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Tour Stage 15 Preview

The roller coaster profile looks like something out of Eurodisney but as rides go this is gentle. Yes it climbs but this is the last opportunity for the sprinters before Paris so they and their teams have to make it count.

Stage 14 Review: a fierce start and it took hours for the breakaway to settle. It included several big name riders like Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet and Rigoberto Uran, all reduced to raids since their overall plans went up in smoke. As predicted the stage was all about the final climb and Romain Bardet attacked first which was the last thing to do. He’s got a mean sprint and could have sniped the win but his early move saw others reeling him in, notably Thibaut Pinot. Then Steven Cummings caught both, went to the front, and despite only taking a lead of two to three metres, out rode them to take a fine win. Important for him and monumental for his team. Peter Sagan was fifth and for all his second places this was surely his best result. Bardet said he didn’t recon the stage finish so he didn’t know what to expect, it always surprises that teams don’t pay more attention to such critical finishes.

Behind Nairo Quintana attacked and Tejay van Garderen cracked. Chris Froome followed the Colombian and outsprinted him like the stage win was at stake, a strong ride but his team mates had gone; Richie Porte’s been on antibiotics of late. Quintana is now up to second overall.

  • Km 9.5 – Côte de Badaroux, 4.6 kilometre-long climb at 5.1% – category 3
  • Km 69.5 – Col du Bez, 2.6 kilometre-long climb at 4.4% – category 4
  • Km 73.5 – Col de la Croix de Bauzon, 1.3 kilometre-long climb at 6.2% – category 4
  • Km 126.5 – Col de l’Escrinet (787 m), 7.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.8% – category 2

The Route: Mende will be humming to the sound of riders warming up on the rollers as it’s uphill from the start. This stage is going to be a wrestling match between the sprint teams and breakaways. The start suits the attackers but the rest of the route is a draw. The Col de l’Escrinet is the big test but as bad as 7.9km at 5.8% can sound for the sprinters it’s the most regular of climbs and engineered to allow traffic to speed up, a truck can climb this fast so expect the in-form sprinters to be sat tight on the right wheels. A reciprocal descent awaits before a ride up the Rhone valley.

The Finish: a regular run into town. The races crosses the mighty Rhone river and then climbs up into town, an extra effort but nothing much and then it’s an urban run through town before the finish.

Mark Cavendish Tour de France 2015

The Contenders: Mark Cavendish is the prime pick. He got the better of the others in the last field sprint. Today the race goes through Aubenas where he took one of his finest sprint wins, making the cut over a large climb and then sprinting to the win.

André Greipel has been suffering in the heat. Once you start to suffer like this recovery is hard but the weather is set to cool so he should be there. Alexander Kristoff has almost vanished from the race. So strong last July, imperious this spring he’s now under the radar. In truth he’s been close and his win in St Etienne last year came after a hilly stage that some didn’t expect a sprint. Arnaud Démare‘s surge on the finish to Rodez showed he’s got good legs right now but has he got the cool head to time his sprint right? John Degenkolb is out for revenge, Giant-Alpecin set to work on the road to Rodez as if they hadn’t seen the finish which never suited the sprinters and the result was blank except Ramon Sinkeldam got heat exhaustion and went home. Finally there’s Peter Sagan who has had all those second places so far and if we say he’s not going to win… he’ll finally do triumph. But against the others it’s hard to see him win in a flat out sprint.

Altogether that’s a lot of teams with an interest in the sprint.

Mark Cavendish
Alexander Kristoff, André Greipel,
Démare, Degenkolb, Sagan

Weather: warm and sunny. The first half of the stage at altitude sees cooler temperatures before dropping down to the Rhone valley and 30˚C.

TV: the finish is for 5.20pm Euro time. The Col de l’Escrinet starts around 3.40pm so tune in to watch if any sprinters get ditched and to guage the fate of the breakaway.

