Tour de France Stage 20 Preview

Saturday, 22 July 2017

An urban time trial to show off the best of Marseille, a technical course including the steep climb to the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. If the mountains and plains can’t separate the top three, today’s course will deliver a final verdict. Ahead of this there’s also the second part of La Course, the women’s race with its pursuit format borrowed from cross-country skiing.

Stage 19 Review: a long stage but with action at the start and the finish. After a maxi breakaway finally went clear the stage fell into a slumber but with 60km to go the attacks started up front and these got more and more frenetic. Edvald Boasson Hagen was arguably the strongest sprinter in the move but was joining in the attacks. With three kilometres to go Boasson Hagen and Nikias Arndt went one way around a roundabout and the rest the other way. Only their pair took the shorter side and got a gap. Boasson Hagen blasted past Arndt and soloed away for the win and this time he avoided the photo finish camera.

The Route: a very different route to the usual time courses, this 22.5km is an urban course that twists around the city of Marseille like a sight-seeing tour. The first novelty is the start in the Orange Vélodrome, better known as le Stade Vélodrome but re-branded in the name of the French telecoms operator. Despite the name it’s a football stadium and one of France’s largest and over 60,000 free tickets have been made available.

It’s out along the Prado, a big shady boulevard and then along the coast and corniche to the first time check at 12.3km before they ride around the Vieux Port and a U-turn at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations then it’s back around the port and then the main feature of the course, the climb to the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde.

The climb starts with a tight turn and a bend up a ramp and then a turn onto a 300m long steep ramp, then a right turn onto an evener steeper ramp, a left turn onto another ramp and onwards still towards the foot of the basilica and the second time check. It’s just 780m uphill but close to an 11% gradient on average and with some sustained 13-14% parts.

After a climb defined by rectilinear ramps comes the opposite, a snaking descent that will see those hunting every second taking risks while team cars will be screeching around the corners especially on the first part of the descent. The descent is longer than the climb and the further down they go they more the slope evens out, as do the corners. The lower points will see riders in an aero tuck working the biggest gear they’ve got. Then it’s back along the coast and back up the Prado to the stadium on flat roads to finish in front of the waiting crowds in the stade.

The Contenders: Chris Froome has won time trial stages before and the course suits him, he can hold his own on the flat boulevards but it’s the sharp climb to the city’s Bonne Mère that can see him take time on the specialists. Team mate Michał Kwiatkowski could be close too and Vasil Kiryienka was close in the opening stage too.

What can Rigoberto Urán do? Applying the logic that Froome a strong pick for the stage win and that Urán has beaten Froome before in a time trial then this makes the Colombian a pick too. It’s hard to see him winning but who envisaged he’d be starting today to secure a podium finish and with a short at the yellow jersey? In the famous words of Greg LeMond in 1989 “if he has a bad day and I have a good day then anything’s possible“. Still the evidence points to Froome’s superiority against the clock.

Tony Martin‘s just not the safe pick for a time trial that he used to be. He’s good at hilly courses though and if he’d surely prefer not to have the climb it’s short rather than Alpine so he can limit his losses and turn that giant 58T chainring on the rest of the course.

Primož Roglič is versatile, able on short to mid-length courses and good on the climbs. As such he might not be the fastest up the hill nor the fastest on the flat but he’ll be close on both sections and this makes him a pick for the stage win, especially as Lotto-Jumbo have worked hard on the time trials and unlike “Drizzledorf” they won’t be slip-sliding all over the road. Win and he can make a name for himself as double Tour de France stage winner rather than junior ski jumper.

Stefan Küng (BMC Racing) is a TT specialist and he was second in Düsseldorf. He’s had the chance to rest relative to others but the hill doesn’t suit him, Google says he was 83kg and even if he’s lighter today that’s a lot of bulk to take uphill. Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) is a time trial specialist who is very good on courses with lots of corners like this. A win would be an upset but it’s within his range. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) did a great ride in Paris-Nice’s Mont Brouilly time trial and can use his power to sprint out of all these corners.

Chris Froome, Primož Roglič
Stefan Küng, Tony Martin
Matthews, Castroviejo, Urán, Kwiatkowski, Kiryienka

Weather: warm, sunny and a sea breeze. A top temperature of 30°C and the wind will come from the SW at 10-15km/h.

