23 Days in July 2019 – Le Tour – Stage 7.

During the EuroSport coverage, one of the commentators was talking about the communication available to the peloton riders and how it differed to the 1980’s when his co-commentator legendary Irish cyclist and 5 times Green Points Jersey winner Sean Kelly was racing.

Quick note here that the Green Jersey wasn’t specifically a sprinter’s jersey but a ‘who placed most highly over every stage’ jersey, so to win it you have to be up at the front in the sprints, the time trials, and the mountain stages.

The commentator made the point that he reckoned that Sean Kelly would have loved the peloton nowadays as the medium language would almost certainly be English.

Kelly immediately responded in the negative. He pointed out the cycling was an international sport and when he rode in the peloton he loved that element of it, learning French, Flemish, and Dutch, to converse with all of his team mates and the other riders. He still appreciated this side of the sport and the fact that he could still hold down a decent conversation in those languages with riders today.

The Tour is full of similar stories.

Riders from different teams giving away a bottle to another, or a gel or some food to a struggling rider. Unwritten laws which stop attacks from GC contenders if the Maillot Jaune rider has had mechanical trouble/receiving assistance from the mechanic. Allowing a rider to temporarily go off the front so they can ride through their home town/village, or stop briefly to greet their wives/family.

There is an acknowledgement that they may compete against each other but they are all fundamentally in the same situation and live together accordingly.

Many creative movement have been born and gained consequence in less fertile circumstances.

Stage Summary:

230km – Belfort to Charon-sur-Saone.

Long, slow, day where the riders were both recovering from the previous day and conserving energy ahead of the next day which was very much like a Spring Classic. The sprinters were happy with this and most riders stayed in the peloton shielding themselves from the crosswinds. Wout van Aert put in a huge turn in the run in for the sprint finish, posting on Twitter that he had ridden about 500 watts for 5km, which launched Dylan Groenewegen to his stage win.

Day 428 – The Saturday Answer and Other Stuff.

The Friday Question was, What is the last foreign language you began to learn and why?

My answer is French, because the last time I went into a French Boulangerie, armed with the necessary phrase given to me by my wife to purchase two baguettes and one croissant, I managed the first couple of words in French before seamlessly moving into Italian and then apologising in English when the shop assistant looked at me like I had told her that I wanted to Sunday roast her grandmother. Numerous cycling phrases were not enough, it has proven, for me to make my way about a country I have only begun visiting in recent years, but would now happily live in. My usual ‘learning a new language’ problem is the same as it was with German and Italian, whereby the lack of opportunity to speak it aloud, is quickly leaving me with a reasonable ability to read and hear the language but probably the same Boulangerie incident waiting to happen when I speak it.

The why? It seems terribly ignorant to visit another country and expect the locals to communicate with me in my language. I appreciate their efforts in my direction once I’ve proven my efforts in theirs. I like the places in France I’ve been to and I like the fact that the food is that bit different to ours. I feel as if I’ve eaten healthier. I also love the ritual of walking to the Boulangerie to collect the bread.

The Other Stuff:

I’ve managed to write two posts a day since the Tour de France started – the usual stuff and a Tour focused blog. Hopefully it will provide the initial ingredients for something a bit more substantial.

There has been plenty of sport – New South Wales wrapped up the Origin competition in Australia’s Rugby League. England and Wales cricket demolished the Aussies in the World Cup semi-final. Wimbledon Tennis entered its second week with some people winning and others losing. Wigan lost the Derby match to Saints but are still top 5 in the table.