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Tour de France Stage 10 Preview

A sprint interlude but a hard day awaits across lumpy roads.

Stage 9 Review: a breakaway of 14 riders and then 15 once Marc Soler bridged across. 14 teams were represented in the move with many strong riders to set up a tactical final. The skirmish started early, but gently, with riders trying to distance their rivals with the least effort possible. Lukas Pöstlberger went all-in with a solo move but was left to dangle before being collected on the final climb. Tiesj Benoot and Nicolas Roche led over the top as Daryl Impey made his move, surging away from Jasper Stuyven and Oliver Naesen to reach Benoot as Roche cracked to leave a duo in the lead. Impey’s pedigree and build suggested he’d be an easy winner and with threat of Stuyven and Naesen closing in their was little time to play poker. Impey duly won the sprint. Perhaps Benoot could have tried to make Impey sweat more but had he slowed, surely Impey would just have had more power to accelerate anyway and this way Benoot reserved second place with the hope for better.

The Route: 217km and 3,000m of vertical gain with sunflowers galore. A quick descent to cross the Truyère valley and then there’s an unmarked climb of 6km at 5% as a breakaway launchpad and if that doesn’t work the next two climb which are categorised should. They’re only the start of the climbing today, the road has lots of rollers, drags, false flats and more to make for a tiring stage.

The Finish: the race rides around town on city streets, they’re not boulevards but there’s only one tight bend in the final kilometres. After the flamme rouge they cross the Tarn river and then right after the bridge it’s uphill and more than the roadbook suggests with the final 500m at 5%.

The Contenders: a bunch sprint is the most likely scenario but the lumpy roads won’t make this a formality, especially if some bigger engines go in the early move, think of riders like Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) and maybe Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) but he might be trying to economise every pedal stroke before the Pau time trial stage. It’s probably a bunch sprint because it’s today and Wednesday for sprints this week.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the last time the Tour visited Albi in 2013 but the stage and the finish were different. Still today’s uphill finish suits him but our trio of Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) should be fine too, it’s just that Sagan can probably give them a direct challenge today. Who to chose among the three, it’s a tough call as there’s no pecking order among them yet, perhaps the uphill finish tilts to Ewan? Alexander Kristoff (UAE Emirates should be close).

Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie) is the local rider for today and the next stage but he’s not in great shape and short of the form he showed last year and in 2017 when he won the stage to Les Rousses ahead of Robert Gesink.

Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen
Elia Viviani, Peter Sagan
Kristoff, Matthews, Colbrelli

 

Yellow story: the winner of the yellow jersey each day also gets a lion soft toy. Why? Because the sponsor of the jersey is LCL, today’s name for Le Crédit Lyonnais. The bank has sponsored the jersey since 1987 and a lion is the emblem of the bank, a play on the city of Lyon where the company is from.

Weather: warm and sunny, 29°C and a slight crosswind of 20km/h which could be risky if it blows stronger than forecast.

TV: the stage starts at 12.10pm CEST and finish is forecast for 5.45pm CEST / Euro time.

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • not yoda Monday, 15 July 2019, 6:24 am

    I will skip my laudations for your work, and straight to nitpicking.

    Paragraph just above the chainring ratings. I agree that Calmejane is/was a suitable rider for stage 9 yesterday and today’s stage 10. However tomorrow will be a rest day.

    thanks for the great work and looking forward to supporter’s initiatives to come!

    • Lukyluk Monday, 15 July 2019, 7:16 am

      He won’t be any less “local” during tomorrow’s rest day in Albi.

      • IAN ANDERSON Monday, 15 July 2019, 8:19 am

        +1 on Calmejane
        Also is that not a Photo of Fernando Gaviria from stage 1 of the 2018 tour in the Yellow Jersey? I appreciate its not labelled as anything other than a Malliot Jaune theme but Deceuninck and the French would probably appreciate a pic of Alaphilippe in yellow 😉

      • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:16 am

        He can drop by his home on his rest day ride, check his post, water any pot plants etc but some riders are cautious about, almost superstitious about leaving “the race” even on a rest day.

        • Andrew Monday, 15 July 2019, 12:36 pm

          This being the TDF, and not the Tour of Colorado, I suspect you meant “potted” plants.

          • Strictly Amateur/The GCW Monday, 15 July 2019, 12:58 pm

            Hahaha,
            Re: The Inner Ring & Andrew,
            From Colorado… that was a good one.

