Jurgen Van Den Broeck’s back

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything.

This is by far the most exciting aspect of the Dolphin (Dauphiné) from my perspective. I’ve written about Jurgen Van Den Broeck before, but you’ve probably forgotten, because being forgotten is very much Jurgen Van Den Broeck’s defining characteristic.

The Belgian’s twice finished fourth in the Tour de France, but he achieved this in such spectacularly low-key manner that no-one really noticed. It’s become something of a joke that he can be so good and yet the only thing he’s ever won is a stage of this very race back in 2011. That’s it, unless you count no-mark races like Zellik–Galmaarden or the Tour of Limburg (which I don’t).

Compounding this anonymity is the fact that I don’t know where he’s been all season. I’ve followed most races and haven’t seen his name once and I always check the 15th-placed rider on any given stage precisely because I’m looking for Jurgen Van Den Broeck. What’s he been doing? I could probably find out, but I don’t want to ruin it.

Either way, now he’s back! And he’s finishing fourth on a summit finish! Slightly behind the people everyone’s watching!

The racing

I’m not properly following the Dolphin this year, but I know that Chris Froome won the time trial and then the first summit finish, so in a sense, I feel that I’m not missing anything.

Everything’s continuing as expected. Froome’s the man to beat, Alberto Contador’s bouncing along eight inches behind him like a poorly connected caravan. At some point in July, this will change. Either Contador will unhitch and fall back, or he’ll unveil a hidden motor and drive past Froome (the caravan analogy might not have been viable with hindsight).