They say that bad luck comes in threes. Superstitious or not, Tony Gallopin will be hoping that his quota of misfortune for this year’s Tour de France has been filled.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, Gallopin received a phone call telling him that his house had been broken into, and his car stolen.
A few hours later he was crashing hard into the Düsseldorf tarmac, his front wheel having slid out from beneath him. The Tour prologue was not overly technical, but every corner was slick with rain and Gallopin was not the only rider to fall foul of the treacherous conditions.
By the morning of Stage 2, Gallopin’s Tour had hardly improved. No calm and collected morning of preparation for the Frenchman: instead, he was trying to force his heavily swollen and strapped left foot into his shoe. No fracture, we are told, just considerable pain.
Fractured or not, you could hardly hold it against Gallopin should he have decided to throw in the towel. The prologue had already claimed two abandons in Alejandro Valverde and Ion Izagirre: they were soon joined by a third when Australian Luke Durbridge climbed into the team car early on in Stage 2.
Not so Tony Gallopin. Over 200km from Düsseldorf and the Frenchman was still clinging onto the back of the peloton to claim 177th. Not quite the lanterne rouge for the unluckiest man in the peloton – hopefully Rouleur’s Top Banana will do instead.
The Rouleur Top Banana goes to an unsung hero of each stage of the Tour de France – not the winner, not the yellow jersey – but a rider whose efforts deserve recognition