If you can’t find it on TV, you’ll find it online with Cyclingfans and steephill.tv for links to feeds and streams.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 6:40 am

    It seems piss poor not to have reconnoitred the finish. How can the rider be expected to gauge their effort. Is it punchy or requiring an extreme reaction? Stevo took his opportunity brilliantly.

    • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 8:08 am

      It is a matter of money. You can’t go and look at all stages/finishes (even if you leave out the sprint stages). And if in some cases riders even have to pay to go on a trainingcamp with their team, I don’t think there is enough money for this. Plus – I don’t think Bardet or Pinot thought they be in this position at this time of the race.

      • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:26 am

        Surely it doesn’t cost a lot (relatively) to send someone to drive the route?

        • The Inner Ring Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:56 am

          For Bardet the team will have known the finish well, the managers and some riders have done this before. It’s a climb that surprises by its severity, look at the roadbook and see 3km at 10% and you’ll get the wrong picture.

          • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:15 pm

            But surely the severity shouldn’t surprise – the teams should know?
            I read, before the stage, ‘3km at 10.1% doesn’t sound too bad but the second kilometre is more like 12-14% and it’s an eight minute effort for the best.’ Are they reading the wrong websites?

    • Alex Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:16 am

      While one might be able to see the climb and finishes on public roads, it’s not so easy to reconnoiter a finish on an airport runway… And often the racing line and amount of room available in the final kilometers is quite different when in race set up/closed roads than when in it’s normal naked state. It depends on how technical it is.

      Cumming’s comments were interesting – sounds like he simply paced himself better up the climb, staying calm while others attacked early only to fade as the climb started to bite. He was also aware of Pinot’s relative weakness at speed in corners.

      • Alex Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:18 am

        self grammar police:
        in “its” normal, not “it’s”

      • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:11 pm

        I don’t think their lack of knowledge of the parcours played such a big role – did Cummings know any more?
        Fair play to Bardet and Pinot, in their interviews they’ve openly admitted that they messed it up – not working together, not taking the corners well, etc.
        One of the images of the Tour for me: Cummings swooping round those two bends at incredible pace, almost clipping the barriers, whilst Pinot and Bardet floundered, taking a completely different line. No tactics necessary: he knew he could just blow them away on the flat – I knew that too, but didn’t realise he’d be quite so devastating.
        Like watching a hawk take out a couple of pigeons.

        • The Inner Ring Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:29 pm

          Cummings has raced up it before in Paris-Nice.

        • Dave Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:55 pm

          “Like watching a hawk take out a couple of pigeons.”

          Brilliant.

      • Jon Wood Sunday, 19 July 2015, 5:11 pm

        It’s been used before for stage finishes so there should be plenty of video available to get a feel for how it has played out before. Nicely taken by Cummings – getting that slight gap was all he needed and he knew it.

  • Narkie Sunday, 19 July 2015, 8:11 am

    anyone hear whether the urine thrower was caught?

    Apart from being outright wrong, its pretty brazen to throw it on the yellow jersey wearer who seems to nearly always have a camera/helicopter on him. I know there’s a lot of people, but the risk of one of the many camera’s catching your arm fling out just seems to be way too large.

    It seems so absurd to thing about a person leaving home for the day, and taking a packed lunch, chair, hat, sunscreen….and bottle of urine.

    • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:28 am

      And punching riders is unbelivable! I think Porte complained of it a couple of days ago, and Rohan Dennis yesterday.

      • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:10 pm

        The fans have become worse and worse over the years – not giving the riders space (always been an issue), running alongside, cameras on sticks, flares/fireworks, spitting and so on.
        It’s only a matter of time before something serious happens.
        The authorities need to crack down now.
        Serious punishments for those caught – study the various videos.
        Ban fireworks.
        Ban running alongside – police/stewards to stop anyone who does so.
        It’s far too laissez-faire at present.

