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Stage 10 Review

Le jour sans. Sometimes a rider can have a day without good legs, today the Tour de France had a day where all the contenders seemed to fall off a mountain in one go. This evening the race appears to be settled after just one mountain climb, the equivalent of starting an Agatha Christie novel only to discover the identity of the murderer on page ten.

The stage started with near local Pierrick Fédrigo going clear and being joined by Kenneth Vanbilsen to remind us Cofidis were still in the race. Their lead soared but two riders were never going to hold off the chase led by Movistar and Team Sky, each keen to help place their leader into orbit. They were joined by FDJ for a minute, perhaps working for Thibaut Pinot, perhaps making sure Fédrigo couldn’t stay away. There was a crash for Warren Barguil after striking a loose bottle in the feedzone just as he was rifling through his musette, but, helped by Ramon Sinkeldam, he made it back minus some skin.

Once the peloton reached the foot of the climb it was like a tube of Pringles, once riders like Rui Costa started popping everyone else could not stop. Romain Bardet, Dan Martin, Andrew Talansky, Thibaut Pinot. Then Vincenzo Nibali cracked, his Astana team visibly soft-pedalling to aid him. In time Alberto Contador went.

Bastille Day in France we didn’t get revolution but the ancien régime of Sky dominance who put three riders in the top-6 today. Froome’s margin of victory with minute over Nairo Quintana on a 15km pass that had flatter sections over the top that allowed him to “time trial” away isn’t enormous; it’s the way other rivals fell away so quickly on the climb…

Double trouble: Alberto Contador’s now four minutes down overall after finishing 11th, 2.51 down. So often the first mountain stage has the Spaniard with restless legs syndrome but this time he looked tired and reduced to a forceful pedal stroke and he tried to limit the damage. Whatever happens he’s won the Giro this year.

Shark Fin-ished: Vincenzo Nibali was 21st at 4.25. Had he ridden any slower and they would have sent out a mountain search team. Alexander Vinokourov has delivered an edict declaring Jacob Fuglsang as Astana’s leader but the Dane was 13th at 3.09.

Tejay van Garderen was pleading the case for a Big Five yesterday although unlike the Big Four he’s yet to win a grand tour. He finished 10th at 2.30. This morning he was 12 seconds behind Froome on the GC, he’s now 2.52 down with Quintana less than 20 seconds behind him.

Hope dies last, Part I – Straight up: these summit finishes after a day spent riding across the plains always do damage. These summit finishes after a rest day always do damage. As such this was a very unusual stage and it’ll be interesting to see how the next two stages play out, especially Thursday’s more classic mountain stage with it’s saw-tooth profile before the Plateau de Beille summit finish.

Hope dies last, Part II – Déjà Vu: expect the “anything can happen” and “it’s still a long way to Paris” lines to be wheeled out. They can hold true but are deployed when only some improbably reversal is needed to rejig the general classification. Still if hope dies last, there are recent precedents to keep up some interest. Look at 2013 when we saw the first mountain stage summit finish to Ax-3 Domaines:

  • Chris Froome won
  • Richie Porte was second
  • Movistar’s leader was third
  • A Dutchman was fourth

Just like today, no? The next day was an awkward mountain stage over the Pyrenees where Froome was quickly isolated and on the rack for hours and one of the best days of racing in the race. Still those who have taken a battering today won’t want to be fried tomorrow.

Surprises: Lotto-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink finished fourth, he’s been looking good since the Tour de Suisse and delivered a much-needed result. Adam Yates was seventh. Tony Gallopin was ninth, probably the day’s most unexpected ride. In the past he’s had recovery problems, one great day comes with a price to pay the next.

Watts what? Performances get analysed and measured. Even an SRM Powermeter, often seen as the gold standard, is only +/- 1% accurate but the estimates derived by time and distance have often proven very close too. It’s not pseudo-science and in the Popperian sense the whole purpose of science is to venture a hypothesis and test it. But things get heated and many come to the case with preconceived certainties rather curiosity. This will rumble on, noisily at times.

Green: André Greipel was third in the intermediate sprint, winning the contest in the bunch with Peter Sagan seventh. It gives Greipel the jersey back and perpetuates a contest. But with Contador’s ambitions diminishing will Tinkoff-Saxo get behind Sagan.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Peter Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:20 pm

    Robert Gesink was amazing. There is a long story behind this result and personally I couldn’t be happier for him. Merijn Zeeman gave a very emotional interview for NOS after the stage, showing the struggle of the team in general and Gesink in particular this season (and before).
    I think it’s nice the team gets a result today, they have had a mixed tour so far. They performed outstanding in the time trial indicating good form (though probably supported by all the Dutch fans), but were terrible on stage 2 (you’d expect it the other way around…).

    I’m curious about what Gesink will show us the next two weeks!

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:50 pm

      I would take it a day at a time. Hopefully his attack and solo riding today won’t take it’s toll over the next 2 more “classic” days in the pyranees.

      Maybe the lack of a saw tooth profile favoured him… because usually despite being there or thereabouts on climbing days, invariably on the last climb he has been found wanting for a number of years now.

      I’m a big fan – and exactly as you say, so happy he got a result today..but hopefully its the start of a solid Tour where he can cement himself in the Top 10, rather than today being just a peak too soon.

    • il gregario Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:35 am

      I thought Gesink’s ride was amazing too…going on the attack from about 10km out was impressive and considering that effort and still finishing 4th, superb ride.

    • VeloLover Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:21 am

      Gesink’s climb was available at Strava.. output is 5.67W/kg for 43-44 minutes..
      @ammattipyoraily’s estimation of Froome W/kg is pretty much spot on..

      • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:25 am

        But is the watt data coming directly from Gesink powermeter or is it the one that Strava makes up? The latter is usually dead wrong.

        • Sam Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:29 am

          Quite. Strava as a measure of accuracy…very funny!

          • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:33 am

            It’d be good to know if his Pioneer data is uploaded as part of this.

            Once again even the best powermeters like an SRM have a +/- 1% and often 2.5% variation and others can be more unreliable. So data taken from a power meter is “recorded” or “measured” data but strictly speaking it’s not accurate either. But it’s all useful data to collect and review.

        • VeloLover Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:38 am

          From Gesink powermeter..

          5.68W/kg for 42.33 mins.. about the time he completed the climb..

          • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:32 pm

            Thank you, that’s really interesting (even taking into account what inrng says above).

        • Uphillonly Thursday, 16 July 2015, 1:03 pm

          I had same thought & checked. It’s from his power metre as Strava shows a lightning bolt by the segment power if it’s a power metre rather than estimate.

  • Anonymous 2 Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:25 pm

    Just ordered another black INRNG cap from prendas. To continue mourning the death of cycling in appropriate colors.

    Love this site. People who have been around this beautiful sport a long time are here. Enough of them anyway.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:03 am

      Enjoy the socks but there’s no obituary for the sport.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 16 July 2015, 9:43 pm

        The day there is, will the epitaph read “I.N.R.I.N.G”?

        • gabriele Thursday, 16 July 2015, 9:46 pm


  • sete Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:28 pm

    So much for the most contested Tour in years… It’s over before it began. What a shame. Good for Froome, he’s definitely head and shoulders above the field, and the evil overlords of Sky. Bad for the fans. Oh well. Now I get why the really exciting races are held in April, in and around Belgium…

    • ave Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:54 pm

      I actually started to do a crosswords soon after Froome attacked, and even Quintana could not follow. I finished it just before Froome, so I can be happy that I beat him. 🙂 On the bike it seems impossible.

    • Larry T. Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 7:32 am

      Or perhaps in May…in Italy? I hope you’re wrong about Le Beeg Shew but it’s hard not to feel the race is turning into a parade. Disliking Sky and Froome don’t help either…has there E VER been a champion who looks so awful when racing a bicycle? With so many of the big contenders now way behind, I’m hoping for some real exploits as they have little to lose at this point. Racing for a podium spot is dull, dull, dull.

      • Gavin Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 8:48 am

        Reminds me a little of Michael Johnson – highly effective runner with what people thought to be an ineffective style. Perhaps we allow preconceived notions to interfere with our judgement,

        I found the way Froome rode yesterday (and in this tour so far) to look just like a champion.

        • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:34 am

          It was great riding, but a champion is something else – at least in my personal vocabulary (broader or tighter definitions are all legitimate, that’s clear).
          If we speak of what we’ve seen till now, I mean.
          This opinion has nothing to do with style, which is another chapter – I’d just say that the Michael Johnson comparison is miles away from the actual difference between Froome and the rest of bicycle riders. The same underestimation that leads to the comparison is telling…

  • Jonhard Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:35 pm

    What a day.

    I don’t believe it’s over yet… Nairo’s still in it, and perhaps Contador too. Today was an unusual day as you neatly described above; the reference to 2013 is instructive and there is a lot of climbing to do.

    The reference to 2013 is also ominous. They still couldn’t crack Froome, and the team is stronger this year (and luckier, so far).

  • Doubter Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:35 pm

    This is how it always happens….everyone gets all excited in the build up to the TdF and guys fall off, get caught out, etc. and it never turns out like the build up. Barring incidents, this GC is sewn up….by stage 10.

    Absolute master class by Froome and Sky. Clearly not above suspicion but completely dominant. Haven’t seen that since the well-drilled Postal teams schooled the peloton.

    • Canocola Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:39 pm

      Movistar played totally into Sky’s hands though, apart from the late attacks by Valverde. US Postal kept such a high pace that nobody else could do that, whereas Sky let Movistar do the work and apart from a couple of km or so, Froome did it more or less on his own whilst Thomas and Porte had a bit of fun lower down the hill.

      • ccotenj Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:37 pm

        +1… if anything, movistar tried the “ride hard tempo until you cook everyone else” tactic, it just didn’t work out… they just ran out of gas, leaving sky relatively well rested to take advantage of it… and since froome likes to attack, they took FULL advantage of it…

        given that quintana needed to start taking back time, i give movistar credit for at least getting out there and trying… while quintana lost time to froome in the end, he also put one foot solidly on the 2nd step of the podium… so it wasn’t a total loss, the strategy actually worked quite well in terms of eliminating “everyone else”…

        • razorback Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:21 am

          Not sure if I give them credits… seems they were naive. indeed they broke the peloton, but Sky would have done the same if they were in front and would have burn their matches quickly given Quintana/Valverde a better chance.
          Valverde was second weel for a significant time, this is a hard position for someone that should be saving energy.

          • ccotenj Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 2:17 am

            as lantern vert correctly points out below, they really had no other choice… sky would have no real reason to pressure the race…

            similar to stage 4 when G was perfectly content to let martin ride away, sky likely would have been fine with just rolling up the hill and letting the break stay away…

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:41 am

          this was just the first mountain stage. most probably it suited froomes deep-red-zone attack style much more than quintanas grinding-away-the-competition. nairo maybe targets the very hard plateau de beille stage and up to then wants to give everyone as hard a time as possible??

          • Sam Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:32 am

            I’ll be very surprised if Nairo doesn’t take a couple of the (many) remaining mountain stages.

            How much time he’s able to put into Froome, is another thing.

            But he’ll go for it, I’ve got no doubt at all.

      • Lanterne Vert Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:54 pm

        Nothing else they could have done. All the cards are in Sky’s hands. But you’re right. It’s impressive, but not amazing. I have yet to see anything to rival 2006 and Landis’s solo ride from Sky. Now that was riding nous! (* testosterone aided)

        • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:11 am

          True, yet we should remember that during that stage for reasons we won’t ever know Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Baleares (aka Banesto, aka Movistar) rode in front of a 50-60 riders peloton keeping a climbing rhythm which most amateurs riders would be able to sustain, especially on Colombiere… quite astonishing to see in its moment, imagine later. Nobody else considered adequate to do anything else.