16h46 Alberto Contador (ESP/Trek-Segafredo)
16h48 Warren Barguil (FRA/Sunweb)
16h50 Louis Meintjes (AFS/UAE Emirates)
16h52 Simon Yates (GBR/Orica-Scott)
16h54 Dan Martin (IRL/Quick-Step Floors)
16h56 Fabio Aru (ITA/Astana)
16h58 Mikel Landa (ESP/Sky)
17h00 Rigoberto Uran (COL/Cannondale-Drapac)
17h02 Romain Bardet (FRA/AG2R La Mondiale)
17h04 Chris Froome (GBR/Sky)

TV: live with La Course for the women from 1.00pm CEST until 1.45pm and then the Tour de France time trial takes over soon after. The finish is forecast for 5.35pm CEST.

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Chris J July 22, 2017 at 8:58 am

So happy for EBH after those two near misses. He really has been impressive this Tour.

I wonder whether Froome will go all out for the win he obviously craves, or if he’ll be a little cautious in the more technical sections, knowing that he likely doesn’t need to give it 100% to win the GC?

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 11:45 am

+ 1 – nice to hear someone say it also. this Tour’s been low on fun/good news stories outside of Sunweb so nice to finally get someone most people like getting they’re just deserved. Really like EBH also.

Agree with pretty much everything people are saying below, Froome should win if he doesn’t crash, Uran second with a TT that’s no bad but not outstanding as he was three years ago. Commentators are overstating the competition, but they have to I guess.

I stand by this Tour being a disappointment – personally feel the route was overly manipulated, not to the extent of ’84 Giro (Moser) but still fear of steep finishes, headwinds on descents gave us an artificially close GC and encouraged negative racing – yes every route is different and affects the racing but this one just slipped a little too far and some bad luck for the organisers (Cav, Sagan, Porte, Martin) made it more pronounced.

Some are jumping saying ‘will you people every be happy’ – so I need to say, I have loved almost every GC I’ve watched, this is very rare negativity and I think anyone would be hard pushed to say this has been a great Tour. On Sunday I expect we’ll be saying Froome has proved his dominance over this era, and in all honesty could maybe have had 6 Tours by now – he will go down as an all time great and is the standout rider what I hope we’ll be saying is the post-doping era one day.

Those saying Uran has come out of nowhere are talking rubbish, he’s a proven GC rider who’s made the most of a little luck in the course and riding style of the top riders (ie defensive) and fully deserves his time in the sun.

Bardet has ridden a fantastic race but what does Prudhomme do now? Surely Bardet cannot get such a favourable route again, and they have to sway next years Tour to a Froome/Dumoulin battle with extra TT’s… Dumoulin (until Froome properly fades, which I think might not be as soon as some are assuming) is probably the only rider with a proven and genuine chance of dislodging the Kenyan wonder boy, and that been clear for over a year now, so they’ve had time to give us the 2018 race everyone wants to see.

Maybe even Roglic might be a factor in that battle also…

Justin Hutchinson July 22, 2017 at 9:01 am

I was interested to see that in the opening TT Uran was actually slower than Bardet. I know it was wet etc but wonder if some commentators are overstating Uran’s current TT ability.

Mark July 22, 2017 at 9:19 am

Uran was forced to change his bike 5 min before start due to some rules, so i would not put too much into that stage. Plus that her actually have been deiving himself into Better shape this tour, but of course he might fail as well.

MonsieurLePompideux July 22, 2017 at 9:25 am

Some “commentators” certainly are overstating Uran’s current TT ability and more out of wish fulfillment than cold, hard facts.

MrJonesDK July 22, 2017 at 9:36 am

Hes in a good form tho and the hill will not hinder him.. I don’t expect a firework tho..

MrJonesDK July 22, 2017 at 9:02 am

Nice preview as always.
If Matthews can try go for the stage today, then EBH should be in the mix as well?
What about Mollema? Seems like he still got some juice in the legs, at least more than Contador..

