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Tour de France Stage 10 Wrap

With no preview tomorrow because it’s a rest day here’s the daily take on the day’s stage. It was a day marked by the loss of Alberto Contador as much as the win by Vincenzo Nibali.

At first we saw the Tinkoff-Saxo fluo yellow jersey darkened by dirt, a sign of a big fall. But it was all so calm as if Contador had slipped on a training ride. Nobody was in a hurry and he had his knee bandaged to dress a bleeding wound. After some discussions and a shoe change off he went but half an hour later. The latest is a fractured tibia which makes you wince knowing he rode with this.

It changes plenty in the race. We were expecting a Froome-Contador duel and now that’s gone. Instead it’s Nibali vs the rest.

Broken bike?
Twitter said Contador’s bike was broken… unleashing a speculative storm including some commentary that it broke in two before the crash. This was always unlikely but caused a Twitter teacup-storm, amplified perhaps because the racing was implicitly neutralised following Contador’s fall and so attention turned to the fate of the bike. The first news came from France Télévisions’ Nico Geay who reported his bike was broken in two but it seems it simply broke on the impact which is perfectly normal. There was also chatter about it falling off the roof of the team car. Either way team DS Philippe Mauduit was spotted putting a broken bike into the back of the team car, folding it as if it was a travel model.

Back to the Race
The race was implicitly neutralised following Contador’s crash but before he climbed into the team car it became apparent he wasn’t in today’s race and Astana picked up the pace. They had to as Michał Kwiatkowski was up the road and being paced into the yellow jersey by Tony Martin. The Pole would crack later but nobody could afford to give him much room so the Kazakh squad lined up at the front of the peloton. It took a team to contain Tony Martin and his enormous ride, another impressive day. The lull in the race saw the Tour go from being ahead of the fastest schedule to behind the slowest one.

Severe Col
As this morning’s preview tried to emphasise, the penultimate climb of the day, the Col des Chevrères was much more than its modest billing of 3.5km / 9.5% suggested and for once the TV cameras managed to capture the pitch of the road as it reared up. It broke the breakaway, cracked Tony Gallopin and transformed the peloton which went into the steep section numerous and emerged as a small group.

Ramp Test
On to the Plateau des Belles Filles where Rodriguez was pedalling squares as if painted by Picasso. But he finishes the day with the King of the Mountains jersey and looks to have the form to extend his lead.

Vincenzo Nibali’s looking as insatiable as he was in the 2013 Giro. He didn’t need to attack today, yet alone go clear from so far. But he’s more an artist than a spreadsheet hero and he just rode away. Thibaut Pinot was the best of the rest coming in 15 seconds after to cheers from friends and family while the whole country had more to cheer. Alejandro Valverde was next with Jean-Christophe Péraud. Then Romain Bardet rode into the white jersey accompanied by Tejay van Garderen and Richie Porte. Leopold König was next but lost 50 seconds to Nibali.

Lost Time
On a more relative level the stage produced several other losers. Such is the severity of the final two climbs that anyone struggling  “paid cash” as the French say. The price was high for Bauke Mollema (1.06 lost), Jurgen Van den Broeck (1.16), Pierre Rolland (4.14), Tony Gallopin (4.46) and Andrew Talansky (10.12). While NetApp-Endura’s Tiago Machado started the day in third place overall and finished last; first reported as abandoning he carried on only to get axed for finishing outside the time limit, a courageous effort.

I didn’t understand Europcar’s move yesterday. The ex post explanation was that it allowed Pierre Rolland to take back time on the overall. Which was true but it left him tired and proved to be yet another Pierre Rolland Energy Wasting Attack™.

Forgotten among all the drama and sport was Ted King’s exit. The US rider’s a social darling as well as big support for Peter Sagan but he’s been suffering was dropped first and could not ride in the gruppetto before abandoning.

Bleu, blanc, rage – Thibaut Pinot finishes second on Bastille Day

The Tour’s pecking order is Nibali ahead of a small group with Valverde, Pinot, Bardet, Péraud, Porte and van Garderen. The Italian is in command and retains a full team in his service. But as bold as his move was he only took 15 seconds. The fact that he gained a single second suggests he’s better than the rest.

