Whereas the football media made it a pejorative statement about Deschamps' tendency to pass the ball sideways, I remember a booze-addled, finger-jabbing evening of pre-lycra tipping-point cycling aficionados pointing out that he actually meant the complete opposite. He meant the super domestique is the hub around which tour cycling revolves, burying themselves for the team and almost literally pushing their man over the line. He meant Deschamps was a fucking hero. Albeit not moi, Cantona.
After this weekend's extraordinary crowd scenes across Yorkshire it seems we are now all experts. No-one halfway up the Cote de Beurrebains doubts the importance of Richie Porte or Geraint Thomas, and especially all the other team members I can't name, to Chris Froome. They all raise a chapeau to le lanterne rouge. Quite a change in under twenty years.
Except in Rio, of course, where an endangered species of sad smug bores in golf shirts, and who should know better, still seemingly think Messi, Rodriguez, and Robben exist without les porteurs de bidons.