Nicolay July 22, 2017 at 9:18 am

Hopefully EBH saves the legs for Paris. In my opinion, he has to be the top pick there. Kittel and Cav is out. Greipel has not been a top contender (however, he won in the same situation last year). Kristoff is injured. Matthews, Degenkolb and Colbrelli don’t have the speed.

What about Groenwegen? I think he and Greipel is the fastest left in the, but EBH is in great shape.

Mark July 22, 2017 at 11:20 am

EBH used a lot of energy yesterday, but else he would definitely be a top 10 rider for this kind of stage. Matthews i am not sure what to think about, he could certainly drive a really good time trial, but they said he would ride to get safe to Paris.

Oracle July 22, 2017 at 9:07 am

Nice preview. I would add Cummings, Bodnar and Hollenstein. After all there are not that many ITT specialists left.

In an interview with Sinkeldam yesterday, he said that Matthews would not take any risks the upcoming days and will not go for a stage win till Paris.

MrJonesDK July 22, 2017 at 9:09 am

Then we only need to mention Jasha Sutterlin.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

Cummings is a good pick, versatile for the climb. But he’s up against a lot of others. Bodnar and Co seem to heavy for the climb plus they just don’t win that often.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Well done for Bodnar

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Great shout

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 9:09 am

I see Inrng is also joining in with the ambiguity over what Uran might do today. His recent ITT record (i.e. since the Vuelta 2014 until now) suggests he’ll be average, neither mind-blowingly great nor terrible. But what evidence is there that he might do anything else? We have to go back to 2014, his one standout time trial year in his career, to argue any other kind of result with any logic. “But who would have had him challenging for the podium and likely finishing 2nd?” I hear you cry. Indeed. How DO we explain this strange and stand out result in the career of Rigoberto Uran? If it were other riders we might find people on Facebook spouting conspiracies and nonsense by now. But I haven’t seen any about the Colombian.

So if others want to hedge their bets let me not do so. There is no way on earth that Uran even matches the time of Froome today if it becomes simply a matter of legs alone. Crashes and mechanicals can always happen but Froome could probably just about get away with one of either (provided it doesn’t injure him) and still win. Personally, I think Uran will lose 30-45 seconds on Froome, who will finish in the top 3 of the stage, and so end up over a minute back on GC. Bardet will lose over a minute to Froome and likely finish 3rd overall.

I’m not saying circumstances can’t conspire to produce an extraordinary circumstance. I’m saying that if this ITT is a matter of legs, form and consistency then Froome will win the Tour de France.

Ecky Thump July 22, 2017 at 9:16 am

I agree that Froome will wrap up the win.
But if you’re talking of legs, you have to mention Primoz Roglic.
He of the tree trunk thighs and ham shanks for calves.
Roglic for the win today pour moi.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 9:19 am

I don’t disagree Ecky. I’m not saying Froome will win the stage. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did but if he doesn’t Roglic would be my first pick as the person who wins instead. He was one of the guys who crashed in stage 1 who was probably very disappointed as he could have won there too.

Michael B July 22, 2017 at 9:29 am

“How DO we explain this strange and stand out result in the career of Rigoberto Uran”

To be fair he’s finished second in the Giro twice and, even if he’s had a poor couple of years by those standards, he still finished top 10 in the Giro last year.

In this Tour it’s hardly like he’s blown everyone off his wheel either. He’s hung on through a relatively flat Tour and grabbed bonus seconds thanks to his sprint.

Personally speaking I don’t think it’s too suspicious, but who knows, I could be wrong. On balance I think Froome’s clean too so maybe I’m still naïve after all these years!

I agree with you that it’s hard to see past Froome for the overall though, he can even afford a mechanical, so unless he crashes it’s his. And I also agree on Roglic for the win – he’s a possible future GT winner too.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 9:43 am

Having just seen this it doesn’t seem as if the bookies fancy Uran much..

Best Odds:

Roglic 2.5
Froome 3.5
T.Martin 8
Küng 10
Kiryienka, Kwiatkowski 21
Castroviejo 26
Uran 41
Cummings 67

Michael B July 22, 2017 at 10:03 am

Looks about right, I’d probably go Castroviejo at those odds although you’d think Kiryienka had a relatively easy day yesterday so you never know. I still can’t see past Roglic though unless a total outsider come to the fore (Sutterlin?).

