Tour de France – pulling on the jersey

 

Sir, –I’d like to echo the views of Dave Robbie, who writes to compliment Ian O’Riordan for his coverage of the Tour de France (Letters, September 18th).

As a frequent cyclist and sports fan, I usually look forward to the start of the Tour de France since it comes at a time of summer when there is little happening in the team sports I follow. This typically starts with me ensconced on the couch with tea and the newspaper as a stage kicks off. The next moment I find myself awakened by my own snoring, or the voiceovers of TV ads for the hair restoration products and treatments for erectile dysfunction that manufacturers seem to inexplicably target at cycling fans.

This year has been different. On the morning of the first stage, Ian O’Riordan had an interview with Sam Bennett (“From Lanterne Rouge to maillot jaune: Bennett’s changing vision”, August 29th). It outlined how he had finished in last place in 2016, having broken two fingers on the first day. Always fascinated with the resilience of the Lantern Rouge “winners”, I did the calculations to find that he had in fact lost less than 5.5 seconds per kilometer to the winner, Chris Froome. Broken fingers will slow you down, and of course, there are a lot of kilometres. It was interesting to speculate on what he might achieve, not so much with luck, as with the absence of misfortune.

Let’s hope the three remaining stages go to plan, and we see him in green all the way to Paris.

Having Sam Bennett’s story and race to focus on has made the Tour compelling viewing.

Ian O’Riordan’s writing, coverage and analysis have been excellent. And I haven’t slept a wink. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.