        • ccotenj Sunday, 19 July 2015, 3:26 pm

          agreed… and as much as people will complain, it is time to start putting barriers all the way up climbs… i hate to say it, but the name “monica seles” comes to mind, and sadly, it is a matter of time before some crazed “fan” does something similar to a rider…

          i know part of the attraction of cycling is that you can get so close to the riders… but no other sport would allow the fans to actually be able to reach out and touch the participants… froome was literally fighting his way up the hill the other day, having to push people out of his way (i’m sure he wasn’t the only one, the camera happened to be on him)… even if you take the fear of “crazies” out of the equation, the riders need to be given the room to actually ride…

          my wife suggested arming the riders with tasers so they can zap the fools who run alongside, etc… i’m beginning to think that’s not such a bad idea…

          • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 4:25 pm

            I like the cut of your wife’s jib.
            Barriers are now a necessity. People will talk about the cost, but ASO can afford it – that’s the price of popularity.

          • The Inner Ring Sunday, 19 July 2015, 4:38 pm

            They covered a lot of the climb of the Plateau de Beille. ASO will probably bill the host towns for it.

          • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 7:03 pm

            More idiotic fan behaviour: person at side of the road spraying water onto the road with a hose – we saw Sagan ride through it after his bike change.
            How can someone be allowed to do something so dangerous? (The peloton had passed by this point.)

        • Anonymous 2 Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:34 am

          Seeing it in person, not just on television, might change your perspective, it’s not a problem, IMO.

          Been much like this for decades. The only difference I see now is people wanting to run in front of riders. Beside them and behind them are not issues. As confirmed by a few pros. If you watch broadcasts carefully, the crowd can be pretty self-regulating of totally out of line behavior as well. But wanting to run in front, for the cameras, is a newish problem that should be addressed.

          For those in contention, motos before, and cars after, really do part the Tifosi Sea. For those riding well out of contention, fans are quite helpful, especially on uphill riding.

    • Ablindeye Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:13 am

      Chances of being caught are practically zero in a mass crowd environment. A gendarme would have to be right on the spot, switched on and interested enough to make an arrest there and then. I can’t think of any occasion where this kind of act has resulted in any recriminations. Chris Boardman relayed an example from his time at the Tour where a group of riders got maced…it’s a wonder these things don’t happen more often given free access and that it only takes one idiot. Perhaps we should take some comfort in that at least.

      • AJW Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:50 pm

        Don’t forget a few years ago Julian Dean and one other rider (Oscar Freire?) were shot with an air rifle and had to have lead pellets removed after the stage. But I’m pretty sure the police did get involved in that even if no prosecution eventuated.

    • hoh Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:35 am

      Well, fans doing crazy stuff could probably count as professional hazard that comes with the job, but the general anti-sky media sentiment is quite another thing. And it wasn’t just French media either.

      Cyclingnews is just short of writing “the only way for Sky to prove they are clean is to ride badly”. And all the “sport scientists” they are quoting are people like formal Fastina trainer Antoino Vayer and certain Tucker (who felt the need to remaind people that he’d picked at somebody not Sky after using Lars Boom as an example on TUE). They haven’t give people with opposite opinion any voice at all.

      Then we have formal dopers from Armstrong to Jalabert chipping in, with the motive to prove that doping is always in cycling and what they were doing was “not wrong”. Jalabert said it was uncomfortable to see Froome rode like this whilst the top 3 last year suffered, but it was clear at that point that the top 3 last year wasn’t at the top of their games at all. Nibali is clearly not on form, Pinot had broken mentally, Peraud was again still chasing form. By his logic, it should not be comfortable to see Quintana riding so well ahead of the 3 either, or for that matter anybody riding ahead of the 3 at all. Finally, if French TV is so fussed about doping, why are they celebrating Jalabert’s superhuman rides mid 90s?

      For all the doping talk or Sky destorying the field talk, Froome would only had a lead over Quintana by about a minute and half had only Moviestar kept themselves together on the 1st road stage. By anybody’s book the race would have been closely contested.

