Rouleur Classic

Tour de France 2015: Top Banana – stage 18

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Photographs: BrakeThrough Media

It’s one for A Question of Sport’s “what happened next” segment in the future, but Jakob Fuglsang won’t be laughing.
One moment the Astana rider was in the breakaway of the Tour de France near the top of the Col du Glandon, the next he and his bike were up in the air, along with his chances of stage victory, as he was blindsided by a passing motorbike.
What do these erratic motorbike pilots have against Danish professional cyclists? In 2011, Nicki Sorensen was knocked off his bike at the Tour de France by a moto carrying a photographer in a similar incident.
Ill-fated Fuglsang lost significant energy, morale and King of the Mountain currency in the process of chasing back on. All that considered, getting back to the breakaway and making the final cut up the Lacets de Montvernier to have a chance of victory was impressive.
It’s no surprise. Fuglsang is a fighter, as we saw at last year’s Tour, where he was Vincenzo Nibali’s key team-mate on the cobbled stage to Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut and gave him unrelenting help during the race, in spite of a serious crash halfway through.
The Dane has caught the eye this Tour too, notably nursing Nibali on several stages, as well as finishing second 48 hours later on Plateau de Beille. He still seems caught in limbo between support and leadership, a dichotomy discussed with 157 in their February interview. 
Sure, he lost the battle on stage 18, but he could yet win the war for the King of the Mountains jersey, currently sitting four points off the lead. Motorbike pilots, please give the man a wide berth…
1’s Top Banana is awarded after every 2015 Tour de France stage. It goes to an unsung hero who has caught the eye or deserves recognition for his efforts, rather than necessarily the stage winner or the most attacking rider.

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