Tour de France Stage 10 Preview

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Tour heads into the mountains with the first of three consecutive Alpine stages. There’s no gentle start, this is a hard stage with some steep climbs throughout.

The Route: 158km and after skirting around the opal shores of Lake Annecy the race heads into the mountains via Bluffy and a short climb. Soon comes the Col de la Croix Fry, 11km at 7% but with a flat middle section meaning the before, and especially, after parts are steeper, but all on a wide road and followed by a descent on an even wider road.

The big road stops with a sudden flick across the valley onto a minor road and the climb to the Plateau des Glières starts, 6km at 11% and as steep as you’ll find in France (there are longer climbs, there are steeper climbs but nothing is as steep for as long) and it’s all on a narrow road and the gradient is irregular too. The good news is that the it’s been resurfaced which makes for a contrast because once at the top of the climb there’s a 1.8km gravel section to contend with. It’s a rolling bit of road, scenic on TV but nothing perilous. For all the novelty and intrigue of an Alpine gravel road in the Tour, it’s worth remembering this is primarily a war memorial – as opposed to a technical sector to worry about tire pressure – so look for the large concrete statue of a V for victory with one of the branches broken off, symbolising the cost of peace.

The ensuing descent is more risky as it pitches riders down 12% slopes into tight hairpins. Then comes a gentle valley section and then the big ring climb of the Col des Fleuries, a proper mountain pass but not even counted en route and a descent to the Arve valley and then a section of flat road, 30km in total.

The Col de Romme is 8.8km at 8.9% and featured in the 2009 Tour de France where several GC contenders were quickly in difficulty on the steep slopes. The profile says it’s 9.8% for the first kilometre but between the start of the climb and the first hairpin after 1km there’s a long ramp of 11.5%, in other words it’s steeper than it looks at the start and it’s a tough, selective climb.

A quick and tricky descent through the woodland and the route joins the Col de la Colombière halfway up. From here it’s a wide road and largely a steady a steady climb, first via big hairpins and then a long straight section to the pass.

The Finish: a 12km descent, it’s on a big road but not easy to chase, someone with a lead of 20-30 seconds over the top can hope to win the stage. Things flatten out in the arrival town of Le Grand Bornand, there’s 2.5km on flatter roads with a false flat leading back to the finish line.

The Contenders: Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) won the opening mountain stage of the Vuelta last year, taking the others in the front group by surprise. Does he try and snipe the sprint or will he try in the mountains? I think he and others are more likely to try and mark so he’s got a good chance to preserve his energy on the final climbs, exploit the descent to pressure rivals and take the sprint.

Otherwise it’s hard to gauge form so Alejandro Valverde is a default pick because he can win the sprint if he’s in contention at the finish. Whether he can get over the climbs in the front group is another matter but the relative brevity of the climbs suits him and he can hang back while Movistar team mates Mikel Landa and especially Nairo Quintana try longer range moves. Another aspect in favour of Valverde today is the conservatism of the first mountain stage where riders will often try to get the measure of each other, especially because the descent means landing a knock-out blow is harder.

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) stands to gain the yellow jersey and he can win the stage too and will want the time bonus. Like Valverde he’s got a quick finish and like Valverde we’ll see how he fares over the multiple, steep climbs.

Dan Martin (UAE-Emirates) is quick in a group too but Valverde and Thomas should be quicker so perhaps the Irishman takes a flyer and stays away, he’s got the jump to do this on the Colombière. Adam Yates is another rider who is quick out of a group. Mitchelton-Scott have ferried him around Northern France like a fragile parcel and now he’ll find less support and the onus on him.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step) could hang on, he managed a stage win in the Dauphiné but was on the limit on the Col du Mont Noir before getting it together for the finish. A good descender he could lose time on the final climbs and just come back but it’s not obvious. It’s a good test for Bob Jungels, can he stay with the others on the final two climbs?

Warren Barguil was floating over the pavé. Has he found the form of last summer again? His problem is that he’s not far enough down on GC to try any attacks.

What chance of a breakaway? Slim and it would need some big engines to tow it across the first part before some climbers who are no threat to GC try to stay away on the final climbs. So Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Darwin Atapuma (UAE-Emirates) and of course Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) come to mind. However they breakaways may all have their eyes on Thursday’s stage to Alpe d’Huez, especially de Gendt who’s not just a breakaway specialist but a big trophy hunter with wins on Mont Ventoux and the Stelvio and tactically Stage 12 suits a break a bit more.

Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali
Dan Martin, Geraint Thomas
Alaphilippe, Yates

Weather: sunshine, clouds and the chance of a shower in the mountains. A top temperature of 28°C in the valley but cooler at altitude, especially if there’s a downpour.

TV: a double header with the 115km La Course women’s race live on TV from 10.30am CEST to 1.00pm CEST (you can read a good preview over at mytwospokesworth.com). Then Stage 10 is live from the start at 1.15pm CEST with the start of the Col de Romme due at 5.00pm CEST and the finish forecast for 5.55pm CEST.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 6:34 am

We always hear about ‘this stage not being a good one for attacks’. People seem to say that about most stages – but it’s better to attack early in the race and then try again if it doesn’t work. If put all your eggs in one basket it might not be enough – see A. Schleck in 2011.
The others have to attack early and gain time on Froome before the ITT. And the earlier the better, whilst his form might be less good than it’s likely to be later. It was obvious at the Giro and they failed to do it – it’s even more obvious now, having seen that happen. Attack multiple times and fatigue may play its part – and Froome might crack. His competitors should be fresher and so should be looking to make this as hard as possible.

Also, Quintana should attack on this next stage, because he has the most time to make up and because Landa might be feeling the effects of the crash: distance him enough here and you could get the entire team backing only you.
It’s maybe not worth a go on the earlier climbs – unless you can take your team with you for the valley that comes after them – but it is on the last two climbs.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 6:39 am

Sadly, there will almost certainly be no attack until the last few km of the last climb.
Some riders already failed to take advantage of the Roubaix stage by not attacking those who are weaker: look at some of the riders who finished in main group – e.g., Barguil, Pozzovivo – Nibali, Thomas, Dumoulin, Fuglsang couldn’t outride them? Those four got nothing from their best chance of taking major time on others: towards the end, few GC contenders had domestiques left to help chase you down (and maybe you’d have got the likes of Sagan and GVA to join your attack). Not saying it would have easy – end of a very hard stage – but you’ve got to give it a go. Or not win.

Pablo_W July 17, 2018 at 8:21 am

Listening to some podcasts there was a certain DS that was adamant that the Bardet group caught the front GC group with the assistance of TV camera motos. Otherwise there would have been time gaps for Bardet and Landa instead of just Uran.
I did see a Bora rider about 3 riders behind Bardet motioning for the moto to move away. Call it a conspiracy or sour grapes but it seemed incredible that Bardet and Landa bridged the gap right at the end.

Cd July 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Sour grapes. That’s what happens in a chaotic stage. Neither were dropped. Mechanicals and crashes. I’m just sorry Urán didn’t also have the benefit from the convoy.

Larrick July 17, 2018 at 6:55 am

The problem is that if you attack early in a stage or the race, you are also at risk of suffering fatigue. You’re looking at this from a ‘how to beat Froome’ pov rather than from the point of the rider having to do the attacking. No rider wants to attack to try to put the favourite in difficulty knowing that it is a long shot and more importantly, they’d most likely just be helping another competitor. Even if Movistar decided to back one horse they wouldn’t want to use up the team just to find their leader alone with Froome and probably another couple of Sky riders.

As for your Stage 9 point. There were attacks and they were brought back each time. So much so that G said he could have tried to go with Dege and co but it would be a wasted effort as it would have been chased down.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 8:07 am

I am partly looking at it from that POV, but also – as I say below – attacking riding is more likely to win you a race. Sitting and holding tight might get you a decent final position.
I never put any great belief into what riders ‘say happened’ – what did happen is all that counts.

noel July 17, 2018 at 8:50 am

the only way I see your scenario playing out JE is for Movistar to give each stage to one guy to be aggressive while the other 2 follow wheels, and rotate it on a daily basis. It goes against their style, but I can’t see the point of them sitting 5,6 and 7 behind the sky train every day…
Yates is bound to be a bit circumspect given the experience of his brother (altho 10 days in Yellow and 3 stage wins would sound pretty good…)
I’m looking fwd to seeing if Jungels has developed – he’s the guy to rival Dumoulin in years to come if he can hang with the front group on these climbs.

Charles July 17, 2018 at 9:28 am

Dan Martin attacks often and pays for it.

To over simplify, what wins is being better not an “attacking style”

jules winnfield July 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

+1. The preeminent grand tour rider of this decade is all about measured effort and team support not crazed attacks. Simon Yates should remind everyone what happens if you attack all the time.

You finish over an hour down!

