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  • Top Banana: Tour de France stage 16 – Simon Geschke

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    Windy stages promise danger, present opportunities, and call for hard riding by the hardest of men. Sunweb, and Michael Matthews, must be glad they have Simon Geschke

    Photographs: ASO
    Simon Geschke

    I know we’ve all argued quite enough about “unwritten rules” at this year’s Tour de France, but there’s one we can surely all agree on: the victorious rider’s first job upon crossing the finish line is to thank his team-mates.

     

    In which case, someone might want to have a quiet word with young Mr Matthews.

     

    It might well have been he who, upon hearing Kittel was in trouble on the climb, called for his team-mates to push on. All the same, he might have been a bit less self-congratulatory the moment someone stuck a microphone in front of him.

     

    Because it certainly wasn’t him doing the pushing.

     

    Indeed, on “Echelon day 2017” – aka Commentators’ Christmas – Sunweb riders spent more time in the wind than all the other teams put together. Their shared goal being not just to put Matthews in contention for the stage win, but to make sure that the incumbent green jersey couldn’t catch up.

     

    Amid the chaos and confusion of crosswinds, the execution was flawless. A masterclass in bike racing by brute force.

     

    So which Sunweb rider most deserves to be named Top Banana? We can’t really award it to Warren Barguil again, as imperious as he continues to look in polka dots.

     

    Laurens ten Dam is nothing less than the safest pair of hands in the peloton.

     

    For his sheer determination to prevent the break from stealing sprint points that Matthews so desperately wanted, one man stands out.

     

    By a beard, it goes to Simon Geschke.

     

    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
    Stage 11 – Maciej Bodnar
    Stage 12 – Steve Cummings
    Stage 13 – Alberto Contador
    Stage 14 – Warren Barguil
    Stage 15 – Michal Kwiatkowski

     

    Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire by Andy McGrath

     

    Bird on the Wire