Nibali seems hard to beat but the overall classification is bound to change because if we ignore Nibali the other ten overall are within about 100 seconds. The hope is their fight for position causes sport and perhaps trouble for Astana. But don’t underestimate the importance of the Tour, not everyone will risk the security of a top-10 jackpot just to move up from seventh to sixth overall. All this assumes Nibali stays upright.

Talking of forecasts, the weather. After a cool start things are set to change with sunshine and hot weather forecast for the rest of the week.

Admin note: A problem with the server that hosts the site means ALL comments and posts were lost. Fortunately it’s all backed up but this dates from 11 July and all comments added to the site since then have vanished. Sorry about this.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tom Monday, 14 July 2014, 7:47 pm

    Maybe reduced bone density isn’t quite the marginal gain it’s cracked up to be. Broken collar bones, broken wrists, broken legs. Give the climbers a hard look and they snap like dried twigs.

    • Bert Monday, 14 July 2014, 8:00 pm

      Interesting thought. They certainly have less muscles to absorb a fall. Might not be such a difference in the case of a hit on the shins/tibia, but maybe for the shoulder/collarbone region.

      Do you have any background info that would back up the bone density story, though?

      • Tom Monday, 14 July 2014, 9:37 pm

        Bones are not dead sticks in the body. They are alive and constantly remodeling themselves to their stress environment. If you go in the gym and do heavy squats, your bones will grow stronger. If you head up to the International Space Station for a leisurely visit, they will weaken. Pro cyclists are either riding their bike, which is a non-weight bearing exercise or lying on the couch.

        “In conclusion, two-thirds of professional cyclists had abnormally low BMD (bone mineral density) values.”

        Medelli J, Lounana J, Menuet JJ, Shabani M, Cordero-MacIntyre Z. “Is osteopenia a health risk in professional cyclists?” J Clin Densitom. 2009 Jan-Mar;12(1):28-34.

      • Alex TC Monday, 14 July 2014, 9:48 pm

        It´s called OSTEOPENIA. It´s surreptitious (you may not know untill you break something in an accident you might not have if your bones were normal); it´s reversible (most of the time) and it can lead to osteoporosis if not treated. It´s quite common among cyclists, even competitive-level amateurs (like me) so I´d guess it´s even more so among pros. Young people can have it, I´m 43 but I´ve met a guy with 21 and a gal 26 both suffering osteopenia.

        I´ve been riding and racing for over 25 yrs and always suffered crashes occasionaly. Never broke even a nail, only bruises and scratches. But in the short time between the last 2 yrs I broke both femurs in 2 slow-speed, end-of-training, totally avoidable, stupid crashes. All my calcium levels are perfect, as are every other bone-replacement process and indexes. I did a bone density scan 2 months ago and it revealed that the bones in my arms are fine as they should, but my legs, vertebra and pelvic region are much lower density, brodering osteoporosis. The crash is the obvious cause, but big chances that it contributed to the fractures in both instances.

        I´ve now included some impact (running, jumping, jogging, etc.) back into my workout regimen. In 6 months I´ll undergo another scan to see if something has changed. I´m still cycling (last accident is now 5 months old). But if you climb a lot, for a long time, always trying to improve it, all this gravity fighting might cause your body to reduce the density of your bones, just like it burns fat and even muscles – unless you add some impact. I was told by the doctor that heavy weight lifting help a little but for cyclists it´s the impact that can really make a difference, as it promotes bone restoration – provided your calcium levels are OK and you have no other deficiency related.

        • Chris Horner Monday, 14 July 2014, 10:42 pm

          Also; stay away from corticosteroids – they will reduce bone formation

          • Mendip5000 Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 2:07 am

            Do MTB Riders have the same level of risk of Osteopenia

          • Alex TC Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 4:47 am

            Apparently yes, since MTB doesn’t offer the kind or level of impact necessary. It’s off road but still very low impact. It also depends on some factors related to calcium levels, sweating and other physiological processes. Cyclists and swimmers are more prone to osteopenia and show overall lower bone density due to the lack of impact and weight bearing of such sports, with cyclists being worse (seemingly) because unlike swimmers we work too damn hard and a lot to fight gravity, and the body tend to adapt.

