The concept of a broom wagon sweeping the riders at the rear of the race may be no more than a metaphor, but the battle to beat the reduced time continues for the riders struggling at the back of the Tour de France.
Jens Debusschere (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept) was the last driver to be kicked out of the race on Wednesday after losing the eternal battle against the broom wagon, finishing 37:35 behind stage winner Miguel Angel López. The Belgian is only the third rider to have missed the time cut this year, alongside Jérôme Cousin (Total-Direct Energie) and John Degenkolb (Lotto-Soudal).
The queen stage of the Tour on Wednesday won the peloton out of two except category climbs up and scored a clear threat to the heavyweights of the peloton as they looked to fight against the stopwatch of the stage time break, which is calculated as a percentage of the winner’s time.
As all the fastmen hoping for a sprint victory on the Champs-Élysées climbed to the altitude summit of the Col de la Loze in the sure camaraderie of the gruppetto, Debusschere found himself stepping into the metaphorical ‘broom car’ after having spent all of his energies towing his sprinter teammate Bryan Coquard through the mountains.
“At the Col de Madeleine, I was quite comfortable in the group with Sam Bennett, but Bryan [Coquard] I struggled and waited for it, ”said Debusschere Sporza after the scene. “We can’t do much here without him, because what is an outing? [Debusschere’s role] without sprinting?
“In the valley, I did my best to bring him closer. But at the foot of the final climb, I was done. Then he left with my approval. It was finished. ”
Coquard took the step to finish the last man inside the limit before breaking down in tears, later saying on Twitter: “At the end of the effort. One word, thank you Jens. ”
The Total-Direct Energie rider, Cousin, was another to go from hero to zero, eliminated from the Tour during the hilly 16th stage at Villard-de-Lans after being the victim of the time reduced by just two minutes.
Two weeks earlier, the Frenchman had spent hours on a solo breakaway while the peloton began an unofficial slowdown on stage 3 from Nice, winning the prize for fighting spirit after remaining alone in front “out of respect for the Tour de France”.
Sadness to see @CousinJerom out of time this evening …
Thank you Jérome for this # TDF2020! #LesRP pic.twitter.com/GGjEiRVkEw
– RoisDeLaPedale (@RoisDeLaPedale) September 15, 2020
Just as Cousin worked hard solo to honor the world’s greatest bike race in Stage 3, many riders already aware that they will miss the time that has elapsed choose to pedal until the finish of a stage. rather than getting into the nearest team car as a marque. of respect. Star sprinter Mark Cavendish arrived at the finish of stage 11 of the 2018 Tour half an hour off the limit, subsequently saying, “I never go down. I came down as a neo-pro and said I would never do it again.
Degenkolb was the first rider to miss the cut time on this year’s Tour after crashing on the very first stage of the race. He also made his way to the finish line despite an injury to both knees when hitting the bridge on the greasy and rainy roads around Nice.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Today, I lost everything ”, posted Degenkolb on Instagram after the stage. “Everything I worked and trained for in this 2020 special. With injured knees, I could finish the stage with a lot of pain, alone, with a delay of more than 18 minutes but obviously I’m far from the allotted time. … It’s frustrating as hell but it’s the brutal reality of cycling. ”
The riders who fail to reach the threshold of the Tour de France are a stark reminder that although the peloton is pedaling at superhuman speeds, they are not infallible. And that makes those designated “OTL” [Outside Time Limit] just as heroic as those who stand on the podium in Paris.
“The beautiful stories of the Tour are also written on the back,” said B&B Hotels – Vital Concept after the start of Debusschere. At the top of the Col de la Loze, the team loses a runner but above all a teammate with unlimited dedication. Thank you! ”
For the Belgian, it is only a coincidence of work.
“It’s a shame that I have to leave so close to Paris,” he said after the stage. “But it’s no different. I came in the team to ride for Bryan so you have to do everything for that.
😟 The beautiful stories of @LeTour are also written at the back. At the top of the Col de la Loze, the @BBHotels_VC loses a runner but above all a teammate with unlimited dedication. Thanks @jensdebus!
📝 Summary and reactions. ➡ https://t.co/XRte5EfH6I#TDF2020 l #ThereIsNoTry pic.twitter.com/c9SZR9RywI
– B&B HOTELS – VITAL CONCEPT P / B KTM (@BBHotels_VC) 16 septembre 2020