The Lanterne Rouge Thread 2020 **SPOILERS**

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  • Later update: Having done a bit of digging, this is how Valls' race ended:



    I assume that he went down in the big crash just after the 3km to go mark and so was awarded the same time, but is officially LR on the basis he didn't actually finish the course - though it's hard to find any real details. The early reports are that he's bust his collarbone; if so I hope he recovers quickly.
  • RichN95.
    RichN95. Posts: 27,209



    I assume that he went down in the big crash just after the 3km to go mark and so was awarded the same time, but is officially LR on the basis he didn't actually finish the course - though it's hard to find any real details. The early reports are that he's bust his collarbone; if so I hope he recovers quickly.


    It's a broken leg. And maybe more.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • pinno
    pinno Posts: 51,780
    That misfortune aside...

    I think using street furniture to improve your LR chances is a little bit well, not cricket.
    I hope the ASO clamps down on this rambunctious behaviour because if this catches on, France will be wrecked.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,978
    As Acting Lanterne Commissaire (a position I've just made up and awarded myself) I'm afraid I have to rule Valls out of the Lanterne.

    Having entered the final three KM he has been awarded a time, which is the same as that of the stage winner, and a full 13"04' faster than the top ranking Lanterne competitors.

    However, having not crossed the finishing line and not contested the slow-sprint he must be regarded as a technical DNF in terms of the stage rankings. Just as crossing the finish line first determines the stage winner, crossing the finish line last determines the Lanterne - should times be equal.

    It is, though, within my remit as Acting Lanterne Commissaire to award him the prestigious Le Prix de la combativité de Lanterne, for an exceptional commitment to the race. And a heartfelt get well soon as well.

    This leaves Kevin The Dane as the day's (and race's) Lanterne.

    I was actually considering picking Kev as a potential Lanterne protagonist this year, but he's actually French, and...

    I can't quite get my head around who the favourites are this year. I guess I should avoid picking anyone French though

    Nevertheless, I think we can agree that his surname alone makes the peloton a Viking sandwich, with a Norwegian/Danish one-two at the fast end and a Dane at the slow end.
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  • pinno
    pinno Posts: 51,780

    As Acting Lanterne Commissaire (a position I've just made up and awarded myself) I'm afraid I have to rule Valls out of the Lanterne.

    I suppose that as there was only one of you applying for the post and only one of you voting, I find this entirely democratic.

    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • pinno
    pinno Posts: 51,780
    If the whole race is going to be neutralised bar the last 3k's, it's going to be a very hard competition to win.
    With a 166 riders close behind the leader, this years LR is wide open.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,978
    pinno said:

    As Acting Lanterne Commissaire (a position I've just made up and awarded myself) I'm afraid I have to rule Valls out of the Lanterne.

    I suppose that as there was only one of you applying for the post and only one of you voting, I find this entirely democratic.

    The system is entirely democratic. One man one vote. And I'm that man.
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  • Lanterne_Rogue
    Lanterne_Rogue Posts: 4,201
    edited August 2020
    I'm kind of torn here, because although I do think you're right, I also think that finding a loophole whereby you can be infinitely delayed but never officially timed out is an absolute Lanterne power move. Like a Japanese soldier bravely fighting the second world war alone on some godforsaken coral atoll into the 1970s, Valls is metaphorically still out there somewhere on the course. Although unlike the Japanese soldier it appears he won't be running short of soap, so that's something.

    One thing I forgot to note yesterday was the ridiculous accent in Kévin Ledanois' name. Imagine the conversation between his parents?

    "'Kevin'? C'est un petit peux ordinaire, n'est-ce pas?"

    "Oh non non non, mon cherie. C'est 'Kévin' avec un 'é'. Un Kévin superior. Le Kévin ultimat. Aussi, mon petit pot à fleurs, qu'est-ce que le Francais pour le "heavy metal umlaut"? 'Ledanöis' a l'air tres cool, non?"


    Incidentally I think I've been caught out before by assuming the stage and overall rankings would be the same on day one, because it never dawns on me that a large part of cycling's appeal is its utter irrationality. As such I'm not going to edit it as the introduction of more chaos can only be a good thing...
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,531
    edited August 2020
    I assume we're not commenting on the nakedly pro-Danish Commisaire rewriting the rules and awarding the big prize to a Dane then..?