Michael B July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

PS – I had Roglic each way at 250/1 at the start of the Tour. One whole English pound. Thought a top three was a small possibility for him IF he could win the opening TT, recalibrate to holding the yellow, and a few favourites crashed out / underperformed. Sadly he came down in the rain in Dusseldorf so I never got to find out…

jc July 22, 2017 at 10:04 am

Whilst all the runes point to a Chris Froome win, sport does sometimes throw up strange results so dont completely exclude Rigoberto Uran riding the time trail of his life. Unlikely I agree but possible. I do think the bookies odds are right if perhaps overstating the possibility. Dont forget Leicester City were 5000 t0 1 (or similar) to win the Premiership……..

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 12:01 pm

You’re clutching at straws.

Uran is a great rider but everything says he won’t outdo Froome today – ie recent TT’s, the course, Froome looking the strongest to this point (in his prologue TT and ride back to the front on the AG2R day) etc.

Yes miracles happen and he has a chance but it is on all evidence we have very unlikely.

But Froome could be ill, have an accident or a puncture, so I guess there’s more chance than Leicester.

jc July 22, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I very much think Chris Froome is going to win but would prefer not to count any chickens before the end of the race.

I think he has been the favourite from the first day but there is always a chance something might go wrong.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 12:42 pm

@ DAVE

Remove this race from Uran’s Cannondale palmares and tell me a single other race he has had for them that can be categorised “great” as you just called him.

To me he is a classic “blows hot and cold” kind of guy. Dan Martin could probably have got what he’s got out of the race (accident aside) if only he had not been willing to attack only to fall back. Uran, in contrast, has followed wheels to the podium. If the argument is Froome doesn’t deserve the win because he basically just defended all race then its just as much true of Uran. I can’t recall him making a single attack in 19 stages.

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 3:19 pm

I’m not saying Froome, Boonen, Cancellara great! I just have massive respect for anyone even in the TDF, and a rider finishing classics in the top ten and grand tours on the podium for me is a seriously good rider? I think Uran has established himself in the top bracket of the peloton over a long period of time and deserves our plaudits, not everyone can be an all timer…

I’m also not quite sure where I said Froome doesn’t deserve this? I think he’s clearly the strongest rider and the route has hidden how far ahead he actually is… for me any other rider winning would be a shame as I like the best to win…

I like Dan Martin just as much as I like Froome, both a brilliant riders, and fully deserve their positions, of course Dan could have been higher and hopefully he will get a podium one day. Winning without a big slice of luck might be impossible for him though…

As for his attacking & Uran’s defending… they have slightly different skillsets and a riding accordingly, nothing wrong with that, also you don’t know Uran’s situation, this result financially might be life defining or he might be ill, so riding defensive is fine when we don’t know the whole story.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 6:53 pm

The time gaps are at last now more realistic. Yes, 54 seconds is his smallest winning margin (although it was only 72 seconds in 2015). People should apportion that to the course, which was designed to keep it close, and a less dominant Froome (which I attribute to him clearly wanting to win two grand tours this year) for reasons they decide. But the gap to third is now 2.20 and thereafter its exponentially greater as we would usually expect. Yet I suspect some will want to criticise Froome now because he doesn’t win by 4 minutes every year. Let’s wait until after La Vuelta to assess if Froome 2017 has worked out as planned or not. If he gets a small win there as well it may then make sense as to why this win has been more economical than spectacular.

Gian July 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

On Marseille itself, it was disappointing to hear some very negative comments about it on the coverage. I’ve only been there once for a few days but really enjoyed it. It does seem to be one of those places that really divides opinion.

Charles July 22, 2017 at 9:41 am

Cummings?

Anonymous July 22, 2017 at 10:02 am

Well normally he could definitely do well, but it just do not seem to be his Tour De France.

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 12:01 pm

He came in on the comeback trail and may have not been able to rebuild stamina for 3weeks in time.

Mark July 22, 2017 at 9:45 am

Who do you think sky will set the best times Kwiatowski or Kiryienka?

