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British rider gets Tour de France points jersey – for helping out Wout van Aert after puncture

Fan lent a helping hand – well, pump – after Belgian ace flatted on his way back from podium

If you thought the absence of defending points competition champion Mark Cavendish at this year’s Tour de France meant you wouldn’t see a British rider get a podium version of the green jersey at this year’s race, think again – one quick-thinking fan from here is now the proud owner of one, with Team Jumbo Visma’s Wout van Aert gifting it to him in thanks for helping with a puncture.

Following today’s dramatic Stage 11 of the race, won by van Aert’s team mate Jonas Vingegaard who now has a commanding lead over his rivals, the Belgian rider who is leading the contest for the green jersey had done the usual post-finish protocols and appears to have been heading back to his team bus when he apparently flatted.

Twitter user Michele Pelacci tweeted in Italian about what happened next.

In English, that translates (loosely, with a change of tenses) as: “My brother punctured, we stopped by the side of the road to change the inner tube, who stopped five minutes later? Wout van Aert.

“I said to him ‘Hey Wout, there’s liquid coming from your wheel,’ he said, ‘Sure, idiot* it’s tubeless’

“He asked for a pump and a British** lad handed him one, and told Wout ‘You’re a legend’.

“Wout said, ‘I’ve got something for you ... take my green Jersey, it’s yours’.”

If anyone recognises the club jersey of the guy literally taking the shirt off the back of one of the world’s best cyclists, please let us know, we’d love to talk to him and hear more of the story.

(Edit: Mystery solved thanks to this camera angle ... it's Horsham Cycling Club)

Now, of course, you can buy a Tour de France points jersey via the race website or Santini, and one of the post-stage tasks of anyone in the jersey is to sign a few replicas for sponsors, charity, family, etc, so there are a lot of these knocking around ... but not many that are the actual podium versions.

So to end up with one of the only 21 points jerseys, zipped up at the back, that will actually be given out at this year’s race? 

Well, it’s a hell of a souvenir, and certainly puts the pink arrow on a black background sign I took down from a lamp post in Naples of the Giro d’Italia stage there in the shade.

And it defintely beats the rubber Cofidis keyring and set of Riso Scotti rider postcards that was the sum total of my schwag from the caravane the first time I saw the race in person in 1998.

*If I weren’t writing for a family audience, I may have used a stronger word. Ahem.

** Yes, ‘Inglese’ literally translates as ‘English’ but is also widely used by Italians as denoting ‘British’, so I’ve widened it here, not least due to the number of Welsh people we saw by the roadside today; and who knows, the lucky fan may even be, like Cav, from the Isle of Man.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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