Tour Tweets of the Week: Madiot madness, Kloden craziness, Koen’s kindness

Funny, cruel, odd, personal … you get it all on Twitter. Each week, we’ll have a rundown of some of our favourite tweets. Here are the tweets for the week ending 8th July 2012.

Another embarrassment of riches this week in the Tweets department …

Allez allez!

Let’s start with one of the most heartwarming scenes ever in cycling: Marc Madiot going absolutely bonkers when his lad Thibaut Pinot neared the finish line to win stage eight in a brilliant ride. And didn’t we all love that performance from Madiot?!?

Kloden goes beserk!

We’ve had a few, um, interesting responses from riders in/about the press this week. Stage seven saw Fabian Cancellara losing the maillot jaune to Bradley Wiggins, but not without a fight. Spartacus hauled his mighty haunches up that steep gradient, past his own team’s climbers: Frank Schleck, Chris Horner and  Andreas Kloden, desperately trying to keep the yellow for just one more day. The RSNT press release mentioned that perhaps Kloedi didn’t have the legs. This led to a few interesting tweets …

Let’s face it, behaviour like this only brings out the wit in the Twitterati. (And is it just me or does he contradict himself?) The next day, again, Kloedi was not really in the mix much …

Yep, all strangely quiet on the Kloden front.

Show us your wounds

This is in no way to make light of the many crashes that have led to hospitalisations and abandonments in the Tour, so please take these as they are intended – and most of them are posted by the riders themselves. They seem to like to post up their scars – we’ve had a few in earlier posts, in fact, I think we had a self-portrait of Koen de Kort in full mummy bandages earlier in the year. Anyway, first up is Mark Renshaw‘s buttock blows, which seems to have brought on flashbacks for UCI_Overlord! (Did I mention that I love UCI_Overlord? I do.)

Ladies’ favourite Bernie Eisel is really getting into the swing of Twitter – he’s a newbie, you know – and here he gets a little DIY stitching on the Sky bus after the crash in stage … was it five? In fact, Scott Mitchell, the official photographer, took a lot of pictures of our boy Bernie getting tended to. Here he’s saying: “Ladies, don’t worry, I’m okay! I’ll ride again! And I’ll have an elegant little scar to make me just that much more attractive to you!” As if he could be!

Philippe Gilbert, who seems to be having a mediocre Tour at best, doesn’t seem to overly concerned by this little scrape. That said, there goes his leg modelling career!

David Millar is looking on the bright side of his run in with Wolverine as well. Seriously, how do you get injuries like that?

On the subject of crashes, Cancellara had a little something to say. Coming from a man who just recovered from a quadruple fracture from a crash, it’s pretty sanguine.

He ain’t heavy…

During that fateful crash stage, there were lots of shots of riders from different teams helping each other out, giving each other a push, just trying to get to the finish line and the medical tent. For a cycling fan, it’s a great thing to see. I’ve been banging on about how real cyclists are, how lovely they are with their fans and here’s just another reason to love them. This is what Koen de Kort, Dean Downing and Greg Henderson had to say about that.

Hansen takes on the Gorilla … AND WINS!

I’ll try to get pictures of this for you all when I’m in Paris for the end of the Tour …

There was much talk about the new round helmets that some of the teams have been wearing. Looked strangely familiar to Mr Hansen and Mr Henderson agreed.

Oh, well, that’s all for Tweets for this week – I’ll leave you with Hansen’s instructions on how to ride the Tour.

Tour de France: Stage 8 review

Stage 8: Belfort to Porrentruy, 157.5km

There may not have been any great changes in the GC after the difficult stage eight, but it was an unpredictable and exciting day in the saddle, narrowly won by FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot after a long breakaway. There were seven categorised climbs as the race rolled into Switzerland, with all the main GC contenders finishing together.

Speaking of Swiss rolls, Samuel Sanchez took a tumble early on in the stage, rendering the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider unable to continue. In the land of the Red Cross, the Spaniard was carted off in an ambulance with a broken rib, collarbone and wrist.