            Like muscles, bone grow stronger when they recover from mild damage. In the case, they get denser when recovering from low impact. If there’s no impact at all but still a continuous call for better performance (especially going uphill), the body reacts accordingly. We lose fat, but also mucle and it makes sense that bones should also go through the same process. It “understands” that lower weight is necessary – more than the need for impact resistance – untill you suffer a crash, that is. But that’s not mild, it’s severe and it’s too late, not a good “lesson”to the body at all.

            It seems that even a single season without impact can cause osteopenia. When I first broke my femur 2 yrs ago I resumed cycling in 30 days, but I limped and walked lightly with even less impact, thus compounding my condition. My broken bones still recovered very quickly, faster than average so doctor said that everything was normal with formation, so only density was really off with them. I was told by doctors and physiologists to jog or run 2 or 3 times a week, for about 20 minutes. That should be enough to restore my bone density back both on the legs/hip and spine, as I said I should know in a few months.

            I should note that I’m not a doctor or expert. I did a deep research on the topic back in 2004-5 when I wrote an article for a bike mag, and then some more recently due to my crashes and newfound condition. For more detail on a study:


        • GeorgeY Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:38 am

          Sorry but I cannot believe that pro cyclists don’t train with weights. Surely climbers will train differently than track sprinters but nowadays all athletes supplement their training regime with resistance training.

          P.S. One more reason why Triathlon is the supreme sport; strong running bones!

          • Paul Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 2:57 pm

            All that falling off of bikes can lead to injury, though …

          • GeorgeY Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 5:10 pm

            Sure, Triathletes have been known to fall flat on their faces when running too: It’s called the Bonk.

            On the subject of weight training, I remembered a video that I have seen featuring Armstrong, of all people, doing some serious sets. I know people hate him for a number of reasons (myself included) but noone can say he was a slouch.

          • Alex TC Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:13 pm

            GeorgeY, they sure do but again it doesn’t seem to make much difference. They lift for a relatively short time the hop on the bike for most of the season, some studies show it doesn’t help much.

            And indeed triathletes were found to have stronger bones than pure cyclists, which leads to conclusion that impact is the X-factor here. I don’t want to hijack the post any more than I already did so I’ll conclude with a few findings from my own research on the subject (again I’m not a doctor so those would be the studies I read, the conversations I had with doctors and physiologists and so on).

            1. The main cause of osteopenia in cyclists seem to be the quantity of exercice (training and racing) coupled with little or no impact activities. Sweat could be a factor too, just like the liver suply glicogen to low-sugar bloodstream, the bones seem to help keep the calcium balanced in the organism by giving away some during hard and long efforts.

            2. Weight lifting doesn’t seem to help as much as impact. And not all kinds of impact are the same either, or equally effective. Running is good but some studies suggest that brisk walking may be better, and jumping (static) even more so. Apparently the right stimulus can make a difference, though for cyclists any mild impact may be better than none.

            3. It is important to keep a tab o vitamin (D is very important) and mineral levels every once in a while. A yearly blood test is advisable, see your doctor. Calcium is essential of course but other micronutrients are equally important as they help the processes that get calcium into bones.

            4. Bone health has no relation with overall health or fitness level. A rider can be superfit and have weak bones. I was on top form both times I broke my bones. Both my crashes that broke my femurs were slow-speed and nothing special to have them broken, the only thing really off was indeed my bone density – I already had a suspicion the first time, the second was a confirmation. Unfortunatelly it was too late.

            Just 2 things to keep in mind for all of us cycling enthusiasts 1) not all findings are conclusive, there’s still a lot to learn and research is being done on sport-related osteopenia; and 2) everyone who ride lots and don’t do much more (above all something with impact) would do good to check out his/her bone density, just in case.

  • Steve Fagg Monday, 14 July 2014, 7:59 pm

    I understand that the race jury has reinstated Machado from his hors delai. The TdF twitter feed said as much but it’s not always been the most accurate information source!

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 14 July 2014, 10:12 pm

      Confirmed, good for him and worth battling all day for.

      • Barbieri Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 12:50 am

        Heard reports that he was actually sitting in the ambulance, bike packed up in the team car, when right after they took pieces of road from his arm he told the team to get his bike ready. I’m so happy that he was let in the race again. I trust him for a stage victory in the mountains, seems like his form is on the up.

