Le Bouclier Jaune
Geraint Thomas is the rightful winner of the 2017 Tour de France. In a travesty of epic proportions not seen at a Tour since the early 2000s, the yellow jersey he won in the opening time trial proved to be grossly inadequate in its defence of his race lead, in complete contrast to the stellar job it has since done for his teammate Chris Froome.
Maybe Thomas just didn’t realise the power of the bouclier jaune, or yellow shield, that sat upon his shoulders for a few days at the start of the world’s most boring sporting event. The magical qualities of the shield may have even been kept a secret from him by his very own team, who were obviously playing favourites when they made Thomas and his bright jersey carry drinks and food to the much less-talented cyclist, all while sticking out like dog’s balls in that yellow top. It was almost as if they wanted to humiliate him in front of the world.
What should be playing out right now as we enter the death throes of another three-week insomnia cure is that Thomas should still be happily cruising along at the front of the race dressed up like a skinny daffodil. Maybe if Froome and his boss Dave Frailford were a bit more forthcoming with the fact that the jersey means no-one else can challenge you, Thomas would be the first Welshman to win the Tour since Ryan Giggs back in 1992. Little did he know that by simply sticking his arm in the air any time that his overall lead was in danger, he could neutralise the ‘race’ and his ‘rivals’ would do all they could to stop themselves and each other from ‘racing’. Is that someone attacking? Mechanical. Bad legs today? Mechanical. Ate a dodgy curry and need to do a poo? Mechanical. Ridden too close to spectators when there’s a whole fucking road to ride on and brought yourself down? Mechanical. Mechanic too shit to prepare your bike properly? Mechanical. Just get that arm in the air and neutralise your way to Paris. Simple. Shit, you can even elbow your main ‘competitor’ into the crowd without a peep from the ‘race’ ‘officials’.
If Thomas had only been in yellow when he crashed and broke his collarbone, he could’ve stuck his good arm in the air, gotten race radio to call ahead, and the rest of the peloton could’ve had a coffee in that quaint little cafe they just passed while they waited for him to be taped back on his bike. And then had a nice relaxing ride to the Eiffel Tower, something Thomas has always wanted to see. Sure, the race might have taken an extra week, but this is a Tour after all, not a fucking race.