      I am not saying journalist should not have doubts on aethletes performace, but they should express their doubts in a professional way. Kimmerage did this pretty well in his 2014 Froome interview. Whilst he probably thought Froome was doping, he didn’t impose his view on readers. Instead, he just asked some very pointed questions, presented opinions by some of people doubting Froome and ultimately let Froome lay down his side of the argument, and let audiences do their own judgement. In my opinion, that is good journalism which can bring the sport forward. The eager participation of anti-Sky ranting just because it is popular to do so at the moment on the other hand isn’t and wouldn’t help at all.

      • Alastair S Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:54 am

        +1

        • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:00 am

          Ja Ja part of the ONCE Machine, could ride on the front for whole stages with mouthes closed. Those were the days!! the cheating bast**ds.

      • RonDe Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:30 am

        One of the best comments I’ve read on this. Thank you hoh. Its helps nothing and no one to be a crazy. When Quintana wins a couple of finishes next week, as he will, will we be hearing that he, as a man who will have beaten Froome, is a cheat? Will he get the piss thrown at him? Will anyone even question his performance?

        • hoh Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:19 pm

          Such treatment by fans is not cool on any rider and medias needs to be rational and impartial not biased. Sadly speaking, Kimmerage’s balanced piece doesn’t sell as much Irish Times as the rants would help other media outlets. Though the fact that many would be attracted to Mr Inner Ring’s level headed commentary is perhaps a sign of hope.

          As for Quintana, he’s riding better and better each stage. Hope he’d start trading blows with Froome. Then we’d have an epic tour with an exciting 1st week and some real battle in the 3rd.

      • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:49 am

        Very well said.
        And at the same time Jalabert is saying that Sepulveda’s expulsion from the race for taking a lift from another team car (albeit only 100m) was unfair.
        Proper journalism provides evidence – not baseless speculation.
        And the way that Vayer is described using terms such as ‘scientific’ is laughable.

      • Turnip Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:10 pm

        Your being very dismissive of Ross Tucker when he is very qualified and well respected in this field. http://sportsscientists.com/who-are-we/

        He was also similarly dubious of Nibali’s performance in last year’s tour de france – http://sportsscientists.com/2014/07/the-2014-tour-performance-implications-a-reflection-on-the-origins.

        A similar story can be said of Vayer, he estimates power for all climbs and just highlights those with the highest scores – at the moment this does happen to be Froome. They calculate these estimates using techniques and formulae which anyone can find, and whether you agree with the methodology or not, they are not unfairly picking on any particular riders.

        British cycling fans seem to be particularly patriotic, that’s great you can get behind your favourite riders and teams, but don’t let this cloud your judgement.

        Also, remember Sky got a top 2 in 2012, and this year with Froome, Porte and Thomas they have three of the very strongest climbers. So does it look suspicious? No-one else has had this consistency in recent times at a team level – single riders, yes – e.g. Contador. But what other team has a track record of producing a production line of low weight, excellent TT, excellent mountain climbers? People talk of money at Sky, but this money isn’t used to import GC specialists, improving them and then winning. The money brings in super doms, but the team leaders have all developed from riders that were not seen as young gifted GC riders – yes they were all talented in different ways (otherwise they would never have been a pro bike rider) – but there are far more obvious candidates to turn into GC winners. The only consistent strand in the story is Team Sky.

        Does this 100% mean they are cheating? No, but given cycling’s history it’s not altogether unlikely.

        • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 1:21 pm

          Certainly true of British cycling fans – I find it ridiculous at times – but is that any less true in other countries? The Spanish media and public don’t seem to be very objective when it comes to Contador or Valverde.
          There is reason to be suspicious about Sky (albeit with zero evidence) – Froome’s and Thomas’s climbing abilities seem to have come on very quickly (depending how you view the bilharzia thing) – however, Porte showed his before he came to Sky.
          And let’s see how Thomas performs in the third week before passing judgement. As for Porte, he is a mile down on GC having had a very restful first week and has faded on a number of climbs.
          Also, very similar things were being said about Astana a couple of months ago – often by the same people who are now so certain that Sky are clean.
          As for Sky’s top two in 2012, well, they had the two best riders – as did La Vie Claire in 1986.
          The fact is – with both teams – no-one knows.

