Stage 2 and the Tour farewelled Düsseldorf as the circus headed to Liège in Belgium. The rain that marred the stage 1 time trial persisted into Sunday making the rain jacket the choice item of clothing.
Meanwhile Gabs checked out the German town of Monschau near the border with Belgium. Monschau’s claim to fame is mustard and no doubt the riders will be hoping they cut the mustard to last all the way to Paris.
Trout with butter and buttery biscuits were on the menu so Gabs is going out hard this Tour and it’s clear to see it’s not just the French who love ‘die Butter’. With so much butter in the recipes you’re going to need two, no, make that three blocks of butter which takes the buerremetric counter to 810g.
Out on the course and there was no let up from the rain which dampened the field art efforts. By 'effort' I don’t mean much more than people walking around in circles forming moving bike wheels, however there was one exceptional piece of Neanderthal field art.
Still it seemed the German field art creators were resigned to 'hey, we’re mediocre at this, but cut us some slack, it's raining'. I don’t think Robbie has quite come to grips with the field art concept and called one piece a ‘dancing sign board’.
A condiment that matches the jersey.
The rain caused more havoc out on the road with Richie Porte and Chris Froome crashing but didn’t lose time. With conditions so slippery Robbie advised to avoid the white lines, good advice kids if you don’t want to fail the doping control.
A feature of the SBS coverage are the vignettes with the riders. Mark Cavendish and Taylor Phinney featured and the race radio bablefish inexplicably blew up trying to translate the Manx Missile. In perhaps the biggest sporting understatement of the year Phinney said he's going to be 'riding his bike a lot'.
The day’s McKeenanism jersey goes to Robbie. Thomas Voeckler is often described as the ‘French housewives’ choice’, to Robbie he’s 'the man of the hanging out tongue'.
But the points go to, "when the wheat is being harvested and the corn is head high the Tour is done". Not sure if Robbie took inspiration from ‘when the corn is high as an elephant’s eye’ from the Oklahoma! tune ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Morning’ or ‘corn’s too high to see which way we should go’ from Dylan Scott’s ‘Turn Rows’.
The number of American riders at the Tour has not gone unnoticed. In fact they can be counted on the one hand of a three-toed sloth. Er, that didn’t quite make sense, but never mind. But when you compare three riders to Australia’s nine we are punching well above our weight.
Then there’s tiny New Zealand with four. Robbie noted Kiwi riders are ‘cut from good cloth’ and you have to pay that.
The weather had improved somewhat by the time the riders reached Liège and Marcel Kittel emerged from the bunch sprint to claim his tenth stage victory. Hats off to Kittel, as a sprinter he really does cut the mustard.