Sat. Dec 4th, 2021


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Cyclists are planted because they are tired of skinning themselves on the roads of France, but the reality is stubborn. The Tour is an indecipherable adventure, in which you have to survive before thinking of winning. A one-minute break before the start and ten kilometers at a slow pace to claim safety were the anticipation of another electrifying day, full of emotion and skin, in which Brent van Moer savored the drama and glory of cycling, hunted on the banner of 200 meters, and in which a definitive character in this sport was revived, Mark Cavendish, the sprinter who was considered finished and who, six years later, wins again in the same city, Fougeres, with the shirt of the team more solvent of the world, the Deceuninck.

It is spoken in the Tour of the falls, of the narrow and downward passages at the end of the stage, of the interests of the Tour, the teams and the cyclists. And you always get to the same point, for decades it has been like this: the Tour does not change, you take it or leave it, it is what it is.

Two percherons escape, Van Moer y Perichon, and one resists succumbing to the unwritten law that an escapee is a suspicious package on the Tour. He arrives with bellows and wins the last kilometers, a locomotive with strength that won escaped in the last Dauphiné.

The Belgian creates and builds a beautiful symphony. Challenge the squad, impose your rolling stride at the confluence of interests in the group. His teammates from the Lotto, after losing Ewan, annoy the squires of the sprinters who sharpen the chase. The harassment ignites the stage because Van Moer endures and surpasses banners with faith: 5, 4, 3, 2, last kilometer, flamme rouge.

The squads have thrown themselves desperate for the escape, without hesitation, almost with a knife, and the beat finds its reward with the sprint launched at the goal. The wolves eat Van Moer, who deserved the award, but the Tour is the Tour.

The sprinters who remain after the fall screening compete. Philipsen starts, another Alpecin on a roll, the classics Matthews and Sagan appear, the ex-boxer Bouhanni and Cees Bol appear. Mark Cavendish, a surname of lineage in this sport, comes back to the center, who is excited at 36 years, 16 after making his professional debut.

He wins and cries because no one believed in his resurrection, except Patrick Lefevere, the skipper of the team that wins the most times in the world, Deceuninck. «When you see a world champion in the green jersey working for you … People no longer believed in me but the boys do. When you come to the best team in the world, this can happen ”, Cavendish manages to say with a broken voice and a tear.

He is the second cyclist with the most victories in the history of the Tour (31) after Eddy Merckx (34). The third most common between the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta (49).

After the emotions, comes the order. This Wednesday the first time trial is held, 27 flat kilometers with a finish line in Laval that must organize in minutes and seconds the chances of success of the candidates who aspire to the Tour.

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