  • Alvaro Monday, 14 July 2014, 8:14 pm

    Nice summary of the stage, thanks.
    Anyone there can tell how are TT skills of Nibali compared with other GC contenders (specially Porte)?

    • Goonie Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 10:35 am

      Porte has never ridden a TT full gas in the third week of a GT. He’s good, but almost certainly not 2.5 minutes better than Nibali.

      As for the others, not good enough to haul back 3+ minutes on Nibali.

      Unless Nibali loses time on his rivals between now and the TT, he will win.

  • Andrew Monday, 14 July 2014, 8:21 pm

    What a shame. Contador vs Nibali was shaping up to be a great fight, especially with AC down after the cobbles.

  • Harry Monday, 14 July 2014, 8:27 pm

    The ride of the day has to go to Martin. To ride at the front through that weather and terrain was seriously impressive. Especially considering yesterday’s stage winning efforts also. Great stage and review all in all.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 14 July 2014, 10:11 pm

      Great ride by Martin. He’s been an almost unbeatable time trial specialist for some time, yesterday’s win expanded this. Today was invaluable for his team and if you owned a team and had a limitless budget you’d surely have him near the top of your list of required riders.

      • Shawn Monday, 14 July 2014, 11:06 pm

        I sure wish Martin would be willing to ride some classics with that engine. Do you know why he shows no interest?

        • Martijn Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 10:04 am

          That’s a question that’s been on my mind for quite some time: why doesn’t Martin ride Paris-Roubaix or Flanders?

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 10:06 am

            Apparently he doesn’t like the cobbles and is simply happy in what he’s doing. His ability and stature mean he’s able to choose what he wants to ride.

            Also as much as he’s got the power, in order to use it in Paris-Roubaix he’d have to cope with the cobbles, fight for position and more.

      • Dan Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 12:57 am

        Is that insider info? Is he off to BMC…? 😉

      • SeeingElvis Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 5:58 am

        Totally amazing ride by Martin, especially after yesterday’s effort, although today the end result not bearing the GC fruit QS had hoped for- wasted energy, perhaps, but made for great racing. Illustrative of the noble beauty of sacrifice in this most beautiful of sports. I would have awarded him the combativity number again.
        Is Tony not contracted for 2015?

        Hope to see Tony, Fabian and Wiggins all attack The Hour.

  • Matisse Monday, 14 July 2014, 9:32 pm

    “pedalling squares as if painted by Picasso.” One of the best cycling lines I’ve ever read.

    • Modigliani Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 12:22 am

      Yes … jagged brushstrokes, the earthy colours of the meseta, the squad’s red.

      • PT Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 1:53 pm

        Technically, I think they’d have to be cubes wouldn’t they?

  • Keejay Monday, 14 July 2014, 9:36 pm

    Alvaro – Nibali stacks up very well on TT’s compared to the main contenders, having put in a huge amount of work, especially with Specialised; See the Giro and also the Vuelta time trial stages last year – you would expect him to take time out of Valverde for sure and he shouldn’t lose too much compared to Porte (if he’s still there at the end of the tour), so if anything the length of the last stage is a massive advantage for him now.

    Top review as ever.

    • Alvaro Monday, 14 July 2014, 10:16 pm


    • Barbieri Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 12:54 am

      Was struggling to understand the “Alvaro – Nibali” 😀 – thought it was some sort of really hipster cycling history reference. Maybe Alvaro Pino, winner of the ITT and overall in the 1986 Vuelta…

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:49 am

      Agreed, he’s spent a lot of time training on the track to optimise his position and he’s made some good gains. As ever though a time trial at the end of the Tour is always so dependent on recovery powers, on who is still feeling the freshest.

      • Keejay Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 1:59 pm

        True and while you’d be a bit worried having seen Nibali’s end to the Vuelta, he was pretty much the only one going at the end of the Giro last year (in terms of serious gains). I don’t think the Tour’s over but it’ll take something pretty special and I doubt if anyone else has the team to catch him on a weak day.

  • hoh Monday, 14 July 2014, 9:39 pm

    Porte really need to find a way to follow Nibali’s wheel rather than Velverde’s. Again today Nibali went clear when Velverde’s on his wheel and again today Porte had to waste a lot of energy chasing Nibali. He really should have waited and maybe follow Pinot. I’m afraid his lack of experience is taking a toll on him.