    Vive La Denmark!
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,978
    ddraver said:

    I assume we're not commenting on the nakedly pro-Danish Commisaire rewriting the rules and awarding the big prize to a Dane then..?

    Vive La Denmark!

    This is an extremely offensive insinuation. I will be sending Kasper Asgreen after you.
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  • DeadCalm
    DeadCalm Posts: 4,128
    I was tempted to pick you up on 'mon petite' but in these enlightened times, maybe it's best to let it slide. Plus, it's so long since I've used French in anger that I'd probably be embarrassing myself. I am embarrassing myself right now, am I not? 😳
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Benoît Cosnefroy, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • Yeah, but look on the bright side - I've got three whole weeks of embarrassing myself...
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,978

    Yeah, but look on the bright side - I've got three whole weeks of embarrassing myself...

    Is that a direct quote from an Astana DS?
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  • Lanterne_Rogue
    Lanterne_Rogue Posts: 4,201
    edited August 2020
    “Does this mean you’re going to ride me, Christian?”

    Holy chute - did I just say that? His forehead frowns.

    "No, Anastana. This is a bike race. It'd be, how do you say, bloody weird. Firstly, I don't ride. I go in the leetle red car and wave my 'ands out of the sunroof. Secondly, I 'ave lots of paperwork. And thirdly, you don't know what you're in for. You might want to run for the hills, but I might throw in a couple of horrible climbs."

    He smiles, and god, he's so hot.

    "Actually," he says. "I want to treat you badly. Very badly indeed."

    "Great! I love kinky stuff!" I say. My inner goddess is wobbling around like Andy Schleck going downhill in the wet.

    "You underestimate me, Anastana. I want to treat you very badly indeed. Have you ever listened to... Carlton Kirby?"

    - from Fifty Shades of Yellow by EPO James

    Right, if that filth doesn't earn me the sweet release of being banned from here nothing will. Meanwhile, back with the racing:

    Things started early as Teejay van Ladygarden silenced the critics by launching a stunning solo attack as soon as the cameras started rolling. Unfortunately the critics were soon able to point out he'd gone much too early and the flag hadn't yet dropped. Christian Prudhomme put on his best teacher face and refused to let everyone go until Teejay came back and apologised to the whole class. It's your own time you're wasting, you know...

    Once the flag finally dropped attacks went straight off the front in an attempt to convince their DS's that they'd done enough work now and could they just roll in later, please? The dramatic increase in pace spat Gaudu out the back and for a long time it looked like he was struggling to stay in touch with the peloton. Lots of camera time was naturally spent on the latest great hope for French cycling, only for Gaudu to miraculously recover - or at least get fed up of the doctors poking his injured back - and return to the peloton where he stayed for the rest of the day - or at least that part of the peloton that fell off the back on the second major climb.

    Elsewhere there were a fair number of falls and spills, but mostly the absurdly difficult second stage had the usual effect of dampening the racing for Lanterne Rouge as riders instead concentrated on saving energy and arriving within the cut off. With Degenkolb timed out by a relatively small amount of time, and Valls' being disqualified by the LR comissaires for not being Danish not actually finishing the stage (spoilsports), everyone was aware of the perils of not being on their best behaviour.

    Overnight leader Kévin the Dane ended up in the wrong group, allowing Cras and Sivakov to move up the placings. Total Direct Energie are being pleasingly less than total with their Energie and have four riders in the top ten. Bonifazio was the stand out rider, crashing into the top three underall. Cras inherits the lanterne though, and with no injuries listed on the official breakdown might well be expected to reach Paris - which probably means he's about to be ruined by being sent on a pointless attack that keeps him out of the autobus. Maybe he can claim to have caught the same cough that everyone who wants a French GC winner has mysteriously developed since Alaphilippe's win earlier?