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 11:20 am

jules – except in this year’s Giro, when – finding himself on the back foot and needing to take time – Froome attacked, and won.

jules winnfield July 17, 2018 at 1:09 pm

So you base your arguments on one sixth of the evidence rather than the other five sixths? Good to know J Evans.

Anonymous July 17, 2018 at 1:33 pm

jules, my point is you attack if you need to in order to win. Froome needed to this time. (He has also attacked to win other races – just earlier in the race usually. Some he’s relied on his superior TT.) My point is Movistar’s riders need to attack to win – as Froome did in this year’s Giro.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 6:43 am

The above is the sort of comment I often make during GT’s – saying riders should attack more – but look at GT’s over the last few years:
How many races have been potentially lost by riders not attacking enough? (I can think of many.)
How many races have been lost by riders attacking too daringly? (I can’t remember the last time that happened – which shows how cautious they’ve become.)
How many races have been won by riders attacking daringly? (Quite a few.)
(OK, I’ll calm down on the comment blitzkrieg now – it’s after midday here in Malaysia so I’ve had a while to think on all this. But ATTAAAACK!)

RQS July 17, 2018 at 7:16 am

I agree with Larrick. You don’t know how the riders feel. The whole point of the Sky train is that it puts riders out of their comfort zone. They end up in the hurt locker just holding the wheels, and then they need to be measured in how and when they make their attacks.

You seem to be of the mind that it’s ‘beat Froome at all costs’ but it’s really ‘beat Froome if it doesn’t jeopardise my chances’. You might take two minutes on him if you attack early, or you may lose half an hour if you explode.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 8:21 am

Froome is the main guy to beat, in my opinion – especially if you’re Landa/Quintana.
And on the one climb we’ve had so far, he didn’t look too good.
See the Giro: the others could possibly have put him out of contention – but they didn’t work together when he was struggling. They need to do that this time.
I don’t think teams will work together – they so rarely do – but Movistar could actually use their four excellent climbers to their advantage and hit Froome early.
There is unlikely to be a better moment to attack Froome than in these next three stages.
History shows that if you don’t do this, he will ride into form, into the jersey and stay in it.
For Movistar, it has to be worth the risk – podiums are worth very little to NQ, ML, AV. They’ve played safe before and always lost – time to change.

JS 10 July 17, 2018 at 10:03 am

Nail on the Head!!-To dethrone Froome you have to remove the elephant from the room(stage 20).In a race of very few certainties one you can rely on is that if Froome is in contention at the Start of stage 20 the result is as certain as the sun rising in the East-Froome win again.No amount of desire with a little adrenalin can overcome talent on a 31km ITT.
There is an old mantra which says It is better to try and fail than fail to try. To his credit Nibali always follows this-The question is Which 2 of Movistars 3 superstars are going to sacrifice themselves to give the third a chance of victory?

Flávio July 17, 2018 at 1:01 pm

100% with you, and is not only Froome most climbers did the same mistake with Tom D. in the 2017 Giro and some even worked with him, expecting he will eventually lose.

If you don’t attack and don’t give the killing blow to an opponent don’t complain when you loose the race later one.

In this Tour while some comments are right that you have to be careful, Movistar for example doesn’t have that excuse they have 3 guys to attack, can and should attack often.

hoh July 17, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Not sure podium is pointless for Landa. He hasn’t got a Tour Podium yet and it’s a substantial upgrade to last podium spot in Giro.

Anonymous July 17, 2018 at 1:35 pm

3rd instead of last year’s 4th? Not that big a deal.

RQS July 17, 2018 at 9:20 pm

When was the last time you raced? It’s easy to sit in an armchair and criticise, it’s a very different thing be out there with a tour in your legs. I’m sure there are a lot of riders, myself included, that have ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ about their performance, but in that moment only they know if they could’ve given a little more, or a lot. Equally you don’t know how the others are fairing, so for every ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ you have those that had more to spare.
You and Degrange would’ve been firm friends, but I don’t think you appreciate that day after day the Tour takes its toll. If the riders were to gang up maybe they would beat Froome, but the likely winner then might be Heimar Zubeldia….

