There are a million stories in the naked city – and there are quite a few in the Tour de France as well. (Make note of the ‘naked’ bit, that’ll feature later on.) Carrying on from last week’s Tweets of the Week, it seems the peloton is going from one extreme to the other – often in the same 500 metres. Triumph and tears, broken bones and broken hearts. Settle back for Tony Martin, Peter Sagan, Daniel Teklehaimanot, #FlechaWatch, Greipel & Hansen larking about and a naked David Ginola. (Saywhat??)
But first, the bombshell of yesterday’s rest day press conferences, Ivan Basso announced that he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. The most elegant rider of the peloton was composed and dignified as he spoke of the circumstances leading up to his diagnosis – an unbelievable feat considered he was only told two hours before the press conference. Never has a crash been so fortuitous. Alberto Contador then said a few words about his friend and teammate, clearly on the verge of tears. Thankfully, the doctors caught the cancer very early and there’s every chance of a full recovery.
Tougher than the rest
Well, Tony Martin finally got his yellow jersey, taking the cobbled stage into his own hands and winning it with unbelievable style and power. Twitter. Went. Wild. As did his team, with lots of face holding from Big Tom Boonen who had come to watch the stage.
Unlike the other holders of the jersey so far this Tour, Tony wore it more than just one day. He wore it for two, but was the holder for three (as he made it over the finish line still at the top of the GC). His crash, however, meant that he was out – on the stage that teammate Zdenek Stybar won with a cheeky solo run to the line – celebrating before he knew what happened to the yellow jersey.
Even with a broken collarbone – broken in something like four pieces with bits poking through – he got back on his bike, helped over the line by his teammates (what a beautiful gesture), then, THEN, with bones poking out, he goes to hug Stybar!
A representation of the crash,courtesy Etixx teammate Iljo Keisse. More reenactments with tiny figurines to come later in the column.
Of course, the lions need to get in on all this. They are the one constant in this race. They’re always here. They’re always smiling.
The Velvet Samurai has not only been all sorts of awesome during the race, but he’s been bright and shiny (not unlike the lions above) off the bike too. And, like a lion, he’s got a mane to die for. He’s taken the green jersey … he won’t be giving it back.
He’s been doing a brilliant job of keeping Baby Blackbird safe and upfront on the arduous stages this week. Some say this is hampering Sagan. I love this answer from him.
I love love LOVE this picture of him and someone’s granny.
He can even get His Nibs to smile and laugh. This might be the only time we see that this Tour.
Wonderful scenes of celebration around Daniel Teklehaimanot’s campaign for the polka dot jersey and the great Tour that MTN-Qhubeka are having.
Giving people the shirt off his back
Juan Antonio Flecha spent the first week of the Tour racing around to get interviews – and more importantly consolidating his hold on the title of ‘most stylish Eurosport presenter’.
But our hero is not selfish with his style – or his clothes!
HOWEVER! He has promised me, yes, ME, Kitty Fondue!, his pink Giro jeans (and one of his shirts), if I can deliver to him a working (and accurate) crystal ball for his ‘Juan’s To Watch’ segment. I am in touch with every single fortune teller in the Western world. I’ll see YOU in Paris, Juan Antonio!
Put your pants back on!
I think there are some riders out there who could benefit from Juan Antonio’s wardrobe generosity. But, hey, only God can judge them.
Eurosport went onto the Lampre bus after the stage to see what was happening. We knew it was only a matter of time before Pippo stripped off. Clothes just get in his way.
This is a rare sighting of Pippo suitably dressed.
You know how sometimes you’re on Twitter and you’re just scrolling around and you stop and say, ‘W.T.F.???’ I think there was a lot of that for the following tweets. Nico Roche‘s childhood idol: David Ginola.
Gratuitous picture of Ginola seated.
Whole lotto legs
Andre Greipel – how can you not like this guy? He’s smiley, he gives high fives to tiny children and he rides a Segway. Oh, and he has tree trunks for legs.
Now that the mountain stages are here, we find a gruppetto forming!
Becoming a Dalek.
I have said this very thing on many occasions, Ian.
Tiny figurines braving the crosswinds. This might be one of my favourite tweet sequences ever in the history of Twitter.
God bless Bling.
Is this kid the epitome of cool, or what?
Who knew cheese chat was so powerful?
While others may have had a little too much cheese and are hallucinating.
Giants all in a row.
Even indestructibles need sleep.
There’s a whole subset of tweeters who are really into tractor action, led by @nyvelocity.
“Doctor, I dreamt that there were a field of cows in jerseys.”
Obviously, Koen didn’t get the benefit of the big cleaning mitt like they have a Roubaix. Professionals don’t let a little dirt stop them from their duties, however.
I love that Nairo Quintana, even on a stressful day, took the time to make this little kid’s day. This counts for a lot in my book.
The new maillot jaune.
Better than this.
Mick Jagger about to break out into a rousing rendition of Sympathy for the Devil. Oooh ooooh.
Yeah, you’d better keep your eye on him, Nairo.
The deadpan “his real nickname is Francis” makes me love Inner Ring even more.