The Team

Just before Christmas Robert Millar was asked to pick eight other riders to join him in his all time great Grand Tour team. The only stipulation was that he had to have ridden with them. If that stipulation went for me then most of my mates would be bricking it come July when they joined me in France. We wouldn’t be seeing Paris. Maybe once getting an e-mail from Cadel Evans and on a twelve hour TT having a conversation with my imaginary friend Laurent Fignon but you may have read about those in earlier posts qualifies but otherwise I am free to choose.. So unencumbered by the “shared the road with” caveat I can just sit back like Oleg Tinkoff and write some imaginary big checks and crack the Directeur Sportif whip at my charges. At the first pre-Grand tour meeting I would announce that we are taking all three jerseys and with a young Merckx I expect to take the best young riders jersey too. So here goes: Domestiques Eddy Merckx – The 1966 version fresh from a strong first season with Solo Superia in 1965. He would join us for the experience and that young riders jersey after announcing his potential genius with a stunning win in the Milan San Remo earlier in the season. (That’s the first jersey in the bag then) José Luis Arrieta – As you will soon discover there will be no Big Mig but some Banesto presence in the guise of the most selfless of all domestiques ever. Put him on the front tuck the leaders behind and hang on. Brilliant. David Millar – We need an organiser and someone you can be our Road Captain and without an out and out time triallist in the team Millar can be our prologue man taking our first jersey then sacrificing it on Stage One to work for our sprinter as he hoovers up points galore Jens Voight – “Shut up legs” should do some great work and get the jersey some coverage in about ten breakaways before we hit the real mountains. We would stick Jensie up for all our press interviews too. Climbers Federico Bahamontes – Eagle of Toledo, beat Coppi, six Polka Dot jerseys with nine best climber jerseys in ten years at all three Grand Tours. Yellow Jersey 1959 enough said. Robert Millar – Great rider should have won at least one Vuelta but took the climbers jersey at a Giro and the Tour. Here to let Bahamontes fly and look after our General Classement riders in the mountains. Sprinter Oscar Freire – controversial choice here but this is my imaginary cheque book and I always liked Freire whilst only one Green Jersey in his locker he might just sneak us a Champion du Monde at the end of the year which might just save our season if things go wrong. He’s got three rainbow jerseys already afterall. GC Men Greg Lemond – This is controversial given my main man and 1989 so I will remind Laurent that I pay the bills and he just has to ride hard! Laurent Fignon – This is a vanity project and my favourite rider of all time and imaginary friend and the coolest man ever in a headband just has to be my number one protected rider. Not enough Grand Tour victories but rode in two of the greatest kits ever to grace the peleton. -What Laurent? -I do not want to ride with l’American. -But Laurent it will be ok. He’s riding for you and I pay the bills. -Huh….. -Come back Laurent, I’m sorry…… So four jerseys in the bag and that means I’m the toast of Paris and just maybe I’m off out for a night with Laurent Fignon. Ace! Gary