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 3:38 am

            I don’t want to disturb your childish humor, but “pot plant” is the same as “potted plant” and nobody outside the US uses the word pot for cannabis related things. Like miles and feet and other weird concepts.

          • Steve Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 9:47 am

            Actually Anonymous, many parts of the English speaking world use the word ‘pot’ for cannabis, dated though it is. Presumably you’ve never been to the UK either, where distances have always been shown in miles. As for feet and inches, the day that male appendages are commonly measured in centimetres will be the end of pornography as it’s currently understood.

          • David Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 2:28 pm

            ‘Pot’ is used for cannabis in the UK, but ‘pot plant’ (normally) just means a plant in a pot. I don’t know anyone who talks about ‘potted plants’.

  • Digahole Monday, 15 July 2019, 7:34 am

    Feel for Benoot… talented and hard, but winning is complicated. Got to give it to Impy though, he could follow when it mattered.
    Maybe Lotto Soudal today though? Ewan’s looked the fastest on an uphill drag, still seems relaxed and confident, just needs to get his timing right

    • not yoda Monday, 15 July 2019, 8:32 am

      Benoot is a talented rider in a sweet pickle jar. Good enough for some results but without the outlier versatility of Sagan. Lack of sprinting has been a frequent pitfall for Lotto Soudal riders. On the other hand Stuyven despite his sprinting does not have much to show beyond top 10 consistency?

      Topic of Benoot (or any other standout neo pro especially in Belgium/Netherlands, van Aert, VDP and Remco Ev) to choose a specialty probably a spicy one to discuss in a post? But then again results is a black box mix of talent and a whole host of conditions not least luck?

      • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:17 am

        Benoot is a big talent but what’s his niche, is he a cobbled classics rider, an Ardennes specialist, a stage racer or going to Ineos to become a valuable helper? He’s still only 25 years old but might have to pick one soon.

        • Larry T Monday, 15 July 2019, 10:55 am

          Yep, this guy needs to be pigeonholed quickly lest he become a sort of rider who can excel on a variety of courses. We don’t need any more riders like Merckx, Coppi, or Hinault, do we?

          • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 10:59 am

            He’s good but he’s not that good. He’s been a pro since 2014 but only has one win whereas the names you mention had probably won so many races within their first couple of years they’d struggle to remember them.

          • KevinR Monday, 15 July 2019, 7:13 pm

            Spot on response. It’s not a case of being pigeonholed but pinpointing and honing the strengths that will bring the most success.

          • AndyW Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:56 am

            I get the feeling it’s not that easy to be the next Merckx, Coppi, or Hinault, right? 😉 VDP and Alaphilippe seem to be the standout riders capable of doing this (and I doubt VDP could win a Grand Tour) – must be tough when you’re a super strong rider who simply lacks the top end speed (or uphill kick) to find a way to win at the highest level. Saying that, his Strade Bianche win is one of my favourite wins of the past few years and shows that he can win big races. Seems best suited to Ardennes/stage racing.

          • RQS Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:59 am

            IF he was that talented then he would have carved out a new niche. Talent like Merckx create they own pigeon hole. Although I think he is a great rider with lots of potential.
            Ultimately having the right team and support can make a big difference. Would DQS be the answer? Possibly. But the talent in that team grows tall and strong, and its easy to be left in the shadows.
            Looking at the sprint only, Bienoot clearly did not have the legs. They probably both were bandy legged, but Impey waited and Bienoot crumpled. I would say a 12 year-old on his ten speed could have taken him at that point (albeit one that hadn’t raced – please note this is hyperbole). Tough on the lad, and next time he gets in that situation he’ll probably have replayed that finish so many times he’ll come out on top.

          • David Monday, 15 July 2019, 12:31 pm

            Yes, his one win surely marks him out as an all-rounder in the guise of 3 of the GOATs…

          • Davesta Monday, 15 July 2019, 1:04 pm

            It seems that Benoot suffers from a similar affliction to Sep Vanmarcke – so often strong enough to be in the select group of riders (and in Benoot’s case, on a variety of terrain), but not strong enough to ride away from them and almost always surrounded by faster finishers.

