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Tour de France Stage 7 Preview

The longest stage of the race, today’s a stage interlude and the first real dragstrip finish of this year’s race.

Stage 6 Review: a strong breakaway and soon it became apparent that only Deceuninck-Quickstep were interested in chasing. The move established a good lead, especially since half of Alaphilippe’s team aren’t climbers and instead have their eye on today’s stage. The result was the breakaway stayed away with satisfaction for plenty: Dylan Teuns getting his biggest ever win, Giulio Ciccone in yellow (just and the intermediate time bonus clinched it), Tim Wellens harvesting more mountains points and Xandro Meurisse and his Wanty-Gobert probably delighted with third place. Another satisfaction was the Super Planche finish itself, yes it meant the fireworks started later but the dust clouds were spectacular and there was something voyeuristic looking at the riders in the final 25 metres as they tried to keep their legs turning and the wheels moving. Deceuninck-Quickstep might be kicking themselves at losing the yellow jersey – Alaphilippe was shouting “why, why didn’t they ride” – but with only six seconds difference, it’s spectators and viewers who gain as we’ll see a battle this weekend across the Massif central.

Among the GC contenders Geraint Thomas had the fastest ascent thanks to a late surge on the gravel and he’s now on the front foot with question marks about his form and leadership receding. Thibaut Pinot left his jump until later and almost closed the gap. Mikel Landa attacked early and was reeled in but lost no time on the final ramp. The losers were Vincenzo Nibali (51s lost to Thomas), Romain Bardet (1m9s) and Alejandro Valverde (1m19s).

How much to extrapolate from yesterday’s performances? What’s obvious is we saw a big cast of characters finish within seconds of each other rather than scattered over the mountain. Some of the more fragile contenders who might have lost time like Richie Porte, Jacob Fuglsang and Dan Martin are right there alongside plenty of others. Thomas and Pinot impressed the most, Thomas for going clear and Pinot for his move too but particularly because he went late, this was clinical and he didn’t get carried away on home roads. Alaphilippe is also strong but his challenge is the high mountains. Buchmann is climbing well too. Ineos collectively didn’t look as strong, Movistar set the pace and only Michał Kwiatkowski was alongside Thomas and Bernal for the final climb.

The Route: the longest stage of the race, 230km in two parts. The first half is hilly and twisting, the second much flatter with long straight roads which roll up and down slightly.

The Finish: they cross the Sâone river with 7.5km to go and can almost see the finish on their left but there’s a loop around town, all on a big wide road for the sprint train dragsters. Just after 3km to go there’s a pinchpoint before a right hand turn. Next a near U-turn with 1.6km to go and then it’s flat on the same road alongside the Sâone to the finish where there’s a slight bump upwards to the line in the final 100m.

  • If anyone gets déjà-vu it’s because the final three kilometres are the same as Stage 3 of Paris-Nice in 2017 but then there was small bridge with 400m to go whose hump disrupted some of sprinters and Sam Bennett won. This time the hump is the finish line, a tiny rise up to the line.

The Contenders: Elia Viviani is the prime pick this time, he’s won already and with help from his Deceuninck-Quickstep team which looks more solid than the Lotto-Soudal train so Caleb Ewan has his work cut out. Once again Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Lotto) completes the trio of obvious picks and in his own words he’s “not yet 100%”. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Emirates) as the outside pick as he’ll be close and so will Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) could win with a bike throw on the uphill lunge to the line.

Elia Viviani
Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen
Alexander Kristoff

 

Yellow story: In 1949 Belgium’s Norbert Callens won Stage 3 of the Tour de France and took the overall lead, the high point of a modest career… but he never got to wear the jersey. Why? Accounts differ: one says that the driver of the truck carrying the jersey to the finish that day didn’t think it would change shoulders so he drove straight to the next stage without stopping by the finish; the other that Callen’s soigneur packed his bags the next morning and drove off with the yellow jersey in the luggage. Either way it left Callens sans maillot jaune. A journalist wearing yellow knitwear took pity on Callens and loaned him the garment for the moment but it was a poor substitute at best. Things were corrected belatedly with a special podium ceremony in 1994 for Callens, who later died in 2005.

Weather: warm and sunny, 29°C at the finish and a 20km/h headwind for most of the stage.

