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Tour Stage 16 Preview

201km and the first of the Alpine stages. The Col de Manse is the highlight, one of the rare mountain passes celebrated and feared for its descent rather than the climb. Several riders have come undone here.

Stage 15 Review: a fast start saw a large group go clear and Katusha missed the missed and chased. They covered 47km in the first hour despite the uphill start. Several riders were dropped including Mark Cavendish and Arnaud Démare as Katusha continued to chase. The Russian team mimicked Giant-Alpecin’s ride to Rodez, working on the front all day but left without a result. André Greipel took his third stage win with a powerful long sprint to hold off John Degenkolb’s furious headbutting style. It’s his ninth stage win all together, of all the riders in the race only Mark Cavendish has more. Talking of impressive, Peter Sagan wowed again, in the breakaway all day and then fourth in the sprint.

  • Km 130.0 – Col de Cabre (1 180 m), 9.1 kilometre-long climb at 4.6% – category 2
  • Km 189.0 – Col de Manse (1 268 m), 8.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.6% – category 2

The Route: after riding past yesterday’s finish of Valence the race rides up the Drôme valley. The road rises constantly before starting the Col de Cabre, “goat pass”. It looks pointy on the profile and sounds scary but is just a long drag. More main roads take the road into Gap where the race doesn’t cross the finish line but just before it climbs up.

The Finish: it doesn’t look like much and it’s all on a wide and open road. The profile above is an old one and the early kilometres are a bit steeper. One reason it’s so selective is because the descent is so feared, riders want to speed up the climb because they know a gap can be preserved on the descent.

In fact the descent is really part of the Col de Rochette but the Manse label has stuck. Tthe two most memorable incidents are Joseba Beloki’s crash in 2003 when a heatwave meant melted tarmac helped provoke his crash whilst cold rain undid Andy Schleck in 2011. In 2013 Chris Froome came a cropper. The descent is notorious but nothing outrageous, it’s more its proximity to the finish which incites riders to take risks and pressure their rivals. Things ease with 4km to go and the race takes a main road into town via several roundabouts.

The Contenders: it’s likely a breakaway goes away and stays away as long as it contains the right ingredients and a team or two is not forced to pull it back for hours. It’s hard to pick names from the breakaway lottery but remember names we’ve seen up the road are those feeling good and we’re likely to see them again. Think of Jacob Fuglsang, Thomas De Gendt, Wilco Kelderman, Adam Yates, Rigoberto Uran, Jan Bakelants or Romain Bardet as riders we’ve seen trying already and who can all do something on the final climb but these are a handful of names among others.

The GC teams will force the pace to the foot of the climb which could endanger a weak breakaway.  Vincenzo Nibali is being tipped by many because of his mean descending skills and he’s desperate to save something from the this race. But descending takes skills, confidence and power and if he’s got the first the second two aspects aren’t on show, he’ll need to believe in himself and have the power to sprint out of the corners faster than the others. Tony Gallopin should find this finish suits him, especially if he can sprint from a small group into Gap where Alejandro Valverde is an obvious rival.

Alejandro Valverde, Tony Gallopin
Rodriguez, Fuglsang, Kelderman, Nibali, Pauwels,

Weather: hot and sunny with tarmac-melting temperatures of 33˚C with a light 10km/h tailwind from the west.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.20pm Euro time and the Col de Manse is expected to start around 4.5pm. 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.

  • Sam W Monday, 20 July 2015, 6:17 am

    I think Greipel is the only one whose who stages at the Giro and Tour this year. Of all the guys at both races, he’s the only one who nailed it.

    • Augie March Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:21 am

      I was watching an interview with Robbie McEwan last night and apparently Greipel approached Robbie, who did the Giro-Tour double 10 times, for advice and tips on how to thrive in two hard grand tours in succession.

      Robbie also noted that Sagan’s choice to go for almost every stage, intermediate sprints and getting into breakaways is probably what’s costing him the chance at a stage victory. Every other rider seems to target a select few days they think they can win and aim for those.

      • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 8:03 am

        Peter Sagan was in the beginning meant to be there for Alberto Contador. It was clear, he won’t get the support other riders have, it was clear he couldn’t fight to get in a break, expect it helps Alberto. The team was never selected in order to help Peter Sagan. So his only chance for green was to pick up points whereever he can. That the plan changed now, is clear to see, but you can’t turn back time-the team still is the same and he left a lot of energy already on the road. But of course all these things influence the tactics and you have to weigh up your chances against a sprint train or a puncheur. And the riders do have different personalities, just like everybody else. Some can wait for one moment, some simply can’t. Sean Kelly and Erik Zabel both had Tours where they did win the green jersey, but no stage. And what if the effort of a stage win would cost him the green jersey, because he isn’t able to bounce back? Peter Sagan is probably going to win the green jersey at the Tour de France again-I think this achievement under this circumstances should be highly appreciated.

