Tour Tweets: Manlove, the Mantis and the Magnificent 7

Another bumper crop of Tour de France tweets – from riders, journalists, fans – it’s a patchwork of passion and weirdness. This week we’ve got stages of note, ArgoLove, OPQSLove, a few #WTFs and two tweets from Oleg Tinkoff. The only two I could include that didn’t have profanity or were written in Russian. Oh, and a big doping story.


Let’s start with Marcel and the boys, shall we? A few weeks ago, I noted the uncanny resemblance between Marcel and Vanilla Ice. Somehow it didn’t catch on. Others went for Top Gun’s Iceman – whatever happened to Val Kilmer? – which seems to be accepted as a match. Kittel’s hair was talked about almost as much as his sprinting talent.

Argo Iceman Argo Kittel hair 2 Argo KittelKrushKimberley Kittel has a ring to it, yes?

Argo Koen cut Argo Koen hair Argo Koen hair 2

We’re thinking this is a fake – haven’t seen a pic of Koen of late so unsure as to the hair situation. And, boy, those see-through white kits don’t leave much to the imagination, eh? Koen’s fiancee, Kaitlin, takes this pic of Argonaut lovin’ after a stage win. I love that they’re so joyous.

Argo love Argo love 2

The picture below is one of my favourites. This was just after stage 13 with the echelons that left Kittel waaaaaaaay behind the others. I like that these guys have such a great sense of humour.

Argo train training

Oh, and ladies? This one is for you.

Argo Kittel pool

Summer lovin’, had me a blast

Well, whatever the Argonauts can do, the Pharmers can do better – and that includes givin’ the love to their teammates. This was mainly for Matteo Trentin‘s win on Saturday. But it could have been any day that a Pharmer wins. And isn’t that nice?

OPQS love 1 OPQS love 2 OPQS love 3 OPQS love 4 OPQS love 5

And speaking of Cav and the Argonauts

Oh, there was a bit of a controversy in stage ten. It looked as if Cav caused Tom Veelers to crash on the stage that Kittel won. Did he, didn’t he? It was divided on Twitter although the commissaires saw no irregular sprinting. Here are a few comments from the man himself.

St10 Cav sprint fall St10 Cav sprint fall McEwen

Cav was extremely defensive when he came out of the Pharmer bus (in super cool specs) and he was already a bit overheated when an American journalist asked him if he caused the crash.

St10 sprint expertsSt10 dictaphone questionSt10 Cav tincans

Although Cav does give praise where praise is due. Here he pays tribute to the man who beat him.

St10 Cav Kittle big

Panzerwagon vs Praying Mantis

We all figured Tony Martin would win – or would Chris Froome? It was nip and tuck there for a while. But not before some idiot threw urine at Cav out on the course. Seriously, what does a person like that think in the morning? “Hey, if I piss in this bottle, I can throw it at a rider later. Cav! I’ll throw it at Cav to teach him a lesson. Yeah, I’m a biiiiig man.” Dickhead. [I’m led to believe Tim may have used slightly stronger words than that … – Ed.]

Cav, on the other hand, was able to joke about it later that evening.

St11 Cav apple juice St11 Cav fault

I added this because I thought it was funny – “De Gendt may be strange …” I didn’t realise that he had a reputation for strangeness. I can see why he wouldn’t want to be overtaken on a TT though. That must be very disheartening.

St11 De Gendt

This is what was bearing down on the strange Mr De Gendt.

St11 Martin full flow St11 Martin full flow 1

And he rode with NO skin on his back, apparently! NONE!

St11 Martin skin

Here he is with his proud mum – and a proper cycling cap on. That went over well with the twitterati.

St11 Martin with mumWhen Froome came out of the start-house, it became apparent that the boy hasn’t been bingeing on cake, cookies and ice cream! And he gave Tony quite a scare – and we’re not talking about his yellow skinsuit!

St11 Froome Martin

St11 praying mantis

Venga Venga Venga!

Then came stage 13 and those pesky crosswinds. First the Pharmers had a crack at spitting the other sprinters out the back (bye bye, Kittel) and then Saxo thought this might be a way of making up some time on Froome (and they did). What was supposed to be a routine bunch sprint stage turned into one of the most thrilling of the Tour.

St13 echelon 1 St13 Echelon 2 st13 echelon 3St13 drunk tweetsSt13 Hoogerland 1  St13 Henderson massage

This next tweet is addressing the ‘Valverde had a mechanical, why didn’t the peloton wait for him?’ issue. If you remember last year, Movistar in a few races drove hard the minute a rival had a crash or a mechanical. I remember one race in particular when Levi Leipheimer and Dries Devenyns from OPQS rode straight into a badly parked motorbike (Dries with his chin) and Movistar decided to pick that moment to crank up the speed so there was no coming back. [2012 Paris-Nice stage seven, won by the Strange Mr De Gendt – Ed.] This stage put paid to his Tour podium aspirations. Live by the sword, die by the sword, Alejandro.