            Benoot gave himself the best chance of the win yesterday by attacking on the unclassified climb in the last 10km. He managed to shed Roche, but when Impey stuck with him, his 2nd place seemed inevitable…

          • Richard S Monday, 15 July 2019, 1:24 pm

            There are quite a lot of rider like this if you think about it, a lot of them Belgian. There’s the already mentioned Vanmarcke, Naesen, Vandenbergh, Politt… before them Chavenel and Pozzato. There are probably more but I cant think. They are very strong and get to the end of hard races at the front but if someone else is there they cant win the sprint. The top, top classics guys have that engine and a kick – Boonen, Cancellara, Gilbert, Sagan, GVA, Alaphilippe and now WVA too. Benoot et al need to have the balls and legs to do a Terpstra style 5-10k TT to get there on their own. Easier said than done of course and I’m sure its very tempting after 250k just to think ‘I’ll sit in and wait for the sprint’.

          • Davesta Monday, 15 July 2019, 2:31 pm

            Thinking about it, Benoot maybe isn’t too different to a certain Welsh rider…At the age of 25-26, Thomas was mixing up podiums & top-tens in classics with the odd TdF breakaway/white jersey – showing lots of talent in lots of places but winning very little…perhaps we’ll see Benoot as TdF champion in 2024?

          • Nick Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:44 pm

            Although Thomas did also have a couple of Olympic golds by 26 too.

        • irungo txuletak Monday, 15 July 2019, 12:56 pm

          It’s a good point: he is a very versatile rider that can make top placings in many types of races, including stage races. He would surely be a very valuable helper, but I would find this somehow disappointing for the capabilities he has.
          This said, it seems to me that he really lacks some winner mentality. This way of racing yesterday, riding with Impey just to do what he did in the sprint. Pfff…

          • Sam Monday, 15 July 2019, 1:58 pm

            [i]”Yep, this guy needs to be pigeonholed quickly lest he become a sort of rider who can excel on a variety of courses. We don’t need any more riders like Merckx, Coppi, or Hinault, do we?”[/i]

            Cycling’s changed – unless you truly are a generational talent (e.g. MVDP) you need to find a specialisation and fast. Many riders just as talented as Benoot have failed to find their niche which has ultimately restricted what they’ve been able to achieve in the sport. Being a ‘jack of all trades’ is not necessarily a good thing.

          • AndyW Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:29 pm

            To continue this thread on “nearly” riders, how much can top end speed (or kick while climbing) be developed through training? Or is such a burst of incredibly high power a natural trait that only selected riders have? To be fair, Benoot does seem to have a combination of endurance and uphill kick that you can see him winning a good number of races.

  • P Monday, 15 July 2019, 8:17 am

    A well deserved victory for Daryl Impey! Nice to see a great rider for his team be rewarded with a win of his own.

  • Ecky Thump Monday, 15 July 2019, 8:52 am

    It was a quieter re-set day yesterday, despite the beautiful scenery, the lumpy parcours and the occasion of Bastille Day.
    Which perhaps goes to show that the race still has room, and in fact needs, the long flat stages beyond Inrng’s dividing red line after all?

  • R Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:08 am

    Is there a reason why it’s not a rest day today?

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:10 am

      Not really, think the race just preferred to reach Albi and the surrounding area rather than Brioude/Saint Flour which is a more remote region with fewer hotels. Certainly Albi is a nicer place for the rest day.

      • Mh94 Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:16 am

        Isn’t it that today is a free day in France, and they want people to eb able to watch cycling on their free day?

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:33 am

          No, yesterday was the 14 July but when this falls on a weekend there’s no weekday holiday as a result.

        • DJW Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:37 am

          Unlike the UK national holidays do not transfer to a weekday. If they occur on a Saturday or Sunday they are “lost”. What does often happen is that when holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday an additional leave day or “pont” is taken to bridge to the weekend. This suits industry too as installations are not started for a single day of production.

  • jc Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:15 am

    Rather an odd interlude (as far as the GC is concerned) in the race from last Saturday until next Friday. The stages do add to fatigue but as yesterday showed the GC teams are more than happy to bowl along and let a large group of stage hunters go far up the road. Not sure that is particularly good on the “excitement” front. Good for Julian Allaphilippe as he can keep yellow for a while yet without too much effort.

    I assume we are going to see a number of hours of Tony Martin and Kasper Asgreen towing the peloton along amongst the Chateaux and fields of cornflowers. Given how “lumpy” the course is maybe the break can build enough time to stay away? If say Niki Terpstra gets in the break it might not be so easy to pull back for the sprinters.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:34 am

      Martin will be tired, he went in the break yesterday and was too tired to stay with them in the finale. He’ll work but won’t be the same.

      • Ishisht Monday, 15 July 2019, 10:05 am

        He commented on German TV that it was unintentional, he was just trying to close the gap to the breakaway so that WvA could have another go at it and then he just happened to the end up alone between the peloton and the breakaway. He actually said it was a pretty relaxed day in the breakaway but that he was too tired from previous days to race for the win.

