Top Banana: Tour de France stage 13 – Enric Mas

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Deceunink-Quick Step’s young Spaniard Enric Mas sneaks into the white jersey and gives Alaphilippe an ace card in the mountains

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Photographs: Offside / l'Equipe

 

 

There are few better examples of how Twitter is a terrible barometer of a person’s talent/intelligence/value than Patrick Lefevere. That the man who regularly posts things like “We have balls” has nevertheless steered multiple teams through multiple eras to extraordinary success is testament to that.


And this year, not only have his Deceuninck-Quick Step team had their usual slew of Classics and stage wins, but with Enric Mas’ ride into white after fourth in today’s time-trial, they now hold two of the Tour de France jerseys. If this is the start of a regular focus on the GC, the rest of the peloton will be feeling nervous, while spectators will be licking their lips.


With the strict hierarchy of cycling teams meaning it has somewhat belatedly followed other sports in embracing the benefits of its youthful prodigies, the white jersey is becoming more relevant every year. But for Enric Mas, it’s not just a case of targeting that competition.


Staying in contention on a day people perhaps would have expected far greater losses gives Deceuninck-Quick Step an extra tactical card to play in the defence of Julian Alaphilippe’s race lead as the Tour goes into the high mountains.


All the attention will rightly be on the Frenchman, but that is how Lefevere will like it: Mas is the man who came second in the Vuelta last year so the other contenders will underestimate the Spaniard in white at their peril.


Rouleur Top Bananas 2019:


Stage 1 – Greg Van Avermaet
Stage 2 – Tony Martin
Stage 3 – Michael Matthews
Stage 4 – Max Richeze
Stage 5 – Toms Skuiņš
Stage 6 – Geraint Thomas
Stage 7 – Wout van Aert
Stage 8 – Thomas de Gendt
Stage 9 – Jasper Stuyven
Stage 10 – Luke Rowe
Stage 11 – Emanuel Buchmann
Stage 12 – Matteo Trentin