Oracle July 17, 2018 at 7:27 am

“How many races have been lost by riders attacking too daringly? (I can’t remember the last time that happened – which shows how cautious they’ve become.)“

Dumoulin Vuelta 2015
Yates Giro 2018

Today I expect a breakaway for the stage win: guys like Izagirre, Navarro.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 8:15 am

Fair points, Oracle, but (just from this decade):
Races potentially lost by riders not attacking?
Schleck – 2011 Tour
Froome – 2011 Vuelta
Rodriguez – 2012 Giro
Froome – 2012 Tour
Nibali – 2013 Vuelta
Quintana – 2015 Tour
And races won by riders attacking?
Contador – 2012 Vuelta
Quintana – 2014 Giro
Aru – 2015 Vuelta
Quintana – 2016 Vuelta
Froome – 2018 Giro

Augie March July 17, 2018 at 8:25 am

Froome 2012 is extremely tendentious and you know it, team orders and all that.

RonDe July 17, 2018 at 8:49 am

Same applies to Vuelta 2011. That wasn’t Froome refusing to attack, it was Froome still being expected to support Wiggins because Sky realised too late who the best horse to back was.

Purito in the 2012 Giro is also a dubious call (he did attack but Hesjedal was too good and had an ITT to bank on), NIbali had no serious competition in the 2013 Giro, Quintana did attack in the Tour 2015 (not least on Alpe d’Huez which will be important on Thursday) but had already lost too much time to a Froome we know can defend.

On the other side Aru outlasted Dumoulin in the 2015 Vuelta and the latter really capitulated to an Astana team attack and not merely Aru himself. Saying that Quintana won the 2016 Vuelta because he attacked is a dubious interpretation of the race when we all know its Alberto Contador he should be thanking for that win, albeit he was switched on enough to be in the right place at the right time.

In general, though, I find J Evans mathematics of how to win a race quite naive. There are riders who cannot attack (Uran springs to mind) and you have to accommodate yourself to the rider you are in the situation you are in. Just saying “attack” is naive and may well lose you a race as much as win it. Timing and reading a race to your advantage are the important skills.

Tovarishch July 17, 2018 at 8:54 am

Nothing to do with the TTs then.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 11:14 am

Augie March: All I said was ‘not attacking’ – not why they didn’t attack.

RonDe: Purito could have attacked much more often on a variety of stages. No way Hesjedal could have stayed with him.
I said Nibali in 2013 Vuelta (not Giro) – failed to attack Horner enough (although that could also be said to be allowing Horner to much rope).
Quintana didn’t attack soon enough or often enough in the 2015 Tour – he could have gone earlier than he did on stages and on more stages – but Movistar wanted to ensure Valverde came third. I’m not saying he would have caught Froome (who was sick, according to himself), I’m saying he might have.
Fair point about Aru. But it’s still an attack.
It was Contador’s attack, but Quintana went with it. It’s still an attack.

There are riders for whom attacking isn’t going to work – Uran, as you mention – probably most of them, in fact.

But – and it’s the big but – how else are (let’s say) Movistar going to beat Froome if they don’t attack him?
All of their riders are going to lose time in the ITT.
Why bring four excellent climbers and not use them?
I don’t think it’s ‘naive’ to say that – I think it’s tactical duncery not to do it, particularly when you only have to look at the last few years to see that Movistar’s conservative tactics have failed to beat Froome.
Mostly – perhaps even entirely – that was because Froome was the better rider (as Tovarishch says, the ITT plays a huge part as well), but then you at least try something different.

What is people’s alternative tactic for Movistar?

cd July 17, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Quintana often attacks Froome in GT’s. It just doesn’t work. Then often Froome just passes him.

Morten July 17, 2018 at 7:27 am

= sneaky attack over the top by Fuglsang as he did in this years Romandie. He as not been ouclimbed for almost two years except last years TDF at La Planche des Belles Filles when Areu/Martinelli trapped him.

BC July 17, 2018 at 7:30 am

Another informative write up. Thank you.

I would take issue with your comment that Thomas has a quick finish. Big engine and all that but I don’t think he could be called a ‘sprinter’ in the mold of Valverde.

jc July 17, 2018 at 7:37 am

Clearly some folk have short memories. It was only in May when Simon Yates and Michelton Scott tried out the “attack at every opportunity” strategy and we know how that ended. One of the reasons behind Chris Froome’s success is how he has measured his efforts, picking his ground to fight on and then defending. I know this has brought the shouts of “boring” but it obviously works. Playing fantasy cycling manager with attacks pinging off the front, riders up the road etc is all very well but does not take into account the physical reality of a three week bike race. Riders have limited resources available, it is how those resources are utilised that is normally decisive.