    Well I suppose it is all very easy for me to say this on hinder sight.

    On the other hand, Sky certainly has trust issue on Porte. Nieve finished only half a minute down on Porte and even G.Thomas is not that much further down despite his daily crash. All the while Porte is left to do the chasing alone with Nieve hanging towards the back of that group.

    It’s understandable to do this while Froome is leading the GC by several minutes but with their leader Porte over two minutes off Nibali and loosing more time every mountain top finish, shouldn’t Nieve at least been riding like there’s no tomorrow to help Porte rather than conserving energy?

    • channel_zero Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 5:00 am

      I don’t know how much power Porte is capable of producing, but things today didn’t look so good for Porte as GC leader. Two weeks to go, so maybe things will change.

      Sky has screwed up strategy when their plans don’t work out more often than not.

    • Tovarishch Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 7:02 am

      I was waiting for Nieve to ‘do a Porte’ and blast up the road on either of the last 2 climbs as that was the strategy last year. It is isn’t going to work, though, while the Sky train consists of Ivor the Engine with occasional help from Kiriyenka and Eisel. I assume Lopez and Pate and just fetching bottles but washing and filling them as well. I can’t see Porte holding onto second but I really hope Thomas makes the top 10, he deserves it.

      • hoh Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 11:42 am

        Thomas definately deserves it. If Porte achieves anything this tour, Thomas’s ride on stage 5 is instrumental. At times it seems Thomas’ the only one supporting Porte yesterday.

        However, for Thomas to try a top 10 would certainly undermine Sky’s effort to put Porte in as high an position as possible. Some how I don’t see Thomas doing that. If there’s going to be a rebellion, Nieve’s the suspect.

        DB really need to make the call. Either everybody put their weight behind Porte or make it a free for all.

    • Ken Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 3:10 pm

      Porte’s problem this year, subbing for Froome, is he doesn’t have … a Richie Porte to support him!

  • KB Monday, 14 July 2014, 9:58 pm

    Steven de Jongh (DS Saxo-Tinkoff) told Danish TV that Contador crashed twice – after the first crash, he took Nicholas Roche’s bike. Indeed TV pictures showed Roche standing at the roadside calling for assistance; Roche looked OK, but there seemed to be big skid marks in the verge. Presumably the adrenalin from that crash and nervousness led Contador to speed back to the bunch.

    Jurgen van den Broeck told Sporza at the finish that the (second) crash happened right next to him: he said Contador ‘stood on the pedals to sprint and hit a hole in the road and landed with his head by my front wheel. Everyone was riding easy in the wheel…unbelievable what some people do to move up a few positions.’

    de Jongh confirmed that the second crash occurred on Roche’s bike, and that Alberto’s bike was broken when the team car, in the rush to catch back up, struck something.

    • Richard Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 2:20 pm

      Steven de Jongh said in an interview with ITV in the UK that the second crash was as simple as Contador’s hand slipped off the handlebars and that was what made him come down. A costly slip.

    • VemrJR? Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 3:38 pm

      “Jurgen van den Broeck told Sporza …unbelievable what some people do to move up a few positions.’”

      Possibly an own goal by vdB. His statement hints at why he has never been able to go to the top of gt races despite often being thereabouts and despite his obvious talent.

  • Anonymous Monday, 14 July 2014, 10:22 pm

    Sagan: basically had the points jersey wrapped up but smashed the first 50km, took maximum points on the intermediate sprint then dropped back and rolled in with the group and finished with a wheelie. Great stuff.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:53 am

      Agreed. He could find Tuesday’s stage is his best chance for a stage win too.

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 3:40 pm

      …a no-handed wheelie with food in his hand.

  • Dodge2000 Monday, 14 July 2014, 10:56 pm

    Sounds like Contador crashed and then crashed for good trying to make time and taking too many risks.

    I appreciate with a mechanical, outside influence like tacks on the road or crash caused by others where you don’t want to take advantage, but if someone is looking to gain an advantage by taking more risks on a descent shouldn’t the peloton continue as before? I love the gentlemen nature of waiting for GC guys if misfortune has befallen them, but riding beyond yours or the conditions allow is not misfortune but bad riding.

    • Nick Monday, 14 July 2014, 11:55 pm

      Can the peloton always know exactly why somebody behind them crashed?

