif Central – this rugged plateau, making up fifteen percent of the area of France, being the hardest place in the world – where there is barely a kilometre of flat road.
Little in the way of respite.
Not Alpine climbs by any stretch but, as my friends here in the Cold Dark North might say: “stabby bastard hills!”
A breakaway of some description was the most likely of several dozen outcomes and we all picked our favourites. De Gendt? Trentin? Maybe a magic Alaphilippe day?
Credit where it’s due, though, backing up Hirschi was a masterclass from Team Sunweb. Instigating a break, ensuring a numerical advantage, and spring-boarding their young buck to do, let’s be honest…a Marc Hirschi.
This is what he does.
It’s his thing.
(Imagine being twenty-two and already having a thing!?)Embed from Getty Images
With ten kilometres to go and after extinguishing some minor threat from behind, his body language said it all. Ignore those stats on the TV screen and just look at him. He’s faster. Better. The man is a killer.
You watch this, learn that his mentor is one Fabian Cancellara, and the mind wanders off down the road and fills in the next decade with classics, stage wins, and who knows what else.
He so nearly won Stage 9, and so today was about righting the wrongs of the universe. It’s time to get our heads around the talent of Marc Hirschi.
We’re going to be seeing a lot of him.