Julian Alaphilippe has had one of those weeks. After the stage 13 time-trial, a photocirculated on social media of him mid-flight, about to crash into a rockface during the time-trial. He got up and got round, unscathed.
Then, having gotten into a star-stacked break on the road to Culoz, he made the running over the Grand Colombier, attacking his companions on the twisty descent, only to crash and then lose around two minutes as his chain repeatedly dropped off.
Redoutably, he fought back to only finish 20 seconds down adrift in fifth place. Scant consolation, as his tears at the finish showed. Alaphilippe knows this was a golden opportunity gone begging – the Etixx puncheur was quite possibly the strongest up front, but sometimes that doesn’t matter if luck isn’t on your side.
This is the latest eventful chapter in his debut Tour de France: he was a close second to Sagan on day two into Cherbourg and spent four days in the white jersey afterwards.
With the raw talent and aggression he showed before that mechanical misfortune, Alaphilippe will surely win a Tour de France stage in the next few years – or maybe even the next few days.
Hopefully our Top Banana award can offer him some more oomph to give it another go in the Alps.