I’m getting very excited now.
Cav has just been announced as part of the Quickstep team! Cav to win on the Champs-Elysees?
My money is on Pogacar to win it again, but Ineos will give him a hell of a fight with the team they’re taking.
Wow - turnaround from a few days ago where he was told he wasnt going... Or he said he wouldnt go as he is basically on a 1 year minimum salary contract as there was no expectation on him even getting a win let alone riding a grand tour.
Another stage finish in Chateauroux this year, think two of his 30 previous stage wins there at least
Personally I am putting my money on Roglic this year. Suspicion Carapaz will be the biggest threat from Ineos
> Cav has just been announced as part of the Quickstep team!
That is excellent news. I'm sure he'll rise to the occasion. 4 stages to equal Merkcx...
Thanks for the heads up, I'd quite forgotten about the tour this year. Pleased also to see that it'll be passing just past our village, so we'll be able just to wander down for a gander 🙂
Lucky you living so close. ☺ I remember the Tour of Britain came past a few miles from us one year. We waited for what seemed like hours and they were all past in what seemed like seconds. A blur of colour. But at least we had a bit more time to study the big boxes of Corn Flakes that came past afterwards!
After last year when they rode along the road at the bottom of our garden, this year they seem to be avoiding the southern Alps completely
Sounds like Bennet has fallen out of favour with Lefevre, looking at the latest interview, Calling into doubt Bennet's injury and 'bottle'.
Lefevre was brutal. Quite entertaining though.
Heart says Cav, head says Ewan.... hope I'm wrong!
MVdP for green for me. Alpecin are taking a strong sprint support team.
I think mvdp will be in yellow for the first week or so.
Clearly it’s a course that’s designed to put Alaphilippe in yellow at the start, with the short punchy climbs at the finishes, but I know where my money would be in a toss up between the two.
Has he said whether he’ll finish the race or will he drop out to prep for the olympics? He’s a decent shout for green if he goes the distance.
I like Cav and am looking forward to his post stage interviews/rants but unfortunately I can't see him making Paris
> After last year when they rode along the road at the bottom of our garden, this year they seem to be avoiding the southern Alps completely
Last year there was a stage finish in Villard-de-Lans, my village. It was meant to be on Bastille day and I had high hopes as I think it had been 20-odd years since they last came up this way and Tony Parker, a former NBA player had just invested in the ski resort which I think had a lot to do with it. Previously I've watched climbs on the Col de Manse and Col de Noyer and the hassle of parking up and waiting was going to be a thing of the past as I could just cycle down to this one from home.
With Covid it got moved to a nondescript Tuesday in September - I took an hour off work and wandered down to the roundabout near our house to watch with a few other masked people - complete anti-climax to what I original thought I would be doing (all day drinking on the final ski station climb).
Anyway looking forward to this one - going to have to reschedule some afternoon work meetings for the next three weeks!
It's going within 2km of our place in Herault, but covid/vaccination timescales mean I can't make it over there. Gutted.
My wife will be watching from a friend's front garden as they steam down a hill - I'm hoping for some decent pictures.
Really glad they visit the SW of France this year. The wind could make for some good racing and I live the pre Pyrenees near Ceret and Prades.
I’m finding it, um, intriguing that both Pogacar and Roglic have kept their preparation for the Tour pretty private.
I too am hoping for a Cav win or two. I’ll never forget the joy of 2012, which I followed on holiday in the French media. They never warmed to Wiggins, but they ended up loving “Supersonic Cavendish!”
What’s the position on out of competition testing in cycling these days. I’m assuming it’s pretty intrusive and there’s no way to hide from scrutiny by sitting out of events in run up to TdF- I hope I’m not being naive…?
I’m sure they’re just gulping down ketones (if they haven’t been banned yet).
Tom Dumoulin‘s six month break for “personal reasons” seems a lot more fishy… (cough* biological passport anomaly *cough).
No chance MvdP for Green - Yellow in week 1 is his target, then the XC MTB at Tokyo. If he's sensible he'll stay out of the bunch gallops for risk of crash/injury, then withdraw from the race some point early in the Pyrenees. Merlier and Philipsen will take on the main sprinting duties for AFX. That said, you sometimes feel MvdP can be his own worst enemy - He can go deep and win race of lower importance (to him), sacrificing the bigger goal in the near future.
Once again a HT to Inrng - previews this week and daily route previews/summaries from someone who knows the ground once the race is going. Best men's pro-cycling site out there: https://inrng.com/
I'm just impressed you have spoilers a week before it starts!
Tour de France Live & Highlights: 26 Jun - 18 Jul
A colleague was suggesting an Ineos clean sweep of Giro, Tour & Vuelta.
I reckon a Slovenian for the Tour but not sure which.
I'd love to see Cav in contention for stage wins but sprinters age or get usurped quickly.
> I’m sure they’re just gulping down ketones (if they haven’t been banned yet).
> Tom Dumoulin‘s six month break for “personal reasons” seems a lot more fishy… (cough* biological passport anomaly *cough).
TD was doping he wasn't't exactly doing it well...
What are everyone's picks for their Tissot fantasy TDF team then?
That spectator - what a muppet…
> That spectator - what a muppet…
Surprising noone around them called them out. They weren't even looking at the race. Wonder what the fall out is going to be.
> Surprising noone around them called them out. They weren't even looking at the race. Wonder what the fall out is going to be.
Hopefully the idiot will discover the French law for reckless behaviour.
I can't imagine two such large pile ups won't result in some abandonments.
Some great racing by Schelling and Alaphillipe.
Two horrendous pile ups. Suspect we won't see Froome starting tomorrow based on how he was looking after the second.
As for the fan who caused the first... Does the French justice system allow for sentencing an individual to walking the entire route of the Tour while being slapped by cardboard signs?
There appears to be people already identifying her, and Prudhomme is promising to sue them.
I'm amazed she didn't get lynched
I did feel for the poor bloke leaning against his bike watching the second crash. Ended up underneath at least 2 riders and their bikes. There's footage of a mum whipping a toddler out of the way of another rider too
On another tack, what a treat it is to listen to a decent team of commentators - and no Sean Kelly!!!
They are bloody good on ITV4.
So much so that I only have a passing interest in races they don't cover. TDF (and Vuelta when they do it) I have on live all day everyday and often watch highlights later and get properly hooked
and they don't say "Torty" instead of thirty. he does my head in
Lachlan Morton doing Lachlan Morton things is a v interesting side show too
“That’s an interesting one” - I started counting how many times he said that in the Giro. And that unbelievably monotonous delivery is impossible to listen to.
While he was one of my heroes when he was the Cav of his day, it’s a mistake to assume because of his ability on the bike he must thereby either have meaningful things to say or the ability to communicate them. I’ll be amazed if we see him again. Now David Millar is a different kettle of fish.
Sean and Kirby (along with all the weird Eurosport ads) truly make the TdF drinking game though.
Froome to start the stage. Must admit I'm shocked after the footage of him immediately after crash 2. Good to see though.
"He'll be riding for his leader, insert leaders name"
Horrendous list of injuries, not sure if due to first or second crash. Some teams will be severely depleted.
ITV4 are reporting only one abandon, doesn't sound quite right.
Only one non starter today. 3 others didn't finish yesterday.
Ah understood thanks.
> ITV4 are reporting only one abandon, doesn't sound quite right.
You'd probably start too, even if hurting and just see how it goes. I bet there are many tanked up on pain killers and probably not at their best performance wise.
Ineos embarrassment of riches is looking embarrassing.
van der Poel beats the Slovenians!
And some great sprinting for single mountain point!
> Ineos embarrassment of riches is looking embarrassing.