St13 Karma St13 Nico 1 St13 Nico 2 St13 Saxo St13 Saxo action St13 Saxo castle st13 WigginsOf course this all sounds so naive now, doesn’t it?

St13 Contador UN

And the winner?

St13 Cav pic 1St13 echelon

Ventoux : The Day of the Mantis

Before the stage, anticipation … Andy looking thoughtful in the team bus, Bauke acting all carefree and nonchalant, Belkini man preparing himself for his close-up, Greg getting French lessons, Ventoux in Lego.

St15 Andy bus St15 Bauke just a climb St15 belkini St15 crowds St15 EPO Disco 1 St15 EPO disco 2 St15 Henderson 1 ST15 tourists St15 Ventoux legoDuring the stage

St15 Andy and Jens

St15 froome Quintana

St15 running with phone

Reminiscent of a certain Mr Robbie McEwen, who always used to pop a wheelie at the top of the highest climb, SuperSagan popped one before the start of the Ventoux climb. I think he realised he might not be able to do it at the top.

St15 Sagan wheelieSt15 alex

By the way, we’ll get to the Magnificent Seven nonsense in the gruppetto later.

The aftermath

First we have the lovely Sylvain Chavanel with his Combativity Award. What’s missing? All the Pharmers falling over themselves to hug him, it seems.

St15 Chava

How much do you wish Thigh Punch actually *did* have PhotoShop skills?

St15 disco froome

Quintana climbed Ventoux with barely a flicker of expression, but my, he looks sunken, doesn’t he.

St15 Quintana exhaust

Some of the riders actually had the energy to tweet at the end of the stage.

St15 reactions1 St15 reactions2 St15 reactions3

There were also a lot of other kinds of tweets but I’m not really interested in getting into that in this column. Suffice it to say, I believe this picture says what climbing Ventoux takes.

St15 Quintana on ground

Boy, you really grind my beans

In the one doping story I will collect tweets for, we find out what Alex Oates is really up to. Those of you who follow Alex know that he loves riding, baking, riding, Oreos, riding … and coffee. We thought at first he was on the up and up but then – the milk coach.

Alex coffee doping 1 Alex coffee doping 2 Alex coffee doping 3 Alex coffee doping 4 Alex coffee doping 5 Alex coffee doping 6

The Gruppetto

Remember the reference to the Magnificent Seven? Well, this is what it was referring to. You’re trying to tell us that any one of these guys could be either Yul Brynner or Steve McQueen. Or Robert Vaughn? Or Charles Bronson? Really? REALLY?

Sky Magnificent 7

It’s a shame that Eddy Higgs Boson Hugo Boss Hogg Haagen-Dazs crashed out with a broken collarbone – we wish him a speedy recovery. I will, however, continue to add to his name.

St12 EBH cash

My favourite little Movistarlet, Andrey Amador, squashed into a lift with his teammates. Looks like Valverde missed the split again.

G Amador elevator

I’ve never been the biggest Cav fan in town – I figure Tim’s #ManCrush has that covered for the both of us – but when he’s excited, like after stage 13, or when he’s doing things like this, just being a gracious, good guy, I really think he’s top drawer.

G Cav autograph 1 G Cav autograph 2

And this makes me love Cadel that much more. You wouldn’t see Ronaldo posing with a croc (although I suspect Beckham might), would you? I love that he has a sense of humour.

G Crikey Cadel

One of the #LostBoys of the Tour – I think I might just open a gin joint on the off-chance that one day he’ll walk into mine. My, but isn’t Fabs looking vascular?

G Fabs barI’m putting these under ‘Lost in Translation’

G Millar translate Missing G Hansen alient talk G Oleg craziness

A little Panda power on its way to the Tour.

G Panda inforcements

She’s just sweet. Always got room for a sweet pic. (I want a tutu like that!)

G Queen of the mountains

Now we know where Sagan gets his skills!

G Sagan's dad 1 G Sagan's dad 2

Brian Holm, DS for OPQS, has come out strongly against the ‘total pox-look’ of KOM. And now we know where his fashion authority comes from. He’s Euroman! (Okay, first picture, he looks like some sort of nerd but don’t you think in the third pic he is looking a bit like Christopher Walken? Just me? Really?)

G Brian Holm Euroman

And there’s only one hashtag for this. #WTF? What on earth is happening here? Why why why?

G WTF AndyThe Last Word

Apt, don’t you think?

Last word Shakespeare

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