“Beer before wine and you’ll be fine,” the old saying goes. Probably an old wives tale, but Vuelta winner Chris Froome was taking no chances today.
As the race rolled…no, trundled…in fact, it dawdled towards the finish in Madrid on Stage 21, Froome and his Team Sky henchman cracked open the beers. It’s traditional on the final stage of a Grand Tour for the winners to have a drink, a bit of a laugh, and show the watching world they’re just ordinary people like you and me.
They just happen to have lungs like wardrobes and resting heart rates in single figures. But apart from that, ordinary.
“Wahey…Froomey’s getting the beers in,” I’m sure I heard someone (Ian Stannard?) say.
A few kilometres later and glasses of sparkly stuff, probably Cava, were being handed out, and Froome was greedily necking that too. As opposed to Alberto Contador, who surreptitiously avoided drinking it and slung it in the nearest bush when no-one was looking (probably).
Was it my imagination, or was the Sky leader somewhat wobbly for the next few kilometres?
Before long Valerio Agnoli, a domestique for Vincenzo Nibali at Bahrain Merida, appeared with a tray of coffees, giving Froome first pick.
He slugged down some of Madrid’s finest Arabica and was back in the game.
When this pottering group of Sunday cyclists did finally reach the streets of Madrid it was laid out like a movie scene in front of them; all slanting shadows in the evening sun, and streets thronged with happy, shirt-sleeved Madrilenos.
Alberto Contador was given a solo turn up front, for a lip-wobbling “adios” to his fans, before the race gathered speed, lap by lap.
Team Quick-Step Floors seized control, the way they do when they’re really in the mood (and under strict orders, from the bosses, to WIN!), to set things up for their sprinter – the quickest man in the race in a straight line – Matteo Trentin.
A Trentin win would be his fourth of the race and, barring a sprint from skinny non-sprinter Froome, would seal the green points jersey for him.
Quick-Step led it out. Trentin launched from a mile away and won with Tarmac to spare.
He, and Sky, don’t do things by halves.
He sprinted, took eleventh on the stage, and ripped the Green Jersey from Trentin’s hands like a rattling drug addict snatching a bulging handbag from a pensioner.
Four stages for Trentin, three jerseys for Froome, and Contador, somewhere, will be posing for selfies well into the night.
Viva La Vuelta!
(Top Image: via Pixabay.com)