I think we’ll need to see some mountain performances before we write them off. Pog and Rog are looking peerless at the moment, but it’s a long way to Paris.
> van der Poel beats the Slovenians!
The audacity of going after bonus seconds on the first lap and then going for the win! Breathtaking.
Yeah sadly for ineos, although every rider on there team is great and they have four good GC guys, they lack the superstar quality of the Slovenians, it could be all over after stage 5.
Its a 3 week tour!!!! Still plenty of time for all kinds to happen!
What a great 2 opening days....Vand Der Pol today was so amazing and the history and family ties are touching! Poulidor never wore yellow and he crossed the line yoday in honour of his grandad...I love the tour for it's history, spectacle, tradition, scenery...what a spectacular event every year!
It Is a three week tour, but seen enough already to see it's a two horse race, though we already knew that before the race started. Poor from Ineos, setting a high tempo and dropping their own leader on the final climb. If Thomas, Porte and Carapaz can't make time back on stage 5 time time trial then race will be effectively over for them though one might still podium. It's not as tough a race as say this year's giro, so not sure if we will see Roglic suffer in final week as he did in last year's tour and vuelta.
I would put my money on Roglic with jumbo visma so far looking to have the strongest team in the race, But going to be extremely close race and hard to call.
Great first two stages best start to grand tour in a long time.
Ineos' biggest hope is for strong winds (common enough) on the SW stages. Best opportunity for a team ambush.
It's hardly their fault that on a non-windy section two of their massive threats lost 2 and 5 mins and so any credibility in a mountains attack to pressure tjv or uae.
Unless you don't really watch cycling and assume that having lots of strong people equals winning every stage, or that the aim is to get yellow in the first stage and hold it for three weeks?
Or if you think ineos setting pace on the mur de Bret was about setting g up for a win rather than maintaining fair contact and limiting early time loss to explosive puncheurs who will later collapse.
If they're in the same place after three alpine stages, some crosswind chaos and a tt, then you can start marking their gravestones.
I actually think Tao and Porte losing time will work in Ineos’s favour, giving them more tactical flexibility in the high mountains.
You could send Tao up the road and try to bridge Carapaz up to him if the rest of the Sky train can burn off Rog and Pog’s domestiques for example.
But as you say, the ability to sprint up steep kickers at sea level doesn’t have too much to do with TT ability or climbing ability in the high mountains.
>"the ability to sprint up steep kickers at sea level doesn’t have too much to do with..."
Though, it does suggest Rog and Pog haven't turned up in poor shape. It looks pretty ominous for the rest. But obviously the strongest guy in the race doesn't always make it to Paris.
What a day....carnage...GC blown apart....so many things happened today!
Had a call which started with 15km to go
Is Ewan okay?
> What a day....carnage...GC blown apart....so many things happened today!
Not really in a good way though - crash heavy days like this are far from fun.
Ewan out I think...
I was off work today and watched it all....the route for the last 20k wasn't good....I looked at the profile this morning and it looked likely to be a problem.
In saying that I think the G crash and also Roglic were nothing to do with the route!
> so many things happened today!
Per your prediction of 22:00 Sunday...
the tdf organisers need to stop making technical run ins to designated sprint stages. make the final 20km or so flat and straight and leave it up to the sprinters to do their thing. road riding is not 4x or BMX, crashes are not entertainment. we want to see the best rider finish top of the podium at the end of 3weeks after besting all of their competitors fair and square, not because x and y rider were caught up in a mega crash and either injured or lost significant time.
Yep...its a long 3 weeks of racing!
Roglic ok for tomorrow but is going to be sore...some talk that G dislocated his shoulder but had it popped back in on the road...not sure how accurate that is though. Good position for Carapaz after today.
Tomorrow looks an interesting day...if Cav can get over the last climb I'd love to see him in the sprint...
Thomas clipped wheels on a straight road, so did Roglic, so did Ewan. It’s road racing. On roads.
That was brutal.
I’m pretty sure I could ride along that road safely. It’s not the road per se, it’s how it’s ridden and that’s down to a load of twenty something year old men who still think they are invincible. Accidents will happen.
> Ewan out I think...
Well that has got to improve Cav’s chances. Every cloud...
Agreed, the roads haven’t changed. Has the racing become more intense? Is that down to increased fitness levels throughout the peloton?
My guess would be fitter, closer in ability, all using the same tactics and too much time on Zwift. Must admit, I find the constant carping about courses as tiresome as the constant discussion in football about referees. We’ll end up soon with all finishes being 5km up a closed dual carriageway (and in my experience you can have 90 riders with a whole motor racing circuit to themselves and they’ll crash fighting over the same six inches of it.)
> some talk that G dislocated his shoulder but had it popped back in on the road...not sure how accurate that is though.
You could see the race doctor relocating it in one of the shots.
> Tomorrow looks an interesting day...if Cav can get over the last climb I'd love to see him in the sprint...
There were a lot of riders taking stupid risks today. riding on the grass to get ahead in the peleton etc.
It's down to the teams and riders to sort out I think not just the course designers.
I think it's noticeable how current GC riders are often thereabouts in sprint stages, possibly looking to nick some time bonuses.
> Agreed, the roads haven’t changed. Has the racing become more intense? Is that down to increased fitness levels throughout the peloton?
The parcour and weather will have a big effect from year to year but in their wins the average speeds were about Merckx 35 Indurain 39 Armstong 40 Froome 40. Overall last year was quite a "slow" race not sure if covid or the stage with no breakaway affected that
The way they race sprint stages has changed too. 10-15 years ago they used to give the break a huge head start and then reel them in at a frantic pace before the finish (dropping riders in the process).
Now they give them a few minutes max and grind out a tempo so everyone’s still there at the end.
> Agreed, the roads haven’t changed. Has the racing become more intense? Is that down to increased fitness levels throughout the peloton?
I read that last year in many cases the teams discovered their riders actually benefitted from CV lockdowns as it meant they spent more time training and less racing. This year a few riders (e.g. Roglic) have basically spent most of the year hidden away up in ski resorts training rather than doing the traditional races - I wonder if "race-craft" has suffered as a result?
In terms of courses, I think no town is going to pay to have a TdF finish then agree that the stage stops on the bypass just outside the town. The run in has been a factor for as long as I have been watching the Tour- roundabouts, bends, the odd bit of rough tarmac, no-one wants to see crashes but it would be a little dull if every finish was a wide/straight avenue from miles out, you need a bit of interest in the course to shake things up a bit, and afterall thats another aspect of the skill of the riders.
I do wonder if disc brakes are playing apart. I ride a rim brake bike, and to be honest I never feel like I have a problem stopping in time, the one exception being when someone with disc brakes is in front of me pulls on the anchors hard and I nearly go into the back of them. It wouldnt have been the cause for most crashes we have seen, but a couple yesterday on bends where maybe a rider hit the brakes, the reaction time is going to be reduced.
Brutal's the word. G is one tough cookie coming back from that.
I bet yellow jacket woman has deleted her Facebook, there'll be one hell of a witch-hunt. Could have so easily have happened 100s of times. Also feel quite sorry for the spectator with the bike that got completely clattered several times next to that telegraph pole crash. Oosh. Normally you'd expect a few GC shakeups by week 1 crashes, this time it's defined by them ...and it's Tuesday.
> I bet yellow jacket woman has deleted her Facebook, there'll be one hell of a witch-hunt.
After spending time waiting for the race in a crowd of spectators with mobile phones there must be clear photos. I'm surprised she hasn't been found.