Richard S July 22, 2017 at 11:02 am

I don’t see the point in a stage like this. If they wanted to show off Marseille have a stage finish there with a crit style circuit. TTs are supposed to be a test of power not who can thread through a load of turns. TT bikes are designed to be aero not slung into corners. This isn’t really a proper time trial and it’s obvious the organisers have tried to avoid one at all costs.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 11:07 am

Surely TTs are supposed to be timed individual races. The course, skills and the equipment used varies accordingly.

Richard S July 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm

True but a point and squirt course around a town centre doesn’t feel right to me. Starting and finish in the town with some hills and sweeping countryside roads would be much better. And around 50km, not 20! You can keep a football match really close by making the goals really small, but who wants to watch that?!

routedusud July 22, 2017 at 11:24 am

More grist for the mill of that argument which runs that the organisers have tried to create a course which minimizes time differences? Surely not! Its almost as if they wanted to keep the whole thing close all along!

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 12:02 pm

TT’s are great – they add variation, no problem if it’s short, I would hate to see them dropped.

Another Dave July 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm

TT’s are a valid test of a rider’s ability, with no interference from other riders and the clock doesn’t lie. Great way to train also.

Tomski July 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm

I believe the point was so set up a showdown between Froome and Porte. In the organisers’ ideal world the champion and the pretender would have been so closely matched throughout the mountains that only a race against the clock could separate them.

MrJonesDK July 22, 2017 at 11:05 am

Kwiatowski is the better climber.. I’d go for him..

Anonymous July 22, 2017 at 11:13 am

but Kiryienka is the better time trialist, so my pick would almost certainly go for him. Plus Kwiatowski has been driving himself completely out in the mountains.

Michael B July 22, 2017 at 11:22 am

Yeah, I’d probably go Kiryienka out of those two thanks to Kwiatowski’s mountain exertions. The reality of the “climb” is that it’s only a two and a half or three minute effort at their power, so would normally be perfect for Kwiatowski or EBH, but who knows knows how bodies react after three weeks.

MrJonesDK July 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Odd prediction.. Sky will take 2-4 places today… frome, kwiatowaki, kiryienka.

Michael B July 22, 2017 at 11:30 am

Slightly off topic Mr Inrng, but I’d be interested to hear what you think of the women’s pursuit TT post-race. I’ve always thought it would be an interesting format for a newer, or more innovative race to try – say the Hammer series or Eneco Tour.

Chris Boardman seemed very down on the idea as he thought it’d be a chaotic start with intervals of only seconds, but I’m curious to see how the dynamics unfurl. There are only 20 riders so the ‘peloton’ can’t be too large. But will that neutralise things? Or can groups of 3/4 riders form alliances and TT to the last KM?

It’s an interesting experiment which could go either way but I’m looking forward to it where, to be honest, I don’t usually watch La Course as the Champs Elysées finish is dull without the context of a three week race behind it.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 12:01 pm

We’ll see how it plays out. The Paris criterium is never of great interest to me, men or women, until the final half of the final lap. It looks great on TV and in photos though, the images travel a long way around the world.

Johnson Johnson July 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

Following on from the above, can I put in a small request…

I love this blog and love clicking on ‘the route’ section above and seeing every stage laid out during Grand Tours.

I would be so interested to see a series on past Tours route maps, done as you do each GT, with stage after stage laid in a row using the yellow road book graph things (whatever they’re called) so we could see what let’s say the 84 Giro mentioned above, or the 75 Tour looked like in comparison to those we’ve seen since 2000. I’d love to see what those stages which are now forgotten looked like and how distance, amount of climbs has changed over time. Especially TT’s.

It would be fascinating – especially as Wikipedia only gives you the who won the stage etc, and youtubes only show the most famous stages.

I’d love to see a 1920s Route Map laid out like this with stages described as if they were a preview (ie more about the geography than post race analysis) with the winner just listed: http://inrng.com/tour/

Could be the next series following ‘Roads to Ride’?

Thank you for reading.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm

For a small request that’s a lot of work. In the meantime this book might be of interest http://inrng.com/2013/07/book-review-mapping-the-tour-and-giveaway-competition/

Johnson Johnson July 22, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Ha – merci will look. Sorry was thinking it could be an infrequent series.