        • Nick Monday, 20 July 2015, 8:46 am

          I don’t think winning another green means that much when you’ve won three. Or at least it shouldn’t. The number becomes superfluous, like the amount of TdF stages Cav has won, riders need to try and win different things.

          • Augie March Monday, 20 July 2015, 8:58 am

            +1. I reckon Sagan would probably trade the green jersey for a stage win by now. He already has three such jerseys, everyone knows he’s probably the best all rounder in cycling, what more does he have to prove in this regard?

            Also, why was Rogers in the break yesterday? He’s Contador’s super domestique so should be saving his legs for the Alps. Plus Sagan has shown repeatedly he doesn’t need the help, he can freestyle it quite well, he did so for years when he was at Cannondale.

          • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 9:04 am

            I think Rogers’ presence in the break tells us plenty about the team’s support for Contador, no longer is every rider on duty for him. But it was an odd breakaway and strange to see him and Pinot among others in a move that had very few chances of staying away and if it did, how could they have won? Looked like a lot of energy spent for nothing when today is a lot more suitable.

          • J Evans Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:30 am

            I disagree: Sagan taking the record number of green jerseys would be a great achievement. I would rank a green jersey over a stage win: it takes a lot more effort over a much greater period of time (plenty of mediocre riders have won stages).
            Similarly, Cavendish taking the record number of stage wins is also a great thing to aim for (and what else can he do?).
            By your logic, it wouldn’t mean much for a rider to win six TDFs.

          • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:58 pm

            I’m with J Evans on this one; Sagan is only 25, he has the possibility to beat Zabel’s record and that would really be something. I especially appreciate that he’s wearing the jersey even after the rewrite of the points classification rules.

          • Xcelerator Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:54 pm

            I agree with J Evans. I believe a 4th green jersey for Sagan would be a remarkable achievement, especially after the rejigging of the points allocation. Similarly for Cavendish, his almost primeval victory celebration on Stage 7 in Rougere was not one of someone winning a ‘superfluous’ nth stage win. Nor even was it one of someone counting down to the stage wins record. With Cav it is “a win is a win is a win, and 2nd downwards is a defeat”. (although there is also the small matter of securing a new contract…..).

          • MD Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:58 pm

            If he can do it in a row like Zabel it would be a superb achievement. To add a tinge of controversy, I presume Zabels green jerseys have not been erased from the rule book like the overall yellow jersey winner for four those years, despite an admission of doping throughout in 2013. Anyhow, I do hope Sagan can achieve this

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 8:37 am

            Even despite the points rejig… the only rider to get close to Sagan is Greipel – and he’s needed to win 3x stages to even get that close!!
            Imagine that Cav, Kristoff, Degenkolb, Sagan, Coquard, Bouhani had all shared the sprinter/uphill sprint stage victories.. Sagan would be completely out of sight!

    • Richard S Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:49 am

      Is it a coincidence? Cavendish hasn’t been the same since he’s sacked off the Giro and thew all his eggs in the Tour basket. The Giro is bound to get a sprinter pretty sharp. They won’t carry the same fatigue as a GC rider as they aren’t constantly on it all the time on every stage, plus the weather this year wasn’t too cold or wet. Sure they have to get through the mountains but they can trundle up at a leisurely pace having a chat.

      • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:14 pm

        I’m not sure I think the gruppetto is just a “trundle up [the mountains] at a leisurely pace having a chat”. You still need to make the timecut and the TSS all adds up.

  • Narkie Monday, 20 July 2015, 6:18 am

    I’m hoping Bardet gives another descending masterclass (cf. the Dauphine stage to pra loup – which I’m also excited that we get to see again!).

  • BarkingOwl Monday, 20 July 2015, 6:57 am

    If I recall correctly in 2013 Froome came a cropper attempting to avoid a crashing Contador, who was taking crazy risks on the descent.

    • Guille Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:34 am

      Well, if you look at the picture above, Contador is behind Froome.

      • Alastair S Monday, 20 July 2015, 8:04 am

        Yes that is Bertie, but after he had gone off the road. Froome unclipped to get round & avoid him.

        • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 8:32 am

          Come on people, really? Are we now arguing about who did what and when?

          • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 9:17 am

            Hopefully there’s no argument, just a recollection of what happened among fellow readers.

            Both Contador and Froome took the bend too fast, first Contador and you can see him looking down as he gets his foot back in the pedal or sees what gear he’s in, just as Froome comes to a strange stop.