I was wondering about this. Until a few years ago, I don’t recall GC teams competing so close to the end of sprint stages, and with a nearly full complement of riders. Could this somehow be a perverse result of the 3km rule?
sure you are never going to eliminate every crash, particularly ones such as Ewan, but having a relatively steep winding descent within the last 10km (or however far out it was) of a sprint stage, at the point where the peloton is charging frantically to catch the break, is just asking for trouble. There was 1 crash about 9km out and another about 4km out due largely to the tight winding roads.
Im not suggesting having every stage finish on a wide flat boulevarde or bypass, just the 5 or 6 designated 'flat' out and out sprint stages. There is plenty of scope for exciting technical finishes on the rolling 'hilly' stages where you dont have 150 plus riders still all together in the peloton charging at 100%.
And you cant blame the riders for racing on the limit when their livelyhood depends on results and tv exposure. in every sport those in the elite are going to take what mere mortals would consider unreasonable risks to succeed, just look at climbing! of course to said practitioners such 'unreasonable' risk is actually a calculated risk, but sometimes they make the wrong calculations. Its the job of the organisers to provide a race environment where the elite athletes can push to the limit as safely as possible.
I think it's more that riders like Rog and Pod always think they're in the mix for bonus seconds. Possibly dropping bonus seconds ?
Riders now calling for UCI to “adapt” the 3km rule.
Maybe a flexible distance depending on the roads? But surely that would just lead to more disputes.
How about: teams that want to contest the sprint must have a designated sprinter and lead-out man who have completed safety training. All other riders to coast home from 3km, waving to the crowd.😀
Most of the crashes yesterday were down to rider error. I don't think you can totally 'tame' the finish and keep credibility as a bike race. Maybe have the sprint finish 500m beyond the finish line and not counting for bonus seconds ?
> I don't think you can totally 'tame' the finish and keep credibility as a bike race. Maybe have the sprint finish 500m beyond the finish line and not counting for bonus seconds ?
course you can, we have a velodrome! and nobody can say that track bunch racing is not exciting or 'credible'.
people need to stop using 'rider error' as a justification for not making the race safer, its twisted logic! the organisers need to make the race route as safe as possible, and then if people still crash they have nothing to complain about.
You don't really mean this "the organisers need to make the race route as safe as possible", obviously. Otherwise you're going to have to get rid of hills, bendy roads, roundabouts etc. and have a nice long drag race down the autoroutes.
Only one fall yesterday wasn't on 'safe' road sections. You can't finish every stage of the TdF in a velodrome, which in any case wouldn't be safe with a whole peloton in it.
> course you can, we have a velodrome! and nobody can say that track bunch racing is not exciting or 'credible'.
Are velodromes tangibly safer? I have heard of some pretty severe injuries in the past - spinal injuries, skewering by giant wood splinters etc
What a hero!
F*cking hell ! what a finish. Your heart goes out to any solo rider getting caught that close to the finish, but wow.
Now that is what we want to see for the run in to a sprint stage. anybody who disagrees can get stuffed.
YYFY!! Nearly had a bloody heart attack there... Still the best in the world! The only thing that could come close to that would be him winning in Paris.... Amazing!!
> What a hero!
Fantastic....so pleased! I didn't know until I read your post as been on the hill all day....got to work out highlights now and England match!!
Yes, everyone agrees it's good when riders don't crash into each other.
Awesome to see Cav back crying in the post race interviews (for the right reasons this time)
> Your heart goes out to any solo rider getting caught that close to the finish
I must admit I forgot to keep rooting for him when the camera showed Cav snaking his way forward
I was very conflicted.
Bloody hell, he's back!
Heartbroken for the lone LS rider. I didn't even want Cav to take it, let alone anyone else. The breakaway should always have your sympathy. If it doesn't; you're a monster.
So we just need Froome to come into form and we are back to the golden days.
Big stage today. First proper chance for the GC guys to shine.
It will be interesting to see how the crashes have affected Roglic and G. G might have come off worse if he can’t hold the TT position well because of his shoulder.
My predictions are:
- Van Aert to win the stage (Bissinger will give him a run for his money though)
- MVDP to keep yellow (by the slimmest of margins as he can’t really TT with the big guns)
- Pogacar to put himself into pole position for the GC guys
- Roglic to be largely fine and pull time back on his GC rivals
- G to do okay, but lose time to Pogacar and Roglic
- Carapaz to ride a blinder (beating G) and limit his losses to Pog and Rog setting up some brilliant mountain racing
With Kung to also be on the stage podium? Yesterday, Alaphillipe lookedto have recovered from stage 1, when helping Cav, so I fancy him for yellow.
The sprint trains in full flight to catch a lone rider is a terrifying sight. When they overtake in the finishing straight it's like the lone rider is standing still.
Nice bit of graffiti, I doubt the local council is upset.
> Two horrendous pile ups. Suspect we won't see Froome starting tomorrow based on how he was looking after the second.
> As for the fan who caused the first... Does the French justice system allow for sentencing an individual to walking the entire route of the Tour while being slapped by cardboard signs?
She’s been found and arrested!
Time to dig out the guillotine for the show trial and execution in Paris?
PS, whoever reckoned Kung would be on the podium, good shout!
> whoever reckoned Kung would be on the podium, good shout!
He didn't look enormously pleased that it wasn't on the top step, though
(do they actually do proper podium presentations for the stage*, or do the 2nd and 3rd places just get the satisfaction of knowing they'd have been on it if there was one?)
*Or perhaps rather 'did they do...' in Coronatimes
Some good predictions there, was fairly exciting to watch with great performance from Pogacar and MVP, and both Thomas and Roglic riding well despite there injuries, couldn't have been pleasant for either.
Fridays stage now looks extremely important, basically a spring classic within the Tour and potential to blow GC apart again. Will alaphilippe still being up there in GC I predict quick step will likely set a high tempo with 100k to go joined by alpecin with good bet on allaphilipe launching a big attack on third last climb with around 30 km to go, danger for everyone is MVP will likely join him, so probably end up with elite group of van aert, Roglic, Pogacar, MVP, alaphilippe and perhaps Carapaz with 30 km to go, with all other GC contenders isolated, with further attacks last 2 climbs, if MVP goes early smart move for any GC guy to try and go with him. Despite Pogacar time trial today now looking good for jumbo to try something on Friday and in mountain stages over weekend. For Thomas his best bet is probably trying something on Sunday , uphill finish will suit him more but don't think he is a good enough bike handler to try and get time back on Saturday, but that's another great stage for alaphilippe van aert/roglic and Carapaz to try and get more time back
4/6 is pretty decent by my usual standards.
Friday will be really interesting. It’s got the potential to create time gaps, but will people be willing to throw the kitchen sink at it knowing what comes the day after?
I’d love for it to play out like a spring classic, but I’m not sure. Fingers crossed for some fireworks!
Cav is on minimum wage (for top level professional cyclist) which I think is 40k euros or so.
Hopefully he's on bonuses or has his own sponsorship deals.
On the move podcast George Hincapie said minimum wage was 150000 for a pro rider, I presume dollars, plus he's probably on a win bonus.
"Professional cyclists can choose whether to be self-employed independent contractors, or full-blown employees of a team, effectively choosing between more money in the pocket (self-employed) versus other benefits, like insurance and holidays (employee). In 2021, there’s a minimum salary for male WorldTeam riders of €40,045 (employed) or €65,673 (self-employed)."
Cav's team boss says he's on minimum wage. Whether that is exactly true though...
Gossip is it’s minimum wage (c.€40k) and a sponsor that Cav bought to the team is paying it (I.e. his salary is costing quickstep nothing).
I assume he’s making a killing out of the win bonuses (good for him).
Plus with such a visible comeback he’s not going to be short of non-team sponsors in the future - especially as he seems a bit less sweary now he’s aged a bit.
No argument from me, just repeating what was said on the Move.
