Monday, July 21, 2014

Stage 15 Tallard / Nîmes - 24: Race Another Day

After two days of hard slog in the Alps the Tour transitioned on a flat 222km route from Tallard to Nimes. With no categorised climbs and only some intermediate sprint prize money to be had it was flat out all the way.

Gabriel Gate heard the complaints from the peloton about all the fruit and dessert they’d been served up lately. Things came to a head after the zucchini cheese flan disaster involving FDJ’s Arnaud Demare in the Alps the other day. What the peloton wanted was meat so Gabs got hold of some of the finest lamb in Provence and made a delicious Grilled Lamb Loin with Capsicum and Olives. Sam Kekovich of the eat lamb ads fame would be proud.

BUT, no butter. I’m not even bothering with updating the Beurremetric Counter anymore. We need to talk - WHAT IS GOING ON GABS? Don’t give me SBS budget cuts as an excuse, you can always pocket those single serve size butter portions from the hotel breakfast buffet.

Many riders felt relieved they are on a relatively easy stage until weather was factored in. Rain was forecast for the stage but no one was expecting an epic thunderstorm. It was time to put the hammers down and looking at those dark threatening skies Thor was ready to put the hammer down too. By Thor I mean the Viking god of thunder, not Thor Hushovd (BMC) who’s not racing in this year’s Tour but is considered a Viking god by his fans nonetheless.

There was not a lot of sightseeing on this stage. Sure, there was the obligatory shot of purple lavender fields and nothing says Provence like lavender fields and overpriced whitewashed kitchenware with ‘Provence’ stencilled on it.

A philosophical Jack Bauer about being pipped at the line.

Keeno on commentary duty while the Ps had their afternoon nap spotted some ‘orca coloured hills’. As far as I know orcas only come in two colours – black and white or white and black. Makes me wonder if Keeno was still suffering from the delirium of the rarefied air of the commentary van in the Alps or was it just a case of hanging around Phil and Paul for far too long?

During the stage Paul talked about Masham town council in Yorkshire ordering thousands of knitted Tour jerseys strung up as bunting be taken down on OH&S grounds because they might cause the street lamp posts to bend if they got wet. Don’t mind that all the riders have separating skin and severe gravel rash is a millimetre of breathable fabric and the fact councils did nothing to stop idiots wandering out on the roads taking selfies. This would have to be the most stupid act of officialdom since Sylvain Chavanel (IAMYOUAREWEARE Cycling) was fined 100 CHF at last year’s Tour for ‘eating in a way that damages the image of cycling’.

On a transition stage a bit of boredom set in. Phil started talking about fishing again. Then there was the relentless hot air about cross winds and echelons. Dutch painter Van Gogh spent his final years near Nimes. The Ps blamed the mistral for driving him mad but if Van Gogh were alive today listening to this commentary you wouldn’t blame his descent into madness on the wind.

Cycling can be a cruel sport. Martin Elmiger  (IAMYOUAREWEARE Cycling) and Jack Bauer (Sharmin-Garp) broke away early in the piece and with the finish line in sight Bauer got caught by the sprinters in the very last metres of the race with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) first across the line to notch up another stage victory. There were tears from Jack Bauer, the man who can save the world in 24 hours but couldn’t save the race with 24 metres to go. Meanwhile Italian master Vincenzo Nibali (Asstana) comfortably hangs on to yellow.

No comments:

Post a Comment