    Hello:

    164 GRELLIER Fabien Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    165 CONSONNI Simone Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
    166 COUSIN Jérôme Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    167 BOL Cees Team Sunweb ,,
    168 BENNETT Sam Deceuninck - Quick Step ,,
    169 BONIFAZIO Niccolò Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    170 REZA Kévin B&B Hotels - Vital Concept p/b KTM ,,
    171 FRISON Frederik Lotto Soudal ,,
    172 DE BUYST Jasper Lotto Soudal 29:08
    173 EWAN Caleb Lotto Soudal ,,

    Is it me you're looking for (numbers are current/previous rank on GC):

    164 162 ▼2 ROWE Luke INEOS Grenadiers 32:23
    165 166 ▲1 CALMEJANE Lilian Team Total Direct Energie 33:21
    166 175 ▲9 LEDANOIS Kévin Team Arkéa Samsic 34:01
    167 165 ▼2 BURGAUDEAU Mathieu Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    168 168 - DE GENDT Thomas Lotto Soudal 40:14
    169 172 ▲3 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb ,,
    170 171 ▲1 COUSIN Jérôme Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    171 169 ▼2 BONIFAZIO Niccolò Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    172 173 ▲1 SIVAKOV Pavel INEOS Grenadiers 41:34
    173 174 ▲1 CRAS Steff Lotto Soudal 42:14





  • pinno
    pinno Posts: 51,780


    Right, if that filth doesn't earn me the sweet release of being banned from here nothing will.

    You have no such luck.

    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • DeadCalm
    DeadCalm Posts: 4,128
    Jérôme Cousin, who is just off the podium, is playing a dangerous game by dangling a long way off the front in the break of the day. Or will it be an inspired move?
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Benoît Cosnefroy, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,978
    DeadCalm said:

    Jérôme Cousin, who is just off the podium, is playing a dangerous game by dangling a long way off the front in the break of the day. Or will it be an inspired move?

    This is typical French panache. He'll be hoping to make a surprise attack on the rear once the break is caught. It's worked before, but with lots of riders carrying injuries and some wanting to shed some time before the mountains return he could easily be caught in a reverse potato chase.
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  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,978
    A fairly disturbing quote from Jerome...
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  • Cousin Jérôme has definitely featured in these threads before, but on checking his palmares he's never troubled the top ten in Paris. It's possible he's decided to knuckle down and make a serious tilt at it, I suppose - the quote from teh road book suggests he's interested in winning some titles so what better than the greatest one of all?
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,978
    I'm still trying to find out who this mysterious Jerome is. He must have some decent results or fame of some sort for the official race site naming a rider in reference to him. And does anyone know Jerome's cousin's actual name?
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  • orraloon
    orraloon Posts: 12,971
    Now I've got a cousin called Kevin
    He's sure to go to heaven...
  • There are three things he liked to do above all others. Write, make love, and hunt stages, and today Cousin Jerome was hunting. He had been told you should never confuse movement with action. Here on this hill there was no movement and little action, and he chafed at it.

    The hot Provence sun burned down. The bike was uncomfortable to touch. Jerome considered his choices. He could wait with the others. Or he could go. Everybody is friends when things are bad enough, but for Jerome things were not bad enough. Jerome knew that to suffer was to be a man. And so Jerome went off to find his fate.

    from For Whom the Line Comes by Earnest Breakaway
    There was a terrible moment in today's stage from Nice to Sisteron when it dawned on all of us that the interminable slow-motion replays that the new French TV director was inflicting upon his audience were in fact happening in real time and that yes, it really was this dull. Perhaps the nadir of this entertainment came on the first major climb when Perez and Cosnefroy, two of the three riders in the break, started to try and mark each other out of the sprint for the KOM points a mere two kilometres away from the top of the climb.

    Fed up of his two companions attempting trackstands on every minor ramp, Cousin Jerome did the only sensible thing and rode off without them in a classic one-two move to first mollify his DS and then slope off the back once he was inevitably caught.

    As a flattish stage this was always earmarked for the sprinters, meaning that the LR hopes of their support riders were vulnerable to this kind of ride, but as Alaphilippe has shown there's a big difference between knowing what your rival is going to do and actually stopping them.

    Ineos however were alert to the possibilities, and as Jerome fell off the back he was carefully marked by Sivakov. It's a mark of how seriously they're taking their main shot at glory that Ineos gave him protected rider status and assigned Kwiatkowski to guide him home. This preparation paid off handsomely, and Sivakov has now slipped into prime position 80 seconds ahead of Cousin Jerome.

