It will be recognized, of course, an allusion to the famous saying that was once used for the round ball : and in the end, the Germans win. The Colombians, with Egan Bernal, come, them, to fill a wait which lasted since their arrival on the Tour de France in 1983 under the colors of the Coffee of Colombia. Luis Herrera, Francisco Rodriguez, Fabio Parra… names that say nothing to the less than 40 years. At the time, the Colombians fell, took in borders for beginner, fell in the against-the-shows, all the defects that Bernal, the son unimpaired of the union between the mountains of colombia and the technical English of the Sky-Ineos, has never had. Bernal has won for all his countrymen who have failed, sometimes near the end, Botero, Uran, Quintana…
In the 80’s, we took up these Colombians descended from their mountains, to which it was willing to concede the polka dot jersey of best climber. Hinault and Fignon crash of the cycling world and it was not known that the expectation of the French was going to last as long, or longer, than that of the Colombians. It will last a year of more. The seven years of fat cows (1978-1985) took over dozens of lean years, as if France were able to atone for a penalty came to an unknown god. We are accustomed to thinking of the Tour de France is the greatest bike race where ever the French did not win. This should be our hospitality, our generosity. We invite others to come and take over our territory.
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This year, for more than 15 days with Alaphilippe and Pinot, the French finally recaptured their country, such as the ritual of this Tour, which is more than a race : take possession of a country through its roads and its landscapes. Hence the extreme symbolism of the yellow jersey that is loose like if we surrendered to the stranger, to the enemy. Fortunately, this one is colombian and not English. A lesser evil ! But let’s hope that this permeability is not the metaphor of a other weakness, which is more economical.
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another age of cycling
This year, however, it was believed. There were many reasons. Not so much for Alaphilippe, who not for nothing is number one in the world rankings, but which, all the experts knew it in their bones, could not make a lie of an invariant of cycling modern : you don’t win a Grand Tour if it has not based its preparation on the general classification and three weeks. In the field, this famous third week is the justice of the peace, the money time. The Tour is a marathon. Alaphilippe has held up to the 40th kilometre. Fundamentally, it has not yet no more the body to hold a long neck. But plume, he has it in spades, a furia francese, which reminds us that rugby, where once the French is illustrated. In football, this would make a follower of the beautiful game, non-locked, open to the offensive. But we know that France was a two-time world champion giving up the beautiful game of Platini et al. More than the plume, Alaphilippe also has a leg incredible, a single startup and the ability to link the efforts that are violent, but brief, those one-day races. It is not revealed to the general public than last year, but its arrival in 2015 – the second in eight days of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Flèche Wallonne at the age of 23 – already marked the discovery of a displacement that is non-standard.
The Tower, however, is more than a sum of 21 one-day races. Lovers of beautiful bike unlocked wanted to believe that it was back to another age of cycling, not that of the roller, the train of Sky-Ineos – heirs, let us recall, US Postal-Discovery Channel, Armstrong’s, and Banesto with Indurain – and their riders-climbers. Sweet dream in which the French, impayables nostalgic, were abandoned. Forgetting also that the cyclists of today, and their surroundings, are of apothecaries. They count all their strokes of pedal, their heart rates, their watts, their gains in seconds. Their money also. Transfers in cycling pay less in the chronic than in football, but the budgets in this sport count as much as in the round ball. Ineos, it is nearly 40 million euros a year, or two, or five times more than the other big teams, the Quick-Step of Alaphilippe, the JDF-Groupama of Thibaut Pinot, the Jumbo-visman from the Movistar… Ineos, it is the Real bike, with the difference that they are alone in their category, and that in the meantime a team funded by the Chinese – announced soon –, they do not have in front of them no Barca and no Liverpool. As long as we will not have taken account of this key factor, they will be in the air.
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The champions of tomorrow
We had reason to believe, it was said, primarily for Pinot. Because he, in effect, for the first time since 1985 – the Bardet, Virenque have never had a serious chance to win –, was able to save a French. But this very big engine suffers from a body that is failing : weak lungs, prone to dehydration, injury to the thigh this year… The man is vulnerable, and continued, in addition to a fig that starts to stick to the basques, so much so that after Poulidor, the eternal second, there could be Pinot, damned of the handlebar.
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We announce the long reign of Egan Bernal, not yet 23 years of age. Indeed, it seems to embody the champion of tomorrow, which brings together the physiological qualities specific to men born nearly 2 500 meters of altitude and the importance of early learning to the european. Recall that the Giro has been won for the first time in may by an Ecuadorian, Carapaz, recently acquired, would, like, by Ineos, which has bitten without harm to the Spanish Movistar (8 million budget). After the trackers-rounders English, Wiggins, Froome, Geraint Thomas, that she has turned it into a climbers available, the firm of british chemical, in a very pragmatic manner, has taken note of this new generation of south american, more gifted naturally, without any weak point and also broken the customs complex of the bunch. But who knows ? You can change team. Other champions, a non-standard, may also arrive on the scene, such as the phenomenon belgian Remco Evenepoel, 19 years old, who already earns in the pros, after all, captured in the Hopes and Junior and unheard-of way that the middle looks like the future Merckx.
What about the French ? It would, alas, that there is in them something of Deschamps. A pragmatism surgical. The victory comes at a price. Romain Bardet is very limited in the against-the-shows – individual or team – has understood that he will never win. For Alaphilippe, this Tour will have been the revelation of a potential, a horizon. But his belgian team, Quick-Step, fixed on the classics and not the grand tours, wants to change its DNA – which is also his – for his beautiful eyes ? Not so sure. As for Pinot, he knows what he is to do. Go light a candle…
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