          • Sam Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:34 am

            Has there never been any whiff of insight at all into what that was all about, gabriele?

          • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:21 pm

            Truth is I don’t really know.
            I noticed right on the moment and was quite surprised, thus went and asked around but all I got was voices, which I couldn’t really differentiate from a wild guess like you or I could try. That is, I don’t know if the insiders I spoke to were guessing out of feelings and experience, or they really knew: sometimes you can tell the difference, but this time I couldn’t. Which means I’m writing here just as if it was my personal *imagination*. Many were hinting at sort of a “strike”: people were increasingly angry at Phonak because despite what had been happening they felt the team was going on as if nothing (lots of riders were prevented from starting the Tour without fundament, that year, while Phonak nevertheless started with several *peculiar* figures in their ranks; they played their cards heavily during the Giro, now they were up to it again etc.). Hence some “senators”, some important sport directors in the peloton, *expressed* this way their… concerns. Sometime cycling is dictatorship, sometime it’s oligarchy with mutual control and agreed dishing.
            Please take into account I’m not offering this as reliable information at all, it sure isn’t insight, maybe a whiff, as you said. Novel writing (“inspired by” some facts, if anything 🙂 ), *not* kind of sharing factual knowledge (which is what I’m used to try). To me it’s very important to mark the difference.

          • Spofferoonie Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:25 pm

            I think the excuse was that everyone expected Landis to crack and neither Caisse d’Epargne nor CSC wanted to burn their matches early

          • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:31 pm

            An excuse, as you say, prompted mostly by TV journalists. But you needn’t ride lento or even less not to burn your matches.

  • Nicolay Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:35 pm

    I don´t think this will lead to a boring race. Many have nothing to loose, so I expects many attacks.

    • CK Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:27 pm

      I fear they have nothing to give …

    • razorback Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:23 am

      +1… other than TJ that probably will just defend, the others will most likely go crazy as 2nd place doent mean a lot for them

  • Sam W Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:36 pm

    With Contador so far back I’m hoping he goes on a crazy long attack, forcing the other GC riders to follow (such as 2011). If it really gets down to “The Fab Five” without support personnel, Froome could be isolated enough to not keep hold on all four of them.

    Of course this assumes they all have the legs for such a move. Alas, one can always have hope.

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:46 am

      i think the old fox will finish on the podium, more isnt posssible this year

  • Canocola Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:37 pm

    Nice little gesture of respect towards Valverde from Thomas at the line today – Valverde did more than anyone to try and create problems, and Thomas appeared to do more than anyone else to ensure it didn’t work. This probably isn’t the best forum to draw a parallel with a cricket contest, but it reminded me of the way that the recent series between New Zealand and England was played – utter commitment and desire to win, but with a hefty dose of mutual respect and obvious sportsmanship.

    • gabriele Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:05 pm

      Movistar were great friends with Sky in 2013, too. Hope that’s gonna change, i.e., that they won’t just duly expect Quintana’s turn to win one TdF in years to come without any serious attempt in the while.

  • Ed Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 9:50 pm

    It’s been annoying me reading people say “he beat Contador by nearly 3 minutes” as evidence of a shady performance. Well yeah, Contador was also beaten by riders like Adam Yates, Tony Gallopin, and Geraint Thomas. THIS Contador is not the same Contador.

  • S. Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:00 pm

    Wow! Inrng referencing Karl Popper has to be a first for cycling journalism!

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:48 pm

      First this is a only blog not journalism… but I’ve used his falsifiability ideas before too, it’s useful to think in this way when others present such certain ideas on both sides.

    • Irungo txuletak Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:34 pm

      Not the first time I am impressed by INRNG references.
      Next to this one to Popper, I remember one on Monte Carlo simulations that was not bad neither.

      Really great job and culture and excellent writing too (I can enjoy it despite my low level of english). Congratulations and thank you again for making us enjoy all of that.

      • A Fan Thursday, 16 July 2015, 4:20 pm

        Indeed, the sharp references are part of what make the writing incisive and enjoyable. Hat’s off once again, Mr. Ring. It really is a beautiful place you’ve built.

  • Gabriel Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:03 pm

    No, it really isn’t. But the gesture was nice.

  • Gabriel Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:06 pm

    It really isn’t the site for a cricket reference. And G’s gesture to let V first was nice.

    • PT Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:19 pm

      Au contraire, cricket and cycling are old friends. Nevertheless, I agree that sporting gestures are always welcome, whatever the endeavour.

  • Lee Woodhead Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:13 pm

    The only Froome loses if he falls off, cannot see the other riders being capable of utting him under pressure. Quintana could take some time back but not enough.

  • Conrado Calvet Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:13 pm

    Chapeau Team Sky!
    While I was watching the stage I really didn’t get why Movistar was working so hard on the front of the peloton before the climb. They have done a big part of the leaders team work. The only way to knock some time of Froome us letting him isolate in the final climbs, everyone else need to let the break go it’s up to them to loose it’s up to the leader. Let the break have 20min if needed.
    But now they only way to race will be guerilla and crazy attacks, if someone still wants to challenge the robotFroome and his goofy style…

    • Mark H Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:01 pm

      I assumed it was because a) they wanted the stage win for Quintana and the bonus seconds that go along with it b) there aren’t many true summit finishes in this years tour (despite all the mountains, most seem stages to end on shorter climbs with the big ones earlier on in the stage) and it made sense for Quintana to try and get some time on Contador and Nibali who are perhaps more likely to attack on one of the descents and then hold on and get some time over Quintana that way

  • SilverSurfer8 Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:17 pm

    Yeah. They’ re trotting out the cliches! I’m still going to watch though. Looks like an interesting battle for third…

    Who of the fallen can resurrect their chances? Every time this happens, the commentators bring up the possibility of alliances forming. It sounds like a great idea, but they never do it! If multiple teams attack Sky, surely they could profit. Maybe this year…

  • Usff Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:28 pm

    Utter display of power today from Sky. Chapeau.