    Elsewhere Perez belatedly realised that fighting for KOM points was likely to involve far more effort than the Lanterne and decided to try for a minor injury in order to facilitate it. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication with his team car, and an unfortunate touch of the brakes at the wrong time, Perez ended up with a compound fracture and has now left the race.

    The final member of the initial trio to break free today was Cosnefroy. Unfortunately the complete lack of effort over the climbs as he attempted to jockey Perez into position had been noted by his DS so Cosnefroy was denied permission to coast in gently. Faced with this unfairness he did the only thing open to him and - in acres of space - jammed his front brake on as hard as possible on the exit to a roundabout, resulting in a perfect somersault before the inevitable wipeout. Having been reassured there were no bonus seconds for artistic impression Cosnefroy happily, if a little tenderly, rode in with Sivakov and Jerome.

    My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard:

    161 SIVAKOV Pavel INEOS Grenadiers 5:11
    162 KWIATKOWSKI Michał INEOS Grenadiers ,,
    163 ANACONA Winner Team Arkéa Samsic ,,
    164 POELS Wout Bahrain - McLaren ,,
    165 COSNEFROY Benoît AG2R La Mondiale ,,
    166 CAVAGNA Rémi Deceuninck - Quick Step ,,
    167 CHEREL Mikaël AG2R La Mondiale ,,
    168 VAN AERT Wout Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
    169 MARTIN Tony Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
    170 COUSIN Jérôme Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    171 QUINTANA Dayer Team Arkéa Samsic ,,
    172 PÖSTLBERGER Lukas BORA - hansgrohe 7:32

    And they're like, it's better than yours:

    163 145 ▼18 CAVAGNA Rémi Deceuninck - Quick Step 33:41
    164 164 - ROWE Luke INEOS Grenadiers 34:00
    165 166 ▲1 LEDANOIS Kévin Team Arkéa Samsic 34:01
    166 167 ▲1 BURGAUDEAU Mathieu Team Total Direct Energie ,,
    167 171 ▲4 BONIFAZIO Niccolò Team Total Direct Energie 40:14
    168 169 ▲1 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb ,,
    169 168 ▼1 DE GENDT Thomas Lotto Soudal ,,
    170 173 ▲3 CRAS Steff Lotto Soudal 42:14
    171 170 ▼1 COUSIN Jérôme Team Total Direct Energie 45:25
    172 172 - SIVAKOV Pavel INEOS Grenadiers 46:45
  • Dear Mr L.R.,
    Fantastic work- got me chuckling away here!
    Cheers,
    Simon.
  • No mention of Pöstelburger's solo stage win? Jeez, you're a hard reviewer!
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  • No mention of Pöstelburger's solo stage win? Jeez, you're a hard reviewer!

    It's always postal burgers that get you into trouble, isn't it? Just ask Contador about his struggles with obtaining acceptable beef products by midnight mail order...

    (yeah, bit of an oversight on my part - I got too excited by the fact we actually appear to have a battle for the underall this year)
  • "To ride, or not to ride, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the cramps and pains of pointless breakaways,
    Or fetch up shirtfuls of fresh-filled bidons and by our drinking, empty them.
    To sleep, perchance to dream, and in the sleep fall off our bikes and lose more time.
    Ay - there's the rub. The painful rub of tarmac-ravished skin
    And lack of sleep that grants more time...
    'Tis a consumation devoutly to be wished,
    That makes calamity of so long a ride
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of coming last,
    To grunt and sweat under weary Provence sky,
    Except, mayhap, to hold the Lanterne high?"

    A vexed voice cut through the radio static.

    "For ****s sake, Kevin. We only asked if you wanted to get in today's break."

    from The Tragedy of Kevin, The Dane by William Spokesheare
    Christian Prudhomme has often been accused of meddling with the format of the tour. He's tried mountain time trials. He's put great big hills in the middle of stages that are otherwise perfect for sprinters. He's repeatedly mucked about with cobbled sections. He's even - and most controversially of all - dabbled with the notion of allowing British riders to be successful. Despite all this, however, there is one tradition that even the tinkerer-supreme has not dared to touch. I refer, of course, to the totally underwhelming first mountain-top finish.