        • Tovarishch Sunday, 19 July 2015, 1:26 pm

          I am not a particular Sky fan but it is clear that many team managers have no idea how to select a properly balanced team and get them to work together (vide BMC in times past). Developing a team pursuit squad is all about getting the balance right and understanding the attributes of each rider, something that Sky have developed further on the road. The fact that the various British Cycling development programmers, which start at age 14 have acted as the feeder programmes for Sky also means they have the capability of developing riders with the right physiological profile from scratch and are able to have input into every aspect of their development.

          Too many versions of develop there, sorry!

        • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 1:30 pm

          I think a lot is to Sky’s history. They formed off the back of the GB track cycling team who developed to become the best track cycling nation in the world.

          • Turnip Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:39 pm

            Yes, which if anything adds to the suspicion. Who else has found that techniques that to all intents and purposes are successful for track events that are all about high intensity power for short bursts also apply to three weeks and 3,000km?

          • The Inner Ring Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:43 pm

            So did Orica-Greenedge which came out of the Australian track programme, itself the best in the world at one time under Shayne Bannan… but it never had as much funding as the British track programme and Orica doesn’t have half the budget of Sky.

        • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 7:05 pm

          Plenty of riders brought through the Sky system who don’t turn out to be phenomenons. Look at Kennaugh in this Tour.

          • Tovarisch Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:23 pm

            You mean the Kennaugh who has been ill?

          • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:36 pm

            Ah, didn’t know that… my oopsie.

        • RocksRootsRoad Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:45 pm

          Your sadly wrong about Tucker. He has forgotten that REAL science is theory without prejudice.

      • Doubter Sunday, 19 July 2015, 8:01 pm

        Wow…..that comment reads almost like you’re a giant team Sky homer…….
        Just remember…..all the USPS and Armstrong fans sounded just like the lot of you back in the day.

        • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 8:16 pm

          If you mean me, it was only 2 or 3 days ago that I was being accused on these pages of being anti-Froome and of accusing him of doping (neither were true).
          People have to learn that what they think is down to their own biases; not others.
          What I have written is neutral.
          Apologies if you didn’t mean me. (But if you meant hoh, you’re wrong there too.)
          Balance is what is needed.

          • Tovarisch Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:25 pm

            I think he means me. Anyone who uses the phrase ‘back in the day’ doesn’t deserve a response.

        • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:43 pm

          What’s a ‘homer’?

    • Duncan Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:03 pm

      Not wishing to begin an is-he-isn’t-he doping debate, but have a simple question if anyone knows about the feasibility of contaminating a rider to test positive :

      If urine can be thrown at a rider’s face such that it is tasted, could a spectator squirt a liquid containing a banned substance that would be ingested in minute quantity and then cause a potentially clean rider to test positive?

      This possibility has concerned me in recent years with such unrestrained behaviour against outstanding performances, but I haven’t heard it discussed. It would seem perhaps as unfortunate to have a false positive and derail the career of a great rider, as to have a rider win through undetected doping. I hope we get neither.

      • Narkie Sunday, 19 July 2015, 1:30 pm

        Very interesting question.

      • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:12 pm

        I’ve often feared this – and it must have occurred to the teams: ‘a spectator squirt a liquid containing a banned substance’.
        What was in that person’s urine? What if he’d taken something a few days before?

