Breaking: Geraint Thomas was not wearing his favourite sunglasses today
This does not compute.
This does not compute.
I felt it. Maybe you felt it too. On stage 10 of the Tour de France, there was a great disturbance in the force, and its epicentre was on or around Geraint Thomas’ face.
Today, there was a spanner in the works for the 2018 Tour de France winner, a man forever and always associated with a particular pair of white sunglasses. Today, team sponsor Oakley wanted the Grenadiers to wear their Tour de France collection.
Let us (reluctantly) assess that collection, which allegedly takes its inspiration “from the intricate designs on the Tour’s trophy.”
Front and centre is the Kato, an unlovely-looking visor that still has the power to repel a year after it launched. Middle left is the Jawbreaker, which has been in the company’s range since 2015 and for this edition of the race has some yellow highlights. Next to it is the Sutro, with a black and yellow frame, and lurking up the back, for the casual bicyclist, is the Holbrook. All of them have the Tour de France logo on the lens, which Oakley pays a lot of money for the privilege of. It is one of many such lucrative deals for the Tour organisers.
Tragically, none of those glasses are an Oakley Racing Jacket in white – a pair of sunglasses that Geraint Thomas has been wearing since 2010. In that time he has won yellow, won stages, won national championships and won hearts. Throughout, the Racing Jackets have been a constant – except for exceptionally rare interludes like today, and the many and tragic times he’s lost them.
Like 2015, when he crashed on stage 16 of the Tour, and bemoaned afterwards how he’d lost his glasses and “they don’t even make them any more.” Or 2019, when another pair bit the dust at the Tour de Suisse (and I quote: “#hardtimes #sendsupplies”). Or that time at the 2021 Tour. Crash by crash, the global stockpile of Racing Jackets has dwindled.
The 2022 Tour de France has been largely uneventful for Geraint Thomas, who currently sits poised in fourth position on the GC, 1.17 behind Tadej Pogačar. The absence of his preferred sunglasses didn’t visibly hold him back on the climb to Megève Altiport. But we all know that there was a tear in the cosmos.
The heart wants what the heart wants, and Geraint Thomas seems to want few things more viscerally than a certain pair of sunglasses. For all of our sakes, we hope he finds his way back to them tomorrow.