That said I have a hunch we will see someone try something today. The day after a rest day often means “interesting” racing. Perhaps not so much a big name attack but a jour sans for a contender. As usual Inrng’s selections seem good ones though I might add in Romain Bardet, an attack late on the Colombiere then use his descending skills.

Be good to see G in yellow at the end of the day.

frood July 17, 2018 at 11:06 am

This is a good point. froome, more than anyone I can recall, has won tactically and he is by far the most experienced in the GC genre. dumoulin, for all his courage, did not have the tactics to win the giro this year but of course this is all easier with hindsight. if he had chased froome alone after to col de finestre, he may well have kept the jersey but been powerless to prevent froome taking it on the next stage.

another thing worth pointing out – we’re all talking about which of the movistar riders is going to go for a flyer, but what price froome trying something just to nullify this? he can descend like the wind so the final is not any kind of impediment to him absolutely going for it. I don’t think mur de bretagne was any kind of indication of his climbing form (not his type of climb, very short, caught on the wrong side of a split, etc.) so he may actually have very good legs already.

Vanja G July 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

Well it ended in 3 stage wins and 10+ days in Rosa.
Better then 6th overall and no wins. Or if he did not attacked he would have win the race? Don’t think so

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

Froome won that race by attacking – remember?
That’s what you have to do if you find yourself behind. Take the ITT into account and Movistar’s riders are very much behind.
Movistar have four very good climbers with which to attack – Yates only had himself. (Besides the fact that we don’t know if Yates would have cracked anyway.) Ergo, it’s a completely different situation.
Movistar follow the same tactics year after year – despite them not working.

That’s why I think Thomas will be in yellow today because I expect no-one to do any real attacking at all – maybe on the final descent, but that won’t shift anyone but the very worst descender (and he’s already out).

jc July 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Simon Yates lost the Giro as he exhausted himself entertaining us all with his attacking cycling. His team hardly helped chasing down every possible break. Watch the Sunweb team video they understood Simon Yates had reached the end and Tom Dumoulin was in with a big chance. Yes Chris Froome won with a ride for the ages but had the cards not fallen exactly right Tom Dumoulin was in with a real chance of retaining his title and he had hardly attacked all race. Much like in football attacking is not usually the best strategy more conservative ones are often the better ones. The most successful sports people are those who play the percentages in whatever sport.

Flávio July 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Attacking was a terrible strategy for Tom D (one of the reason I don’t find that kind of riders interesting, but that is not the point) in that route, but if Yates didn’t attack he would at best made a top 10 and not fight to win the Giro, so in that regard I don’t see how he lost the race by attacking, only that he was in contention because he attacked.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 1:37 pm

jc, you missed this bit:
Movistar have four very good climbers with which to attack – Yates only had himself. (Besides the fact that we don’t know if Yates would have cracked anyway.) Ergo, it’s a completely different situation.

Joe Saroni July 17, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Your points on attacking are somewhat correct, but saying they have to go at the specific times is like the old style journalists from La Gazzetta Dello Sport that makes riders nuts. Knowing when to attack is key. Clearly, the finale was for stage win. The GC contenders where just happy to survive and arrive without any broken bones. I’ve spoken with many pros during the 80’s and 90’s who raced Italy at that time. The viewing public does appreciate just how wiped out they are after tough stages. Let’s sit back and watch the race develop. Yelling about lack of attacks, while watching it on TV adds nothing to the discussion.

RQS July 17, 2018 at 9:22 pm

+1 – armchair cyclists are no cyclists

Anonymous July 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm

GvA is attacking. And Thomas will not be in yellow.

Stuie July 17, 2018 at 7:47 am

I doubt this will be a very selective stage, but the day after the rest day always takes out a big contender. Someone will ship minutes.

The Inner Ring July 17, 2018 at 9:19 am

There’s less chance of this today with the way the stage builds into the mountains, first a small climb, then the Croix Fry etc.

Larry T July 17, 2018 at 7:49 am

“…6km at 11% and as steep as you’ll find in France (there are longer climbs, there are steeper climbs but nothing is as steep for as long)”
Thanks for pointing this out. I’m amazed at how many misconceptions are out there about Le Grand Boucle and its degree of difficulty when compared to La Corsa Rosa. Of course many other factors affect this but a common misconception is climbs like Alpe d’Huez are the toughest ascents in pro cycling.

The Inner Ring July 17, 2018 at 8:37 am

This year’s Tour has much steeper climbs than the Giro, their roles have inverted recently, the Giro wants pro-Dumoulin/Froome routes, the Tour wants steep climbs because they make team tactics harder, ie sitting on the wheel of a team mate has less/zero benefit at 12% compared to 6%.

