Another year, another final week of the Tour with its gruelling mountain stages, tense time trial and bling sprint on the Champs. Then comes the tears of the victors and the revelry of demob happy cyclists. And we share it all through Twitter. This week, we check out the French, the Germans and one mad Russian, plus celebrations, relaxation and recovery.
Vive la France
Travel back in time to the Grand Depart in Yorkshire and if someone had said to you, “Put money on two Frenchmen for the podium in Paris”, you’d probably have laughed them right out onto the moors. But if you had listened to them, you would now have that elusive suitcase full of cash. Ah well. Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet gave us great entertainment as they were locked in their own private battle over the last week.
They might have gone at it tooth and nail on the road, but Bardet and Pinot never let hostilities continue after the stage.
Bardet, who looked as fresh-faced as a 15-year-old, suffered the most disappointment over the final week and although he handled it with a grace that no 15-year-old I’ve ever known would have done, sometimes the disappointment got the better of him.
For me, this is one of the great moments of this year’s Tour. Mutual respect and sportsmanship just before they both start the time trial that would solidify their places on the final podium.
The emotion got a bit too much for Peraud (and his DS) as well – this time, tears of joy.
Kisses and tears and kisses again.
Okay, NOW Bardet looks more like that cheeky boy from the Yorkshire presentation, whose hair stood up on end. He started with a selfie, he’ll end with a selfie!
Danke für die Erinnerungen
If it wasn’t the French racing each other, it was the Germans racing everyone else. Marcel Kittel and Jens Voigt (among others) also made this Tour their own.
ArgoSunGod Kittel won the bling sprint on the Champs for the second year running. Hell yeah!
While Jens got a huge cheer as he went on the break onto the Champs for the last time.
I hope I look this good when I retire.
The worthy winner of this year’s Tour de France finally showed some emotion on the final day. But first, the funniest picture of a little boy in an FDJ jersey you’re ever likely to see.
Oh, the wonder that is Oleg. I have to say, after his joyful tears live on French television, I’m really warming to Mr Tinkov. He’s still the conductor of his own crazy train but at least he shows a passion and fire for the sport. Love him or hate him, he’s compelling.
I’d have loaded the video of Oleg conducting a rousing rendition of We Are The Champions, except every time I play it, it’s on a weird constant loop and I have to restart my machine to stop it. I thought I would spare us all that.
Okay, the winking thing? It needs to stop now. From the look on Oleg’s face in this picture, he agrees with me. “Rafal, keep both of your damn eyes open.”
Hang on, is he supposed to be driving?
All these spots are making me wink
I had to show these just to spread around the pain of seeing this hideous Pox helmet and, well, entire outfit.
His time trial get-up was even more atrocious.
Bloody hell, now they’re all at it. (Is it just me or does he look like he’s got one of those cardboard cutout bodies and only his head is real in this? Just me? Really?)
Looks like the guys were already in that summer camp mood on their transfer flight to Paris.
Luca Paolini looks so much cooler in a cap, not that aero helmet. He really is the epitome of Mr Cool, don’t you think?
Speaking of Mr Cool, if you remember last week, That Boy Phinney put up a less-than-flattering picture of The Rock and commented that they both had the same hair style. So Michael Hickok took to Photoshop.
Oh, I say! Is that why his tongue is always out? OH, I did NOT just say that!
There is pain in them thar hills.
TRACTOR BIKE …
…WITH A COW IN THE MIDDLE! I love everything about this picture. The thought of the town meeting, “So, what are we doing to do in the way of roadside art this year? Needs a little spark!” “I know! Tractors for the wheels – of course! – but then put a dancing cow in the middle of the gear set.” “Gold, Jerry! GOLD!” (but in French…)
Which brings me to my #KwiatKrush and more cows. (Although I think that the dancing alien with the eye mask on that they give best young rider is better than the cuddly cows. But only just.)
And a bear! A bear!
This tweet has given me nightmares. Now it will you!
These pictures of the Ladies’ Favourite will soothe your mind.
And how about a round of applause for the Queen of Cycling, Marianne Vos, who won the inaugural La Course on Sunday?
Now this is lovely. Zdenek Stybar‘s wife is smiling because now she gets to watch him doing the ironing without his shirt whenever she damn well pleases.
I have no idea.
But I’m betting that Nutella would not taste good on them. BTW, Steele von Hoff – he should really be a private detective with that name. Maybe he could solve the riddle of the Great Nutella Heist from last year!
And people wonder why I moved over to London.
I just liked this next little series of pictures.
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been paying all this attention to Taylor Phinney’s recovery report and hadn’t even thought about Gustav Larsson, who about a month ago cracked three vertebrae in a crash just before the Swedish TT championships. Great to see him on the mend.
And speaking of mend, it is now time for the Taylor Recovery Report. He’s on the road again!