Friday, July 24, 2015

Stage 18 Gap / Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Bardet goes all the way

Stage 18 and it’s the Tour’s second day in jaw dropping majesty of the French Alps.

When Gabs is down this way he never forgets to pack a rod for a relaxing spot of trout fishing in the many icy streams of the Alps. With a little help from Phil he’d soon bagged his legal daily quota of trout but it wasn’t enough to feed the peloton and the entire Tour caravan. JC Peraud was enlisted to help and miraculously there was plenty of fish to feed the multitude. Short on pain for breakfast? Not a problem with JC around.

So baked trout with Gruyere cheese was on the menu and the two tablespoons of butter in the recipe have finally moved the buerremetric counter from 200 to 240g. It’s also triple the dairy with cream and cheese.

Jakob Fuglsang found himself in an inexplicable uphill crash on the Col du Glandon. We’re not quite sure what happened as he was off camera to the left when suddenly we saw his rear wheel flick into the air. It’s kind of heartening to know even the pros are prone to silly crashes like that - it makes lesser mortals like me feel a little better about myself when I do something idiotic on a bike.

Romain Bardet was first over the top of the Col du Glandon and Phil was wondering if, “Bardet’s laying down a foundation, can he build a house?” At high speed on a bike? He’ll have your new home built to lock up stage in no time.

Samuel Sanchez was spotted on the descent but where were his golden shoes? Must have left them in Gap for resoling.

Romain Bardet ascends the Lacets de Montvernier

Bardet was still out front when he reached the amazing Lacets de Montvernier, a climb 3km long packed in to 400 metres on a narrow road with 17 hairpin bends up a cliff face. To some it looked like the entrails left behind after the vultures had been there. To me it looked more like a fish ladder to guide the pilot fish in the peloton to the top of the climb. Each bend had ‘Yates you can’ painted on the road but we didn’t know for which one.

For some in the peloton the course looked a little too much like the lay out of ‘Donkey Kong’ and the peloton was keen to get over the top before Andre Greipel got there and started hurling barrels down the road. In hindsight it was probably a good thing Rui Costa’s brother Mario is not at this Tour.

We watched as Bardet pedalled up the Lacets which prompted Paul to say, “this makes you want to jump out of your telly and give the man a push”, which was about the most sense we’d heard from him all day.

Bardet got to the top of the Lacets with a 40 second lead over the chasers and as he got his turbo whistling for the run to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Paul’s Sherliggettism turbo was whistling to the point of blowing up. At one stage Paul compared Bardet discarding his bidon to ‘throwing out the sand bags like a hot air balloon to get more height’ even though he was actually going down hill.

Bardet had ditched the gloves too – which was not so much as having thrown down the gauntlet but completely throwing it away. The young Frenchman notched up his first Tour win and Pierre Rolland put in great ride to make it a French one - two finish, which will probably be remembered like that other one - two victory at Bathurst ’77.

No comments:

Post a Comment