Sky worked as efficiently as a luxury timepiece in shutting down the opening breakaways, preventing the likes of Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Philippe Gilbert (BMC), David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) and Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) gaining ground early on. Eventually a break did manage to create a gap, headed by last year’s most combative rider Jeremy Roy. FDJ’s Frenchman attacked alone, slipping away from the other escapees, before Astana’s Fredrik Kessiakoff managed to bridge across to the leader on the Côte de Saignelégier.

But by the time the penultimate climb had come around, Roy had been dropped and Kessiakoff was all on his own. Liquigas had taken up the pace-making in the peloton, with RadioShack’s Tony Gallopin and FDJ’s Pinot dangling between the leader and the bunch.

Kessiakoff’s lead to the maillot jaune had stabilised at around about three minutes, but on the final climb it was Pinot who he had to worry about. The gutsy FDJ rider attacked inside the final 20km, and by the time they reached the top he had caught and ridden straight by the Swede.

All of a sudden the favourites were galvanised into picking up the pace, with first Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and then Cadel Evans (BMC) both seeing whether they could make up time on the other GC contenders on the descent and flat run to the finish. Kessiakoff was caught, but would Pinot hold on? The gap had been rapidly closed down to under a minute, and he seemed to be running out of steam. Fortunately he could, taking the stage by 26 seconds, with the GC contenders coming across the line together behind him.

VeloVoices rider of the day

This award has to go to stage winner Thibaut Pinot. FDJ’s young revolution continues, with Pinot – the youngest rider in this year’s race – taking his first Grand Tour victory at the age of 22. It was a heroic effort and the French outfit will have pleased their sponsors in fulfilling their stage win hopes already. His palmares – which includes a mountains classification win in the 2010 Tour de Romandie – suggests that he is a rider capable of challenging for mountain victories again in the future, and could maybe even fight for yellow.

Observations

Seeing FDJ directeur sportif Marc Madiot – a former Tour stage victor himself and twice winner of Paris-Roubaix – screaming at Pinot from the window of the team car in the closing kilometres was a magnificent sight. A very popular character, it was obvious what this win meant to Madiot and his small French team, who punch above their weight at the Tour de France every year. What’s more, a successful July will always please the sponsors, even securing the team’s future. Let’s hope this win is the first of many.

FDJ DS Marc Madiot urges Pinot on to victory (image courtesy of Andy Jessop)

Tactical analysis

Kessiakoff has a small consolation for missing out on the stage win – he has taken over the lead of the polka dot jersey by a single point. Sky’s Chris Froome remains in second place, with Cadel Evans two points further back in third. However, Sky won’t be wearing the controversial yellow helmets on tomorrow’s stage, with RadioShack-Nissan ironically taking over the lead in the team classification – this despite their awful season and Tour to date. Their Basque rider Haimar Zubeldia is the highest placed in the GC, 59 seconds behind Wiggins in fifth place. Belgian Maxime Montfort continues to impress in seventh.

Sky looked slightly more fallible today than in their supreme efforts recently. After comparisons to Lance Armstrong’s dominating US Postal Service team, today they looked slightly weaker, with riders being dropped relatively early on in the stage. It is clear that if Bradley Wiggins is going to match the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans in the mountains, Chris Froome will be vitally important.

Rein Taaramae will continue wear the white jersey of best young rider tomorrow, with Tony Gallopin in second place. BMC’s Tejay Van Garderen has fallen down to fourth behind Pinot after losing time today, perhaps a cause for concern for Evans, given that the American has looked like his key domestique so far this Tour.

VeloVoices will bring you previews of each day’s stage every morning, live coverage of every stage on Twitterreviews in the evening and in-depth analysis after selected stages.

Link: Tour de France official website

Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise preview

After all the excitement in the southern hemisphere in Australia and South America, it’s finally time for the French and European season opener. It’s the 33rd edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise, owned and run by the newspaper of the same name.

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