  • James Monday, 14 July 2014, 11:18 pm

    Great review, as ever.

    Now, as a Brit, I’m lucky enough to have seen a couple of ‘home’ Tour wins. But what I’d really like to see now is a French winner, with the home crowds falling in love again with this great race (preferrably with a heroic near miss thrown in the year before for an even better story). Do you think Bardet or Pinot have what it takes for the future, Inrng?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:57 am

      It’s one thing to hang around for the podium but another to win the race outright. We’ll see with Pinot and Bardet but perhaps the way to look at it is to see a golden generation coming through with Barguil, Bouhanni, Démare, Gallopin, Coquard etc? Going from hope to reality is a big leap but Bardet and Pinot are there in the front group which does the home nation plenty of good.

      If you really want the big crowds then you need to add a charismatic personality on top, for example Vincenzo Nibali’s a modest man – and this is a virtue in many ways – but he doesn’t capture the headlines and front pages.

      • James Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 9:25 am

        Thanks, Inrng.

        Pinot looks like the 2nd best climber left in this Tour (although home advantage may have been a help yesterday)… but without Froome, Quintana and Contador out. For many riders, and not necessarrily the French, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Perhaps the time to try some unorthodox team tactics, even if Astana look strong.

        • Salsiccia Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 10:52 am

          After Pinot’s travails last season it’s great to see him there or there-abouts. I’d be delighted if he could make the podium.

  • Ted Gresh Monday, 14 July 2014, 11:23 pm

    And how exactly is “the peleton” supposed to make that distinction? Do you think they should take a vote by counting a show of hands?

  • Dodge2000 Monday, 14 July 2014, 11:52 pm

    We’ve had lots of crashes and incidents this year where the peleton (my phone autocorrects to peloton for some reason) has decided the course of action. The Giro with Evans gaining masses of time after the big crash. The world champs where they all decided not to race for whole swathes of it.

    Someone, or a group decide and the rest go along with it. Like I say, I like it and would rather that show of sportsmanship, but for someone that desends well in wet or can handle bad conditions that tool in their armoury can’t be fully utilised if you wait for the guy trying to over compensate and taking too many risks. Wasn’t it same thing with Contador at Tour last year when he crashed trying to distance Froome on a descent? He doesn’t crash, he gets some extra seconds. He does and people wait for him, provided no damage to himself it’s a no lose situation.

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 12:12 am

      Listen to your phone 😉

      • Dodge2000 Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:30 am

        I had it right previously, but was corrected above and took it as such. Iphones and late nights are not a time to post. 🙂

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 6:17 am
    • Duncan Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:33 pm

      The word is spelled incorrectly so often I was finding I would forget which version was correct. Then I noticed “pele” in the incorrect one so I just say, “this is not football, folks”… and I remember the correct spelling of peloton.

  • Simma Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 12:09 am

    Another day, another hit for wiggo and he’s not even there, if he’d just been nicer to froome… karma LIVE on Le Tour.

    More seriously though, that’s got to be the Tour over then baring a serious accident for Nibali? he won’t lose more than a minute on the gc rivals in the TT and he showed today he’s got them all beat comfortably in the mountains and took his 2 stages so just needs to follow now =/ I feel sorry for him for when the negative comments come, he’s gonna deserve the title just for stage 5 alone. Hope he goes all out for a stupid margin, 10mins + 😀

    • Foley Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 1:26 am

      Is Nibali now clearly the class of the field? Yes. But one “jour sans” by him and we’ll have a race again, to say nothing about crashes, illness and tactics. Far from over, and likely to be less predictable than predicted, I think. Stage 5 was the real deal, but we still don’t know what it is going to take to win this thing. M. Prudhomme did not ask me to post this, I swear.

      • TheEcho Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:07 am

        the fuck does “jour sans” mean? You speeka da inglish!?

        • Tovarishch Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:56 am

          I think it means he forgoes sex.

          • Foley Wednesday, 16 July 2014, 2:13 am

            That is actually a good subject for Mr. Ring, Comrade. Back in the day LeMond broke the rule and you had people like Kelly (I think) saying they lived by it.

        • Nancy A. Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 9:07 am

          One of the joys of this blog and its attending comments is the chance to learn new words and phrases, some of which are *gasp* not in English. I didn’t know what “jour sans” meant, but I found out. It wasn’t hard. And now I have a new phrase in my cycling lexicon. Thank you, Foley!

