The French have had a decent Tour this year so far, with Julian Alaphilippe winning the first stage and not losing too much time before the mountains start today. They know that he didn’t come here targeting the general classification, though, and they don’t have anyone else who could possibly threaten even an overall podium. But the French nation has gotten creative and have adopted Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel as their own.
Granted, Mathieu’s mother is French, so they have a claim I guess, but they have started referring to him as ‘Franco-neerlandais’ and new nicknames have started to pop up: “Poelidor‘, which only really works when written; and my personal favorite – Van der Poupou – both references to his illustrious French grandfather, Raymond Poulidor (‘Poupou’ was the term of endearment the public gave him). The roadside public have really taken to him as well, especially those who remember his papy, I suppose.
Oh, and he also speaks French very well, which people here really appreciate (possibly why I’m not totally appreciated yet…).
The French are right to try and grab Mathieu as their own because he has been racing out of his skin this week and definitely doing the Yellow Jersey proud. When was the last time you saw the maillot jaune in a breakaway!?