Today last years' Tour de France Lanterne Rouge winner proved that 'last' doesn't mean forever... at least until the next TdF. Yauheni Hutarovitch, the Francaise de Jeux sprinter, tallied up his second win in three days at the Tour Méditerranéen (a repeat of his 2009 performance). As is often the case with Rouge recipients, their beastly physiques serve them well in the early season races and final K drag races, it's when the road tilts up that life gets grippy and no matter how much staring at the rear cassette you do there are only so many gears of relief.
Yauheni Hutarovitch won last year's Lanterne when Kenny van Hummel exhausted his suitcase of heroics despite promising to "eat his handlebars" if he had to in order to arrive in Paris. After van Hummel crashed out the Franciase de Jeux fast-twitch muscle man was racing to stay ahead of the broom wagon.
So has the memory of Rouge faded? Are those red gloves exorcising demons or are they a finish line tribute to his past perseverance? I like to think it's the latter. And in this years Tour Méditerranéen, it's all the other sprinters who are seeing red.
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti