Rouleur Classic

Tour de France 2016: Top Banana stage 3

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Photographs: Offside/L'Equipe & BrakeThrough Media
Tour de France 2015: Top Banana, stage 17

Today, we kept reminding ourselves that you need a few lulls early in the Tour de France to produce pulsating action later. Right? Because most of stage three to Angers was catatonic, a glorified club run tootling through the Loire countryside.
Until one man slipped up the road to join lone escapee Armindo Fonseca with 80 kilometres to go. When it comes to boredom busters, who you gonna call? Thomas Voeckler.
The Direct Energie captain’s thinking wasn’t as lateral as his movement on the bicycle, given the hopelessness of the endeavoeur.  But Voeckler appreciates the pot needed to be stirred, that part of cycling is spectacle – and with all his gurns and gestures, he can make the act of riding over a speed bump look entertaining.
Lo and behold, his move breathed life into the comatose bunch behind. Voeckler and Fonseca were swept up, but it’s a good omen for the next three weeks that the veteran is up for the fight.
We don’t know whether he’ll win his fifth stage, but we can guarantee that he’s appearing in the next issue of 1, out in a couple of weeks.

1’s Top Banana is awarded after every 2016 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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