TV: the stage starts at 11.20am CEST and finish is forecast for 5.05pm CEST / Euro time. A long day and quite possibly the shortest set of video highlights later. Some parts are scenic but you could still tune in late to see Arbois around 2.45pm, the town sits below the Jura mountains and is famous for its distinctive wines as well as the home of Louis Pasteur. If not the late intermediate sprint is at 4.15pm.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Augie March Friday, 12 July 2019, 6:56 am

    Heavy echoes of 2018 with Thomas leaping away in the last 500 metres so while there’s still a long way to go I have to say he’s looking strong.. Also, does the amount of time Valverde spent on the front pulling the group suggest he’s not riding for the GC? He definitely looked more in super domestique mode.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:51 am

      Valverde says he’s here to help the team and it went from “he would say that, wouldn’t he” to actually doing it yesterday.

      • KevinR Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:35 am

        True. But for what purpose. Movistar’s work on the front seemed like wasted energy to me

        • Davesta Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:24 am

          Well they did launch Landa up the road, which looked promising at one point, though it ultimately came to nothing.
          But no doubt their hard pace contributed to tiring Bardet, Nibali, Kruijswijk and putting some sizeable dents in their GC ambitions. While Landa & Quintana both finished as two of the best GC contenders, only shipping a handful of seconds to Thomas & Pinot…

        • Jorgelito Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:28 am

          Movistar pulling yesterday left Ineos with only Kwiato, Bernal and Thomas. It was a good test.

          • Matt Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:48 am

            Poels and Castroviejo sat up though – as has been the case in recent years. They make sure at least Poels is saved for maximum support in week 3.

          • noel Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:56 am

            similar tactics by Simon Yates also, I’m sure a few teams are looking at that last week and rightly thinking that a lot more difference can be made by being strong then than on ydays stage.

          • KevinR Friday, 12 July 2019, 1:19 pm

            So my original point – to what purpose – stands. Kruijswijk and, as it turns out, Bardet would have lost time anyway, Nibali lost it on the final steep ramps so Movistar had no impact on that and their riders lost a little bit of time. Surely much better to save the effort until week 3?

        • CA Friday, 12 July 2019, 6:05 pm

          Agreed – Movistar’s tactics often leave you shaking your head… yesterday was no exception to this. It wasn’t their responsibility to pull and Valverde was clearly holding back (he slotted into the back of the group after his pull) so all they did was give rival teams a break.

          Alaphillipe should’ve had to control the race or Skineos. Movistar aspires to mediocrity on a daily basis even if their stated goal is the win.

  • TJSmith Friday, 12 July 2019, 6:57 am

    How many bonus seconds in play for Alaphillipe midway tomorrow? Could he regain his lost Golden Fleece? DQS would have little conviction to snuff out the break, but imagine the adoration of the French if Alaphilippe were to get himself back into yellow!

    • not yoda Friday, 12 July 2019, 7:17 am

      Bonus of 8-5-2 seconds at the penultimate tomorrow and more at the finish 10-6-4 seconds.

    • cp Friday, 12 July 2019, 7:18 am

      I believe there are no bonus seconds tomorrow for interm. sprints. no “B” on the profile…
      correct me if i’m wrong…

      • cp Friday, 12 July 2019, 7:20 am

        here: dug it out of the TDF guide linked to above: “There are time bonuses of 10-6-4 seconds for the finish of each stage except the time trials. There are also 8-5-2 seconds at the bonus sprints marked “B” on the profiles above on Stages 3,6,8,9,12,15,18 and 19s, typically atop various mountain passes.”

        • The Inner Ring Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:50 am

          That’s it, no time bonuses at the intermediate sprints, only the “B” bonus sprints. You can see all the profiles and more on the rules at inrng.com/tour

  • JeroenK Friday, 12 July 2019, 7:17 am

    Lots of ‘the Tour does not need this’ in the media about this finish. Oh my, cyclists are a traditionalist bunch… Anything out of the ordinary and unpredictable is frowned upon. This stage was great! Lots of action in the breakaway and a thrilling finish, with everything to play for at once: the breakaway making it, the yellow jersey, team ranking and a first GC test. The mountain looked impressive too, like a finish on one of strade bianche’s main climbs.

    • oldDAVE Friday, 12 July 2019, 4:33 pm

      +1

      although in saying that cycling does try more new things than most sports!

    • Anonymous Friday, 12 July 2019, 5:18 pm

      The traditional Tour was mostly on gravel roads, so much for the “it’s called road racing” pseudo tradionaliststs.

