The story of this Green Jersey contender is almost three weeks long. It involves many highs and lows. It was tough going and at times, it was thought that this rider would not make the cut. A lack of acknowledgement of the firepower inherent in her needles meant that Helene was not necessarily the rider most consider had what it took.
What style! What finesse! She saw her opportunity and cut a swathe through the peleton. Admittedly there were moments in the Pyrenees where she looked ready to quit. The agony of the constant K2P2 over and over and over was almost more than she could take. But she's such a trooper, she got through that. Then a period of relative 'calme' as we went across country and then - les Alpes and the fall.
In an unforseen incident a clip of the front wheel and she went over the edge on the downhill. Fans held their breath (pause for effect)
but she was able to hold onto her bike and rejoin the race unlike Augustyn who sadly, never regained his position.
All this has been toward today, a stage win with maximum points - a first for her team in this arena. As the reporters crowd in, the team bodyguard ensures that her team mates are able to join in her celebration. She falls to her knees as her bike is wheeled away. Sobs are heard. She has waited so long for this to happen, now, to finally have achieved her goal...it's almost too much. The papers will report her victory over Oscar and Thor and print endless versions of "that" photo - who can tell what Thor said during the conversation?
The ride to Paris now will be much of an anticlimax. There are some opportunities for her but just to hold the Green is enough today. It is debateable whether she will return to her usual domestique role for the GC rider she and her teammates hope will hold yellow next Sunday. As holder of the Green, the team should support her in keeping this. Stay tuned to tomorrow's column........