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Let’s take a look back at stages 10 through 15 and who you thought was cool.
As the sprint launched going into the final corner, Cav and Argos Shimano leadout man Veelers tangled. Cav finished 3rd. Vittel took the win. Fingers pointed at Cav for deliberately riding through Veelers to make the corner on track with Greipel’s wheel. Others cited Veelers for possibly impeding Cav’s line. While I don’t agree with them, others said anything goes in the last 200 meters. Personally, I saw Veelers flick his left elbow twice prior to peeling off the front of the train. Maybe Cav didn’t see it, but that tells me Veelers at least tried to announce his intentions. Neither gets the Leather Jersey on Stage 10. We give it to the Argos Shimano teammates for stopping with the spatula to scrape the Veelers pancake off the tarmac.
Stage 11 What’s Cool in a Time Trial?
If you fast forwarded to the last 10 riders, you would’ve missed the winning ride from Tony Martin 4 hours earlier. Being obligated, he sat in the hot seat for well over 3 hours in the hot French sun waiting to take the stage win when the last rider Froome came up short. While that was impressive, I’m going to give the Stage 11 Leather Jersey to Ten Dam. I gravitate towards riders that turn themselves inside out, win or lose. We spotted Ten Dam with a ten inch drool going from nose to mouth to chin to neck. And for that incredible loogie, Ten Dam goes home in the Maillot Cuir on Stage 11.
Stage 12 Changing of the Guard
The top step of the podium seems shorter for sprinters. In recent years we’ve seen Robbie McEwen, Ale Jet, and Boonen rise and fade. On Stage 12 we got the first hint that Cav may have hit the crest of his wave, while Kittel stood up on his board and rode around Cav in a two-up battle. Looking back in a few years, Stage 12 could be the day the sprint guard changed hands from Cav to Kittel. For that we give Kittel and his Ivan Drago haircut the Leather Jersey.
Steven The Kittel boil over.
Stage 13 Honest Emotion
Darryn Cav. He was so happy after winning that stage. Like a little kid.
With my boss, I always say there’s no middle ground. It’s either great or it’s crap. I think the same holds true for Cavendish. It’s either a day like Stage 10 where you snatch a reporter’s recorder away, or it’s a heavenly harp glissando crowning achievement of glorious proportions. Cav got his day on Stage 13 and he, like Jan Bakelants on his Stage 2 win, let the emotions flow as if this latest win was his first ever. Raw emotion is always cool in my book, and for Stage 13 we pull the Leather Jersey over Cav’s shoulders.
Stage 14 Tofu in the Sun
You had no idea that Sojasun is Italian Tofu, until Julien Simon attacked a huge breakaway containing a few heavies like Jens Voigt, Tejay van Garderen and Marcus Burghardt. It was a valiant attack. You could hear his parents screaming at the TV as he threaded his way through the streets of Lyons lined 6 deep in Bastille weekend fans. It was one of those pound the sofa and hide your eyes attacks, even if it didn’t make it. You make Italian Tofu cool, and for that you get the Leather Jersey.
Stage 15 Sagan Wheelie
This stage might be the one where you had the epiphany that Froome’s climbing attacking pedaling style resembles that of the motion you use when the sheets are tucked to tight at the foot of the bed. However, we’re going to give the Leather Jersey to Sagan. Not for the wheelie, not for the one hander, but for the one hander wheelie at the base of Mt. Ventoux directly in front of Team Sky at the front of the peloton. When you go out the back, go out with a bang.
Ted I'll see your sheet-kicking and raise you a sissy-fight between 10 year old siblings.