Having said that, it seems he was on 3.5m in 2015 for Quickstep and 3.4m in 2018 for Dimension data, I know he was signed up at a reduced rate because he didn't have a team to ride for, but I can't see him only earning 40000 Euros now.
It's a strange one - yesterday's man to superstar reborn. Bringing along a sponsor - now that is a twist. Sounds like the team get him for free thanks to sponsor BUT team cannot pay less than UCI minimum wage. Hence team can say "minimum wage". No idea what real earnings are.
At the time of negotiations, he was yesterday's man to everyone but the sponsor he brought along.
He only got into the Tour at short notice due to Sam Bennett injury/dispute - another strange story.
This is where the gossip is from: https://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/mark-cavendish-went-and-found-investor-so-he-could-continue-his-career/
That potentially mean the sponsor is big enough to drop their preferred sprinter?
> I assume he’s making a killing out of the win bonuses (good for him).
Aside from what he’s got set up with the team, that stage win was worth €11k so a nice salary bump! (Although as I understand it the stage prizes get put in a pot and shared with the whole team).
Strange that the sponsor isn’t named. Does it exist? Is Cavendish his own sponsor? He can afford it and it is potentially a good investment for him, even if it had been a bad investment, it is cheaper than buying a sports car.
It's reckoned a tour stage win doubles a rider's salary for a few years. The status of "potential stage winner" means they are in demand with teams.
Another sprint stage 🚴 today before a mountainous long weekend starting on Friday.
I thought I’d read the sponsor was just Specialized agreeing to pay for Cav’s salary and bonuses on top of whatever funds Specialized already put into the team.
Can Cav's run of good fortune go another day?
Who to you fancy for today?
Like button for Cav
Dislike for Merlier
I realise it's not just a two horse race but having previously won, these two would seem to be the hot favourites.
Quite likely, given how often he name-checks them!
I still love him though.
If all goes to plan, Mørkøv will deliver Cavendish in front 200 m from the finishline.
Merlier isn't getting much from UKC love today.
The Manx Missile strikes twice!
Just a couple of victories away from Merckx.
Even this morning I did not think that was possible. Looking likely now. Absolutely crazy fairytale.
Not sure about likely. The mountains could play havoc given his lack of racing. Still, great to be where he is.
It’s his 50th GT individual stage win (plus 3 TTT stage wins).
When's the next sprint stage? Can't wait.
Tuesday. Not long!
Maureen the 74 year old lady who lives opposite and often brings over scones etc. came over to discuss the finer points of the sprint. I was made up.
Re tomorrow: Andrew Feather (British Hill Climb Champion) has just recc’d the finished for tomorrow stage. Over the last 5km he was putting out over 400w (he weighs in the low 60s) and only averaged 22kmph.
It’s going to be a brutal stage. They’ll wait until the end. My money is on Rog to cross the line first.
I'm going for that too. Stamp his authority pre-mountains and he's yellow to the end.
The lad is hot!
Edit: misread! I mean Pogacar.
If he is smart Pogacar won't want to be in yellow until the last time trial, much easier for him to let someone else have to defend the Jersey.
I’m really not sure I trust Pogacar’s performances.
I’m a little surprised but slightly more generally at the lowering age (or so it seems, am I getting old) of the yellow jersey contenders. I’m sure they used to peak late 20s as while your fitness dropped your endurance was increasing to meet it. Perfect for a tour win and 3 weeks. I was wondering if it were better nutrition and recovery that was helping youth and outright fitness and making later years endurance less of a factor?
> I’m sure they used to peak late 20s as while your fitness dropped your endurance was increasing to meet it.
The riders and teams believed that was how it was until Bernal showed otherwise.
Now that riders and teams believe a youngster can do it, it became normal or even the norm but delayed by accepted wisdom.
Agree, I worry they Seem too good to be true
I'm sure I heard somewhere that the long term trend has been for younger winners.
> I'm sure I heard somewhere that the long term trend has been for younger winners.
Data here which doesn’t support that https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jul/23/tour-de-france-winner-list-garin-wiggins
As Froome, Thomas and Nibali are similar ages, the age of the winner increased by one year from 2013-2018!
My theory is that we are seeing younger winners is because it used to take years of training while doping to reach a competitive level. Serious doping was only available once a rider turned pro and it would take a few years of training to catch up with older riders who had been doping for years. That a 22 year old won the Tour is evidence they are not doping unless you think they are doping children in Slovenia?
EPO added to the water, much in the same way we add fluoride?
We touched on the young rider phenomenon in the Giro thread and I think someone pointed out that the training available to teenagers now is of a much higher standard than in the past. I think it’s probably less to do with the physiology of younger riders, but more to do with the training they do, allowing the cream to rise to the top at a much early stage in their careers.
On the TT stage it’s probably worth pointing out that the terrain was pretty steep (even if it didn’t have any serious climbs). If Roglic wasn’t wrapped up like a mummy after his crash then I suspect he would have taken second.
Van Aert beat Ganna on a relatively flat course after all. Bissinger (I know he was riding in the wet) beat all of the GC favourite in the Paris-Nice? and he was destroyed by all of the GC guys.
ps unless there’s a change since I’ve been writing this, there’s a monster break up the road in today’s stage. Looks like it will be an epic.
Edit: you do make a completely valid point about doping in the past though.
Yellow jersey in a breakaway!?!?!?
Green jersey ahead of the peleton after the first categorised climb!?!?!?
I wonder! As someone else also said a young rider winning also changes the perceived wisdom and the youth training plans and professionalism not doubt speed up them reaching full potential. Either way it's interesting.
Carapaz has come out of his shell.
What a day! That shot of Carapaz coming round the final corner was utterly devastating.
A Slovenian wins the stage.
Exactly as I expected...
Carapaz caught on the line by the peleton, poor bugger!
My tip for Roglic to win might go down as one of my worst ideas.
Great racing though. Someone said it would play out like a classic - I was sceptical and completely wrong! Have TJV explained why they didn’t go back to help Rog yet? Seemed weird that they’d leave him alone with only 18k to go.
> I’m really not sure I trust Pogacar’s performances.
I try to avoid this type of thinking as best I can, but I must confess that seeing Pogacar's completely relaxed face as he approached the finish of the time trial compared to the pain etched over all the other superstars who he had just destroyed did give me pause to think....
I'd have to see those numbers on a graph ! In any case, plenty of 24 year old winners in the past.
Rog is clearly not a protected rider anymore.
I think jumbo must have realised last night race was over for Roglic so putting everything now on Van Aert and Vingegaard as back up, so probably didn't want to waste energy pacing Roglic back with weekend in mountains, and will be hoping Roglic recovers to help later in race.
Big surprise Ineos and UAE let Van Aert get in the break, no one is talking about him but could be a big disaster that comes back to haunt them, we will see how van Aert goes next few days, but he climbed great in last year's tour and performed well over a week at tirreno adriatico this year.
Would also say UAE will be vulnerable to attacks tomorrow, they spent whole day trying to pace back the breakaway, and will be totally exhausted before tomorrow stage, can't imagine the will have many or any riders left to help in later part of tomorrow's race
Indeed. It turns out Pog does have weaknesses - 7 of them.
Who will he mark tomorrow? G or Carapaz? Either way it’s lots of attacks to cover.
Yeah definitely likely they will have to let some of the GC contenders get away tomorrow, it's going to be impossible to defend all the various attacks, I think best thing Pogacar can do tomorrow is counter attack, maybe wait for first big main attack, bring it back and go himself and see who can go with him, other wise he will be vulnerable on final climb.