Michael July 17, 2018 at 9:20 am

I would agree that this year’s Giro was not by and large a typical route with lots of very steep climbs, but the Tour has nothing to compare with the Colle delle Finestre. 18km at 9.3% average , the last 8 of which on gravel, is a monster. That’s 130m of elevation more than the Bormio side of the Stelvio, packed into 3 fewer kms. Jafferau is also comparable to the Col de Romme, but with steeper ramps.

The Inner Ring July 17, 2018 at 9:33 am

The Col du Portet is comparable in length and gradient, it’s been surfaced towards most of the top now which makes it easier, of the two the Finestre might shade it as the harder climb they’re more similar than different; the Portet is a summit finish.

Michael July 17, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Fair point, although in addition to being entirely paved it is also less steep on average, but does appear to be more irregular, which in my book makes a climb harder. I’ll soon find out, since I plan to climb it as part of a trip next week!

JS 10 July 17, 2018 at 11:31 am

Agreed.Alpe d”Huez”s reputation has more to with hype and spectator participation than its supposed difficulties. Off the top of my head I canthink of several climbs which are a lot harder,Ventoux for its climate,Galibier for its sheer length and Mon Du Chat for its brutal gradients.
In my younger and more foolish days I cycled up the Ventoux with some friends in August.Going up through the moonscape above Chalet Reynard was like entering the Blacksmith”S workshop in Hell and Ive worked in the Sahara where summer temperatures of 50+c are the norm

RQS July 17, 2018 at 9:37 pm

In my opinion you do the Alpe wrong. The South facing granite rock on the Alpe turns the road into a furnace. True the forest below Reynard is a sweat box (and steep), but the Alpe is normally preceded by the Galibier, Glandon or Croix de Fer. Your normally bollocked by the time you get there, especially as there are no cooling winds on the Alpe. I’ve done the Marmotte and I’ve done all three routes on Ventoux, and quite frankly the initial ramps and ending gradients on the Alpe are no more fun than Ventoux.

The worst climbs, in my opinion, are the ones which are enveloped in tree cover, and thick summer humidity. On long climbs you can’t see the top, it’s very disorientating, you can’t breathe and can only hope for the top. Ventoux offers respite past Reynard, because you can see the suffering has an end. And, at least a breeze awaits….if you want hell try Villargondran.

nortonpdj July 17, 2018 at 7:55 am

No mention of Bardet? I’m hoping to see him leading a charge down the Colombière with some other good descenders such as Nibali, Roglic, Alaphilippe, Valverde, Froome and then a GC sprint into Le Grand Bornand.
That’s what I’m hoping for, but I’m expecting to see a rather tame non event as the GC contenders play the waiting game.

Pablo_W July 17, 2018 at 8:28 am

Nibali & Roglic ripping the final descent would be brilliant to watch…..anything to stop another Skybot domination

DJW July 17, 2018 at 7:58 am

A test for the pure grimpeurs versus the rouleur/grimpeurs. In the second category I would place Roglic, Jungels, Thomas and maybe even Dumoulin too. Movistar with two/three pure grimpeurs are the best placed to try, though with Bardet, Nibali, Yates and co waiting to profit, will they dare. I just can’t see Thomas, despite his presumptuous and ambitious talk of joint-leadership, hanging on, Jungels and Roglic even less.

Anonymous July 17, 2018 at 8:52 am

No major GC gains today, but there maybe one major GC loser!! You read it here first, so place your bets.

RonDe July 17, 2018 at 8:56 am

So, Movistar, have you grown some balls this year or is your three pronged attack blunt? There will have been no point in bringing three big names if we do not see them repeatedly deployed on stages like this to “shake the tree” and see what drops out.

The GC tonight hopefully makes more realistic reading.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

Odd, you seemed to be disagreeing with me above when I said that Movistar should attack.

RonDe July 17, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Then you read it wrong. I was criticizing the idea attacking is the only tactic or the tactic for all occasions.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 1:39 pm

In that case, in the first instance, you read what I said wrongly – because that’s clearly not what I have written.

RQS July 17, 2018 at 9:40 pm

I’m not clear what you’re saying either. You seem to think it’s Team Sky versus Team Everybody Else. But they are all individuals.