      • jc Monday, 15 July 2019, 1:30 pm

        Just tuned in, Tony Martin and Kasper Asgreen are leading the peloton through a small French town and out into the countryside 🙂

  • plurien Monday, 15 July 2019, 10:48 am

    One entertainment on stage 9 you may have missed came after Landa made the jump to get across to the break. RuiCosta also set off just as the yellow jersey stopped for ‘besoins naturels’. There followed a period of him chasing up a categorised climb, coming within 30seconds of the large breakaway before the team cars declared barrage and told the breakaway to push hard. The peloton was at 7 minutes.
    20km later and RuiCosta is at 7 minutes and the peloton is at 10… Justice served.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:01 am

      Yes, I left that out but Rui Costa probably didn’t make himself popular for moving like, just as Alaphilippe so obviously signalled it was time to stop, that although I suspect the UAE radio was going crazy that they’d manage to miss the move that he didn’t have much choice. Up ahead none of the group wanted someone like him to join them so it made sense to keep the pace up for a while.

  • Peter Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:14 am

    Something suggests there’s a mistake in the profile above. From the official profile it appears that the final is only slightly increasing. If you study the altimeter measurements, it’s suggested that after the red flame you run down a funnel, after which, with 500 m again, there should be 100 m with 10-15% before it slowly flattens towards the last 100 m that are flat. Doesn’t this favour riders like Ewan, Sagan, Matthews, Colbrelli, Trentin & Stuyven over riders like Viviani, Groenewegen & Kristoff?

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:37 am

      Maybe the altimeter is off as it doesn’t count the bridge over the Tarn but goes down the banking to the river and back up. Today’s finish is steeper than the roadbook suggests after the cross the river, but not that steep, it’s a big boulevard road rather than a wall.

      • JeroenK Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:51 am

        Looking at Google street view, it’s never even near of 10%, but it’s certainly not flat. I’d give Matthews and Sagan a star more, also based on how they are riding in the last days and the main bunch finish of saturday.

        You can get a good feel for the gradient, because there are some level walkways with stairs in between on the side of the road.

  • JeroenK Monday, 15 July 2019, 11:32 am

    I am going to say it out loud: Richie might even reach the rest day! 😀

    • RQS Monday, 15 July 2019, 12:00 pm

      Jinx!

    • Digahole Monday, 15 July 2019, 12:00 pm

      There was a light-hearted suggestion that the stage 9 curse actually belongs to Ochowicz rather than Porte as evidenced by Di Marchi’s crash yesterday.
      Really nasty crash though, no laughing matter, and glad to hear he’s OK.

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 12:09 am

      Spoken too soon… now he’s all but out of the GC Battle, barring some miracle TT and Tourmalet resurrection

  • Max Monday, 15 July 2019, 5:13 pm

    GFC, wow.
    Exciting stage though.

  • Andrew Monday, 15 July 2019, 6:38 pm

    Woot Woot!

  • Anonymous Monday, 15 July 2019, 8:47 pm

    Kwiatkowski going elsewhere to start thinking about his own palmares again rather than the trophy room of British Cycling would solve the Tour de France.

    Just half-kidding, exciting stage but somewhat anticlimactic GC-wise…again, in the Tour.

    • Richard S Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:54 pm

      Have to agree, a promising looking GC fight has evaporated unless Alaphilippe unlocks an Armstrong 99 style performance!

  • Stuie Monday, 15 July 2019, 10:25 pm

    Spot on about the crosswind. A stage that topped off what has been a very good week of racing. One thing I noticed today was that Thomas was sheltered at all times, I didn’t see him put his nose to the wind once. Whereas Bernal did work on the front. Maybe it’s nothing, but maybe it shows that Ineos are going for Thomas as a clear GC leader.

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 12:08 am

      Hmm odd.. Thomas did take some turns too.

      • cp Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 2:17 am

        yeah, i noticed thomas take a turn at one point. struck me as an “all hands on deck” situation where it was worth using your gc people to make the gap stick.

        i share the groaning disappointment (despite how exciting the stage was) that today’s stage seems to have made a victory of thomas/bernal more inevitable, but i think back to the giro and how many people seemed to think the gc battle was concluded in roglic’s favour even before he’d taken the pink jersey…so maybe we’ll have a nice surprise here.

        • DaveRides Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 1:42 pm

          Mark Cavendish has previously explained that rolling turns is actually easier than skipping them in the echelons.