It'll be interesting tomorrow....a big day for Ineos as they could make some big gains if they play their hand well assuming they have the legs....I suspect Thomas will ride defensively gor a while yet and hoping to recover for the latter half of the your.
Not sure Roglic will make it tomorrow....he's too far back now and looks in a bad way.
Wouldn't surprise me if De Gent has a go tomorrow...
I never get movistar as a team. Every year they literally just exist to shit up the tour. Why cover carapaz's attack. They don't have a GC contender. Nobody was going to take the stage. They could have forced another team to respond. They do it all the time - riding on the front for no reason. Trying to push the pace last year after the yellow jersey crashed.
Watch their documentary on Netflix: the team and the riders come across in a really bad light.
I wish they would just get ejected permenantly.
They hate Carapaz.
The documentary on Netflix is probably one of the best cycling themed programmes I’ve watched in a while. Talented, but useless sums it up.
Was it movistar who would have someone in a breakaway and lead the peleton to chase them down?
There was one team that had nonsensical tactics.
Yes. they did this a few times to quintana. They are just a bloody annoying team.
Their other special tactic is to burn all their riders getting to the bottom of a climb first, and then leave their leader isolated
Valverde was always the leader of Movistar, whoever their designated leader was.
Movistar, not you.
What a ride by Pog.
Ineos should have taken Bernal to the tour…
> What a ride by Pog.
The sceptic in me thinks it was almost unbelievable.
> Ineos should have taken Bernal to the tour…
What for? Yates and Bernal seemed to be at a similar level in the mountains at the end if the Giro. How much time did Pogacar put into Yates on the last climb?
Years of watching cycling has taught me that when something looks too good to be true it normally is. I watch cycling and take it at face value but I struggle to quell my scepticism with Pogacar. Maybe the peloton is pretty much clean and that allows exceptional talents to shine. I hope so.
Time cut will be interesting.
Apparently pog did one of the climbs 8 seconds faster than those known paragons of virtue of contador and the shlecks........ sorry i can't believe this is real esp after the tt last year
Probably real just extremely weak opposition, such a time difference is ridiculous, but it is early in the tour, and he has not used much energy up yet so was relatively fresh and his closest rival Carapaz tired himself out a by going on attack yesterday.
Could end up seeing a Lance Armstrong style winning margin in this year's tour, only other cyclist who could challenge him would be fully fit Bengal of Roglic. Probably clean, just another exceptional talent, but what he is doing is no more outrageous to what we see from vander poel.
Faster than Contador, but only 1.5% faster than the speed the pack climbed it last year at the Dauphine.
> but only 1.5% faster than the speed the pack climbed it last year at the Dauphine.
were they riding into a headwind as well?
Van der Poel was born to be a cyclist and was winning world championships in the womb. He has incredible power over a short time period which combined with his mentality is his race-winning asset. He also looks fallible and human and has bad days. I can believe in him. At least Pogacar looked a bit tired today.
That'll be that then! He doesn't seem to need a team, let alone a train!
Watching on Eurosport, I can detect some scepticism in the commentary … the superlatives they are using and the constant “surprise” at how he is so much better than every other rider … capped off by Carlton Kirby (might have been Dan Lloyd) saying that the last person to win a time trial and a mountain stage was Lance Armstrong. (Ok Pog didn’t win the stage today)
it is incredible just how much better he is than everyone else, the ease with which he passed Woods et al on the last climb was monstrous
It’s proving a difficult watch for me. I’d like to be able to accept that we are witnessing the arrival of possibly the greatest road cyclist ever, and that Pogacar is just a freak of nature whose physiology allows him to perform to a different level to everyone else.
The parallel might be Usain Bolt; Bolt’s performances remain in a different league to any other sprinter, and he was never caught doping - uniquely among the ten fasted sprinters ever. That of course strains credibility; but he *looks* different to every other sprinter, much taller and with a longer stride, and so I can hang on to a belief he’s just the once in a century perfect combination of physiology and training (while accepting I may be kidding myself… )
But pogacar doesn’t really look any different to other GC contenders; he just puts up numbers that are off the end of the distribution, and from what others have said, have only previously been seen in known dopers.
so, maybe he *is* just that equivalent once in a century athlete.
that would be easier to accept if both his team and national cycling didn’t have the history of doping involvement, and if he showed just some signs of fallibility- Carapaz is a strong rider, with a strong team- it shouldn’t be that easy
If he hadn't crossed chained all of the way up the climbs I think we may have seen him pass the motorbikes.
He is obviously an exceptional talent so to keep it sporting I think he should be made to ride a fixie for the rest of the tour
> But pogacar doesn’t really look any different to other GC contenders;
But would a cyclist look different in the same way that a Bolt, a Lomu or even a C. Ronaldo do?
A Floyd Landis stage 17 2006 for me. No one is that much better than everyone else. I was so excited about cycling this season but today has ruined it. He’s cheating and we just have to figure out how.
I’m not saying he should; just that in Bolt’s case there was something I could plausibly persuade myself accounted for his other worldly dominance.
Lomu too- at that stage in Rugby’s development he was just bigger and faster than the opposition
Ronaldo - I don’t think football is a good comparison, just being bigger, faster or more powerful is no predictor of quality
but I’d love for someone to persuade me there’s no reason to need to turn to doping to explain his performances- my current thoughts on it are spoiling the race for me, but I can’t pretend I don’t find them implausible
I didn’t realise he was in the big ring for most of the climbs and apparently for a 14% section. I’ll be listening more closely to David Millar’s comments from now on.
I noticed that, but it was on the biggest at the back too, tut tut!
One thing is for sure - teams are going to be looking very hard at their pre tour race schedule next year. Depending how cynical you are, big training rather than racing (or time out of the limelight for the cynical) appears to be the way to go. I can't see the Dauphine or Tour de Suisse being as high profile next year.
That would be unwelcome, but sounds likely. I wasn’t particularly happy that Roglic took that approach. Though fat lot of good it did him- more time spent practicing not bumping into other cyclists would have been more productive…
To be honest I was hoping for some stronger pushback, with someone making a case as to why Pogacar’s performances are understandable in a context I hadn’t considered.
I think Pogacar is probably clean.
I'm not sure that winning is grounds for suspicion. Is the doping still that bad but far better covered up?
Without crashes there may have been a few people just behind him and he would look far less exceptional.
If you want more certainty ask again in 2031.
The last time I remember them doing this they won, so fair play to them!
I agree, I don't think yesterday is any more remarkable than Froome solo attack in Giro a few years ago, that came at end of a Grand tour when he and everyone else would have been fatigued.
I think Pogacar is clean, what unknown drug is he meant to be on? why is he getting away with it and why is no one else on it? His result is probably a combination of factors, poor opposition, different approach to preparing for tour, racing over the spring then training in build up to tour perhaps a better bike handler than lots of his rivals, will see what happens in this year Vuelta, probably going to be a strong line up, if he also wins it with ease then maybe more case to be suspicious about his performance.
Who is the stuttering commentator currently covering it on itv4 with Boardman and Millar summarising? He's quite a hard listen at times, like he's frantically trying to find his notes halfway through making a point.
Even Boardman had a wee gag about his rambling.
Edit he's just gone off commentary as I posted!
Matt Rendell probably. I really like him, very knowledgeable.
And compared to Sean Kelly!
That wasn’t just winning though…
The crashes haven’t helped; but I don’t think even a fit and on form Roglic could have lived with Pog yesterday. Roglic seemed pretty much on a par with Carapaz at the Vuelta last year, and looked vulnerable in the mountains. Carapaz was blown away yesterday, I think Roglic and Thomas would have been looking at a similar gap.
