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Top Banana: Tour de France 2018 stage 5 – Toms Skujins

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Trek-Segafredo’s potato-powered Latvian TT champion plays it smart in Brittany to land the polka dot jersey

Photographs: ASO/Pauline Ballet
Toms Skujins

For the first time in this race, we saw riders from non-wildcard selection teams making the break. Dimension Data, Lotto-Soudal and Trek-Segafredo all gave the green light to their men to spend the day up the road alongside the usual suspects.

 

Toms Skujins, the punchy Latvian riding for Trek, looked right at home on the rolling roads of Brittany and always appeared the most dangerous man amongst the remaining quartet of himself, Nicolas Edet from Cofidis and Direct Energie’s Sylvain Chavanel and his team-mate Lilian Calmejane.

 

Indeed, he was hoovering up King of the Mountains points in a successful bid to snatch the jersey away from the crafty old French fox Chavanel, who also had designs on the polka dots. Plus, he landed the combativity prize as an added bonus. Nice work.

 

Skujins’ Tour of California stage win – and extraordinary, joyous, cycling-disco-dancing celebration – in May was a year on from his horrific crash and concussion at the same race, a subject we interviewed him about for Rouleur magazine. Following accidents involving head injuries for Lawson Craddock and Tiesj Benoot in this Tour, concussion protocol remains the hot topic, and rightly so.

 

So it’s great to see the 27-year-old Latvian time-trial champion reaching his ample potential on the biggest stage in the world. He’s enjoying his racing and, as you can see in the photo above, enjoying his Top Banana.

 

The Rouleur Top Banana goes to an unsung hero of each stage of the Tour de France – not the winner, not the yellow jersey – but a rider whose efforts deserve recognition

 

Stage 1 – Yoann Offredo

Stage 2 – Lawson Craddock

Stage 3 – Tejay van Garderen

Stage 4 – Guillaume van Keirsbulck