  • CA Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 2:47 am

    cp – the difference between this Tour and the Giro is that jumbo visma’s team tactics suck and Skineos was born to close out a Tour title. In my opinion Team Jumbo lost the 2019 Giro from, it wasn’t won by whomever wore Roglic’s pink jersey on the final stage. They proved my point once again today – what were they thinking calling Bennett back to the team car right before the cross wind section?

    • CA Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 2:50 am

      cp – Team Skineos has a huge chance of victory here – the only wildcard is that G loves to fall, Bernal is really young which could hurt him and a few other smaller factors. But overall, it seems a safe bet that Skineos will win.

      • Jovelo Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 3:36 am

        Yes… Again! This is not a good situation for the sport. We had an entertaining first week, but barring accidents we should see a Sky (Ineos) procession through the mountains. Some sort of salary cap must be possible. Maybe a salary-cap race-wise (you can have the salaries you want in the whole team, but at Tour de France or Giro you can only bring $3Million “worth” of riders)
        Maybe working something with the UCI rankings (you cannot “concentrate” your best riders on the same race, you have to “use them”throughout the year) although it could hinder smaller teams too.
        Maybe a “luxury tax” where the teams with the biggest salaries must subsidize smaller teams.
        Maybe ban team-enforced long-term contracts, so riders can move more easily.
        Maybe raise significantly individual prize money (and ban redistribution to the team for a good part of it) so Ineos domestiques have more incentive going to other teams as leaders.
        Maybe don’t set in stone the world tour teams, and have an UCI branch dedicated to finding worldwide sponsors (as opposed to most of the current sponsors which are country-wide) so either the current sponsors have to step up and have a budget comparable to Ineos, or they/the teams are replaced/rebuilt with international sponsors such as McDonalds or Google or whoever can pay as much as Ineos.
        I’m sure there are ideas like these or others that can sound far-fetched but may be doable in some form… Something must be done or we are looking at the next 10-15 years with 90% chance of TDF Ineos victory, or counting on the odd billionaire to finance another team as strong.

        • Anonymous Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 7:34 am

          Lots of ideas. All completely unworkable. Last point re sponsors is a doozy!

          • Jovelo Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 7:43 am

            Once upon a time there were national teams at the TDF. Such a weird idea! Still it existed, and it was still cycling. Change often seems impossible until it is unavoidable.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 9:01 am

            Jovelo-I’ve tossed that idea around a time or two here. I would love to see a TdF run with national teams on a 4-year basis like the football World Cup or Olympic Games. The bike biz hates the World’s already, would they put up with a TdF run this way every 4 years? Sadly, I doubt it.

  • Digahole Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 6:57 am

    I’m as disappointed by the next fan at Ineos’ domination, but the focus on budget misses the point – This was the perfect example of superior tactics and teamwork… you could double Jumbo, FDJ or Trek’s budget and they’d still lose.

    • Jovelo Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 7:38 am

      I think the thing is, it’s the quality of the Ineos domestiques that makes such tactics so efficient. Whereas other teams can try such tactics but with less efficiency. And Ineos due to their high-quality domestiques are more immune to such tactics done by other teams and can withstand small errors, whereas other teams have zero margin for error and everything must align perfectly for them to have a chance after 3 weeks of racing.
      And it’s the quality of the Ineos domestiques in mountain stages that allows Ineos to adopt low-risk/high win probability tactics (the “train”) whereas other teams/ individual riders must risk much more if they want to have a chance to win.

      Now I agree that some teams shoot themselves in the foot quite often (Ag2R and time trials, Movistar a lot of the time, Jumbo Visma and the pee break at the Giro…), some teams don’t simply compete for the GC at grand tours, and some teams (which I find much annoying) settle for a GC 5-10th place for their leader before the start of the race. This has nothing to do with budgets except if 1st place GC didn’t feel like such a long shot if you’re not Ineos maybe more teams would try to mount a proper GC challenge.

      • Richard S Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 2:20 pm

        You’ve summed up the point I attempted to make below much better! Lets not forget Ineos are effortlessly closing gaps and being forcing splits whilst completely resting Wout Poels, who has been thumbing around at the back for 10 days, for the final week.

    • Larry T Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 7:59 am

      As much as I dislike INEOS, that was Bike Racing 101 and chapeau to them! Everyone who lost time seems to be saying “We knew it was coming” but when it came, Thomas and Co. knew what to do…and did it while the others floundered. Hard to put that down to any secret sauce or superior budget.