Perhaps we’re just coming out of a fallow period between “great” riders who win multiple Grand Tours- and Roglic, Carapaz, Thomas, et al are going to be exposed going up someone who is just at a higher level. And hopefully Bernal is cut from similar cloth and we get to see a real rivalry and uncertainty over the winner in the years to come. It could be a golden age.
It would just be easier if the background of Slovenian cycling wasn’t so problematic, and the numbers people are reporting for his power output weren’t so far off the end of the expected distribution for clean athletes (again, I’d be more than happy to have someone offer context that these aren’t such a big deal after all&hellip
And he’s gone again.. a day later. straight past Carapaz uncontested. Ridiculous.
It would be helpful if UAE released some power data, like Sky did for Froome when he was winning by a large margin.
My back of the fag packet maths put him at 6.3+w/kg on the final climb yesterday and that wasn’t factoring in wind… If anyone on the internet has crunched the numbers properly I’d be interested in giving it a read.
Having said that, I don’t think he’s quicker than a fit Rog. At the tour of the Basque Country, Rog beat him in the TT and they couldn’t be split on the climbs.
Clearly the rest aren’t in brilliant form. Carapaz should be able to drop Kelderman? pretty easily in my opinion.
GC aside it looks like Cav will make the time cut and loads of sprinters are going home. Go Cav!
Sprint stage on Tuesday
Ben O'Connor was the stellar performance of today. It will be great if there is competition for the top spot.
Strange mixer can sized drink with no exterior markings on arrival yesterday. Too small for rehydration. 30 minutes before a urine test would be ideal to neutralise a bio passport abnormality.
> Strange mixer can sized drink with no exterior markings on arrival yesterday. Too small for rehydration. 30 minutes before a urine test would be ideal to neutralise a bio passport abnormality.
Pogacar has a small orange can handed to him immediately at the end of every stage by the first team person who meets him. Is that it?
I'm fairly sure it is a fixed routine, certainty not covert as it's on TV. Pretty sure I've noticed it a few times. Unbranded as far as I can see, possibly just because it's not an official sponsor's product.
Bio passport is blood? I thought the daily test for jersey holders was urine.
It looks suspiciously like a can of orange fanta to me…
Either it’s a devious concoction stuffed full of ultra quick action masking agents to get through the doping test or a refreshing sugary drink that hits the spot after a long ride? My moneys on the later.
If you wanted to do something nefarious, you'd just stick it in a bidon, as part of normal rehydration.
On the other hand, why use a little can, rather than just putting it in a bidon? The only thing I can think of is that they want to ensure that whatever small volume of recovery mixture is completely ingested, whereas riders often forget, and end up squirting rehydration fluids over their heads to cool down.
Or, as VS suggests, it's just a can of Fanta...
Why on earth do teams with budgets of tens of millions not have coloured and fully branded rain jackets? You'd think sponsors paying tens of millions and broadcasters buying TV rights would insist.
Fanta is the go to drink of choice for pro cyclists after a stage.
Who is left to sprint against Cav now?
Colbrelli. Is Sagan still there? Van Aert maybe.
I make it to be:
- Van Aert
- Nacer Bouhami (Sp?) is still there I think
Cav should be the fastest of these by a decent margin and given he’s being paced in the grupetto by the rest of the team he should make it to Paris.
It looks like my original prediction of Pog to win the tour and Cav to win in Paris was pretty decent
P.S. My claim that Cav would win in Paris was definitely a prediction and not an open question to spark interest…
remember it's Nazi cola so possibly in France they hide its true colours
> it's Nazi cola so possibly in France they hide its true colours
I'd been quietly hoping it was Irn Bru
Philipsen, Bol, Laporte and Pedersen as well.
Boulting & Millar were saying Colbrelli & Bahrain Victorious tactics are to make start of mountain stages as difficult as possible. This means Cavendish can't contest intermediate sprints and makes the start of the stage faster so the overall time for the stage is reduced.
The time cut is a percentage of the stage winners time so that makes it more likely that Cavendish will be eliminated as a competitor for the green jersey or just exhausts/eliminates Cav and other sprinters.
I hadn't realised team tactics could target the time cut to disadvantage a rival.
Anyway, it may be obvious but wasn't to me!
That’s what Bora tried to do to Sam Bennett last year.
Just watched the highlights and Cavendish was clearly relieved to have made the cut. He did say that they were seriously worried about that stage.
Out of interest, could it be possible to fool the electronic devices the UCI use to detect internal motors in bike frames? I don't think this is happening BTW, just curious how the tech works if anyone knew...
I guess so. It’s a magnetic flux test not an X-ray.
Wouldn’t a simple faraday cage render the test useless?
I’ve been meaning to create a new thread for doping discussion. Lots of possibilities around gene doping, blood doping, the impact of ketones, out of season steroid use.
All the articles I can see describing the technology are from ~2016, when they basically seemed to be hunting for magnets. It is certainly possible to build a motor without magnets, though obviously there will be magnetic fields when the motor is on whatever you do. It might be hard to build a motor driver (box of electronics) without any ferrous material.
The UCI may have moved onto more sophisticated tests I suppose, but my experience of designing a "concealed" e-bike is that both aluminium and carbon fibre (and presumably steel) bike frames are remarkably good at shielding the kinds of electromagnetic signals you might search for.
Not a faraday cage, but a ferrous metal box around the motor would. The problem is that the magnetic flux tester would then pick up the ferrous box and you would have to explain what it was doing there.
So you could just put it in a steel framed bike?
Because the best performing fabrics can't be printed on in full colour, either the dye doesn't stick to the DWR or it clogs up the pores and stops it being breathable. The most important criteria for wet weather gear has to be how it performs, just look at the countless threads on UKC complaining about jackets not being breathable enough and thats from people who are probable putting out half the heat output of a pro-cylist and don't have to contend with 90kph windchill on a descent.
I think Cav and the other slow pokes (in relative terms) have been lucky there isn’t a massive GC rivalry, otherwise the winner’s times could have been considerably less. From what I watched yesterday Bahrain seemed to do little more than ride tempo up the climbs, until Ineos’ attempt at actually influencing the race.
They can do white printed on black as some teams have so they should be able to do at least one colour printed on the fabric in a single appropriate colour if they can't do the full design.
I think camo print goretex has been around for donkey's years too.
It just seems incredibly unprofessional service for the sponsors and broadcasters who pay the bills.
Yet the evidence in front of my eyes watching the 2 stages in horrific weather over the weekend was that the majority of teams used black kit, with minimal logos. Which is more likely, Teams choose to use the black kit because it performs better or that the jacket manufacturers choose to not supply colour kit even though they could?
From my point of view it seems incredibly professional that the majority of teams aren't willing to sacrifice the safety of their riders for the sake of having the logos in the right colour.
> I think camo print goretex has been around for donkey's years too.
Camo print applied very early in the manufacturing process. Prior to membrane lamination and DWR application.
Bike teams may have a lot of money, but I think getting that early into the manufacturing process might be a bit much. Maybe they need to add Gore to their sponsors.
I think I might have chosen a colour other than black. But i guess they dont have to contend with unobservant drivers. Well, apart from the odd DS...
It’s pretty obvious that most of the black rain jackets are made of Gore Shakedry.
I imagine that Gore would only licence their technology to teams that they are partners with. For instance, Trek/Bontrager sell alternative waterproof clothing but nothing using any Gore fabrics. So having official team kit made from Gore fabrics would be a ‘no no’ for both parties.
The Rapha jackets worn by the EF Team do have quite a few logos on them. EF and Rapha have some sort of sponsorship deal in place.
> So you could just put it in a steel framed bike?
Yep! Still might get some questions asked of you at the tour though.
his done it again!!!!!!!!
tony and sarah
What a leadout.
> Fairytale stuff!
You beat me to it.
