Pinot, Bardet stunned in Mende
Word has it that the mechanics at FDJ and AG2R are attaching rear view mirrors to the bikes of Thibaut “Not-Paying Attention” Pinot and Romaine “Forgot To Look Behind” Bardet.
What looked liked a sure victory for one of the Frenchman, who had broken clear on the short, nasty climb up above Mende, was ruined when neither seemed to notice the high speed arrival of Steve Cummings.
The MTN-Qhubeka rider played a patient waiting game in a large breakaway group racing up to the airfield, then took his chance on the short descent. Pinot and Bardet never knew what hit them.
Cummings came screaming off the descent and shot right past the Frenchman on the right, knowing that Pinot was tentative on the corners. It was like a purse snatcher ripping the bag off an 80 year old woman. Like a pro soccer player dribbling past two kids and tapping the ball in the net.
Bardet and Pinot were the darlings — along with Jean-Christophe Peraud — of last year’s Tour de France and came into this edition as high-ranked podium hopefuls. Instead Bardet had a few bad days and fell way off the GC contender list.
Things were even worse for Pinot, who seemed to fall part both mentally and physically after losing chunks of time day after day.
Both had stage 14 cued up for some redemption and both screwed up the opportunity in spectacular fashion. “I’m very downhearted,” said Bardet. “It’s the second stage win I’ve missed out on this week. I don’t know what to say. Thibaut came back up to me and I started to suffer. I said to Thibaut to do a turn and then Cummings caught us. I don’t know what Thibaut did on the corner but he left a gap open [to Cummings]. It’s a shame.”
This is where the rear view mirror comes in so handy — a simple mirror device that mounts on the end of the handlebar. Riders not afraid of the geek-look — and this is a possible Tour de France stage victory we’re talking about, not just some low speed commute to work — could even have a small mirror mounted on their eyeglasses.
A quick peek in the rear view mirror would have been valuable for Pinot and Bardet. This is Bike Racer 101 stuff but apparently, the two were too busy trying to force each other to the front for the final sprint. “Romain and I were looking at each other, we hesitated,” said Pinot. “We needed to work together immediately. But Cummings came up quickly from behind and he was able to take the corner a lot quicker than us. The last rider I saw before getting up to Romain was [Rigoberto] Uran. There was a lot of noise and I never knew that Cummings was coming back up. He played his hand well. It’s a shame.”
Well, that’s two shames, deux domages from these boys. What’s French for Bonehead Move?” “Romain refused to do a turn. But everybody has his own tactics, it’s normal,” said Pinot.
At least the two Frenchman have a firm grasp on what slipped through their hands. “We’re two competitors and we both wanted to win. For now, we’ve both failed at this Tour. It would have been good if one of us had been able to win today. It’s extremely disappointing,” Bardet said.
All of this sorrow and anguish could have been avoided with one small purchase. The 360 degree Universal adjustable handlebar read view mirror costs just $3.55. That’s three dollars and fifty-five cents to get a little advance notice that Steve Cummings is about to steal your Tour de France stage win. And note the word “universal” — yes, the mirror mounts on any bike, FDJ and AG2R rigs included.
Now, Pinot and Bardet are French and that means a bit of rear mirror fashion is in order. So why not spend a little extra cash — in this case just $12.25 — and again, folks, this is tiny investment in Tour de France stage win. The stylish beer bottle cap rearview mirror model is clearly the way to go.
The fact is, it’s designed to fit 90% of sunglasses made today and comes in left and right Hand styles. Pinot would have been drinking champagne in Mende if he’d had the right hand style and seen Cummings rocketing toward him.
“There’s no positive to be drawn from today,” Pinot said. “There aren’t many opportunities on the Tour and it’s annoying to waste them. Second place [on a Tour stage] is worthless.”
Gents, get a rear view mirror and start winning!