It’s part 2 of Tour de France 2018 A to Z … we’ve got no dosh, we’ve got Quickstep, we’ve got VA … GVA! … and so much more. Read on, my friends, read on. (Missed A to M? here it is)
N is for Not a lot of dosh
For winning the Tour de France, Geraint Thomas won €500,000. That is, however, divvied up among his team (including support staff) and therefore is part of the total €728,630 that is listed below. Fortune magazine contrasts his prize money with Novak Djokovic’s Wimbledon win of … £2.25m (!). If you look at the bottom of this list, you can see that EF-Drapac received less than €15,000 while Lawson Craddock raised well over $200,000 for charity by continuing to ride the Tour after his Stage 1 crash. Cycling is tough in more ways than one … (Cycling Weekly has a full breakdown of all the 2018 prize money.)
O is for Oss-ome
There are a few riders that we thank the deity of our choice for and one of those is *always* Daniel Oss. Loyalty as full and rich as his head of wild hair, he worked hard for his captain Peter Sagan, shepherding him home on the day of Sagan’s crash (and the stage afterwards), a strong, sympathetic presence when he needed it most.
P is for Past and Present
It started out as Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas as co-leaders and Sky said leadership would work itself out on the road. Many were sceptical of that, reckoning that the four-time Tour champion would assert his authority when he was ready to take on the yellow jersey. But that never happened. Thomas took the yellow jersey on Stage 11 and never was in any danger of losing it. While Froome was trying for a fifth win and the Giro/Tour double, he just didn’t have the legs for it so there was no battling it out on the road.
Q is for Quicksteppers
It was a great Tour for the Quicksteppers with two stages for Fernando Gaviria and two for Julian Alaphilippe, plus the KOM jersey in Paris. I love this picture because it looks like Alaphilippe is a slightly sinister emcee, saying ‘come into my cabaret … we will have a good time’. And we did …
When you lead your sprinter out for a stage win in the Tour de France …Embed from Getty Images
Jungels! BOB JUNGELS! after Roubaix. Shows just how hard a day’s stage in the Tour can be.
Philippe Gilbert was a great mentor on the road for the Quicksteppers and we loved it when he took off on the Mur to try to win that stage. No one wanted to see his crash later in the Tour, but as always his strength of mind (and body) got him to the finish line on Stage 16. He picked up his combativity award and then left for the hospital and recovery.
This is quite touching – Alaphilippe hugging PhilGil with relief, after that terrible crash.Embed from Getty Images
R is for Roubaix
Of the 21 stages of this year’s Tour de France, the Roubaix stage was one of the most anticipated by fans but not so warmly welcomed by a lot of riders. But it was one of the (possibly few) stages that, when all is done and dusted, the 2018 Tour de France will be remembered for. It was the stage where John Degenkolb put the past two years of injury and rehabilitation behind him and rode to victory on the cobbles he knows so well. Now that the burden is off his shoulders, let’s hope we see him in the thick of the races again.
S is for Sportsmanship
Contrasting the behaviour of Gianni Moscon (see H …) is the behaviour of a lot of riders who helped out their co-riders in the peloton, regardless of what team they’re on.
Alaphilippe wanting to wait for Adam Yates after the Mitchelton-Scott rider fell on the descent.
It pays to be a nice guy – both for EBH and for Servais Knaven
While my favourite Movistarlet, Andrey Amador, showed that a little kindness on the mountain goes a long way.
And this is just funny and sweet
T is for Tears
There were a lot of emotions this Tour de France and much of it was caught on camera. We’ve already seen quite a lot of that in this A to Z but these two responses are perhaps the two extremes – overwhelmed by a great win, overwhelmed by a great loss.
U is for UCI/Sky feudEmbed from Getty Images
Oh Lordy, as if we don’t have enough problems in cycling, there was an argy-bargy of words between the UCI president David Lappartient and Sky grand poobah Dave Brailsford. It all, no doubt, started on the utter hash that everyone made of the Salbutomol Affair™. Brailsford came out swinging at the start of the Tour by saying that Lappartient had the mentality of a local French mayor, after the UCI president insinuated that Sky’s wealth was part of the decision to drop the salbutomol case. He then went on to criticise the French public for booing his riders (a traditional way to show displeasure) and spitting and throwing things at them (NOT an acceptable way to behave in any way, shape or form), saying it was a French thing. Lappartient was unimpressed. I think somewhere along the way there was a threat that Sky would boycott the Tour. … Not in a million years …
V is for Van AvermaetEmbed from Getty Images
When BMC GC hopeful Richie Porte left the Tour in the back of an ambulance on Stage 9, it could have deflated the team. After all, they were all in for a tilt at the title. Thank God they brought Greg Van Avermaet with them! GVA took over the jersey when the team won the TTT on stage 3. And he honoured that jersey in such a gorgeous way: He attacked! He got in breaks! Holy moly, he even won Most Combative award for Stage 10! In yellow! He lost it on Stage 11 – but hey, it was to Geraint Thomas so at least he lost it to the eventual champion. But it was a glorious ride in yellow from the Belgian rider and has made me an unconditional fan.
W is for Where were they?Embed from Getty Images
Looking back at last year’s A to Z, there were big stories of riders who, quite simply, haven’t been this Tour. Two were the Bromance of 2017, Warren Barguil and Michael Matthews. Bling (who won last year’s green jersey) didn’t start Stage 5, due to a fever. WaWa, on the other hand, did finish the Tour – but not in the KOM jersey that he’d won last year. Deciding early on not to attempt any sort of GC assault, Barguil said the first mountain stages were really just to lose time in order to be let loose to win a stage later in the race. Unfortunately, WaWa’s Tour was a disappointment all round – no GC, no stage win, no KOM jersey (he was 79 points back from Alaphilippe).
X is for X-rays
They got their iPads out, x-rayed the bikes and they’ve confirmed: no motors in the Tour de France. (yeah, yeah, clutching at alphabetical straws here …)
Y is for Yoann
You’re on a super-technical final time trial with tricky corners and fast descents. And your brakes go up the Swanee halfway through. What do you do? If you’re Yoann Offredo, you ride the last 10km shouting to fans to clear the way!
Z is for Zzzzzzz
We know that there are transition stages. We know that there are times when the peloton just lets the break go because they’re tired and they’re saving themselves for a big effort (stages 7 and 8 … I’m lookin’ at you!). But mercy, there seemed to be a lot of stages in this year’s Tour that made fans think that time stood still and no one would *ever* cross the finish line. My particular bugbear – Stage 8. It was a Saturday stage … and it was duller than a dull thing from Dull Town. Not really the way you want to showcase the biggest race of the season to an audience that might be watching ‘just to see what the fuss is all about’. Tractors just aren’t enough … (but don’t tell NYVelocity. He lives for them.)
Header image: GETTY/AFP/Marco Bertorello