  • Tom Friday, 12 July 2019, 7:44 am

    Go Teeejaay!!…

    • oldDAVE Friday, 12 July 2019, 4:34 pm

      This made me laugh.
      Although I was disappointed for TVG yesterday.

  • Tom Friday, 12 July 2019, 7:45 am

    Hats off to David Gaudu on that last climb, he was great!

  • Digahole Friday, 12 July 2019, 7:46 am

    We’re Ineos not as strong or was this a change in tactics? They didn’t seem interested in controlling the final. Funny to see Valverde swing off, drift to the back, then reappear a minute later at the front joking with Kwiat about how slow they were riding! Poels was rested… it’s like you can already feel the shadow of those final stages over the race.

    Good to see a decent showing from Trek with Ciccone and Porte riding well and Mollema not too far off the pace. Nice ride by Bennett too.

    • KevinR Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:39 am

      I’m not sure Poels was rested. He could have been – in the same way Simon Yates has been pootling around France – or maybe it’s something else. Ineos were certainly a bit exposed

      • Anonymous Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:33 am

        He’s done the same the last two year. Poels is their week 3 guy.

  • J Evans Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:09 am

    Good stage up front, less so behind with the usual lack of action until the final few km.
    Incredulous that French TV cut away from the decisive moment for the stage win in order to show Bardet going backwards. Cuh, nationalism.

    • JeroenK Friday, 12 July 2019, 3:16 pm

      If it were Thomas being dropped, my guess is they’d show that too. Besides that, he was the only one being dropped from the group of favorites at that point.

      • oldDAVE Friday, 12 July 2019, 4:35 pm

        Yeah… it was really that bad was it?
        And it is the Tour de FRANCE – I have no issue that they’re proud and give their own riders a little more airtime.

        • oldDAVE Friday, 12 July 2019, 4:35 pm

          Sorry WASN’T really that bad

        • J Evans Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:29 pm

          About 20 metres to the line, mano a mano, I want to see the winning move happen, not watch someone trundling along at the back, don’t care who it is.

  • jc Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:34 am

    Strange sort of day, it was very slow with the finish after the slowest anticipated time. I suspect that Ineos are deliberately not pushing hard and, despite Chris Froome’s absence, the other teams take their cue from that. Geraint Thomas has said a few times that the race only really starts at Stage 13. Both Wout Poels and Dylan van Baarle rode strongly at the Dauphine so it has to be assumed their absence from the final climb was planned. I guess it also suits many teams not to put too much effort in yet, there is a need to keep plenty in the bank for later.

    Despite Julian Allaphilippe’s frustration at losing yellow DQ simply dont have the team on a climbing day to chase down the break unless others are going to help, there are a number of opportunities for him to win it back in the next few days.

    Chapeau to Dylan Teuns and Guilo Ciccone. It will be interesting to see how Guilo Ciccone handles the media interest, Italian cycling has found itself a new star, winning the KoM in the Giro is one thing being in yellow at the tour another.

    It was clearly a statement of intent from G fuelled in part, no doubt, by anger and frustration. I would guess that is the end of questions about who is the leader at Ineos. Allowing for the usual incidents and accidents, G should take the lead after the TT (though would not rule out Julian Allaphilippe putting in the performance of his career to hang onto to yellow for another day). Thibaut Pinot looked strong too.

    As to today I like the drag strip finishes though the sprint cast this year is not as strong as it usually is. Great shame Sam Bennett is not at the race to see if he can repeat his Paris Nice success.

    • Richard S Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:01 am

      I hope Ciccone develops into more than just a breakaway specialist and KOM hunter. He’s certainly come on leaps and bounds since joining Trek. Judging from today and the Giro he likes the super steep stuff, so maybe the Giro will go back down that route?!

    • Anonymous Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:15 am

      Don’t be confused by G’s commentary about the race starting on Stage 13. He will have acquired a comfortable 90-120s lead over everyone by then.

      Statements of intent from Thomas & Pinot.. but apart from Bardet who really struggled, the rest were only just behind… I assume that everyone was on the limit… but that Thomas/Pinot went absolutely all-in… which is fine, but winning a few seconds here, may be nothing compared to energy saved for that third week for some of those chasing behind.

      Fuglsang and Buchmann continued their fine climbing seasons.
      Perhaps most surpising (and refreshingly unexpected) was Nairo and Porte confirming their form vs. their usual showing.

      Got to pity Bardet though. Bad prep? a Bad day? Or is he that undercooked waiting for the 3rd week?