AP July 22, 2017 at 12:14 pm

I recall an interview with Froome pre-Tour where he emphasised the mountains, giving no mention of the TTs as important at all. I wonder if this Tour has actually evolved how Sky expected it to, and the interview was a bit of classic misdirection, or if Froome finds himself in this situation by accident rather than design? If it’s by accident, perhaps his TT won’t be great today.

Dylan July 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Agreed – Froome is far more tactical than people give him credit for, he’s well aware of his poker face and great at leaving gaps to appear more tired than he is, saying he’s strong when he isn’t and misdirecting in interviews. Despite (I think) him being honest on the big stuff, you can almost always take his in race interviews with a pinch of salt. For example, I wouldn’t be surprised for one second if his in race barge on Aru was on purpose.

I actually think Froome is extremely smart, and in years to come we’ll appreciate how much he is/was the real deal – ie tactics & psychology in race & in interviews almost always on point (barring last years Vuelta), desire to win through the roof even when he’s humble, leadership qualities and finally his physical capabilities. He really is the whole package.

I personally, however humble he may have been after ’14, or all this talk of ‘growing into a leader’ – think he’s pretty much been exceptional since he first got the chance in ’13 – and despite all the arguments against, methinks he’d have won ’12 & ’14 given the chance and probably easily.

34x30 July 22, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Disagree – I don’t think Froome shows much tactical sense at all and relies on input from his DS. Remember when he missed the winning echelon a few years back on a tour stage that Cav raced across to? He is always on the radio! He is clearly a talented rider but but he lacks what it takes to be a great in my opinion. Bring on the tour without radios!

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Luke Rowe, on ITV commentary in the UK today, would disagree with you about Froome’s tactical sense since he talked about it for 10 minutes. Apparently, he’s on the radio a lot exactly because he is constantly organising his men.

34x30 July 23, 2017 at 1:20 am

Here’s the Velonews assessment just before the TdF: a very generous 9/10 given the far from posoitive comments (but then they also gave Quintana and Contador 9 for tactical sense too!).
TACTICAL SENSE: 9/10
Team Sky simplifies things by opting for the steamroller tactic, setting a hard rhythm in order to eliminate its opponents. Froome relies on his earpiece and power meter, which is hardly instinctive. As we saw at the 2016 Vuelta, he can be caught out when more sophisticated tacticians (such as Alberto Contador) strike.

Chuffy July 22, 2017 at 9:08 pm

What about the crosswind stage last year where Froome attacked to join Sagan & put time into everyone? He might make mistakes but he also learns from them. See also his descending skills, which have improved markedly.

ErnieC July 22, 2017 at 11:17 pm

+1. I would love to see current teams race without team radios.

MrJonesDK July 22, 2017 at 1:02 pm

How about De Gendt today?

Mark July 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm

He can probably drive top 20, maybe even top 10 if he still got energy in reserve.

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Given the likelihood of Froome winning… what other riders are people interested in today?

I’m fascinated to see what Roglic does but also a lot of the next gen – see how Calmejane comes through an attacking three weeks and whether he’s a GC of the future? Looking forward to seeing what Meijtnes does as right now I can see where his career is heading, is he the next Zubeldia? How much has Mikel Landa improved? I want to see how Latour fairs, Kwiatowski for sure also. Taylor Phinney.

So my list – Roglic, Calmejane, Meijtnes, Yates, Landa, Latour, Kwiat, Phinney, Bardet.

Who are the other riders people have their eyes on for various reasons?

MrJonesDK July 22, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Is Phinney still in the tour? Havn’t seen much to him since the 1st stage.. I would love for him to make a good result today. I like the guy and he seems to be past hes injuries.

Tom L July 22, 2017 at 1:32 pm

How do u see Gendt, Lutsenko and Chavanel doing?

Chuffy July 22, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Do people think the stadium start/finish is working? Looks very empty and I’m dreading the boos when Froome appears.

Anonymous July 22, 2017 at 5:20 pm

ever been to a football game? #sportsnowflake

Chuffy July 22, 2017 at 5:38 pm

I thought we were watching a bike race?

AP July 22, 2017 at 5:53 pm

The booing’s hilariously unoriginal, I’d say sheeplike but that’s unfair to sheep.

