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A few years back, I wrote a good number of poems for stages in the Tour de France; they’re the kind of thing that evolves as the stage progresses. Yesterday’s was a little different – time trials are – but I thought it worth noting again.

We will start with a leader,
Start with a time trial,
Roll off one by one in order.

We will start in Düsseldorf,
And race round there,
Before any thoughts of the border.

There are seconds to gain,
Though seconds are all,
Fourteen k will leave everyone tight,

And it’s Germany,
So we can plainly expect,
Tony Martin to lead overnight.

There’s more to cycling,
Than just racing the road,
As you’re racing the weather as well,

We saw rain fall relentless,
And tarmac stay sodden,
And then Valverde fell.

It was one of those moments,
An intake of breath,
As he skidded along off his bike,

Thudded hard in the barrier,
And then didn’t move,
You just watch it and hope he’s alright.

His Tour is over,
As Ion Izaguirre’s,
Two Spaniards down on the first day.

There was still Tony Martin,
He is still Tony Martin,
But it didn’t go all his way.

He led at the checkpoint,
A second in credit,
Kiryienka that second behind,

Just 6k to go, then,
His homeland expecting,
To see Tony Martin defined.

Then another emerged,
Having beaten the ticker,
A Welshman in love with his shades.

Geraint Thomas was leading,
Geraint Thomas was winning,
In a beautiful, unforeseen raid.

And then Martin slipped backwards,
Time passed through his fingers,
The rainfall falling still looked like sorrow,

He lost nine seconds to Thomas,
They all lost to Thomas,
And he will wear yellow tomorrow.

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