For that brilliant stage win on the Mûr-de-Bretagne, for attacking at any given opportunity to further his cause, but most of all, for racing with a smile on his face and a rediscovered joie de vivre, our overall Super Banana prize goes to Dan Martin of UAE-Emirates.
As winner of the Tour’s own Super Combatif prize, Martin will be on the podium today alongside the rest of the winners. But there’s an even bigger award awaiting the Irishman with the Midlands accent – our bunch of bananas…
What will he make of it? Rouleur editor Andy McGrath tracked him down at the team bus and handed over the prize they all want to win. Well, some of them…
Andy: We’ve got another prize to give you from Rouleur. It’s called the Super Banana. Every day we give a Top Banana prize for the unsung hero, stroke entertainer – people who aren’t recognised so much – and the prize is a bunch of bananas.
Dan Martin: A bunch of bananas? That’s a big banana as well. A super banana. No expense spared…
Two Euros in a Parisian market. It went to Michal Kwiatkowski last year.
Don’t Lidl sponsor a team? The Quick Step boys are over there…
We thought of giving it to a Quick Step rider, but no. We spent two Euros on you, in recognition of the way you have raced over the last three weeks. Surely this is more prestigious than the stage win?
It took me three weeks to earn four bananas?!
Even better than the Super Combatif prize, though. What do you think?
I think Andrea might have to take them to the podium for me.
Don’t eat them all at once. How do you reflect on the last three weeks? It’s been a whirlwind: crashes, stage win, punctures, attacks…
It’s never boring, is it, following me? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Obviously, I would prefer to avoid the crashes, and the flat tyres at the wrong moments. But it was a rollercoaster. And I said before the start, the guy who wins is the one who doesn’t lose any time. Obviously, that was Geraint – he avoided all the bad luck and was the strongest, so deserved to win.
As far as my Tour [goes], I have enjoyed every minute of it. I came here with a mission to race with a smile on my face. How can you not enjoy this race? I see so many guys riding round, almost too focussed to enjoy it. To have the legs to race hard against these guys… it’s been a great Tour to show my personality through the way I am racing.
I don’t know what to say about the combatif prize. I was so surprised – it just blew me away.
You are probably the contender who attacked the most. And you just said that you race to make yourself happy: you don’t care so much about the result. Where does that come from?
Part of the reason this team signed me is because they like the way I race. Every one of my attacks is calculated, it’s for a reason. I don’t do it for entertainment’s sake. I just enjoy racing. It’s a bizarre type of fun, but it’s real racing, and that’s what people want to see. It is an entertainment business, after all. We all want to see the best man win, but make them work hard for it first.
And what you are looking forward to most tomorrow? Eating? Seeing friends?
I want to see my wife, you know. I haven’t seen her for almost four weeks, and she is going to be a hell of a lot bigger [twins expected imminently! – Ed]. Just getting home again. Everybody is the same. I always feel sorry for the people in the publicity caravan – that terrible music and waving for three weeks!
Will you draw the line at attacking on the Champs-Élysées?
I thought about doing it at kilometre zero, just for a laugh! I don’t want to set off a chain reaction, though.
Where did things click for you this season?
After the Classics, I went home and realised why I do this. It’s fun. It’s not about getting results anymore. I could retire tomorrow and still have a great palmarès. Enjoy the racing, then you race well and get results. It’s recognising the process of how I click mentally.
TOP BANANAS 2018
Stage 1 – Yoann Offredo
Stage 2 – Lawson Craddock
Stage 3 – Tejay van Garderen
Stage 4 – Guillaume van Keirsbulck
Stage 5 – Toms Skujins
Stage 6 – Antwan Tolhoek
Stage 7 – An empty field
Stage 8 – Fabian Grellier
Stage 9 – Oliver Naesen
La Course – Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
Stage 10 – Luke Rowe
Stage 11 – Warren Barguil
Stage 12 – Steven Kruijswijk
Stage 13- Tom Scully
Stage 14 – Philippe Gilbert
Stage 15 – Peter Sagan
Stage 16 – Adam Yates
Stage 17 – Egan Bernal
Stage 18 – Groupama-FDJ
Stage 19 – Robert Gesink
Stage 20 – Michael Hepburn
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