        • Leerf Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:52 pm

          There’s only one way to be sure. All urine-throwers must go through independent mandatory testing. 😉

  • Tricky Dicky Sunday, 19 July 2015, 9:56 am

    This Tour – if you read social media and even mainstream English and French media – is descending into something unsavoury. We’re either witnessing a huge fraud or a massive injustice on some innocent, excellent, sporting performance. The lawyer (and moralist) in me tells me that it must be better to suffer the former every now and again than to crush the joy out of life that comes from the latter. I really hope the reality out on the road is nothing like it is currently being portrayed from the media outlets I’ve read.

    Back on track, we could have 3 “team pursuits” today: the breakaway, the first group with the Degenkolb-types trying to keep the “true” sprinters out of the race and Etixx/Lotto going like crazy to try and catch up from the climbs. Should be interesting.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:10 am

      I agree with you but suggest we all need some perspective, we had an excellent day’s racing yesterday and should celebrate this rather than focus on a few roadside morons.

      • RouteDuSud Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:33 am

        Unfortunately not all the morons are roadside. There are more than a few posting comments on blogs. Self included.

        “Froome is a cheat because I think so” and “That’s what you get for riding for Sky” do not intelligent debate make.

      • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:10 pm

        Indeed. There are (12-14?) millions of people roadside supporting the race, which is what makes this sport so special. And among these millions there are also two or three idiots. As bad as those things are, unfortunately they happened before and will happen in the future. It would also help, if we all could comment with more respect for the riders and make it more about the race and the riding and less about ourselves.

      • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 7:23 pm

        One of the problems is that people keep saying it’s a small minority. It’s a minority, but it’s a lot of people. Only by facing the reality will anything be done about it.
        ‘Team manager Dave Brailsford suggested to Sky Sports that “the French crowd here is out of control”, describing the aggressive fans as a football mob.
        “You want to see it. We took videos, and maybe we should take images, of how mob culture is taking over what we have to drive through every day, and I think people will be shocked,” Brailsford said.’
        Yes, we do want to see it. Show it and shame these people. Maybe then they’ll stop. And without showing the evidence, it can seem like whinging.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:16 am

    All I saw was one tremendous rider steamrolling past two bickering handbag swinging Frenchmen. Fantastic win.

    • O L Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:04 am

      +1

    • bb Sunday, 19 July 2015, 1:55 pm

      Is that you Mr Walsh?

  • Finn Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:24 am

    It looks like Movistar will get a 2-3 on the podium if Tejay keeps falling back like yesterday in the Alps

    • piwakawaka Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:43 am

      Hopefully that was his bad day, otherwise it did look ominous, but what a finish, would have been great to have seen Cummings closing on those twits at speed, the coverage I saw missed it while with the GC guy’s. Good to see Froome on his own and Quintana testing the waters, he knows he can distance him now, maybe on the longer Alps he will be able to stay away.

    • Sans Facts Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:35 am

      That finish was made for Valverde though. The wheel sucker extraordinaire will be happy to get third overall. Tejay, on the other hand, was always going to struggle up a short, sharp shock of a climb like that.

      • Doubter Sunday, 19 July 2015, 8:04 pm

        That wheel sucker extraordinaire, as you call him, has once of the premier palmares in the sport.
        But as long as you refer to all your sprint heroes in the same way, it’s all good.

      • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:46 pm

        Ok, not “wheel sucker extraordinaire” then. What about “Dirty f**king Unapologetic Drug Cheat” instead?

  • Tom J Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:50 am

    Very glad for Cummings – he has deserved a big win to seal his career.

    Minor history / trivia note: Cummings was part of the first GB squad to win a team pursuit world title, in 2005. Amongst the other World Champions that year was Cavendish, who won the first of his World Madison titles. I wonder if he can do the “double” with Cummings today?

    Tom

    • Tovarishch Sunday, 19 July 2015, 1:29 pm

      Don’t think hand-slings are allowed in road racing 😉

  • Callum Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:52 am

    “making the cut over a large climb”
    I believe the ‘large climb’ Cav made the cut on was the very same col de l’Escrinet, albeit from a different side.