Chuffy July 22, 2017 at 5:58 pm

One of the things I like about cycling is that is doesn’t have the tribal stupidity of, say, football.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 6:14 pm

There’s a long tradition of booing the winner in the Tour de France, especially if they’re dominant. Hinault, Thévenet, Merckx, Armstrong etc all got it. Doesn’t make it right but a section of the crowd seems to do it.

Arthur Lager July 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm

No French riders booed? Booing’s been going on for years/decades. In these modern plastic identikit stadiums a relatively small amount of people can sound like more. It’s pantomime.

SDC July 22, 2017 at 7:03 pm

That “modern identikit stadium” has been there since 1937 and is a completely unique design.

Arthur Lager July 22, 2017 at 11:34 pm

@SDC
What you say “has been there since 1937 and is a completely unique design” is unrecognisable, this were the latest changes:
“New redevelopment plans were presented following France being awarded the Euro 2016 tournament. Works included the almost complete reconstruction of the two principal stands, minor works on the stands at both ends, and the construction of a roof that would cover the complete stadium, hereby increasing capacity with another 7,000 seats. The redevelopment was completed in the summer of 2014.”
http://www.stadiumguide.com/velodrome/

Vitus July 22, 2017 at 7:57 pm

French rider Anquetil was booed by the French crowds before most of you were born. Cause Poulidor was their rider if choice.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Can anyone remember Firmin Lambot being booed? 😉

SDC July 22, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Utter lack of class from the spectators. Booing an all time great of the sport on his way to a fourth title in emphatic style, nearly catching his nearest rival at the start of the day. Graceless sore losers.

Discipline July 22, 2017 at 5:43 pm

As expected.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Yep, as expected. Uran winning on form was always a pipe dream but to be fair to him he gave it a good go. As Vaughters said on TV after, they got all they could get. Well played.

Michael July 22, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Bardet’s TT was one of the worst performances I have ever seen, probably only topped by Rasmussen in 2005. Unbelievable. Imagine if there were some traditional 50km TTs like few years back, he would have been outside of the Top 10.

Chuffy July 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Harsh! Rasmussen in 2005 was the gold standard of clown biking. Bardet might not be a natural, but he at least stayed upright.

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 6:07 pm

I liked how David Millar was chatting about coaching Bardet at the start and then less and less as it went on….

Bardet had a disaster for sure… but Bardet lost 3mins to Froome in the Stage 13 TT last year of 37km so he has form, although today was very poor. Fabio Aru lost 4.30 that day…

In reply to the above:
Calmejane was 1.27 down, not so bad but no impressive unfortunately…
Phinney 1.06 of the win, maybe expected a little better…
Expected more from Roglic 49secs down. (did he crash?)
Uran great ride.
Kwiat amazing.
Considering Barguil was waving being 1.09 down is good.
Meitjnes and Yates same time – hilarious.

Chuffy July 22, 2017 at 6:09 pm

I *think* I caught a glimpse of a Lotto NL rider being pushed off by a mechanic, so Roglic might well have had a mechanical.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Roglič had a bike change on the climb, apparently his gears jammed.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm

He was about 50th today, a definite off day but it’s never his thing.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Bardet is only a contender because all grand tours have drastically cut ITT kilometers in recent years. 25 years ago he wouldn’t even be on the radar. If you like your grand tour winners to be total all-rounders then Bardet is not your man.

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 6:28 pm

BBC posting @ 17.19 that Yates & M took same time – above posted ten mins before – wondering if they’re looking here? (this board is CET times)

Michael July 22, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Very true. It’s quite a shame that TTs have been cut in such drastic fashion because the all-rounders suffered as a result of that. I am not a Froome fan, but credit to him for winning this Tour, which hasn’t suited his abilities. If we had a traditional route like it a few years ago with 2 TTs of 50km or so or maybe one uphill TT, the winner would have been the same, but I guess Contador and Uran would have made the two remaining podium steps. Also Kwiatkowski would be one to watch, if released from team duties. He is the ultimate all-rounder in the peloton, able to climb, sprint, descend and TT.