    Yes, today was marketed as the day that would see the cream of the LR contenders rise to the top - only extremely slowly and about half an hour after everyone else. And like everything else that's entirely the product of our own fevered over-imaginations, reality failed to match it as the entire thing fizzled out into an utter non-event that left everyone wondering whether life hadn't been better with Sky kicking the crap out of everyone after all.

    I think part of the reason expectations had become so high was that it wasn't really a proper mountain stage. Not really. Not a proper "cow with a big bell leering at you alarmingly on a bar of chocolate" mountain. A lump. A lumpette, even. Underwhelming. That meant that it was entirely possible an autobus wouldn't form and we'd see some serious moves on the underall, especially if any of the top three accidentally caught their DS's eye over breakfast and got ordered out into a break.

    As it was the only person high on LR to collect their muesli at the wrong moment was Mathieu Burgaudeau, and he was duly sent up the road to publicise direct energy, presumably instead of that weedy indirect stuff that barely warms your toaster of a morning. Tiesj Benoot was also sent up the road as one of today's sacrificial victims, with instructions to provide team leader Nikias Arndt with a specially adapted bike as he came past:



    Whilst there was no movement amongst the top three, all of whom finished on the same time, several of the sprinters took the opportunity to take some much needed time. IT's entirely pointless as they'll soon fade with the next flat stage, but it keeps the sponsors happy. Best time of the day was recorded by Roger Kluge, who managed to slip off the back despite Sam Bennett coming off his line in the reverse sprint in a manner that had Groenewgen's fans again complaining about double standards, with Bennett again moving somebody dangerously close to literally metres of open road. As Ewan's leadout man it's clear that Kluge has been taking keen notes on the best way to navigate a crowded finish though, and he slipped through to take the win.

    Teenage Dirtbags:

    161 KREUZIGER Roman NTT Pro Cycling 20:30
    162 VIVIANI Elia Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
    163 NIZZOLO Giacomo NTT Pro Cycling ,,
    164 WALSCHEID Max NTT Pro Cycling ,,
    165 BOL Cees Team Sunweb 20:41
    166 EWAN Caleb Lotto Soudal 20:44
    167 BONIFAZIO Niccolò Team Total Direct Energie 21:22
    168 LAPORTE Christophe Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 21:30
    169 BENNETT Sam Deceuninck - Quick Step 21:56
    170 THEUNS Edward Trek - Segafredo ,,
    171 CONSONNI Simone Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 21:58
    172 KLUGE Roger Lotto Soudal 22:20

    Iron maidens, baby:

    160 158 ▼2 GRELLIER Fabien Team Total Direct Energie 52:13
    161 159 ▼2 DE LA CRUZ David UAE-Team Emirates ,,
    162 160 ▼2 FRISON Frederik Lotto Soudal ,,
    163 161 ▼2 BONNET William Groupama - FDJ ,,
    164 155 ▼9 KLUGE Roger Lotto Soudal 52:41
    165 166 ▲1 BURGAUDEAU Mathieu Team Total Direct Energie 53:25
    166 163 ▼3 CAVAGNA Rémi Deceuninck - Quick Step 53:54
    167 165 ▼2 LEDANOIS Kévin Team Arkéa Samsic 54:14
    168 168 - ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 56:23
    169 167 ▼2 BONIFAZIO Niccolò Team Total Direct Energie 1:01:36
    170 170 - CRAS Steff Lotto Soudal 1:02:27
    171 171 - COUSIN Jérôme Team Total Direct Energie 1:05:38
    172 172 - SIVAKOV Pavel INEOS Grenadiers 1:06:58
  • pinno
    pinno Posts: 51,780
    :)

    Spokesheare is class, sheer class.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • Superb :D
  • Lanterne_Rogue
    Lanterne_Rogue Posts: 4,201
    edited September 2020
    In a hole in the peloton lived a rider. Not a horrible, nasty, dirty, wet rider filled with worms and ooze and whatever else is in a finishing bottle, but a freshly scrubbed rider ready to join Ineos and behave nicely at the front of the peloton for hours at a time whilst watching their remaining ambition slowly circle the drain.

    This rider was a very well to do rider and his name was Yates. The Yateses had worked in the neighbourhood of the tour since time immemorial, or at least since 2014, and people considered them very respectable not only because they were decent riders but because they'd never ridden for Team Sky.

