Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Leather Jersey: Who’s Cool in Le Tour?

Right now, it appears to be a resounding Ted King for the overall.  You’ve been answering as each stage of the tour we’ve been asking, “Who’s the coolest rider?”  It could be a guy like Sky’s Pete Kennaugh who got clipped and sent into the ditch on Stage 9, only to show up at the front a few minutes later in bandages.  “You okay bud?”  “Yeah, I’m good.”  It could be a classic moment like Voeckler with his tongue out and jersey flapping in the breeze.  It’s not the most combative or aggressive, the stage winner or the DFL, although it could be.  Each stage of the tour, it’s up to you to find the cool, a spirit you admire.

When you join the daily conversation on Facebook, like or comment to be entered to win the Leather Jersey Prize package presented by Pearl Izumi and awarded randomly at the end of the tour which includes a GU Sample Pack and a pair of RoadIDs.

Let’s take a look back at the first 9 stages and who you thought was cool from Facebook.

Darryn Thomas Voeckler. I'll send you my mailing address now.

Stage 1 Cool Gorilla Patience
On stage 1, in German National Championship stripes, Andre Greipel stoically waited for a wheel change.  Some look like a big fat tub of guts in horizontal stripes (cough Cavendish), not Andre the Giant.  Greipel could’ve been the gorilla, bent over, arms flailing with the rear skewer.  No.  Like he flatted at the edge of the Grand Canyon, he stood tall and proud in his stripes, an eagle eye on the horizon, as the mechanic slipped a new wheel in the drops.  That’s how you rock the stripes, ya big monkey.

Stage 2 Cool Raw Emotion
After a gutsy move to push clear off the front, young Radio Shack Belgian Jan Bakelants held on to a razor thin margin and rode to a sweet stage 2 win.  Wait a minute.  Who?  Yeah you Wiki’d him too.  Don’t lie.  With 3rds at Belgian Nats and the Tour of Luxembourg, the win was a milestone in his career.  However, what made this moment so cool were his raw emotions running clear as he crossed the finish line first at the Tour.  There was no pre-planned Saganesque hulk flexing, no finger guns to the sky, no tired pointing at sponsor logos.  It was as if it were Christmas morning and dad rolled out the bike from the front closet with a bow on it.  Honest expressions, that’s Leather Jersey worthy.

Stage 3 Polka Dot Panache
The French guy in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, what was his name?  Oh yeah!  It was Jean Girard, played by Sacha Baron Cohen.  That’s what I think about when I see Pierre Rolland in Polka Dots.  You almost want to tongue kiss him.  Pierre’s polka dot panache was the most stylish case of the chicken pox we’ve seen.  After winning the Polka Dot Jersey, Pierre Rolland kitted up head to ankles in the dots: helmet, skin suit, gloves and bike.  Seeing him on the podium, my wife pointed out two strategically placed, (What’s the word?  Oh yeah.)  nut dots.  Shake and Bake Pierre!

Stage 4 iamcool
He favorited my tweet.  How cool is that?  Ted King gets the nod on Stage 4.  Nursing injuries from earlier crashes, like three broken testicles and with his spleen duct taped to the outside of his jersey, Ted took to the Team Time Trial on a road bike, got dropped by his Cannondale teammates in the first kilometer, and stuck it out solo in hopes of making the time cut.  Even though the race jury gave him the hook because he finished 7 seconds out of the time cut and despite a small social media campaign to keep him in the race, his courage, determination and grit won him the Leather Jersey du jour. 

Nathan Ted king for doing on a road bike.

Stage 5 Sagan’s Goatee
Ahoy!  He’s not a baby face no more.  He’s Friggin’ Captain Jack Sagan.  Even though Cavendish took the sprint in a shaggy 5 o’clock sasquatch, Peter Sagan makes a move to become Il Pirate part deux by the scruff of his chin.  And for that, you get the swashbuckling Leather Jersey on Stage 5.  Sagaaarrrrn!

 Sam Sagan for fighting to stay on the stage podium despite no leadout men as usual and no aero helmet!

Stage 6 Brakool
With the media focused on South African Daryl Impey wearing the yellow jersey, many of you took note of Janez Brajkovic’s Ted King type toughness.  Brako of Astana went down with 11k to go.  Obviously seeing dancing figures of Borat dancing around his helmet, it took forever for him to get back up.  Still he threw a leg over and finished the stage.  We like to think he went to the tour’s mobile hospital unit wearing the Leather Jersey.

Stage 7 Jens “Kiss” Voigt
Suck it Gene Simmons.  Jensie, while off the front in an early breakaway on Stage 7, yucked it up for the moto camera while improvising a prosthetic tongue out of an energy bar.  A photo remains elusive, but it looked something like this.  Jens Voigt, thanks for keeping the tour fun and for that you get the Leather Jersey on Stage 7. 

Kimberly I nearly did a coffee spit-take when I saw that today. 

Stage 8 Movistar
On Stage 8, the Sky meat grinder was in full effect, Froomator with Porte as his henchmen made Spanish sausage out of Contator, going 1-2 on the stage.  Still, Movistar’s Valverde and Quintana kept the tour’s drama alive.  Quintana launched out of the pack into virtual yellow with a minute lead over the summit of the Pailheres.  He would hold it through the descent and up the final climb at Ax 3 Domaines until Froome joined him with about 5k to go.  No one expected Valverde to be the closest competition to Froome at the finale (only 1:25 back) and for that we give the one-two punch of underdogs Valverde and Quintana the State 8 Leather Jersey.  They could wear it together.

Roderick I have to tip my cap to Valverde. He's the only one who managed to give even the slightest hope that the Tour isn't already over.

Stage 9  Ryder’s Sunglasses
The Sky started falling on Stage 9 leaving Froome isolated.  But, like on Stage 7, it wasn’t the big move or win that caught your eye as cool.  Perhaps a poke at Froome’s white specs, reader Ginger was keen to point out Ryder Hesjedal’s big cool hipster glasses.  With teammate Dan Martin taking the stage 9 win, we’ll give Ryder the Leather Jersey to match his sunglasses.

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