  • MD Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:12 am

    Fine finish to yesterdays stage…these short stumpy ‘medium mountain’ stages seem to be out performing the mountain stages in terms of racing spectacle… Whens ‘Prudy’ going to shove his balls about and have a tour with lots of these stages and no mountain top finishes?

  • HWSB Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:33 am

    Sagan was excellent yesterday – full 20 intermediate points plus 17 for 5th at the finish. And Griepel took 0. The fact that Sagan – in the green jersey, a very visible target – managed to get into the break and stay away was class.

  • GMT Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:40 am

    Re:MD, The riders make the race, not the profile. I for one would not want a repeat of the 2012 route, weighed far too much in favour of a certain rider! I think Prudhomme is getting it right with shorter mountain stages aimed at encouraging attacking from the off as in the 2011 Alpe D’Huez stage. Best tour for years IMHO!

    • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:51 am

      The last two stages have been far more entertaining than the frankly damp squibs we had through the Pyrenees.

    • Cliché Corner Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:19 pm

      “The riders make the race, not the profile.”

      How often does this get trotted out unthinkingly? Do the riders make the race at Scheldeprijs? GP Denain? How many times have you seen riders attack at all, never mind successfully, 50kms out on a race with a profile like that to Saint-Martin last Tuesday?

      The profile is the major determining factor in the type of race which will unfold. Add in weather and other road conditions; then the GC situation if it’s a stage race; then the riders. In that order. Then you have a race.

      • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:37 pm

        Fair point about parcours, but as for the TDF, I think the most important factor is whether or not you have one dominating rider (that’s why the Pyrenees stages were damp squibs).
        Hence, 2008, 2010, 2011 were far more entertaining as regards the GC than 2012, 2013, 2014.

        • Pierre-Jean Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:20 am

          The trick is to remember that no rider can dominate all terrains, so if someone is to dominate the mountain, he must absolutely contend someone who dominates him in TTs.

  • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:12 pm

    Is that a roundabout with about 400m to go? Could be interesting.

  • Helmer Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:29 pm

    How is Sam Bennett doing?

    • Augie March Sunday, 19 July 2015, 12:44 pm

      Lanterne Rouge at the moment and seems to be struggling, plus Bora are down to 6 riders.

  • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 2:48 pm

    From cyclingnews: ‘Cummings… produced a controlled effort, only giving it all and going deep in the final part of the steep climb to Mende after team manager Brian Smith told him to attack after he saw that the two French riders had eased up.’
    An example of how radios can have a positive effect on a race?

    • Anonymous Sunday, 19 July 2015, 4:47 pm

      Thank god for Brian Smith, i’m sure Steve wouldn’t have had the nous to attack on his own so close to the finish.

  • J Evans Sunday, 19 July 2015, 7:08 pm

    Fair play to Sagan (clouted Coquard at the end, though), he is unstoppable in the points jersey.
    He’s worked for it – hard to get in all those breaks – and smart tactics, knowing he couldn’t win many, if any, stages, he’s made sure he’s cleaned up in the difficult intermediates.
    The only thing ASO could do to perhaps stop him is get rid of intermediate sprints. I don’t think they should wish to: why punish a rider for being good at what he does?
    It is – and has always been – the jersey for the most consistent rider. And that is he.

    • Doubter Sunday, 19 July 2015, 8:09 pm

      That’s a good comment. Many second place finishes or not, the guy is a seriously class rider.
      For not being a pure sprinter, he is in the mixing it up every day with the world’s best……and hanging in. Four straight green jerseys at the TdF is (would be) an amazing accomplishment.

  • Will Sunday, 19 July 2015, 10:29 pm

    A 25 year old with 6 podiums at the tdf is amazing. Were there any further developments or substance to the stories of him breaking his contract to join Etixx? Tinkoff could probably do with the wage savings.

  • Special Eyes Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:17 pm

    Did Cavendish get caught out today, or is he ill, finding the heat difficult…?

    • Special Eyes Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11:24 pm

      Ooops, should have searched before I asked – diarrhoea.