Ferdi July 17, 2018 at 8:57 am

“The conservatism of the first mountain stage”. Why? The motto used to be “you shake the tree on the first mountain stage”. It’s the best occasion to catch rivales wrong-footed, when they don’t have a clue of their relative levels.

Toby July 17, 2018 at 9:19 am

I’d love to see Quintana really go for it. His tactic of waiting until late in the race hasn’t worked in the past so it would be great to see a different approach. I don’t want him to win, but would relish the spectacle.

noel July 17, 2018 at 9:22 am

a bit of wild speculation here, but this is my current GC including my (purely subjective and not very well informed – feel free to pick holes) guesses of the TT time gaps using Dumoulin as O)….
Thomas 50 0.00
Jungels 60 0.17
Dumoulin 0 0.30
Roglic 40 1.04
Froome 70 1.19
Fuglsang 80 1.20
Valverde 90 1.28
Nibali 90 1.45
Majka 120 1.59
Yates 120 2.09
Kruijswijk 110 2.23
Landa 140 2.29
Uran 80 2.40
Quintana 90 2.47
Zakarin 120 3.09
Bardet 140 3.19
Barguil 150 3.34
I hate to say it, but Froome is in a pretty good spot right now …. can one of the top 4 rouleurs tough it out…. the pure climbers have got work to do that won’t wait for the last hill…

Tom L July 17, 2018 at 9:50 am

No Martin 🙂 I sincerely hope he makes the podium this year!
I think a lot of the GC guys will do better than expected on the TT, due to the hilly course…

noel July 17, 2018 at 10:25 am

haha!… sorry Dan…

Tom July 17, 2018 at 9:53 am

I agree with RonDe, Movistar need to attack with someone (probably Landa since he’s the junior) today, otherwise what’s the point in calling them 3 leaders. They can’t all win the Tour.
If they don’t, then it’s clearly just a publicity stunt and they have a single leader already chosen. My guess is that there’s politics hiding behind the scenes and Movistar (the telecoms business rather than the cycling team) have too much say in team strategy. That’s fine, they pay the bills and all that so they are entitled to call the shots, but it’s playing cycling fans for fools and the Tour loses some of its sporting lustre. IMHO.

Larry T July 17, 2018 at 10:56 am

A lot of armchair DS’s here. If I had a choice of any of you vs Unzue, Arietta or Garcia to run my team I think I’d have to go with them. Once LeTour gets to Paris you can all tell us how you would have done this differently..and of course better.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 11:59 am

Isn’t that what commenting on a cycling website is pretty much for?
I seem to remember you making that comment about Unzue and co. most years.
But they’ve won four GT’s this century – and other than Pereiro haven’t won this race since Indurain.
And I’d be surprised if you didn’t think they should have let Quintana off the leash more.

Larry T July 17, 2018 at 1:59 pm

“Isn’t that what commenting on a cycling website is pretty much for?” Frankly, NO. I think there are other forums for wannabee DS’s who have the inflated ego to think if only they were running Movistar’s (or whatever) team they’d be in yellow in Paris.
I hope this forum (and I think Mr. Inrng does a great job here) is an information source and place to discuss and ask questions towards a greater understanding of how the sport actually works rather than pontificating on “If only I was in charge of Team X..” which you are not, never will be, and doesn’t matter anyway, they’re not gonna take your sage advice.
Finally, as to Mr. Quintana, I think he does what he wants after considering the experience and advice of his directors – otherwise I think he’d find another team, no?

J Evans July 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Well, I know you’re very shy of expressing an opinion so I understand.

Tom July 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm

When the race gets to Paris and one of the three Movistar ‘leaders’ has won by following wheels, I’ll admit they played a good hand and I was wrong.
Until then, I’ll stick to my armchair DS’s opinion that only Sky will win that way, and Movistar will finish with a podium at best, unless they attack. They have three of the 10 best GC riders in the Tour! If they don’t make the race, you can have your pick of their DS’s for your team Larry T, for they will have failed yet again.

Tom July 17, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Anyway, isn’t that what watching sport is about, to praise or criticise the participants and managers tactical decisions? Otherwise why watch, just go ride.
I don’t want to get into any silly arguments, I have my opinion and others have other opinions. All I do know is that today’s stage is hard and people can make gaps on the Romme / Colombière, I did it last week.

Larry T July 17, 2018 at 3:10 pm

“I did it last week.” C’mon, I certainly don’t want to turn this form into “You Suck!” “No, You Suck!” but comments like that are as laughable as they are sad. Unless your last name happens to be Dumoulin, I don’t think you have any clue as to what you’re writing about. But perhaps not and y0u’ll be in a team car barking instructions into a microphone at LeTour next year?