    Must admit though, it did remind me of The US Postal formula – smash your competitors on the first big climb.

    • brr Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:13 am

      … but it wasn’t sky, it was Movistar pulling the “smashing” postal move…

      • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:28 pm

        Movistar worked hard on the front, but they never became the numerically dominant force in the group that had been progressively selected, whereas Sky did; moreover, Sky could drop out of sheer strength (that is, not because the other guys were collapsing by themselves) a good number of captains working with the gregari, whereas Movistar was just “tiring” captains through its own domestics. However, Movistar’s work was important for Sky’s success.
        And, what’s even more important, to speak of a USP formula much more is needed.

  • Richard S Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:33 pm

    The theory goes that now so many big contenders are so far behind they have to attack. It’s a nice theory but it never works out. Sky will go like shit off a stick and no one will be able to attack. Our only hope is that Movistar send Valverde from the very start of the stage and force Sky to stick or twist. They either let him go and he pulls off a major coup or they go after him and Quintana exploits there tiredness later on. That’s all I can think of, and it’s an extreme long shot. In reality they’ll pull him back and Froome will still have the legs on Quintana. It’s a done deal.

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:56 pm

      this could be repeated with Majka or any number of others lower down the order.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:05 am

      I think we’ll see a more cagey scenario, today worked great for Sky but other teams will want to see how they do over a proper mountain stage. Porte has been fragile before and if Geraint Thomas can do one 40-50 climb, can he do three in a day? Valverde and Quintana can and they hold the keys to this.

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:35 pm

    What we need now is a Contador Quintana and TJVG attack from kilometre 0

    • bmj Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:20 am

      The question is whether TJVG will attack or protect the second step of the podium. He’s not really known as an aggressive rider, and I can’t imagine he’ll change that and risk a good result. Now, Contador, on the other hand, he has no reason at this to simply follow wheels. I suspect he’ll take some risks in the coming days, assuming his legs are up to it. The same likely goes for Quintana–he needs to be aggressive to move up the GC.

      • razorback Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:30 am

        +1… although other teams will mark each other for second now.
        BMC will actually help Sky from now on
        Only chance is to isolate Froome, but this comes once every 2-3 tours…

  • Louis le B Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:49 pm

    What a tremendous showdown!! Sky was destructable when the peloton hit the mountain! It was ‘G’ (this incrediable limitless talentet rider) pushing the Aston Martin bus uphill dropping first Fiat with the shark and then all the Seat-spanish boys one by one, leaving the little colombian boy on his own with the vulture smilingly waiting above. It was epic!!
    I honestly don’t believe Sky could have pulled this off without ‘G’. With Froomy and Porte enjoying the landscape in the backseat ‘G’ smashed everything on the difficult first half of the mountain and delivered the backseatboys to finish the game. Whauuu. I’m not impressed with Porte – let’s be honest, he’s been on vacation for 9 days, so ……

    • Augustas Pablo Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:37 pm

      This has to be a troll…

  • ccotenj Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 10:56 pm

    “Still those who have taken a battering today won’t want to be fried tomorrow.”…


    movistar did a pretty decent job of frying pretty much everyone today… unfortunately for them, they also fried themselves by giving sky a free ride for so long… sky didn’t have to work until they WANTED to, and the result was predictable… if they had had to drive the bus all day, the results may not have been the same…

    • Martin Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 2:57 pm

      Totally agree, that was a very clever line that stood out for me.

      I love the language of the INRNG blog as much as the passion and information.

  • JC Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:01 pm

    This has been coming since stage 2, Chris Froome and Sky have been the strongest and most determined rider and team in the race. It is a shame from an excitement point of view, though the final stages of the stage today were excellent the race isnt half way through yet.

    “Anything can happen” but the focus is now likely to move to other things.

    Who else will be on the podium. Nairo Qunitana seems likely to be runner up, maybe he might take a stage. Third, TJG might seem the obvious choice but I wonder about Geraint Thomas, he looked pretty relaxed at the finish and if Chris Froome is safely in the lead he might get more freedom to ride for himself, certainly the thought he might be a grand tour contender seems plausible. Can Contador motivate himself to keep going just to secure a top 5 place? Astana, serious questions here, Mikel Landa supposedly off to Sky, Vicenzo Nibali clearly not happy, all the team politics. French riders – Warren Barguil was impressive after the crash, a stage win seems possible, Tony Gallopin – another who it is possible to see leading in the not too distant future, the rest – not much to say at all. Another impressive ride from Adam Yates again a stage win seems possible yet another future GC contender. If Richie Porte can keep producing then a stage win would seem highly possible (if for no other reason than him and Chris Froome are friends unlike the situation with Wiggo), it would certainly give rise to thoughts of what if with regard to the giro.

    All interesting enough sub plots but the main event looks to be set to become a procession around the always attractive French countryside, waiting to see if Cav still has it come the Champs Elysee

    • Special Eyes Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:10 pm

      Talking of Cavendish – ahh yes, the Green Jersey.
      This year actually seems to be a bona fide contest. Greipel is in great form and accumulating points on the intermediate stage sprints.
      To make it even more of a contest, what about doing a Formula One and awarding double points (ie 100) for the Champs Elysee finish ?

      • Canocola Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:59 am

        Terrible idea – it would totally unbalance things into a ‘winner takes all’ nonsense, and destroy most of the narrative for the previous three weeks.

        More interestingly, is Cavendish starting to take points off Sagan to avoid Greipel needing to win the final stage outright (eg to improve his own chances on the Champs), or was he just amusing himself?

