Skip to main content

Tour de France shorts: Flat as a tack, Anderson on Gerrans and EPO on the menu

Image 1 of 3

Damiano Cunego (Lampre - Merida) signs autographs

Damiano Cunego (Lampre - Merida) signs autographs (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 2 of 3

Jan Bakelants in his last trip with the maillot jaune

Jan Bakelants in his last trip with the maillot jaune (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 3 of 3

Geraint Thomas of Sky looked uncomfortable as he crossed the finish line

Geraint Thomas of Sky looked uncomfortable as he crossed the finish line (Image credit: Robin Wilmott)

Team Sky sports director Nicholas Portal said following Stage 5 that tacks were to blame for a number of flat tyres experienced by his riders on Wednesday.

Tacks being thrown on the road at the Tour de France is not a new phenomenon, with it first being reported in 1904. Last year, defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) was one of around 30 riders who punctured after upholstery tacks were along the final climb of stage 14.

Portal said that a spate of flats occurred with around 60km left to race.

"Richie [Porte] and G [Thomas] both experienced flat tyres though, and we think they might have been down to people placing tacks on the road," he explained on the team website. "They were in the tyres when we inspected them after the race, and a few other teams also experienced similar problems. That's a bit of a worry but thankfully nobody was hurt."

Dubious menu in Cagnes-sur-Mer

Hosting a Tour de France stage start came be a boon for local business owners but one restaurant in Cagnes-sur-Mer on Wednesday was prepared to go just that little bit further than the rest.

AFP reports that one such menu featured EPO - Escalope, Parmesan and Olive.

It is not known if the menu item proved a hit with patrons.

Anderson full of praise for protege Gerrans

The first non-European to don the yellow jersey, Phil Anderson, could not have been happier for compatriot Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) to take the Tour de France lead.

Gerrans was a neighbour of Anderson's and at the age of 17, took up cycling under the former Peugeot rider's guidance while recovering from a motocross accident which had injured his knee. The 33-year-old is tipped to hold onto the yellow jersey until the weekend and Anderson told Fairfax Media that Gerrans should soak up the experience.

"Just enjoy it... [With the jersey] you can be too busy thinking about your result and not enjoying the moment. Getting the yellow jersey changed my life... and it will certainly change his."

Anderson also explained that Gerrans, whose palmares already includes stage wins in all three grand tours, continues to surprise him with results.

"With every result he gets, I am surprised," Anderson explained. "He is a smart kid, reads the race well, doesn't do a tap of work he doesn't need to. I am so happy for him."

The power of yellow

Jan Bakelants' (RadioShack Leopard) two-day stint in the maillot jaune is already having a bit of an upside for the remainder of his career with interest growing in the off-contract rider.

Bakelants reportedly has the interest of six teams, which has doubled in the last week, according to

Now 27, Bakelants turned professional with the Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator team in 2009, before a two-year stint at Omega Pharma-Lotto, and then joined RadioShack for the 2012 season.

Cunego and Basso, the Senna and Prost of the Italian gruppo?

Cycling history is littered with its great rivalries, but aside from a few choice headlines in the Italian press in the winter of 2004-2005 notwithstanding, it's fair to saw that the Damiano Cunego-Ivan Basso rivalry is not one of them. Not that it has stopped Cunego from making some rather grandiose comparisons as he bemoaned the absence of his old sparring partner at this Tour.

“I miss Ivan Basso,” Cunego told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’m sorry that he’s not at the Tour. He and I have been points of reference in many races. When I take a look around the peloton, I find it strange not to find him among faces that I don’t know yet. You think of me and Ivan a bit like you’d think of Senna and Prost – relatively speaking.”

Er, maybe.

Cunego, who finished 7th in his last Tour appearance two years ago, hasn’t exactly been motoring so far in 2013, with just one win to his name and, as a scandalised Gazzetta points out, no top ten places in any race since the beginning of April.

“Cycling has changed an awful lot compared to when I turned professional,” Cunego said. “The Ango-Saxon teams are dominating. They string the peloton out, they ride flat out and they have their own way of managing the race. I don’t say that as a negative thing, I’m just noting the difference. You need to adjust to it.”