The easy option would be to describe Alejandro Valverde as a “Marmite” cyclist. But that would be playing right into the hands of the marketing people at Unilever, who have us evoking their product every time we encounter a thing that provokes a response in people, one way or another. Those clever bastards.
After a season of spats and squabbles, and recalled to the Cofidis Grand Tour squad, the reappearance of Bouhanni somewhere near the spotlight demanded that the fighting analogies were dusted off and wheeled out for a proper airing in the Andalusian sun.
At one point today the camera cut to Belgian super-team Quick Step who were scattered asunder, up and down the road, and in pieces. That they managed to pull their dignity back together suggests they weren’t quite all over the shop, but they were certainly browsing different aisles and working from their own shopping lists.