      • Martin Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 3:05 pm

        The green jersey is supposed to reward consistancy (although the only thing consistant about the scoring system is that it changes every few years!) so it would be at odds with giving greater points for any individual stage.

  • Alex Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:02 pm

    Some good points made here. Chris only best Quintana by 1 minute. Hardly anything Too crazy.

    The real story is contador and nibbles blowing up completely. Contador particularly looked stilted and not his usual bouncy self.

    • Redeye Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:33 pm

      Yep, totally agree with this. The gaps weren’t that big really, the surprise was who fell away.

      • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:52 am

        The gaps weren’t that big?! o__O

        Mont Ventoux 2013, 19 riders under 4′. Yesterday they were 14.
        14 riders under 3′ then, we had 10 yesterday.
        8 riders under 2′ then, while yesterday they were 3.

        21-17-9 towards Ax 3 Domains in 2013.
        16-12-7 for Nibali in Chamrousse 2014. 13-10-10 for Nibali in Hautacam. 19-16-14 Evans 2011 on Galibier. 32-21-8 Contador 2009 on Verbier.
        I’d say they’re the most impressive gaps between the yellow jersey and the rest since Pla d’Adet 2005 (11-7-5). They were bigger than Ax 3 Domains 2005 (14-10-7) or Courchevel that same year (19-15-5), bigger than Mount Ventoux 2000 etc.

        • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 2:08 am

          Uhm, not to look like I’m hinting at anything I should add that we saw comparable gaps with Sastre on Alpe d’Huez (11-9-0: peculiar tactical situation, anyway) or with the Andy-Alberto couple on Tourmalet 2010 (12-6-5).

          I went looking for results thinking about circumstances I remembered as decisive and so, but after a while I got tired and had to plunge directly in the wonderful first 2000s years to find something significant – I skipped this two who came to my mind a bit later.

          However, yesterday’s remains a situation with an impressive selection for a Tour mountain stage. Sure among the three or four with the biggest gaps in the last ten years (out of, I don’t know, some 40 or 50 mountain stages?).

          And… no… I won’t go and look how many times – with such a selection – three riders from the same time made the top six (and it looked like it was more of a “top five”, to say the truth).

          • razorback Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 5:22 am

            Agree, one of the biggest shows of force in recent years…
            What impresses me the most is not even the quantity of riders under 4′, is actually the amount of GCs above 4′. Mollema, Nibali, Uran, Peraud, Ten Dam, Rodriguez, Hesjendal, Pinot,…
            if we had to pick the top 14 (all under 4′) we would miss it badly….
            … maybe Inrng would have guesses better, as he has far better picks than I do…
            I dont want to suggest anything also… I think Sky have always been ahead of all the other teams, but indeed was an amazing ride. Maybe because the decided to attack from a longer distance?

    • cthulhu Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:23 am

      I mean everybody going on about the Giro-Tour double being crazy because one cannot recover enough in between. And clearly Contador showing signs of fatigue and is missing his zing seems to prove that. But while everybody starts speculating about Froome’s performance yesterday, I keep on wondering how fresh and strong Ritchie Porte is.
      Ok, him beeing fresher than Contador because he didn’t have to fight til the end at the Giro, I can accept that, but being nearly on par with Froome and better than the rest who specifically trained only for the tour, leaves me wondering why everybody is questioning Froome but not him. Not that I’m implying anything, but it’s the attitude of those “doubters” which i find a bit biased. Because on paper Porte’s performance looks more suspicious than Froome’s, still Froome is the one in doubt and Porte gets a free ride. That is not consequent.

      • Alex Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:29 am

        As Brailsford said yesterday evening – until the Giro Porte was by any measure one of the best climbers in the world this year. He was on pretty imperious form and he’s looked good for a long time.

        Now he had a bad Giro mostly due to poor luck and everyone wrote him off. He’s also done almost nothing the last week of the Tour – he’s 45 mins down on GC so he’s got much fresher legs

        • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:54 am

          Whatever Brailsford says, if you’re among the best in the world when GTs are concerned, you just don’t arrive at your thirties without having shown anything relevant in the GC of three weeks races besides what you achieved (long ago) thanks to a “fuga bidone”.
          It’s not *mostly bad luck*, believe me. And I consider him a nice rider, who had shown really fine things during his juvenile years in Italy.
          However, Porte is a good short stage races rider, an excellent single climb performer… and, as Alex points out, the guy has been resting all the week long, so his performance as such isn’t that *surprising*. Further considerations about him need to wait some stages more.
          That said, the collective show from Sky in a day with the selection we’ve seen was “extraordinary”, as a statistical fact.

          • noel Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:48 pm

            I also think Porte just isn’t a natural born leader (sorry BMC). He looks so much more comfortable doing his thing without the added pressure. I know it’s probably a grimace, but he did appear to be grinning as he wound Quintana in yday…

          • Martin Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 3:15 pm

            I agree that Porte seems to crack as a leader. Don’t know if he mentally struggles with the pressure or is tactically weaker but I think that he will just be stepping sideways by going to BMC next year and beint a superdomestique to TJ rather than to Froome at Sky. It’s not like Sky haven’t given him the chances to shine.

  • Henrique Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:04 pm

    Le 2015 tour est mort. Plus 1 if you agree.

    Actually, I’m glad that it came aout this way, I have work to do and can’t spend half the time thinking about the tour… Nop, I’m not glad at all 🙁

  • Scottt Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:10 pm

    “Like a tube of Pringles”. Just excellent, I’m off to buy some socks.

  • Redeye Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:24 pm

    Well, that shows what I know about bike racing after watching it for 25+ years. Didn’t see that one coming at all. I thought it would be a cagey affair with gaps of a few seconds.

