Give ‘em the old razzle-dazzle, razzle-dazzle ‘em.
Following yet another exciting stage in a truly memorable Tour, we are no nearer knowing who will top the podium in Paris.
Movistar put three riders in the break. What was their game? Launching a quality attack by Nairo Quintana to take the stage, of course. About time they did something right.
Another excellent Colombian, Egan Bernal, shot away on the Galibier to put himself firmly in the frame for the GC, gaining 32 seconds and leapfrogging Geraint Thomas on into second spot.
After Ineos lost their road captain Luke Rowe following his expulsion on stage 17, the performance of their hot young talent must have been a fillip. They are still very much in the game over the next two days in the Alps. The only question is which of the two has the best legs?
Arguably performance of the day came from the yellow jersey. Julian Alaphilippe looked to have finally cracked towards the peak of the Galibier. The opposition left it late to attack him, but with descending skills like Alaphilippe’s, the French favourite rejoined the fray and retained the jersey. How many more times he repeat the feat?
But Top Banana? It’s got to be Romain Bardet. He’s had a thoroughly underwhelming Tour thus far, struggling on the climbs when he should be battling for honours.
Plan B? Hoover up the mountains points and grab a polka dot jersey instead – no bad consolation prize. And he was second on the stage.
What’s that you say? You’re only picking him because he’s a Rouleur columnist?
Okay, we may be a tad biased. But it was great to see Bardet back at something approaching his best. Let’s see how he goes tomorrow.
Rouleur Top Bananas 2019:
Stage 1 – Greg Van Avermaet
Stage 2 – Tony Martin
Stage 3 – Michael Matthews
Stage 4 – Max Richeze
Stage 5 – Toms Skuiņš
Stage 6 – Geraint Thomas
Stage 7 – Wout van Aert
Stage 8 – Thomas de Gendt
Stage 9 – Jasper Stuyven
Stage 10 – Luke Rowe
Stage 11 – Emanuel Buchmann
Stage 12 – Matteo Trentin
Stage 13 – Enric Mas
Stage 14 – David Gaudu
Stage 15 – Lennard Kämna
Stage 16 – Lotto-Soudal
Stage 17 – Kasper Asgreen