WorldTour Wrap: Fabio Aru attacks, Mickey Mouse mayhem and Peter Sagan hits the beach
It wouldn't be the Tour de France without chaos, controversy and a giant Disney character breaking down on a climb
It’s true what they say, ‘life comes at you fast’. This week in the Tour de France, ‘life’ manifested itself in the form of a perfectly well-intentioned attack on the Mont du Chat, a stranded cartoon mouse and a vanishing man in a rainbow jumper.
Now, at first glance I’ll admit it looks bad. It looks like holder of the mythic yellow jersey, Chris Froome, has some sort of problem with his bike and, upon seeing this, Fabio Aru immediately attacks the race leader. Which is, y’know, not really the done thing, old chap.
Je suis Fabio Aru
Twitter certainly had some strong feelings about the moment, dividing decisively into two camps – one that thought Fabio Aru was a total and utter bastard for attacking Froome at a moment of misfortune, and Richard Moore of the Cycling Podcast…
However, we must not rush to judgement. We do not know why young Fabio attacked here, or if, indeed, it was an attack. Here are some scenarios I think could explain the Italian champion’s behaviour.
Fabio Aru thinks Chris Froome is some sort of race official
You know how Olympic running races have a person whose job it is to start proceedings by firing a pistol? And how in motor racing there are a whole gamut of different flags to be waved to begin and end a race?
It’s conceivable that what has happened here is Fabio has mistaken Froome for some kind of race official, who signals the start of the day’s action by shooting his hand into the air. The yellow jersey, Fabio assumes, is just a sign of Froome’s position in the race organisation, like those weird blazers the umpires wear at Wimbledon.
Fabio Aru suddenly remembers he has left the iron on in the team bus
It happens to the best of us, be it the iron, the hob or a pair of hair straighteners – that lurching feeling you get in the pit of your stomach as you realise you have left an appliance switched on at home.
Astana rider, Michael Valgren, who is Scandinavian and therefore really right-on about all things environmental, has already had a word with Fabio once this Tour about leaving lights on in the bus and the last thing Fabio wants is to get caught out again, and have to spend the entire rest day hearing about the relative merits of composting toilets.
The only option is to gas it up the climb in the hope he can reach the bus and switch off the iron before Michael gets there.
Chris Froome is not raising his hand for help, but rather, as a warning to Fabio
We don’t know what’s going on in the sky above the riders in this shot. There could easily be a meteorite hurtling towards the earth that Froome, who is famous for permanently staring at his stem, has luckily noticed in the reflection of his computer screen.
He raises his arm to point out the danger and Fabio is simply the fastest to react. The meteorite then burns up in the earth’s atmosphere and disaster is averted. Phew, what a relief.
Fabio Aru did not see the man dressed head-to-toe in bright yellow immediately in front of him whom he has been following around France for the past week raise his arm
It’s like that day in primary school when a lost dog got into the playground and complete pandemonium broke out.
And never are we more excited than when a whisper goes around on Twitter that a vehicle has become stuck on the course ahead of the riders. Will the riders catch up to the vehicle? Is it jammed under a finish arch? Will they have to change the route?
Usually it is a team bus that becomes lodged – indeed, we have discussed #Busgate on WorldTour Wrap before. But this time it was not a bus. Oh no, it was something much more magical than that.
“Mickey Mouse is blocking the road on the Mont de Chat.”
Mercifully, Mickey was safely towed away well before the racers arrived. There is no word as to whether Snoopy will start the stage on Tuesday. Garfield finished, somewhat predictably, outside of the time limit.
Which way to the beach?
Let me take you back to a moment long ago, a distant place lost in the mists of time, a point in history some scholars now deny ever existed.
Let me take you all the way back to last Tuesday, which, if you’ve been following the 2017 Tour seems like absolutely aeons ago.
I am fairly sure there were dinosaurs roaming the earth last Tuesday, John Major was still prime minister and you could buy a Chomp at your local corner shop for 10p.
As some pundits have pointed out, you’d stand a better chance of extracting a kind word about Matt Lawton from the lips of Sir Bradley Wiggins than you would of getting the world champ back from Monaco once the wheels of his plane hit the tarmac – making the whole CAS appeal seem a bit pointless and tawdry.
The race is doubtless poorer for the loss of Sagan and we could argue for months over the exact extent he should be blamed for the crash. What remains certain, however, is nobody sells kitchen appliances while wearing a fedora quite like Pete.
For the riders not fortunate enough to have been granted an early holiday, meanwhile, the beach came to them. Or rather a lone parasol did.
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