Chavanel takes Eneco time trial.

 

Chava clocks a fast one. photo TS

When we put together the Twisted Spoke All-Badass squad at the end of the season, you can be sure Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) makes the cut.

Today the Frenchman blitzed the short 13.2 time trial around Sittard-Geleen in 16:08 and did it with his usual panache. In fact, I talked to a cycling journalist at Le Tour who told me he once asked Chavanel to define panache. According to the story, Chava paused as if searching for the deeper Andre Breton answer then simply said, “Panache, c’est moi.”

Hells yeah.

Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) and Jesse Sergent (RadioShack-Leopard) finished second and third, both rolling in four second back.  The now Froome-friendly Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) could only manage fifth.

Lars Boom, who is also a lock for the All-Badass squad, continues to hold his overall lead but Chava is breathing down his neck and only four seconds from stealing the overall victory. Honorable mention to Taylor Phinney (BMC) who is fourth overall and trailing by eight seconds.

The man with the fire-breathing dragon tattoo above his right angle was thrilled with his performance.  ”It’s great to win. I’m super happy,” he said. “It was a superb course for me. It was very technical with lots of corners. It’s good it was dry but after reconnaissance this morning, I went on the team bus and I said I loved it. I then focused on doing my best.”

Chava strikes me as a guy who is always in a good mood, ready to attack or put a teammate on the podium. He doesn’t often end up with a victory but it’s not for lack of trying. In that way, he’s a French version of Jens Voigt so we’ll try the rough translation -Taisez-vous, mes jambes” for shut up legs.

With teammate Tom Boonen injured or sick or saddle sore most of the season, Chavanel hasn’t had much luck taking up the slack in the classics but he feels pretty good about his Eneco chances.

“I think I’ve got a chance of overall victory. I’ve twice finished second in the Eneco Tour (in 2009 and 2012) and this time I hope I can win. I was careful not lose any times in the splits in the opening three stages and so now it’s possible.”

Eh oui, mon pote. C’est bien possible. Allez Monsieur Badass.

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