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 9:46 am

            I suppose “off day” is the equivalent but cycling uses so many foreign words as part of its language. Gruppetto, musette, soigneur etc.

            I’ve tried to collate the more common ones at http://inrng.com/lexicon/

        • Wheelsucker Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 1:53 pm

          Cycling is full of foreign words, and richer for it – there’s a whole non-British heritage out there. You’re going to have to get used to it.

  • Kevin Smith Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 12:47 am

    Looks like the Vuelta could be a Froome – Contador – Quintana showdown (if Bertie’s leg heals in time)

    • Tovarishch Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:58 am

      I thought Kennaugh was due to be Sky protected rider for the Vuelta. No comment.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:58 am

      Joaquim Rodriguez, Evans, Gesink, Dayer Quintana and more too. A real revenge race.

    • denominator Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 3:26 pm

      Plus: Uran, Horner, Valverde … Vuelta promises to become the best GT of this year.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 6:35 pm

        Betancur too. We can probably add more.

        • leonn Wednesday, 16 July 2014, 6:19 pm

          I guess there will be too many stars and no planets at all! No one works for anybody this way.

          I really want to see Vuelta this year. A real problem for all DSs deal with egos and forces to accomplish a goal.

  • ckrracing Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 4:23 am

    It’s interesting to note how many French riders are in the top 10 currently , impressive especially after stage 5 .. It would be great if they can keep it up until the end .

  • Larry T. Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 7:33 am

    Nibali could have done a “marginal gains” type stage yesterday after Il Pistolero’s misfortune. But instead he showed his class and grit to win the stage and take back the jersey. It should silence the “but Froome and Contador weren’t there, so he didn’t face much of a challenge” whiners should he go on to Paris in yellow, but it won’t. I think Valverde is still a danger-man and look for him and others to keep this a race all the way to the end, though having the Shark of the Straits win his third Grand Tour will be sweet! Looks like the Big-S PR machine misfired again with their various denials and excuses about Contador’s broken bike. I doubt many of these things break like uncooked spaghetti, but it seems they made an unfortunate incident worse?

    • Nick Wednesday, 16 July 2014, 12:20 am

      I really don’t see how winning in the absence of two riders will silence those who are inclined to point the absence of those two riders? Still Nibali took yellow while both Contador and Froome were upright.

      Purito must be kicking himself, though! Fancy losing enough time on GC to give yourself time to chase the KOM prize, only for 2 of the top 3 GC contenders to crash out!

      • Phelan Wednesday, 16 July 2014, 11:17 am

        For sure, you win stages, you place consistently high every day, you stay upright, that’s a. Sure fire way to get on the podium. to the naysayers, the best cyclists in the world were in the race, some crashed, some had mechanicals, some were unwell, others just got beaten…..thats bike racing!

  • BC Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 7:50 am

    I agree about the current excellent performance of the Frenchies. It would be good for the Tour ,and for cycling in general, if the upward trajectory of the new generation of their riders continues. It’s early days yet, but several are showing they potentially have what it takes.

    • Steven L Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 4:58 pm


      Where’s Coquard been hiding throughout the year? For my money, he’s THE French sprinter. Been much classier than Demare ,and showing some decent speed and tactical nous.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 6:30 pm

        He’s had several wins this year but at a lower level in France; he’s also looking to the track and Rio in 2016 too. Europcar are deliberately managing his calendar so he doesn’t do too much too soon.

        He was in my list of 12 to watch for 2014 http://inrng.com/2013/12/12-riders-watch-2014/

  • UHJ Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 8:01 pm

    Anyhone care to guess what Nibs told Scarponi shortly before he took off:
    Sacrponi was leading, Nibali touches him with his right hand index (wihtout letting go of the handlebar), Sacrponi turn sto see and Nibali quickly taps his powermeter 2-3 times indicating something. Should he go faster (Scarponi) slower or what was the intention?
    All happened about 1-2 minutes before he attacked.

  • Drago Wednesday, 16 July 2014, 5:55 pm

    The Echo: is dropping the f-bomb really necessary?
    Seems the riding skills of the “new generation” has *cough*, gone downhill. Too much screen time (watching their watts and weight?)