The Tour de France is serious business when the race is in full swing but there's always room for a sense of humour off the bike. When Mitchelton-Scott director Matt White butchered Greg Van Avermaet's name over the team radio, the press crew whipped up a short video as a joke.
The clip uses the infamous Muppets running gag, originally from 1977 involving two bright pink characters, the Snowths, singing a repetitive, catchy tune (Mah Nà Mah Nà) written by Piero Umiliani and sung by muppeteer Jim Henson, as jazz character Bip Bippadotta.
White biffs the pronunciation of Van Avermaet in a way that mimics the tune and clip mixes in the Muppets sketch. The CCC Team return the salvo, getting the Olympic champion himself to correct him and his facts and kick off the music.
After watching the video there will be no doubt that everyone has both the song and the correct pronunciation of Van Avermaet in their heads.
#TDF2020 Hey Whitey, we good now? 😉😜@MitcheltonSCOTT @GregVanAvermaet https://t.co/gD6wl17Syw pic.twitter.com/AKXMpURUn6August 31, 2020
'Acrobatics' keep Van Aert from crashing on stage 3
With 6km to go in the race, it looked like there might be trouble for Jumbo-Visma in the Tour de France, again. On Sunday it was Wout van Aert who helped Tom Dumoulin get to the finish when the Dutchman crashed on the final climb of stage 2. On Monday, it was Van Aert who looked to be in trouble.
Van Aert was caught behind a crash near the roundabout on the outskirts of Sisteron, but managed to keep from falling. He said his bike suffered the damage, a broken front wheel, so he changed bikes and caught up to his team.
“They crashed just in front of me. I was able to stay on my bike with a lot of acrobatics, but I did not crash,” Van Aert said on the team web site. “Luckily I don’t have any injuries. I wasn’t planning on sprinting anyway. It was a fairly easy stage and I had no chance against the pure sprinters. It was a matter of getting through the stage in a safe way and we succeeded in that. Tomorrow is an important day for the GC. It will be a long working day.”
Sports director Frans Maassen was clear that the team was to protect its co-leaders, Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin, on the 198-kilometre stage 3 from Nice to Sisteron.
“The boys did a good job. We expected a bunch sprint and we had a bunch sprint. You also know that dangerous situations will occur in the final of such a stage, but luckily we were spared. Today was a stage that was not to Wout’s advantage, but there will be days that suit him," Maassen said.
"First we will focus on tomorrow. It will be an important day in which the GC riders have to do it. The form is good and we have confidence in a good result.”
Groupama-FDJ get extra climbing at Tour de France hotel
Dernière ascension du jour. pic.twitter.com/aWdzzDqueYAugust 31, 2020
The Groupama-FDJ had a tough start to the Tour de France but even with the hilly opening stages, riders got a little extra climbing at the race hotel, with the team posting a tweet about the final climb of the day - the stairs in the hotel.
Team leader Thibaut Pinot and his top lieutenant David Gaudu both came down in the crash on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice with three kilometres to go on stage 1. Pinot seems to be fine, but Gaudu has had pain in his lower back.
"Thibaut limited the damage, and that's the main point," said Groupama-FDJ sports director Thierry Bricaud following stage 2.
After three days, and a mountain-top finish coming for stage 4, Pinot sits in 30th position and is 17 seconds behind general classification leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
Deceuninck-Quickstep teammates emotional for Alaphilippe
Several Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates of Julian Alaphilippe were well behind the hectic sprint that led to the Frenchman’s stage win and possession of the yellow jersey, but they had a feeling. Belgian Dries Devenyns, who finished 14 minutes behind Alaphilippe, said he pulled over to the side of the course to watch the exciting sprint finish on a fan’s mobile device.
“My work was done and during the final climb I pulled myself aside for a while. I tracked the last 500 meters on a supporter's phone. I just wanted to see if he [Alaphilippe] could do it and then he wins. I was emotional myself and screamed loudly. I am very happy for him,” Devenyns was reported to say by HLN.be.
Tim Declercq was also not sure if Alaphilippe had won the stage and was not able to confirm until after he crossed the line, 17 minutes back with the bulk of the peloton.
“I didn't know about anything on the way, my radio was broken since the middle of the stage. And yes, I heard a lot of people shouting 'Alaphilippe', but in France it's not that special either. So I was hoping so because he really wanted to win here, and when I saw him on stage on the big screen, it was really a big release,” Declercq said. “He was emotional, he was already after the lost Milan-San Remo, where he was so close. He really deserves it, Julian is a super guy. We are all very happy for him. ”
Alaphilippe surged clear on the final ascent of the Col des Quatre Chemins and outsprinted two breakaway partners, Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) to win stage 2 in Nice Sunday.
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