There’s just one question left unanswered: Why?
What drives a man to do such deeds? What force
Compels him to endure such agony,
Won’t let him go till he completes the course?
He risks his life descending at high speed
On roads left soft and slick by summer sun;
What is this urge, this all-consuming need
To ride himself into oblivion?
Look at the champion’s bands around his sleeves,
His hollow cheeks, blank stare and lolling tongue:
It’s not about the money: he believes
In all of this – has done since he was young.
Such deep desires are not ours to command.
You have to ask, you’ll never understand.
Inspired by yesterday’s brilliant stage win in the Pyrenees by Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). The Frenchman is usually described as ‘plucky’ by commentators: this epic ride, which saw him lead the race over four massive cols, then negotiate a 10-mile hairpinned descent at 50 mph to win alone in Bagneres-de-Luchon, was nothing less than heroic. He’ll take the polka-dot jersey of King of the Mountains to the finish in Paris on Sunday, and it’ll be thoroughly deserved. Chapeau.