Sagan and Naesen hit the high road

Tour of Flanders

Sagan and Naesen on the cobbles

Perhaps it was just me that had unanswered questions after the Tour of Flanders today.

For instance…

What was Philippe Gilbert saying in those last 15 km?

What was Peter Sagan thinking as he stood at the side of the road?

And what was Boonen shouting as he stood on the verge wondering if his team would ever appear?

Actually, while we’re at it, what was going through the mind of Bora rider Maciej Bodnar, charged with the herculean task of pacing Sagan and his rainbow hoops back to the chase group with only 16 km of road left?

We might never know, which is probably for the best, but arguably the moment of the race was the fall – Sagan hitting a barrier, bringing himself, Greg Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen down with him onto the cobbles.

Naesen in particular landed hard, sliding into an unfortunate “those aren’t pillows” spooning position behind Sagan, who was too busy wondering if his head had exploded to notice.

The moment was made even more intimate by the jacket, first thought to be the cause of the crash, and assumed to have been ripped off it’s owner’s back in the melee. It covered Sagan and Naesen, draped over their legs like a blanket as they cuddled up – albeit against their will – on the ground, like a pair of campers waking up to find their tent had been blown away in a storm.

The bravest photographer in the world captures Sagan’s disappointment

That storm certainly gave Gilbert a tailwind, and as Avermaet rejoined the race and others flew past, it left Naesen and Sagan standing awkwardly at the side of the road, waiting for team cars to appear.

Naesen’s arrived first, his DS excusing himself as he stepped past Sagan who was waiting with hands on hips for any sign of a Bora car. As he did Sagan turned to see the bravest photographer in the world pointing a lens in his face, quickly disappearing behind the AG2R team car when Sagan’s glare got a bit too real.

But frustration aside Sagan, whose race was rapidly disappearing up the Paterberg, remained admirably calm. Like a man waiting at the side of the road, having just missed the bus he’d run for – he figured he could get angry, or just wait for the next one. Because there will be a next one for Sagan. There’s no question about that.

Bodnar set off up the cobbles, looking back to his bruised teammate wondering who exactly was pacing who back to the group. But Bodnar could relax. Sagan’s race was over. For now.

Get the full result from the Tour of Flanders at ProCyclingStats.com.

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