      • jc Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:03 am

        Unless something very strange happens not sure how Geraint can build a lead before the TT. I suppose it is conceivable he could attack just before the summit of the Ancizan and try a downhill a la Froome on the descent into Bagneres de Bigorre but it seems very unlikely he would be allowed to do so by the other riders. Even with the possible 18 bonus seconds a win with over 30 to 40 seconds seems rather fanciful. There must be a reasonable chance that Julian Allaphilippe will have a lead of around a minute by that stage, he might even be able to keep it going into the TT.

        G seems likely to be one of the favourites for the TT , he will focus on that and the series of very hard stages in the final 8 days

        • Anonymous Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:05 am

          my mistake, i had the TT as stage 12… but we agree on G’s tactics – he’ll win time in the TT and be far enough ahead to only need to defend in the tough final week.

          • jc Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:07 am

            Its back to the “mow em down in the chrono, hold em in the mountains” strategy so popular with many here 🙂 Though I have a suspicion Thibaut Pinot will be no slouch in the TT either.

        • Anonymous Monday, 15 July 2019, 7:30 pm

          Well, initially it was a mistake on my part… mixing up stages… but what was I saying about Thomas building up an unassailable lead before the TT…. since PBF he even contrived to gift Pinot 28s and still ends up 1:20 ahead of him on GC by first rest day.

          Looks like normal service resumed. Can nairo still do something in the high mountains? Maybe shake off G? But Bernal will surely mark him and win in that case,

          Jc you disected my small mistake about which was the tt stage… but there we have it… big lead.. for Sky. Not even reached the TT yet.

          • jc Monday, 15 July 2019, 9:20 pm

            Well done for picking that. After yesterday the almost universal assumption was that the peloton was going to be looking for a few easy days. I am sure many were but Ineos certainly managed to catch out a number of key rivals. Goes to prove the old saw “you cant win the Tour today but you can certainly loose it!

      • plurien Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:13 am

        Still don’t understand why Bardet rides for GC when he has a strong chance of winning the polka dot Jersey and becoming the prince to King Julian.
        A lot of French riders seem to have been struck with a gastro problem which maybe explains the lingering look as Bardet struggled. There were a string of retirements with roadside toilet problems among Groupama, Cofidis riders especially being alluded to that they obviously didn’t show.

        Trentin as an outside pick for today.

        • The Inner Ring Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:14 am

          Groupama-FDJ seem ok but Cofidis certainly have some illness issues with Edet out and both Laporte and Perez unable to stay with the gruppetto.

        • J Evans Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:50 am

          I think it was fair enough for Bardet to give the GC a go, but now it might be better for him to go for the polka dots and stages. That’s even more true of Nibali, who doesn’t really need another top five finish in a GT. Another reason for Bardet to be a GC rider is presumably wages – you get a lot more for that. Mind you, a rider like Dan Martin who could have been a top hilly classics rider seems to have wasted the chance of many victories by swapping them for many GC top tens – did he ever imagine he could win a GT, or was money the biggest factor?

    • Anonymous Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:14 am

      Thomas appeared to complain that the stage wasn’t (raced?) hard enough. Maybe he’s finding it all too easy and will abandon from boredom & pursue a more challenging career.

      • Anonymous Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:36 am

        He wasn’t “complaining”. He was just stating what his opinion is in answer to a question asked and an answer, on the face of it, would seem to be factual too.

    • ronytominger Friday, 12 July 2019, 1:56 pm

      i dont think everything ineos does and everything that happens to them is always according to a greater plan. what can be observed: contrary to how they did usually, they did not really control the speed on the last climb.

  • Richard S Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:37 am

    Yesterday knocked on the head the old cliches about the Tour using steadier climbs and being for diesels. By making an already hard finish ridiculously hard using an unsurfaced road it went full Vuelta/00’s Giro. It reminded me of Plan de Corones a bit. It was entertaining though. With modern bikes and gearing you have to have a bit of that. Good day for Tuens, Ciccone, Thomas, Pinot and Alaphilippe (though not ideal for him). Bit of a stinker for Bardet in particular. With just one relatively short and lumpy TT and plenty of high altitude stuff to come Pinot is very promisingly placed.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:49 am

      They’ve been actively seeking out the steep climbs in recent years like the Grand Colombier, Mont du Chat, Plateau des Glières, the Col de Péguère (aka as the Mur de Péguère by ASO) etc

      • KevinR Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:43 am

        INRNG do you think, like me, that this is the best first week at the Tour in a long while?

