Blazin' Saddles

Tour de Farce: You won’t believe what this cyclist does next…

Blazin' Saddles

The absence of home favourite Mark Cavendish did little to quell the tumultuous crowds in Yorkshire during stage two of the Tour de France. In fact, despite several warnings and pleas from both riders and race officials a very small minority of fans did create havoc on the narrow roads of the Peak District and Pennines.

Yellow jersey Marcel Kittel was felled early in the stage – and it was not his Giant Shimano team’s only spectator scare throughout the hilly stage in the north of England. Let’s take a closer look at these incidents and some other truths from yet another gripping day in – and out – of the saddle.

Not so smart phone

Quite why spectators think they their viewing experience will be made all the better by filming the action with their phones is beyond the realms of logic – particularly when the host broadcast feed of the Tour de France is so consistently brilliant.

Ramunas Navardauskas clearly shares the same opinion, the Garmin-Sharp rider losing his trademark Lithuanian cool in quite spectacular fashion as the peloton grappled through the crowds on the ascent of Holme Moss.

View photo

Third on Saturday’s opening stage, Navardauskas twice knocked phones out of the prying hands of spectators in what was the biggest rider backlash since Belgium’s Wout Poels snatched a spectator’s pair of sunglasses and threw them down a ravine during the Giro in May.

After the stage numerous riders complained about the rise of smartphones on the side of the road. “People are taking selfies with their back towards the peloton - it’s very dangerous,” Jurgen van den Broeck told Belgian TV. On Twitter, BMC’s Tejay van Garderen left a rather cryptic message thought to have been in reference to this current fad – although, to be fair, he may have been alluding to David Millar’s hat…

Spectator throws Roy a curveball

On any normal day the biggest worry for this man would be being spotted in public wearing a pink polo shirt. That was until he decided to watch the approaching peloton through the viewfinder of his camera, with his left arm and leg dangerously encroaching upon the road just as Giant Shimano’s Roy Curvers was preparing his man Marcel Kittel for the intermediate sprint.

Somehow both Curvers and a team-mate – perhaps Koen de Kort – avoided hitting the deck, but the spectator was clearly sent spinning to the floor in quite a violent fashion. Let’s hope that he escaped unscathed – and that next time he comes to watch a bike race he takes a couple of steps back and goes easy on doing his best French gendarme impression…

Take hat

Some people said he looked like Paddington Bear; others more like a Canadian Mountie. One thing’s certain, David Millar made his presence known while he still chews over his absence from the peloton.

Working as a TV consultant for the opening three stages of the race following his snub from Garmin-Sharp, Millar looked like he’d left his fixie in Shoreditch en route to Sheffield on Sunday. He’d hoped that the fans would be tossing him a few ‘chapeaux’ for his performances on the bike – but in the end he’s had to resort to bowling the public over with his sartorial panache.

No such thing as a free lunch

That may be – but there is such a thing as a free lunch musette when big Marcus Burghardt’s rolling through town. BMC’s German powerhouse classily put a smile on one boy’s face following the feeding zone at Hebden Bridge – and followed it up with an attack on the descent of Holme Moss.

Of course, what you don’t see in the above photo was the fallout when the same boy tried to take a photo of Ramunas Navardauskas just moments later…

It’ll take a return to French soil for this joke to run dry

For as long as the Tour stays in the UK it seems like the public mourning of Bradley Wiggins’ absence will continue unabated. And with the race heading near Wiggo’s old stomping ground of Kilburn on Sunday, we can expect the jokes to continue for at least another day.

- - -


View comments (248)