Richard S July 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm

25 years? Try 5. The TTs seem to have been cut down in response to Wiggins’ win in 2012. As recently as the Armstrong era you’d always have a prologue a couple of ITTs and TTTs.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 11:26 pm

The Tour in 2012 had 95kms of time trials. The Tour in 1992 had 210.5kms of time trials. Spot the difference! It used to be the case that 2 or 3 ITTs of over 60kms were standard in the Tour. Even 2012 pales by comparison. Needless to say there would be no point Bardet entering if that were the case now.

Augie March July 23, 2017 at 4:48 am

More like cut down to try and boost French cyclists who seemingly aren’t interested in learning to rides TTs. And it’s not just a question of body size and weight, you can be a small, skinny climber like Contador or Porte and put in very respectable rides against the clock. The ASO is pandering to the desire for a home winner so try and rig the parcours accordingly.

Pax July 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Inrng – thank you for the great write ups.

I think today’s stage was a worthy time trial definitely more than just a heavy power course. That said, Bodnar a power rider won, with good bike skills.

Froome had a great ride, as did Contador, and Uran. The time gap between Landa and Barguil was very exciting. I was most surprised by Barguil – he has made a huge leap this year – and adds to the very strong French contingent, can Sunweb afford to keep him next year?

It has been rewarding having a different feel to the competition for the yellow jersey. While the course selection is part of it, it is the racers that make the race, the teams used a different approach in attacking Sky. So Sky was impressive in holding off all the threats.

Baroudeur Billy July 22, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I’m glad Bardet at least made the podium (I assume – Landa could make a push at the sprint tomorrow for that 1 second, I suppose) but man, he can’t win the Tour if he doesn’t improve his TT a lot.

I wonder just how of much of his TT weakness is due to him and how much is on his team and its preparation for these. The best Ag2R rider today was Vuillermoz, in 20th place. Three Sky guys finished ahead of him, as did Uran (former Sky member),

Hypothetically, if Bardet were to switch to Sky, how much do you think he could shave off his time if he were to race this same course a year from now? A minute?

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 6:31 pm

As RonDe says above – he’s so far off on TT even with shaving off a minute he may be doomed to struggling to win a TDF with a huge slice of luck…

Rate Bardet very highly but Dumoulin is coming like a steam train, both Quintana and Bardet need to get their wins in asap as it’s looking like both might be caught between a rock and hard place once D takes over from F.

RonDe July 22, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Bardet blew up. He form on the climb was horrific. He was swining like a wild man whilst Froome stayed seated and kept his form. ITT is a lot to do with position and technique (as well as simple power) and Bardet, another light climber, lacks all three. he seemed to lose his head as well today.

hoh July 23, 2017 at 2:16 am

The weight of expectations of the whole national is too much to bear. Quite a pity, hope he can pull himself together.

Charles July 23, 2017 at 1:00 am

It’s a balancing act. I’m sure he can improve his TT but at what cost to his climbing?

Richard S July 22, 2017 at 9:47 pm

I was expecting Bardet to do a poor time trial in comparison to Froome and probably be the worst of the overall contenders, but that really was bad. Did we miss something? Did he have a small off?! He was beaten pretty comfortably by Warren Barguil who was riding round waving at the crowd. It was so bad I’d imagine even Joaquin Rodriguez felt embarrassed for him. There really couldn’t have been any less time trialling in this years Tour so you have to worry for his chances of success in the future.

DAVE July 22, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Sorry… wasn’t everyone?

MonsieurLePompideux July 22, 2017 at 11:30 pm

The commentary team were still giving it the “surely he will win the Tour one day though” stuff as it was clear he’d drop to at least 3rd. According to commentary teams every rider is a future Tour winner even when they have obvious, massive flaws.

hoh July 23, 2017 at 1:55 am

“Or crazier rider who has nothing to loose”. Besides, on that stage, Sky’s problem was that moral was broken and 2/3 of the peloton decided to not give a shit after a long season. In normal circumstances, with the number in that group, they can at least regain contact with Froome’s chase group and Froome would have a lot more options once that happen.

Also, Froome actually asked Landa to sit in the peloton when he chased back on last Sunday. He certainly has a good intuition on where to put his man to their best use.

Be that as it may, you seemed to have determined that Froome is tactically naive drspite/in spite the evidences and a few here don’t quite agree. Best leave it at that we agree to disagree.

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