On a dull day of peloton pootling and breakaway pounding, it was a tough call to find a performance worthy of mention, but Martin Elmiger’s long day in the wind with his three fellow escapees gets the nod.
The 37-year-old Swiss has been painfully close to contesting a Tour win before, spending 222km away with Garmin’s Jack Bauer in 2014, only to be caught within metres of the finish in Nimes, leaving the unfortunate Kiwi in tears while Elmiger remained stoic in defeat.
This time there was never any question of the remaining two breakaway riders being left to fight for the win as the sprint trains kicked into action, but they hung out there as best they could.
A special mention, too, for John Degenkolb, taking fourth in the sprint and getting back to his best following the horrific head-on car crash at a Spanish training camp ealrier this year that took out six of the team’s members and almost resulted in him losing a finger.
Elmiger, the four-time Swiss champion, also has a fine fifth at last year’s Paris-Roubaix on his palmarès, so clearly there is life in those long legs of his yet.
Whether his IAM Cycling team still remains in the peloton next season looks increasingly less likely. Let’s hope both IAM and Elmiger are around a while longer. They’re both good to have around.