Tour winner comes to Ireland

In 1988 whilst on the way to watch a stage of the Nissan Classic we stopped at a shop in thevillage of Galbally to get a few supplies in the one shop in the village . As we entered the shop I expected to see a few of the locals discussing theprice of sheep whilst leaning on the counter covered in that days Irish Independent . The reality , however  , was a little different .

As I headed for the fridge , intent on getting myself a strawberry yop , a hand reached out ahead of mine and clasped the one and only drinkable fruit yoghurt remaining . I looked over to see what the bollix who was depriving me looked like and what I saw stopped me in my tracks . There next to me stood a foreign looking bloke with a blond ponytail and small roundy glasses . I stared over and spluttered out ‘ Howaya Laurent ? ‘ . There I was standing next to double Tour de France Champion Laurent Fignon . In a typical Gallic manner his shoulders were back and his chest was out as he retracted the yop from my reach and nodded as he walked away in the direction of the counter .

The following year as I watched his blond mane bounce down the Champs Elysee as he lost the Tour by those slender eight seconds I had little sympathy as I thought of the yop which I was deprived of . Serves him right , I thought to myself , he was probably a few pounds over weight from all of my yops .

Next year the biggest Tour winner of all is planning on riding the Tour of Ireland . I don’t think that Lance Armstrong will be depriving spotty Irish teenagers of their yoghurt drinks , although if the race passes through Galbally anything is possible .

Barry

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