Boardman said the lead out was so good Cav had to make just 14 pedal strokes on the front to cross the line. Superb.
Lots and lots of mountains now but two sprint stages before the final Champs Elysees sprint.
I wonder how Sam Bennet's feeling now?
Hopefully chuffed that Cav is doing the business, and as a side effect has turned Quickstep into a leadout machine
Isn’t he off next season? Ineos or TJV is what I’ve heard.
He’s probably gutted as he knows he’d be winning all those stages.
Maybe, but there's always La Vuelta
Aside from Cav I’m probably more excited for the Vuelta than the rest of the tour now.
I’d love to see a fit Roglic go up against a fit Bernal.
> Lots and lots of mountains now but two sprint stages before the final Champs Elysees sprint.
Correction - another three sprint stages plus Champs Elysees.
They should take Cav, Sam who?
The way he's going, I wouldn't be surprised to see TP going for the TdF-VaE double.
That really would get the chins wagging
He could go for all three next year?
No more than now. It is one of the easier doubles.
Bradley Wiggins is looking pretty hip on the Eurosport motorbike, rocking a leather bomber jacket and shades
> Bradley Wiggins is looking pretty hip on the Eurosport motorbike, rocking a leather bomber jacket and shades
Could they not have got him on a Lambretta?
> Bradley Wiggins is looking pretty hip on the Eurosport motorbike, rocking a leather bomber jacket and shades
Is he worth listening to?
I got GCN+ for Giro but I watch ITV4 for the better commentators.
I pay for Eurosport to get all the cycling ad free and the Breakaway. £45 a year...well worth it!
Sean Kelly can wear a bit thin, but I really like Brian Smith, Bradley Wiggins, Rob hatch and Carlton Kirby. Each to their own I guess...
Will Cav make the time cut today? Really hope so
He does seem to talk to the riders so has a bit of insight. I don’t mind Sean Kelly so it’s Eurosport for me though.
Re will he make it. It’s going to be tough, but he’s got 4 team members - he’s got the best possible chance to make it.
Any predictions for the winner today? Or anybody gaining time in GC?
I'd love to see Alaphilippe earn some screen time....
> He does seem to talk to the riders so has a bit of insight.
That's the bit I thought would be good.
> Could they not have got him on a Lambretta?
Would a Lambretta be able to keep up with the peloton?
Brads tribute to Tom Simpson from the back of the bike just now was excellent...
> Will Cav make the time cut today? Really hope so
Ineos riding hard from so early won't help. Fingers crossed a grupetto forms with him in it.
> Any predictions for the winner today?
Mollema looking good, he's got the team mates and the pedigree.
So Pog can be broken after all…
That makes things a bit more interesting. If he does start to fade then is performance will be comparable with froome who in the early tours would smash the first mountain top finish apart then hang on.
Fingers crossed for Cav.
Cav makes it in with 7 mins to spare
> So Pog can be broken after all…
That was exciting, real pity he got caught.
Very briefly Pog was on the back foot but he made sure he won the sprint across the line with the contenders for the lower podium positions. Pity yellow not in close contention.
Wout van Aert - contends a sprint one day then first over Mt Ventoux the next. Incredible!
Two consecutive sprint stages coming up...
I don't recall Froomey ever having over 5 minutes to play with, but then he also had the strongest team.
It would be great to have a camera on the grupetto all day in a mountain stage once. Cav is a complete master of the discipline demonstrated by his appearance on the Champs so regularly.
anybody have a clue what Ineos's game plan is? they appear to have been acting as a leadout train for Pogacar the last few days?! just riding tempo. They are wasting all their energy at the front of the peloton without actually doing any damage to the rest of the contenders, let alone pogacar. It doesnt seem to matter that UAE have a weeker team than most of the others becasue Pog has Ineos to set the pace for him!
So they got up to 97 kph on the descent of Ventoux... chapeau!
> So Pog can be broken after all…
I don't think that's what we saw today, I think he was all set to follow and his DS told him (or he realised himself) that it wasn't worth burning any matches for someone who was that far behind.
> anybody have a clue what Ineos's game plan is?
Absolutely no idea what that was about, unless it was meant to be a launching pad for Carapaz but he didn't have the guns when the time came.
My take on the Ineos game plan is that they are ignoring Pog, because nothing can be done about him, and racing the “at 5min” group for second place in the same way they’d race for first place. To an extent the plan worked, just not as well as they might have liked, which can be explained by the weaker than usual team and leader and stronger than usual opponents.
Second might become first if anything happens to Pog in the remaining km.
TP said himself that he tried but couldn't follow JV, so unless it's an elaborate bluff we have to take it that it was what it looked like.
> It would be great to have a camera on the grupetto all day in a mountain stage once. Cav is a complete master of the discipline demonstrated by his appearance on the Champs so regularly.
I remember something from Greipel a few years back explaining how the grupetto works on a day like today. It real is a masterclass of uphill pacing and downhill racing. As you say, pity we don't see more of what goes on there.
> TP said himself that he tried but couldn't follow JV, so unless it's an elaborate bluff we have to take it that it was what it looked like.
OK, I hadn't seen that.
The other aspect that few mention is that Prudhomme's assertion that finishes like today's (big mountains, then downhill to the finish) are designed to encourage long range attacks (in the GC race) since attacking near the top and gaining only seconds will likely be lost on the downhill finish. In that context JV's attack was dramatic, but pretty much guaranteed to be futile. Not sure if it was inexperience or lack of confidence to attack early?
Or he was worried that if he attacked too early Van Aert would be caught by the chase?
> Or he was worried that if he attacked too early Van Aert would be caught by the chase?
Even if he was caught you'd have to fancy Van Aert against Ellisonde in a Sprint.
The GC battle barely includes Pog, it's beneath him! The Ineos game plan is to move Carapaz up and dropping O'Connor achieved that.
Fingers crossed a real battle for the yellow jersey will develop. More likely than not, it won't.
I wonder whether Luke Row missing cut will affect their plan from now on ?
I don’t think so. Van Baarle is just as much of a beast, if not more so, on the flats.
Ineos needed two big diesels when they had multiple leaders, but I’m sure they can cope with 1 now.
If G doesn’t find his climbing legs I’m sure he’ll be put to work on the flat.
Sagan has injured knee and not starting today
Like when Ewan injured his leg at the giro?
Less people for Cav to compete with - always a bonus.
Getting Alexei Sayle into the commentary box is an inspired way to pass the time on a dull stage.
Looks like Pog is thinking of the Vuelta. Oh for a fully firing Bernal for that one.
> If G doesn’t find his climbing legs I’m sure he’ll be put to work on the flat.
He seemed to be doing quite a lot of work early on on Wednesday. Possibly helping to put LR out of the time cut in the process. Their next episode of Watts Occurring should be an intereting listen
What a sprint. Unbelievable.
A wild last km.
5 mountain stages now, hope Cav can survive that. Next sprint stage on Thursday.
Roll on a GC battle in the Pyrenees.
> Getting John Torode into the commentary box is an inspired way to pass the time on a dull stage?
Yes, sprinting doesn't get tougher than this.
The GC battle is now about second place, with the assumption that you'll be gifted the jersey retrospectively when they bang pogacar to rights.
If you take Pog out, it's actually an excitingly tight second step battle. Without the time trial I'd have backed Carapaz and team, but as it is ....
Who else has lost all interest in the GC and is now only interested in the race for the stage and whether Cav makes the time cut? Probably not in that order.
Delighted to see another win for one of my favourite bike racers, Notvalverde. Any day when Notvalverde wins is a good day for the sport.
I thought it was 'Valdemort'...?