      • Ecky Thump Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 8:59 am

        That roundabout GIF on Inrng’s Twitter feed is telling though.
        Looks like Pinot et al were unlucky in the first instance and then the leaders drove the peloton apart shortly afterwards.

        • jc Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 10:39 am

          It had nothing to do with the key split. The first team who went the “wrong” way were Ineos. EF did drive on but didnt cause a split and Ineos were back at the front a couple of minutes later. The move that did cause the decisive split took place around 5 minutes or so after the roundabout.

      • KevinR Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 10:19 am

        You’re right Larry. Tactics executed perfectly (& painfully) pure and simple. They all knew the danger of crosswinds and many of the usual suspects failed to heed the warning.

        • noel Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 10:44 am

          if Barguil, Bardet and Martin can make a split, then anyone can if they are on the ball

          • skiddley Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 11:02 am

            This a hundred times over. I am no fan of team sky, All sorts of guys made the split, even Ewan. Big kudos to Skienos, DQS would have been applauded to the rafters if they had managed it, but here we just get griping about how poor the rest of the race might be. We have no idea what might happen yet. I am really excited. Ineos may have more money and better domestiques, but they prepare for GC’s, they are all in for them, no secondary objectives. no sprinters, etc etc. When other teams commit in the same way I will be prepared to say some rules might need to be twigged. At the moment it just tastes like sour grapes. Allaphilippe for yellow!

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 10:40 am

      I remember a TdF stage a few years back where Froome regained the yellow jersey from Aru. The last KM of that stage was a tactical masterclass. They do deserve more respect for their professionalism than they seem to get, I feel. They are actually fascinating to watch when they’re chasing a race.

  • Charles Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 7:26 am

    I always read the LCL logo as a stylised UCI! Still learning

  • BC Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 8:37 am

    Ineos and DQS served up an excellent illustration of why they are two of the best current pro teams.

    They also illustrated very clearly that budget – one high the other medium, is not the deciding factor in being race savvy or winning.

    • Richard S Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 9:31 am

      People saying it’s nothing to do with budget are rather missing the point. The most money gets you the best domestiques who will always be at the front. You can blame Pinot/Porte/Fuglsang for being a bit dense but I’m sure they knew they had to be at the front. Being there, getting there, is a different matter. Pinot’s domestiqes wouldn’t make Skineos’s Tour of Britain C Team. Reichenbach is the only known instance of a riders ineptitude losing a race for someone not even on his own team! He doesn’t have Castroviejo, Rowe, Van Baarle and Kwiatkowski to ride 4 minutes each at 500 watts to force or close a gap. Yes Quick Step and Jumbo with their smaller budgets were there too but when has there ever been a race in cross winds when those two teams weren’t the ones forcing the gap?! It’s in their DNA. I suppose it’s just depressing that always works out this way round, never with the Ineos leader desperately burning matches with a gap creeping out.

      • jc Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 10:09 am

        Yesterday had nothing to do with budget but everything to do with race craft and a little bit of luck. Those at the front were mostly those with lots of Belgium Classics experience but not all, Nairo Quintana put in a big turn at a key moment. Those behind were not thinking clearly, compare and contrast how Ineos dealt with G’s crash to the chaos & panic exhibited by EF / Astana / Trek / FDJ. Dont think the ability to stay calm and focused under pressure has any thing to do with team budget? The chasers blew themselves up rather than focus on calmly minimising any loses

        For all the wailing Thibaut Pinot is only 1.20 down on Geraint Thomas, if he really believes in his ability then surely he would be confident of getting that back rather than walking around in a strop?

        • Richard S Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 10:20 am

          Plus the circa 1 minute to come in the time trial. Has anyone taken over 2 minutes of a Sky leader in the Tour de France since 2012? No.

        • KevinR Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 10:27 am

          Spot on jc. They burned up the helpers, then burned themselves up before predictably running out of gas/legs. Panic instead of calm decision making. Contrast it to that picture of Ineos riders after the Thomas’ crash. There were six of them on hand to do what was needed. Admittedly, it was easier to get back to the peloton than yesterday

        • Anonymous Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 1:10 pm

          I cannot see how reference to race craft, calmnes and focus supports the argument that it has nothing to do with team budget – all the time the crafty, calm and focused riders are exactly what the team spend their big money on.

    • Ken Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 5:21 pm

      There is a legitimate way for teams to beat Ineos: Owners/sponsors can to open their wallets and pay for top riders and support crews. What’s wrong with the world’s best aerobic athletes earning big money?