When Warren Barguil took stage 13 in Foix yesterday, wearing the polka dot jersey, and on Bastille Day to boot, we wondered whether it could get any better for the Frenchman’s team.
But it most certainly did in Rodez.
A fairly humdrum day ended in dramatic fashion: Aru distanced on the final savage climb, losing the maillot jaune to Chris Froome; Gilbert going early on the type of finish that you’d put your money on him winning; Greg van Avermaet, another potential winner, in close attendance.
But Sunweb did it again today, with superior teamwork and brilliant delivery.
Once Thomas de Gendt, the final survivor of a day-long four-man break, was reeled in, a dangerous counter attack formed. Nikias Arndt had the tactical nous to jump across and sit on, effectively killing that little move.
We saw Simon Geschke and Laurens ten Dam putting in big pulls at the front in the closing stages. Then it was down to Michael Matthews to finish off, which he did, most emphatically.
Tempting as it is to award a bunch of fruit to the entire team, there’s only one Top Banana. And today, it goes to Warren Barguil, who went from stage winner to bottle carrier, almost losing touch with the peloton at one point as he went back for bidons.
Stars and Watercarriers, as the film title by Jørgen Leth goes. Barguil has been both in the last two days. A credit to his team.
Tour de France 2017: Rouleur Top Bananas
Stage 1 – Taylor Phinney
Stage 2 – Tony Gallopin
Stage 3 – Juraj Sagan
Stage 4 – Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
Stage 5 – Stefan Küng
Stage 6 – Frederik Backaert
Stage 7 – Reinardt Rense van Rensburg
Stage 8 – Lilian Calmejane
Stage 9 – Dan Martin
Stage 10 – Julien Vermote
Eiffel Tower print by Tom Jay, from the Rouleur Tour de France collection