    Not sure if the tour’s over yet, but the goalposts have definitely been moved a long way. The day after a rest day is always a strange one, especially with mountains. Some seem to thrive on them, but others just don’t seem to be able to get going again. I didn’t think today looked too bad on the route profile.

    However, it’s a sure thing that Froome will have a bad day of some sort. The question is how bad his bad day is, and will his team have a bad day a well? Recent history suggests his bad days are merely average, not awful, but he certainly has weaknesses. Descents perhaps?

    • Special Eyes Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:28 pm

      Let’s not forget the weather – a wet / wild day in the mountains, with the descents as you say..
      The weather has trumped the race once and it could do so again.

      • Alex Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:45 am

        Agreed – Dauphine’s wet day where nibbles attacked was perfect example of this. For all their strength Sky aren’t very good at chasing in the wet. A strong break on a rainy lumpy day could see minutes taken off them – I hope this happens.

  • TEA Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 11:55 pm

    Can’t believe all the negativity round here! sure Froome has got a good lead but it isn’t unassailable when you still have nearly two weeks of the tour left. There will be those willing to take risks amd those risks could have all sorts of consequences, not to mention weather and all the other myriad things that can happen. And I certainly didn’t get the impression that Quintana had given up when interviewed, he looked like a man who was still up for it. Who knows how much the rest day had affected him not to mention. the slightly risky Movistar strategy. Equally there are a lot of talented riders who could really make a name for themselves during this tour given the Nibali and Contador form. Give up on the tour now? not bloody likely!

    • NancyA Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:51 am

      +1! Even if the GC is decided (a big “if”), some of us understand that the GC contest isn’t the only thing of interest in the TdF (or any other GT). There are plenty of races within the race to hold my attention.

    • tintinbike Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:24 am

      +1 it’s a long way to go

    • GB Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 7:34 am

      I’ll keep watching. I may just do it without checking the internet, depending on how many people insist on implying I’m bored and the sport I’m watching is dead.

  • AK Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:16 am

    Some linguistic gems there INRNG, great write-up. As for the Tour, there’s still plenty of sub-plots and maybe just maybe…

  • Doctornurse Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:27 am


    at this point the TdF is 80% over and the only thing that can stop Froome is crash, mechanical, inattention or weather, but tactically, he can counter anything anyone else can dream up….

    AC is tired, but the man was busy winning the Vuelta and Giro in the past year. Nibali is a mystery and although I am tempted to say that Q is just not good enough this year, the dude IS Still really young and so he gets a bit of slack. TJVG has yet to show that he can consistently hang in high mountains for 3 weeks, and Froome is peaking with a killer team…. So…. Tactical Options?

    Attack on a descent off the Tourmalet tomorrow or Wednesday? Sure, why not? Stages 11 and 12 all have significant descents up to summit finishes and stages 15, 16 and 18 is going to be all about descending skill (Nibali needs to have these stages on his “to do” list for sure). We have seen Contador try this tactic before and we all know how good Nibali is on the descents. Froome can afford to give each of those guys a minute, descend at his own pace, send Geraint or someone to chase, keep his Praetorian guard and then cover any crazy losses himself, so tactically its possible, IF dudes have the legs, but risky, and easily contained…

    Jailbreak attack? Wow…Not sure if we have ever seen something like this, but if say all the bigs just jumped SKY early on, and forced them to chase for hours, it MIGHT work. Stage 14 is possible if a masive break can go for it on the last set of climbs before the finish, but on currnet form, SKY can easily manage this…

    Solo break? I like stage 17 and the Col dÁllos and also stage 18 and the Glandon for this… AC loves these sorts of mountain….Long with a steady Alpine gradient where he can just dance his way to the top and both have tricky descents up to a rising finish. Hopefully AC’s legendary recovery will allow him to recover some of his sparkle and zip, and encourage him to send a man in the break and try a Fuente De….but if not, TJVG should be able to use his motor on this climb as well. Hopefully by then some of the SKY lesser lights will start to dim, and Froome will have to put his shoulders to the wheel more…But on current form…. Meh…

    I think stage 19 and 20 are going to end up being SKY set pieces- Death march pace then Frrome off the leash and then we are on the Champs….

    So essentially, I think that the only chance to prevent this from becoming another SKY procession is to ask Froome some key questions on the descents. THis may play into the ands of tired, but skilled riders, and might expose SKY’s tactical weakness and propensity to panic when things do not go as scripted….

    Doing a rain dance would not hurt either….

    Maybe a little paella pot luck among the other teams?

    Either way, this is NOT going to be easy…

  • KB Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:33 am

    Normally the Vuelta is the refuge for redemption; everyone said “the Tour starts today”, so I reply “the Vuelta starts tomorrow…in France.” 🙂

  • THWND Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 1:49 am

    Hugely impressive ride by Froome. He has clearly shown himself to be the strongest rider so far. The immediate reaction is to declare the Tour over, but there is still a lot of racing to be done. This stage was ideally suited for Sky and Froome. They love these set piece climbs where Froome can do a huge output for 30-40 minutes as he did today. The next couple of days have more varied profiles that will require a different type of effort. Froome won the battle today, but Quintana only lost a minute so the war is far from over.

    Now that Froome has taken such a commanding lead the rest of the teams are going to leave the pace setting to Sky more than they have so far. Sky has had to do relatively little pace setting and chasing, but they are going to start burning riders chasing breaks starting Wednesday.

    We have to also consider that Froome has never been as impressive in the third week of a GT as he has in the second. He tends to lose steam towards the end which leaves some opening for Contador and Quintana who have demonstrated that they can be strong in the final week.

    I will actually be very curious to see how Froome responds tomorrow. He went deep today and his recover skills will be on display like everyone else. When he won the Tour in 2013 there were not as many successive climbing days as this week week will present.

