Mathieu van der Poel on the Col de la Colombière.

Merci Mathieu! A young fan reaches out to his hero

The delighted recipient of Mathieu van der Poel's bottle on stage 8 has reached out to thank the Tour de France stage winner.

by Kit Nicholson

photography by Gruber Images

A young boy named Raphaël, the proud new owner of the Alpecin-Fenix bottle that belonged to Mathieu van der Poel, would like to thank his hero.

One of the enduring scenes of stage 8 was the moment yellow jersey-wearer Van der Poel handed one of his bidons to Raphaël towards the end of the stage. Video footage captured by Bas Tietema showed the awe and gratitude felt by the young fan, who will treasure his unforgettable souvenir and the memory that goes with it.

Raphaël and his father Francois chose a good day to watch the Tour de France, not least because it was the last stage for Van der Poel. After putting on a spectacular show at his first ever Tour, the Dutch talent chose not to start stage 9, opting instead to begin his final preparation for the Olympics.

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