By Jonny Long
At the Ineos press conference two days before the start of the 2021 Tour de France, the team's four main riders, Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz, Richie Porte and Tao Geoghegan Hart were put in front of the media in consecutive 15-minute segments.
Questions as to this year's route, their form and their rivals were all asked, as is to be expected. But one Belgian journalist - Bram Vandecapelle of Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad to give him his dues - found a rather inventive way to try and find out once and for all who will be the leader of the British squad at this year's race.
Walking up to the microphone as each rider appeared via Zoom link from their team bus, he simply asked: Is the order of this press conference symbolic for the leadership of the Ineos Grenadiers?
"Yes," said Geraint Thomas, the first rider up, delivering a deadpan response.
"No, no. I didn’t even notice that," Carapaz said, after having the question translated into Spanish. "I don’t have anything to say about that."
"I don't even know the order of the press conference but that's probably the best question that's been asked all week," Porte responded, clearly enjoying being back at the Tour with the team.
"But no, I guess at the end of the day, there's no secret, you know, G's won the Tour, Carapaz has won the Giro, won the Tour de Suisse, Tao won the Giro. I've not won a Grand Tour. I was on the podium here last year but at some point, I guess the road will really decide the pecking order.
"I think that's just how it's going to be. Hopefully, we can get to the proper mountains and still for the time trial even. I guess we'll then know a little bit more about who's going to be the main protected guy."
Tao Geoghegan Hart
"I don't know because what order would that be, ascending? Descending? I think that's a ridiculous question. Is the first one the best or is the last one the best?"
Tao Geoghegan Hart, was the fourth and last of the Ineos Grenadiers to appear. The journalist was then encouraged back to the stand to answer Tao's question.
Journalist: I would think the first one is the best.
"Yeah, but when you leave the room who are you going to be thinking about? The last person you just spoke to."
I think that's as close to a Geraint Thomas Paris podium mic drop we're going to get this side of the Tour.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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