    • Doubter Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 5:38 am

      That was a great comment……chapeau

    • razorback Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 5:47 am

      Agree that Sky will be doing the lions share of the pace setting, but the other teams will start fighting for places in GC and will help Sky a lot more than we would expect to control dengerous breakways.
      Similar behavior we had in ’13… an attack from Contador or a good rider up in the road will be shut down by BMC, Moviestar, Astana… they wont be able to get coordinated here as Froome las a 3′ cushion.
      Sky is in a really good position.

  • RooBay Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 2:13 am

    Loved the choice of the two Froome stem-gazing pictures. Says it all really. Racing by numbers.

    Very impressive physically but hard to find any flair or romance in that win. With such an exciting first week, the rest of the tour is looking like one long yawn.

    • KB Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 3:00 am

      In those shots it looks more like he’s looking to see if anyone is on his wheel. And while he does seem to be staring down all the time, it’s also easier to breathe than with your head up (if you ride, try it and see for yourself), Marginal Gains™.

  • Larrick Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 2:50 am

    Thank you for your review Inrng. Balanced and sensible as per usual.

  • Nick Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 4:47 am

    I hope Unzue has Vaughters’ number…

    • souln Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:49 am

      😀 +1

    • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:20 am

      I really really hope that too, but Unzue’s structure hasn’t become exactly famous for that kind of ventures. As I noted below, they prefer another approach. Still, they’ve got a special inclination for the “fuga bidone”, with a couple of famous examples, but typically not with their road captains (obviously: it ain’t be no “bidone”), whereas they’ve lost a good number of GTs when attacked as they now should do against Froome. Lot of sympathy between the two groups (Sky and Movistar), I wouldn’t dare to say that in Vaughter’s case. My hopes lie in Quintana’s temperament, even if without a proper frame I doubt he can sort out anything relevant.

  • razorback Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 5:28 am

    Inrng, do you know if Froome is lighter this year?
    Would/could explain his poor ITT and improvements in uphills…

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:03 am

      He’s 67kg, I don’t know how this compares to previous years. But like all riders they’ve known the course since October and will have neglected the TT bike to spend hours doing hill reps instead.

      • razorback Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:05 am

        tks… btw, amazing blog…

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:56 am

      According to his interview with Richard Moore last week, he says he is slightly heavier than he was last year “but not by much”

  • Rusty chain Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 5:33 am

    Not normal.

    • Salsiccia Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:38 am

      Agreed, Nibali’s collapse was completely out of the ordinary.

      • Alex Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:49 am

        And contador’s

        • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 11:18 am

          If you take out the Sky guys from the stage classification, Contador’s performance was more or less compatible with what his condition presumably could be after a gruelling Giro. It’s not just “winning the Giro”, it’s also how the Giro was.
          And if they weren’t there, riding like that, maybe he would have lost even less (despite Movistar’s efforts).
          Nibali’s was a mental breakdown, unless he’s ill.
          Out of ordinary it was, indeed. I think he rarely lost that much time in a single stage of his “adult” GT career.
          The whole Astana affair this year was a quite unprecedented source of pressure which he really didn’t deserve at all and which, on afterthought, didn’t make much sense, either; add to that what goes along with being the defending champion but being constantly questioned (and this is a bit more deserved, not because I’m doubting of his victory – I think he’d have won with Froome and Contador both racing, broadly speaking – but because it’s also a consequence of the Tour-or-nothing preparation he and Slongo chose again).
          Nibali is no Contador from that POV… I expect some pride reaction from him, but maybe not with the cold mind which could make it really impacting. Sort of a Dauphinée thing, maybe.

  • MD Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 6:15 am

    Agatha Christie !!!!! And I thought our dear dear blog writer was far too good a critique to pass his time on such authors. Ah yes, back to cycling…

  • motormouth Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 6:21 am

    I don’t think this race is over, it’s barely into the second week! I hold hope.

    Now Sky has *a lot* of work to control the inevitable attacks. And we don’t even know how sustainable their performance is. In these post-dopage days recovery is not assured; we’ve definitely seen big efforts come back to haunt riders.

    Hopefully other teams will take turns having a crack at them for 1st instead of infighting for placings.

    So, killer ride by Froome noted, good on him for attacking and let’s hope this is a repeat of the Giro’s intensity and not a wet blanket.

    Note to Sky mgmt: I’d also like to see this performance with a data overlay like that 2013 mt vetoux video, that was very entertaining!

  • Hayden Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 7:25 am

    Froome to win… but it would be nice to see Porte take the KOM jersey. He could manage this if he’s strong enough to stay with his captain and nudge half a wheel ahead over the intermediate climbs…

  • Special Eyes Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 7:34 am

    Very sad today to see headlines about Lance Armstrong questioning Chris Froome.
    I was not concerned about him doing the charity ride of two of the Tour’s stages, but he should have kept his thoughts to himself. Not helpful at all.
    And actually it would have been better, in hindsight, if he hadn’t come.
    I bet Geoff Thomas feels the same now.
    Not good.

    • Cameron Isles Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 8:30 am

      “1. Clearly Froome/Porte/Sky are very strong. Too strong to be clean? Don’t ask me, I have no clue.”

      This is a dog whistle and quite frankly not even a particularly clever one. I’m mildly disappointed Lance couldn’t come up with anything better. A portent of things to come though once he’s actually over there with microphones in his face no doubt. And why was Rick Reilly at the airport with him? Don’t tell me he’s going too? From calling “sheer chutzpah” to posing for selfies. Wow. Total lap dog.

      Inner Ring, what can you say about the way Lance used his leverage with Trek to get back at Greg LeMond without getting sued? I’m suggesting given the nature of the quote Greg gave David Walsh after the ’99 Tour, the irony of Lance’s Froome tweet shouldn’t be lost on any of us.

