Monday, July 7, 2014

Stage 2 York / Sheffield - Dambuster Spirit Gives Nibali a Bounce

Day two and the Tour continued through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside from York to Sheffield. The riders took on no less than nine climbs rated mostly as category 3 and 4. The design of the 201km stage has been likened to a re-imagining of ‘La Doyenne’, the one-day Spring classic Liege-Bastonge-Liege held in the Ardennes region of Belgium.

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenWEDGE) became the first Aussie to win Liege-Bastonge-Liege back in April. But as a re-imaging this story was to have a different ending. It was probably too much of an ask for Gerro to win given his heavy spill with Cav in the sprint the day before. Cav is consequently out of the Tour due to a dislocated collar bone.

Back in the kitchen Gabriel Gate was cooking up a Sunday treat for the riders. There are lots of mouths to feed on the Tour, and what better way to feed the multitudes than with a delicious Fisherman’s Pie. It’s very important to keep those energy levels up on a Grand Tour. Paul observed that a rider can burn up to 6,000 calories in a day on the road, the equivalent of three Yorkshire puddings.

The Fisherman’s Pie gets a big tick but not from the Heart Foundation for its inclusion of butter in the recipe, thus officially opening the account on the Beurremetric Counter at a respectful 100g.

Thankfully we were spared of Paul’s worrying obsession with dry stone walls in the commentary and attention turned to other structures on the landscape. The riders passed a number of large bodies of water resulting from dam building in the area over the years. During the Second World War the British were determined to knock down a few in the Ruhr Valley, Germany. The Derwent Dam became a training ground for the famous Derwent 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron. Chapeau to Troll DJ for giving us some of the theme.


Oh, and I have a theory about all the yellow, green and polka dot sheep we saw in stage 1. That dyed sheep story is just a ruse to cover up a secret revolutionary experiment to genetically modify sheep to produce a new generation of breathable fabrics for Tour jerseys. Imagine that, they’ll never fade!

The stage concluded in Sheffield, the home town of The Human League’s Phil Oakey. One wonders if some of the riders in the dash to the line found inspiration in that awesome low fly-over by a Lancaster bomber and Spitfire in back in York. 

In the spirit of Derwent 617 Squadron Vincenzo Nibali (Asstana) went out and did some dambusting of his own bursting out of the peloton to win the stage and don yellow with a two second advantage over Peter Sagan (Cannonball).

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