After the magnificent Grand Depart, hard to imagine that by the first rest day, we would have seen the abandonment of Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador (among others), Vincenzo Nibali with a vice grip on yellow and Tony Martin wearing the polka dot jersey! We have all the tweets and instagrams from the most eventful week in the Tour de France in a very long time. Here we go …
Taking the rough with the smooth
The big abandonment number one
Even Jesus abandons sometimes
Vive la France
France has had a tremendous couple of days – Stage 8 sees a stage win for Blel Kadri as well as the KOM jersey. He looks thrilled, doesn’t he? What we hoped would be a battle royale for the rest of the Tour. Noodle & Doodle … The Curious Incident of the Yellow Hat in the Tour While Richie Porte perfects his ‘floating head’ trick.
Outta my way!
Stage 9 and Tony Martin does another one of his wild rides alone – this time he made it. And helped sell a lot of caps, it seems. I’ve decided that the phrase ‘band of brothers’ is banned for at least the duration of this Tour. Let’s get more expressive, more imaginative with our vocabulary, eh, tweeties. And besides, can a ‘band’ be just two people – isn’t this more of a ‘duet of brothers’? Leaving that to one side, I really wonder who that podium girl is making eyes. So Tony Martin, current world TT champion, used his big engine and ability to ride near the limit for long periods of time to good use. Then, Fabian Cancellara, former (four-time) world TT champion and current #SacredHaunches, took second … in a seated sprint. Who was third? Greg van Avermaet. The irony of it all. And the yellow jersey went to Frenchman Tony Gallopin of Lotto Belisol. He rode hard to get that jersey and Astana rode easy to make sure he did. Marcel Kittel had the Duchess of Cambridge as his podium girl, Tony has Taylor Swift as his. Oh, wait, that’s not Taylor Swift, that’s Marion Rousse – a talented and successful cyclist in her own right. But damn, she’s a double for Ms Swift.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls
It was a sad day for Alberto Contador and his fans – and even for some people who aren’t really his fans. I expect that the part where he climbs into the team car wasn’t in the pre-stage discussion he was having with Bjarne Riis. Nibali won the stage – and perhaps the Tour itself – on this momentous day. Tony Martin had the pox. But only on the chest pox. Not haunch pox. The Velvet Samurai pops a no-handed wheelie. On the summit. Beast. And the French are gearing up for something maybe quite special on the way to Paris.
Rest day means sleeping, recovery rides and press. Lots of press. Here Dave Brailsford is trying to energise Geraint Thomas by tickling his chin. Never has day-glo looked so sad. Giants go out to play on their bikes. SuperSagan looks like a little boy who desperately wants to go out and play on his bike but he can’t because he needs to get his school picture taken. While Tony Martin sleeps off the pox.
Chris Horner, apparently, gets his 9000 calories with an unorthodox diet. That Boy Phinney has been popping up all over this column. Here’s a lovely picture of him, looking all mean and moody. The Taylor Recovery Report announces that he is now able to push some watts. Hell Yeah! In happier days for Tinkoff-Saxo Boy, that bus doesn’t look like it’s been decked out by Dexter, like Ag2r’s bus, does it? The difference in budget is there for all to see. “I can stretch my arms all the way out and still not touch the sides of this bus. Bite me.” I wonder if Sainsbury’s would take a credit card of energy. Might see if I have better luck than Dan Wuori has had with it. Cav‘s going to learn another language during his recovery period! Fabianese! If this doesn’t look like a shindig at a frat house in the fifties, I don’t know what does. This is just an amazing picture. Of course, it’s a Gruber original. Love love love Juan Antonio Flecha‘s ‘man about the peloton’ gig on Eurosport. All the guys seem at such ease with him. And he’s not tried to break away once! Greg Lemond is looking a bit ‘spy who came in from the cold’ in this picture. Jens was presented with six little yellow jerseys for his children. Sweet gesture for his last Tour. Cool cats. Grrrrrrr Just beautiful artwork from Artcrank. When Nibbles was a pup. No idea what the ‘hey lady’ story is all about but Peter DeNitto’s reaction was brilliant. Geez, even the cows are taking selfies! (Two pairs of sunglasses but at least he’s got his seat belt fastened.) Um, okaaaayyyy “They didn’t believe us when we said Germany would win the World Cup too!” Million dollar idea. Is it just me or does this meringue portrait of Sylvain Chavanel look like something from a comic book and any minute now, he’s going to turn into some sort of superhero? Just me? Really? I just liked this picture. These cakes of Mrs Frog’s are just so delightful! I love the thought of her going into the kitchen, mixing up the batter and then saying to herself, ‘now, how am I going to make a stage tableau with this select group of toys’. The Tour’ll do that to you! Charlie Eppes. (Tweet me if you get that …) Niki Terprstra is daydreaming about being a cardboard cutout. I know what Paolini was doing on his mobile the other day in the stage. … He was remotely guiding his clone to victory in the Velo29 Stockton GP. Blimey, Trek’s hotel budget must be tight if they only give Fabs a crib to sleep in. Speaking of sleeping time, I thought this was the best tweet of the week. Mats does it again! There’s a lady who’s sure …