      Every seed of doubt Lance can sow helps justify his own behavior. I predict in a couple of days time Chris will find himself in the middle of a no-win PR situation. Respond to Lance’s trolling and give the guy oxygen and relevance. Ignore it and risk looking weak. Froome should actually attack Geoff Thomas for handing Lance the platform if he indeed does start badmouthing the sport. Actually, Froome should eviscerate the naive and presumptuous Thomas. I’d be a Froome fan forever if he did that and it may well be the smart thing to do. If he engages Armstrong directly he’ll probably get a bruising. See Kimmage, Paul.

      Lance would be popping champagne corks like a ’72 Dolphin if Froome were to test positive. Watch your back Chris! (and your drinking water).

      • disgruntledgoat Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:02 am

        Rick Reilly is an idiot, he used his platform in SI to work the “bitter losers” angle on everyone who questioned Armstrong for years, without ever doing a scintilla of research (as is the opinion writers’ wont).

      • Sam Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:54 am

        I’d say that the PR for the Lance Redemption Tour aka Geoff Thomas’s Charity Ride is coming along to plan for Lance

      • ccotenj Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 2:26 pm

        i don’t think lance has enough credibility with anyone to actually sow any “new” seeds of doubt amoungst those who are without doubt to begin with…

        they may be used by the “anyone who wins in a dominant fashion must be doping” crowd… they also may be used by the people who already have their own “beliefs” about sky/froome…

        but i seriously doubt anything lance has to say will change anyones opinion…

        reilly isn’t even worth commenting on…

        • Cameron Isles Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 6:34 pm

          Dan Patrick hung his yellow jersey up in his Connecticut studio recently. Lance has been on at least three times with Patrick since Oprah. Phil Knight gave Gatlin a Nike deal and wouldn’t rule out resigning Lance in that TMZ video. Lance will weasel his way back in with Livestrong. Tejay van Garderen obviously doesn’t mind being seen motor-pacing behind him. Emma has forgiven him we are told. Lance will bring up the Basso diagnosis for sure and who can predict how the French fans will react or the drunken Dutch fans on Alp d’Huez? If it’s any kind of welcoming he’s off to the races. Armstrong in front of a camera may bring into sharp relief Froome’s comparative lack of charisma. If the media want to beat up a story Lance will almost certainly oblige them; don’t forget the Le Monde interview on the eve of the Tour two years ago:

          “It’s impossible to win the Tour de France without doping.”

          With the race for yellow possibly done and dusted after tomorrow, idle hands could make for the devil’s workshop. It could well be an interesting few days.

  • notorious Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 7:46 am

    Port chasing seemed a little strange to me- especially given his known ability to smash him self into fatigue until he has a bad day and looses a packet. Mind you, it would appear sky could do quite well without him for a day anyway.

    But is the race over? it is if all the other teams leave it to single big efforts to decide the remaining stages. One interesting detail that the ‘data-gate’ has produced is some insight into how sky approach these climbs. for a full analysis see @veloclinic, but in short it appears that Froome has a very large anaerobic component to his ability, which combined with a big aerobic element is obviously lethal when administered in one go.

    To my mind the way to approach beating him would be to start riding further out and try to diminish this kick earlier in the stage. as we have seen before e.g. on the double accent of alpe d’huez from was distanced over these longer efforts.

    This observation reminded me of the changes in approach to the team pursuit in the last decade, where the move from a endurance to an increasingly sprint type rider has been seen, which might explain things a little given the overlap between staff and riders between British track programs and team sky.

    • noel Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 9:55 am

      I thought that about Porte too, thinking back to ’13, when Sky struggled to look after Froome the day after that big first day in the pyrenees and a Froome/Porte 1-2. Richie is miles back on time, so it seemed a bit of a risk just to nick a couple of bonus seconds off Quintana. It will be interesting to see how Porte handles things today if Sky do get properly tested (Garmin going to rip it up again maybe? I hope so…) particularly as Kennaugh seems off his game a bit (and Roche looks a bit iffy?)…

    • gabriele Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:03 am

      Indeed. That could (not) be seen in Astana’s approach last year.
      They rode every previous climb at a slightly but notably higher tempo than usual – not to be confused with holding impressive speeds all stage long (you can look at climbing times, or at breakaway dynamics, to get an idea).
      The idea was tapering watts for everyone towards the final climb, achieving an advantage for whoever was less hampered by extended, steady, hours-and-hours-long efforts.
      The problem with that approach is…: you need a good climbers’ team on decent form; you need “previous climbs” and “many-many-hours-long” stages.
      Astana hasn’t provided the former (nor a sparky captain, anyway), the route hasn’t provided the latter – till now (but it won’t so much in coming weeks, either).
      Will Movistar be able to do that? It’s yet to be seen, they seem to prefer the long-leash / violent final effort approach… which suits Sky so well, too. It would be a pity, since Quintana has shown several time he’s able to sustain prolonged efforts along all the stage and deliver a good finale (unless he changed his training to try and match Froome).
      However, it’s not something you can decide on the run, the team has to train specifically to play a specific game.

      • notorious Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:29 am

        its also interesting to compare with the tactics Sky used in 2012; with Wiggins the whole team was engaged in the stage high tempo work, trying to push the race towards a game of ‘best aerobic fitness vs weight’ wins.

        I’d agree that this isn’t a tactic that can be employed on a whim!

  • Simon Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:31 am

    Grammar correction (sorry to be pedantic, but you seem to kind of appreciate them)

    “Had he rode” should be “Had he ridden”

  • Don Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:46 am

    Thanks Inrng and everyone who comments on here! I’m still new to cycling but I’m picking things up quickly because you’re all great. Keep up the awesome work!

  • sifter Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 12:02 pm

    Great writing as always. Hendrix yesterday, and a hat-tip to Agatha Christie today. Keep ’em coming…

    It looks like one of the Team Sky mechanics found some yellow duct tape in the back of the truck, and thought to decorate Froome’s bike with it… Not quite as bad as Rolland’s shorts last year, but tacky enough…

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