    By some curious chance, a long time ago in this year's tour, or possibly an hour or two ago because what even is time in 2020 any more, when the surviving riders were still numerous and not smeared all over the road after yet another soap-based homage to Jeux Sans Frontières , Yates was minding his own business at the edge of the peloton when Handout went by. Handout! If you'd only heard a quarter of what I'd heard then you'd have heard, erm, nothing actually. Anyway, Handout had been away on business of his own over the hills and water, and frankly should probably have still been self-isolating after his return.

    All the unsuspecting Yates saw was an ordinary man dressed in a Deceuninck - Quick Step hat, and Deceuninck - Quick Step glasses, and Deceuninck - Quick Step jersey and, well, you get the idea. Just you wait until I write the sequel and really start padding things out. You'll be ready to strangle Tom Bombadil, I can tell you. "Good morning!" said Yates. "What do you mean?" said Handout. "It's late afternoon, you Lancashire-accented eejit. Anyway, I'm looking for someone to give a bidon to, and it's very difficult to find someone to give it to."

    "Have you tried that French bloke over there that's dressed from head to foot in yellow?" asked Yates.

    Handout brightened.

    "Aha! Yes! That would be very amusing. Very amusing indeed..."

    from An Unexpected Jersey by JRR Telekom
    Today's stage was what was traditionally known as a transition day. Not because anyone actually went anywhere but because of the ridiculous number of times you'd have to sit through Tyler Farrar trying to flog over-priced sunglasses. And true to form virtually nothing at all happened, and the only interesting thing to happen wasn't spotted at the time and only became interesting after the TV coverage had finished.

    Yes, I'm referring to the shock news that darling of the French housewife Julian Alaphilippe accepted a bidon within the last 20km and was duly given a 20 second bonus, and now only needs to accept another 215 such bidons in order to take prime place in the lanterne rouge. Such blatant assistance from the commissaires has gone down incredibly badly in France, as you'd expect, and a vehement campaign has already begun to strip Alaphilippe of the bonus seconds.

    In the underall Ineos made a decent attempt to force the issue when Carapaz made a break up the road, with than Sivakov attacking the bunch to join him, but the move was quickly marked by Cousin Jerome and they rolled in together. Cras however was paying less attention, and found himself caught on the wrong side of a split in the peloton that was forced by the wind, or possibly just the sheer volume of hot air coming from commentators eager to convince viewers that there was some wind and therefore an outside chance of something, anything, actually happening, for the love of god please make it stop.

    Big winners on the day were Fraile (promising name for an LR rider, that) and Castroveijo, who was presumably placed up the road to work for Sivakov if he managed to escape again but instead found himself competing in the tnirps for last.

    Join us tomorrow for more high class tedium.

    Werewolves of London:

    Forty-odd riders at 4:50 then:
    168 POELS Wout Bahrain - McLaren 7:04
    169 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb ,,
    170 TEJADA Harold Astana Pro Team ,,
    171 FRAILE Omar Astana Pro Team 9:05
    172 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan INEOS Grenadiers ,,

    Sheepdogs of Llandaff:

    163 160 ▼3 GRELLIER Fabien Team Total Direct Energie 56:59
    164 161 ▼3 DE LA CRUZ David UAE-Team Emirates ,,
    165 163 ▼2 BONNET William Groupama - FDJ ,,
    166 166 - CAVAGNA Rémi Deceuninck - Quick Step 57:19
    167 165 ▼2 BURGAUDEAU Mathieu Team Total Direct Energie 58:11
    168 158 ▼10 POELS Wout Bahrain - McLaren 58:26
    169 169 - BONIFAZIO Niccolò Team Total Direct Energie 1:01:32
    170 170 - CRAS Steff Lotto Soudal 1:05:52
    171 171 - COUSIN Jérôme Team Total Direct Energie 1:10:24
    172 172 - SIVAKOV Pavel INEOS Grenadiers 1:11:44
  • In a hole in the peloton lived a rider. Not a horrible, nasty, dirty, wet rider filled with worms and ooze and whatever else is in a finishing bottle, but a freshly scrubbed rider ready to join Ineos and behave nicely at the front of the peloton for hours at a time whilst watching their remaining ambition slowly circle the drain.