Tom July 17, 2018 at 3:32 pm

No it is not Dumoulin. But if it was it would make no difference. I simply stated that it is tough, no need to start dropping trousers and reaching for tape measures. Whether my opinion has more credence than yours does not matter. This is a forum for cycling chat, where differing arguments are in full supply. I don’t think at any point I have disparaged you, just disagreed, but that’s the current state of the world / internet, and that is what I would say is very sad.

It would be appreciated if this comment string can be zapped by Mr Inrng, as Larry T is right in that it adds nothing, and the site deserves better.

And it’s Skujins by the way 😉

RQS July 17, 2018 at 9:41 pm

+1

Nick July 18, 2018 at 12:45 am

and not only are Undue, Arietta and Garcia better, but Portal and Knaven are also able to work out this tactic too. And they know that, if their opponents need to attack in the mountains, then Sky could do well by maintaining a really high pace up the mountains. That way they make it really difficult to attack without cracking.

Oracle July 17, 2018 at 11:23 am

Movistar already announced that Quintana is their no. 1.

noel July 17, 2018 at 11:54 am

never quite got the fascination with Landa as a proper threat here – sure the guy is a talented climber, but he seems more in the Barguil camp to me. I know he came 3rd in the Giro a few years ago, but he wasn’t even first in his team that year (Aru was 2nd). He’s not enough of an all rounder to me and he’s never had to bear the weight and expectations of a leader/potential winner.
Seems like a nice chap tho, and looks great on a bike, so hope he proves me wrong.

J Evans July 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm

I don’t believe Movistar’s announcement, but then I never believe teams’ announcements.
Landa is Spanish, hence if all else were equal, they would favour him.
In that Giro, he was held back by his team – that’s the only reason Aru beat him. In last year’s Tour, he came 4th (missing 3rd by a second) whilst riding in support of Froome and having already done the Giro (where he won the mountains classification). And he looked like one of the best climbers in the race, if not the best.
If he’s not injured from his fall, I’d put him as my second favourite.

Tovarishch July 17, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Isn’t Valverde Spanish? Movistar is the largest mobile phone company in Colombia.

Anonymous July 17, 2018 at 1:41 pm

But Valverde has very little chance of winning. Maybe that’s why they were so eager for him to come 3rd – to the detriment of Quintana – in 2015.

Charlie July 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm

I wonder how happy Landa is about that and if he’s willing to sacrifice his own chances , didn’t he leave Sky because he didn’t want to work for somebody else ? Maybe he will work for Quintana here and be the leader next year when Quintana fails again

BC July 17, 2018 at 10:15 am

Anyone have an update on Bernal’s injuries ?

There was a rumour that he had broken some fingers but I haven’t seen that confirmed in any medical update.

The Inner Ring July 17, 2018 at 10:16 am

He’s ok, must be a bit sore but no broken fingers according to reports today.

BC July 17, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Thanks INRNG. Good news for such a young talent.

Matt Carey July 17, 2018 at 11:09 am

If Bardet has recovered from the efforts of chasing on through the cobbles, I reckon he is worth a punt today. A little break near the top of the final climb, and a kamikaze descent.

Ishisht July 17, 2018 at 11:19 am

As long as Froome is in contention, I do believe the rest of the field needs an attack if they want to win (with the possible exception of Dumoulin, but even there I have doubts).

However, while an attack is probably the only way Froome is going to be beaten, it’s also likely to cost the (first) attacker and benefit someone else, if it works at all.

In brief: barring mishaps or major mistakes from Sky, I expect Froome will win unless someone decides they prefer losing time themselves over Froome winning (again).

Bern July 17, 2018 at 12:53 pm

la Course…wow…

DJS July 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Agreed – we probably just saw the most interesting race of the day (although in a one day event other tactics are employed). Nevertheless – lots of riders who just spent a week riding in Italy with also one day of rest for the legs – let’s see if the men can deliver a fraction of the excitement.

PitPony July 17, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Barguil is flying under the radar at the moment a great ride into Roubaix.

I fancy him to sneak away for the win today.

Others need to attack, but inevitably won’t and simply hang around and procrastinate until it is too late.

E Amaro July 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm

This comment section is a gold mine. So many great insights and opinions about a related-but-off-topic.
“INRNG: Come for the great articles, stick around for the community”.

Keep it up, folks.

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