        • Chris_SK Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:03 am

          So far it’s been good. Hopefully the French can light up Bastille day over the weekend otherwise we might be in for a long wait for the action to re-start on 2nd weekend.

    • Ecky Thump Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:58 am

      This is a good point, especially on the gearing.
      But, worth noting, despite the crazy inclines there was only relatively small gaps on GC with one or two notable exceptions.
      The inflation rate on climb percentage is going up.

    • Anonymous Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:17 am

      unsurfaced? that gravel has been steamrolled so hard that it was almost tarmac anyway

    • Larry T Friday, 12 July 2019, 12:23 pm

      “With modern bikes and gearing you have to have a bit of that. ” is exactly the point I was trying to make recently. Does this mean all the races will end up little more than a collection of insanely steep climbs with some time-trialing thrown in? As Mr. Inrng wrote, it seems 1/2 of France is no longer of much use to LeTour these days 🙁

  • KevinK Friday, 12 July 2019, 8:54 am

    Thanks for the tip about the approximate time of the intermediate sprint (and for the rest of the analysis and history). I expect this intermediate sprint to be hotly contested, given the stunt Matthews pulled yesterday for a single point, and Sagan’s “we are not amused” reaction.

    It’s a little odd to me how hard Viviani is also going after points – just seeing what he can do, or the well-known Lefevere disdain for Sagan? And does Viviani’s impending departure from DQS affect the support he gets for the rest of the Tour, or do support riders get reallocated to Alaphilippe (to the extent that’s doable)?

    • StevhanTI Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:53 am

      I think in the first couple of stages it was more about confidence than about the actual points. And who knows, what if Sagan crashes like last year or gets sent home again and Matthews continues to bungle sprints, Viviani might be contesting for green come Paris. Groenewegen is out for sure, Ewan seems to have the legs but not the team, WVA, not this year,…

      • KevinK Friday, 12 July 2019, 4:08 pm

        Yes, I understand that anything can happen, though the odds are that Matthews will massively outscore Viviani on stages that aren’t pure sprints, and it’s unlikely both Matthews and Sagan will drop out. It just seems that for Viviani there’s much more glory in another stage or two, and wasting energy winning intermediate sprints would seem unwise.

        My real question is, will there be a team reaction to Viviani rejecting DQS in the midst of them bringing him to the TdF and giving him a superb leadout train? I can’t imagine Alaphilippe pulling for him again at the very least.

        • The Inner Ring Friday, 12 July 2019, 4:13 pm

          They’ll still want to win even if Viviani is leaving, they’re team mates today and professionals paid to win too. It’s more of a problem if a rider is leaving and they end up getting “benched” by their manager so they don’t score new points for the new team or if the manager is just vindictive etc

        • Larry T Friday, 12 July 2019, 6:09 pm

          I think the answer came today, Alaphilippe seemed to be in the train at the (geez, it took long enough – 30 minutes slower than the slowest predicted finish time) end when the racing started. Italian TV was saying Cofidis offered double the salary – what professional rider wouldn’t understand a guy leaving for a reason like that? Seems if Lefevre really, really likes you he can find the dough, otherwise he’s not going to spend like someone laundering money.

  • Ecky Thump Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:03 am

    That picture of Sagan, in vivid green and with red reflective insect eyes glasses, looks other-worldly.
    A bit like The Green Goblin of Spider Man fame.

  • brent sword Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:17 am

    surely you meant to give Sagan a chainring.
    Cheers thanks for the analysis.
    I think yesterdays stage went how I expected. Moderate high pace with a large group to the last km then a mad scramble.
    Hats off to ASO for the course or there likely would have been no gaps at all.
    I don’t see this as settling the question of who leads Ineos. Thomas showed last year he his good at a late finish if he is allowed / capable of hanging in there. But will he be able to sit in on the big climbs coming in a week is the real question. One bad climb and the situation will reverse.

    • J Evans Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:14 am

      I agree: odd to read people commenting that Thomas is now team leader when he’s 4 seconds up, as it was to read people saying that Bernal was team leader when he was 5 seconds up.

      I think Bernal can drop Thomas on climbs, but seeing Thomas’ potentially good form he might well have a decent lead after the TT, and Ineos might decide that Bernal’s place is then to support Thomas (they’d surely prefer a British win?).

      But that doesn’t necessarily mean Thomas will be able to hang on in the mountains, at which point team policy might change – all of which also requires rivals actually managing to challenge Ineos’ train.