    This rider was a very well to do rider and his name was Yates. The Yateses had worked in the neighbourhood of the tour since time immemorial, or at least since 2014, and people considered them very respectable not only because they were decent riders but because they'd never ridden for Team Sky.

    By some curious chance, a long time ago in this year's tour, or possibly an hour or two ago because what even is time in 2020 any more, when the surviving riders were still numerous and not smeared all over the road after yet another soap-based homage to Jeux Sans Frontières , Yates was minding his own business at the edge of the peloton when Handout went by. Handout! If you'd only heard a quarter of what I'd heard then you'd have heard, erm, nothing actually. Anyway, Handout had been away on business of his own over the hills and water, and frankly should probably have still been self-isolating after his return.

    All the unsuspecting Yates saw was an ordinary man dressed in a Deceuninck - Quick Step hat, and Deceuninck - Quick Step glasses, and Deceuninck - Quick Step jersey and, well, you get the idea. Just you wait until I write the sequel and really start padding things out. You'll be ready to strangle Tom Bombadil, I can tell you. "Good morning!" said Yates. "What do you mean?" said Handout. "It's late afternoon, you Lancashire-accented eejit. Anyway, I'm looking for someone to give a bidon to, and it's very difficult to find someone to give it to."

    "Have you tried that French bloke over there that's dressed from head to foot in yellow?" asked Yates.

    Handout brightened.

    "Aha! Yes! That would be very amusing. Very amusing indeed..."

    from An Unexpected Jersey by JRR Telekom
    Today's stage was what was traditionally known as a transition day. Not because anyone actually went anywhere but because of the ridiculous number of times you'd have to sit through Tyler Farrar trying to flog over-priced sunglasses. And true to form virtually nothing at all happened, and the only interesting thing to happen wasn't spotted at the time and only became interesting after the TV coverage had finished.

    Yes, I'm referring to the shock news that darling of the French housewife Julian Alaphilippe accepted a bidon within the last 20km and was duly given a 20 second bonus, and now only needs to accept another 215 such bidons in order to take prime place in the lanterne rouge. Such blatant assistance from the commissaires has gone down incredibly badly in France, as you'd expect, and a vehement campaign has already begun to strip Alaphilippe of the bonus seconds.

    In the underall Ineos made a decent attempt to force the issue when Carapaz made a break up the road, with than Sivakov attacking the bunch to join him, but the move was quickly marked by Cousin Jerome and they rolled in together. Cras however was paying less attention, and found himself caught on the wrong side of a split in the peloton that was forced by the wind, or possibly just the sheer volume of hot air coming from commentators eager to convince viewers that there was some wind and therefore an outside chance of something, anything, actually happening, for the love of god please make it stop.

    Big winners on the day were Fraile (promising name for an LR rider, that) and Castroveijo, who was presumably placed up the road to work for Sivakov if he managed to escape again but instead found himself competing in the tnirps for last.

    Join us tomorrow for more high class tedium.

    Werewolves of London:

    Forty-odd riders at 4:50 then:
    168 POELS Wout Bahrain - McLaren 7:04
    169 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb ,,
    170 TEJADA Harold Astana Pro Team ,,
    171 FRAILE Omar Astana Pro Team 9:05
    172 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan INEOS Grenadiers ,,

    Sheepdogs of Llandaff:

    163 160 ▼3 GRELLIER Fabien Team Total Direct Energie 56:59
    164 161 ▼3 DE LA CRUZ David UAE-Team Emirates ,,
    165 163 ▼2 BONNET William Groupama - FDJ ,,
    166 166 - CAVAGNA Rémi Deceuninck - Quick Step 57:19
    167 165 ▼2 BURGAUDEAU Mathieu Team Total Direct Energie 58:11
    168 158 ▼10 POELS Wout Bahrain - McLaren 58:26
    169 169 - BONIFAZIO Niccolò Team Total Direct Energie 1:01:32
    170 170 - CRAS Steff Lotto Soudal 1:05:52
    171 171 - COUSIN Jérôme Team Total Direct Energie 1:10:24
    172 172 - SIVAKOV Pavel INEOS Grenadiers 1:11:44


    Good to see TTDE going for the team classification.