I'm certainly waiting to see him roll in before turning off the live coverage
> Any day when Notvalverde wins is a good day for the sport.
You'd have to admit that AV rode pretty well yesterday, though, surely? Second place on a mountain stage - he's 41, after all
> You'd have to admit that AV rode pretty well yesterday, though, surely? Second place on a mountain stage - he's 41, after all
Oh yes, he can ride and is a fierce competitor. He is also an unrepentant drug cheat and I just can't forget that.
I'm sure the scenery is better and the chateaus prettier on ITV4, even though they all have the same video feed(s). I'm also learning about the persecution of the Cathars from Dave and Ned.
Does the lack of a real GC battle mean that breakaway riders are more likely to take the stage? Normally the battle between GC riders would sweep up anybody out ahead in the mountains.
Similarly a good mountain jersey battle as the points not being taken by GC contenders.
Cav saying he needs to defend green by going for intermediate sprints in the next two Pyreneen stages.
An unusual tour.
There does seem to be more scope for breakaways this year.
I’m attributing it to the fact that historically TJV and Sky rode a high tempo through the mountains to discourage attacks, but UAE don’t have the firepower to do so, so average GC group speeds are lower this year.
I don’t think Cav does need to get the sprint points in the mountain stages based on my noddy maths… As long as he can get a top 3 on the last 2 sprint stages I think he has the jersey wrapped up. Someone will probably explain why I’m wrong…
I think Cav said something about contesting intermediate sprints today/tomorrow in his interview yesterday (Tuesday).
I think you are right mathematically but by the time they get to Paris a few points can make the difference as anything can happen.
Also good psychology to convince your rivals that you are invincible and it's good PR for the sponsors.
They might send Alaphillipe up the road to take some sprint points and French riders fancy a win on Bastille Day.
As you can see, I am getting over excited!
Carapaz has not made many friends today!
Edit: another summit finish tomorrow and if the GC riders can hold off the climbers we might see Pogacar with three out of four jerseys!
Give that man an Oscar! I think I would struggle to grimace for that long.
What has happened to the rest of Ineos though? They might as well have taken the Giro team to the Tour…
They aren't really riding for Carapaz, are they ? (ok a bit unfair on Kwiato and Castro)
I’ve got no idea what they’re doing.
Castro seems to be the last man for Carapaz. He rode the Giro (I.e. he’s knackered) and even then he wasn’t even the best climbing domestique on the team (I.e. what are the rest of the team playing at).
G and Tao seem to be there to sign autographs and post social media content. I can understand G being out of sorts if he’s still suffering from his shoulder, but Tao has been nowhere this tour.
P.s. I appreciate I’m being the worlds biggest armchair critic and I wouldnt make it up a cat 4 with the heaviest of sprinters on the tour, but still…
Police raid Bahrain Victorious hotel at Tour de France
Hopefully not a return to the bad old days.
Probably one of the least suspicious teams at the tour. Unless getting dropped at the bottom of any serious climb is grounds for suspicion.
Caruso did all of his climbing in the Giro at c.5.5w/kg. I’d be looking in the other teams busses first…
But yes, let’s hope it’s not a return to the dark days of cycling.
Any predictions for today? Any of the GC contenders to pop?
I'm going for: Ineos try to set Carapaz up but he is left isolated by the top of the first climb.
I agree, such much for Ineos riding an attacking and exciting race... they are either riding a nice tempo for Pogacar to follow, or they are out the back doing nothing. The GC battle was lost when G crashed on stage 3. Carapaz was never in with a realistic chance of winning given the two long time trials. He could fight it out for a podium place without the need for the 'sky train' to tow him up the hills. let the talented riders that they have race and do something in the breaks. the one time they actually get a couple of riders in the break they are called back to join an ultimately fruitless leadout for Carapaz.
Are Tao and G just using this as a good way to stay in shape for the olympics?
Pog to win. Ineos to try to set Carapaz up for the win, but he won’t be able to match Pog. Finish will be similar to yesterday.
@Webster, I did think they might be resting for the olympics, but don’t really understand why. Only G has a shot at a medal and realistically it’s a bronze at best. Why not just drop out if you change your plans?
“The team was fully co-operative ... it’s not ideal timing ... but it is what it is. The team are always happy to comply with the rules and regulations that come our way ... it’s always a little bit upsetting, but our riders are super-positive, and they’ve done a great job so far.”
super-positive! Not the optimal choice of phrase in the circumstances..
I've noticed quite a few stage winners prefixing comments with super. Most of them have been 'super happy' to win the stage,.
It’s just standard euro-english.
I feel a bit bad for riders/ team staff when their English language statements get picked up by the press and taken out of context when it’s not their first language.
Edit: Nothing from the police on the Bahrain Victorious raid. Clearly they found nothing. Just because some French DS has a moan and starts talking s**t doesn’t mean you have to barge into their hotel and team bus and keep the riders up.
Not so much the police - more like the judge trying to make name for himself. Same one that triggered the Arkea-Samsic investigation last year that went nowhere.
4 times on the podium - stage, mountain, white and yellow - pog had it all today (almost).
Cav for the stage tomorrow - fingers crossed.
> Cav for the stage tomorrow - fingers crossed.
We'll always have Paris!
Meanwhile Eddy & Cav earlier today:
> Pog to win
He's clearly the best of the bunch, and seems not to have a weakness. But also doesn't seem too robotic, which is nice. I find his tendency to have tufts of hair poking out of his helmet particularly endearing
So making the omertà ‘zip the lips and shush’ signs during your solo victory when your team hotel has just been raided seems an odd choice at best!
Yea, thought it was odd but maybe it meant to silence the critics??
Cav was giving Eddie the “I’ve brought you off after 80 mins on your debut at 18 years old after scoring a hat trick” football manager’s hand round the side of the face thing.
Cav was leading the TT briefly (he was third starter) quite an all-rounder.
Time to abolish the white jersey, it needs to be the grey jersey for old men.
Age 25 upwards
Cav also equalled Ineos for mountain stage wins in this tour. The man’s on fire.
Really disappointing to see the video of Cavendish spitting the dummy over his bike setup at the start of yesterday's? stage. Not how to treat people.
Champs Elysees finish 700m up from Place de la Concorde rather than the usual 400m. Less suitable for Cav and being in the lead turning onto Champs Elysees may not be so critical.
Should still be the easiest sprint in the whole race, he has not made any mistakes yet so could happen tomorrow, but can't imagine any other sprinter being close enough to the quick step train in final km for any one to beat Cav. Maybe van Aert will follow Cav and take him on the line.
Would be outstanding for Van Aert to win a mountain stage, time trial and a sprint, such a measure of his talent.
So what time do they expect the race to cross the finishing line in Paris?
> Really disappointing to see the video of Cavendish spitting the dummy over his bike setup at the start of yesterday's? stage. Not how to treat people.
He is always full of praise for the teamwork behind his wins. He's also an exacting sportsperson in a high stress environment with a bit of a hot temper. So his outburst isn't surprising and I can't say he's fallen in my estimation because of it especially as he's clearly sorted it out with the guy on the recieving end.
entry onto final circuit 1743-1750
Itv4 coverage is 4.00 - 7.00 BST
> finish 1901-1916
Don't they know there's a war on?
Thanks for that, very informative.
On the plus side there’s more incentive for Cav to be back next year and he’s still the best sprinter of all time.
Gutted for him. Reckon if he’d stuck with Morkov it would have gone better. Van Aert was never going to move to the side and put the brakes on.
Awesome work from Van Aert and his lead out man. A mountain stage, a time trial and a sprint, what a talent!
Would a younger cav have gone up the inside and risked crashing?
Cav, Pog and two manikins on the podium to show off 4 jerseys - surreal!