Rouleur Classic

Tour de France 2015: Top Banana – stage six

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Photographs: Offside/L’Équipe and Gerard Brown

Every Tour de France has one, and he’s usually French – a baroudeur who spend hundreds of kilometres in breakaways and comes away with nothing but a combativity prize, some cursory King of the Mountains points and a sympathetic pat on the back from the directeur sportif.
So, in the grand tradition of the likes of Jérémy Roy and Frédéric Finot, we award you, Perrig Quéméneur, la monsieur breakaway of the 2015 race.
He escaped on stage 2 through the windswept Dutch flatlands, then opted for more punishment in front of the race on cobbled stage 4 to Cambrai. Looking at that sequence, you could count on him putting distance between himself and the peloton on day six.
After his long escape with Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) on the road to Le Havre, Quéméneur has already spent a total of 450 kilometres in breakaways during the Tour. That’s nearly half of the distance so far
So, who is plucky Perrig? With a name like his – and if there was a prize for best one at the Tour, he’d run rivals close – the 31-year-old couldn’t be more Breton if he was chomping on a galette and waving the region’s Gwenn-ha-du flag.
Predominantly a domestique, he has more accents to his name than race victories, never having claimed a win in nearly eight seasons with Europcar and its former incarnations.
But Quéméneur likes to liven up races. At his debut Tour in 2011, he was the very first attacker on the opening road stage, winning the Combativity prize. This season, he’s been up the road at the Tour de Yorkshire and Dauphiné too.
And, as long-term subscribers will doubtless remember, he won a piglet at Tro-Bro Léon in 2011, as captured by Gerard Brown in issue 27. Talk about bringing home the bacon.
While attention will rightly be focused on Daniel Teklehaimanot and his out-of-Eritrea story, spare a thought for plucky Perrig too. Such exposure can only help Team Europcar, who are desperately seeking a sponsor to back the team in 2016.
As the race enters their native Brittany tomorrow, you can be sure they will be to the fore.
Breaks are good, but a stage win would be far better. Maybe one day Quéméneur’s bold bids will bear fruit; for now, he can console himself with our Top Banana.
Our Top Banana award celebrates the Tour de France’s unsung hero of the day, the lesser light who has done a cracking ride that has gone unrecognised.

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