      I still suspect that if team politics allowed a straight fight Bernal would prove himself superior. We’ll hopefully find out (and – even more hopefully – see other riders involved!).

      • Larry T Friday, 12 July 2019, 12:29 pm

        Dave B’s still in charge so it’s not still “JUST WIN BABY!”? Wasn’t he quoted as saying something like “Perhaps we should win with a French rider someday?” Seemed odd yesterday that it was so soon that it was just Kwiato left to pull for Thomas and Bernal, especially as what seemed like a slow pace. Are they banking on the others coming good later, when it really counts? But don’t label this a complaint, I was happy not to see a dominating USPS/SKY type train hauling their leader up the road for a change!

        • J Evans Friday, 12 July 2019, 1:52 pm

          I’m sure they’re saving themselves for later, as others are.
          I always regarded this – “Perhaps we should win with a French rider someday?” – as just PR talk (it is DB after all).
          I still think that – if it’s possible – they’ll prefer to win with a British rider. That’s likely to be more like the kind of PR their owner/sponsor is after.

          • Larry T Friday, 12 July 2019, 3:20 pm

            No doubt he’d prefer a Brit, but he’d prefer to WIN even if it’s a Colombian in the INEOS jersey. Will their be any fireworks here ala LeMond vs Hinault or Roche vs Visentini?
            I doubt it – probably more like Landa vs Carapaz. ZZZZZzzzzzz.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:15 am

      Sagan should be close but it’s a flat sprint on a long road so surely Viviani, Ewan and Groenewegen will be quicker?

      • StevhanTI Friday, 12 July 2019, 1:22 pm

        and Alexander Kristoff

  • J Evans Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:34 am

    Presumably, Movistar were pulling on the front because they’re worried about their (and it is their) team classification prize.

    • KevinR Friday, 12 July 2019, 9:45 am

      Can’t think of any other reason!

    • dimidio Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:08 am

      “Today we did a great job with the team and at the end, we sort of fulfilled our goal, which was also not losing time,” said Quintana at the finish line. “This kind of finales are very hard for us. We are climbers, but this kind of very steep climbs is difficult for us. The first day of the mountain is hard until the legs adapt again to it.

  • StevhanTI Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:50 am

    About yesterday, I was very surprised that not a single Astana, Bora or Movistar rider was in the break, either to control it or to try for the stage. Trek sent guys up the road as more or less the only GC team. Was this intentional or did they just miss out. Probably it did contribute to the willingess of the peloton to give the break so much leeway. Maybe it’s because it’s the tour and not any other stage race, riding conservatively pays, better keep your squad grouped around your leader?

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:16 am

      One thing was the lack of valley roads for a rider sent up ahead, if they were going to use them as a relay. Instead the finish was too hard for that tactic.

  • AndyW Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:08 am

    Ciccone was very impressive again – could he hold onto the jersey for a while? Possible GC contender for the future or a Barguil-like rider?

    Very promising that the time gaps were small at this stage – the previous (easier) finishes to La Planche des Belles Filles resulted in bigger GC gaps, for whatever reason.

  • Stuie Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:38 am

    I actually preferred the old finish. Felt a bit gimmicky yesterday.

  • R Friday, 12 July 2019, 12:33 pm

    Interesting that it was a rather stealthy finish from Fuglsang who seems to have got over his crash and performed well on a finish that isn’t really his forte. He can do a good TT, has great form and a strong team. Plus nobody is talking about him at the moment. Perfect scenario.

    • Frederick Norton Friday, 12 July 2019, 2:34 pm

      my take from yesterday is how good the helpers are on several teams that are NOT ineos/sky. gaudu trimmed away all the helpers who were left. i think astana/groupama/jumbo/trek/movistar/michelton/maybe fabio aru for dan martin — all these teams have riders who could burn the group down to just the favorites if their team favorite is confident enough to use it (Pinot yesterday — thanks T!). maybe ineos will only have poels to help (maybe bernal at some point also – dont think G will work for Egan) NOT moscon/kwia/castro/van b. we’ll see, i can always hope. the 3rd week fatigue is a different monster and maybe only a few helpers can still do what they did yesterday. looking forward to saturdays preview – that could be raced very aggressively.

  • Gelato4bahamontes Saturday, 13 July 2019, 1:36 am

    Rubbish finish. What’s the point of 350metres of near vertical gravel? It’s supposed tobea bikerave not a circus