      • Jaeger Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:13 pm

        Well, if you look at the video below, you’ll see why.


        Watch it for a couple of minutes. Incident is at 41:08 or thereabouts with a couple of replays. The causer of the crash then sits in on the rest of the descent to catch the group. He’s a racer, isn’t he?

        • Xcelerator Monday, 20 July 2015, 2:01 pm

          According to Froome in his autobiography, Contador apologised immediately after that crash, and then Froome told Contador to sit in for the remainder of the descent, in order to avoid any further crashes.

          • Sam Monday, 20 July 2015, 2:47 pm

            Ha! and then the story goes that Contador give a sarcastic thumbs up to Quintana when they caught up with him, Valverde and Purito for having pushed on on the descent. Valverde wasn’t at all happy about that, went to Saxo’s bus afterwards and told Contador ‘If you have a problem with Nairo – you talk to me about it….’

        • Simon Monday, 20 July 2015, 2:44 pm

          In his book Froome says that Contador offered to do a turn but Froome told him that, after the manoeuvre that nearly took them both out, it would definitely not be appreciated. Contador did as he was told and sat in.

          • Xcelerator Monday, 20 July 2015, 2:59 pm

            “it would definitely not be appreciated”

            I can almost hear Froome saying that – have you ever noticed how often he uses the word “definitely” in pre/post race interviews!!

          • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:48 pm


    • Larry T. Monday, 20 July 2015, 8:01 am

      Froome is crashing in the photo? Doesn’t look a whole lot different than when he’s just riding the bike. Meanwhile, during what seems like a purely marketing move, Team Stinkoff gets mad when the camera crew shows too much interest in Sagan’s bike change. C’mon guys…is it REALLY needed (or smart) to swap from his “climbing” bike to his “sprinting” bike? I assume the guy who won the stage managed to ride the whole thing on the same machine? “Specialized” might be going too far with…well….specialization. They have so many teams riding ’em these days they might consider “Standardized” as a new moniker.

      • MickR Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:07 pm

        In this case perhaps the strategy changed when the break got caught. With the finish now definitely a bunch sprint, perhaps Sagan thought he needed the more (assumedly) rigid, strong bike.

        • Bottom Bracket Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:51 pm

          Useful for motoring through tiny gaps and not falling off when doing his imitation of The Pinball Wizard at the end?

      • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:04 pm

        The moto got in their way and slowed the bike change. I’d have thrown a bottle too..

        As long as bike changes are legal, and how are you going to write that rule??, teams will switch bikes for an advantage.

  • Richard S Monday, 20 July 2015, 9:06 am

    Will Movistar attempt a cheeky ambush on the descent or wait for the Alps proper? I’m hoping they have a go, but they don’t seem to have the same imagination as Tinkov and Astana. I’m going for a long shot today, Sagan to get in the break and go solo from the descent for the win! I hope so at least, he deserves it!

    • Dave B Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:15 am

      Hopefully any Movistar ambush will start on the climb. In 2011, for all the publicity given to Schleck’s Bambi on ice descending, and subsequent “No-one wants to see the Tour decided on a descent” whining, he was actually dropped hard on the climb when Contador attacked.

      Contador was not on top form then as now, but as we all know he just can’t help racing. Maybe he will kick things off but it will be Movistar that benefits most, just as it was Evans who took the most time into Gap four years ago.

      Having said that, Froome looks far less fragile than Schleck was, so it’s hard to see anyone taking a significant chunk out of his lead. He’s got plenty of time to play with and doesn’t need to take big risks to follow.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:15 am

      As a Spanish correspondent said to me the other day Movistar are a very conservative team and probably won’t try anything too bold. Valverde though has that racing instinct to sniff a move out.

      • irungo txuletak Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:40 am

        I would be very surprised to see Movistar trying something special. They normally ride very conservative as pointed out by inrng.
        But I think you can count on Kontador to at least try it (provided he has good legs of course).

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 1:53 am

      Nice prediction, and almost right… 🙂

  • J Evans Monday, 20 July 2015, 9:41 am

    Cyclingnews seems to have decided that Froome is guilty – totally biased reporting:
    As for Jalabert:
    And, for the inevitable accusations, no, I’m not a Froome fan – I don’t care either way – no, I’m not a Sky fan (I dislike anything associated with Murdoch) and no, I’m not saying he’s innocent (or guilty).
    But winds aside, he’s about a minute ahead of Quintana, who is only 25 and spends a large part of his season in South America (where there are less tests). Not saying anything about Quintana, just a bit of balance.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:14 am

      Hmm, the cyclingnews piece doesn’t seem “totally biased” and than you cast aspersions on Quintana in the same go (if you have the testing stats, please share as I’d like to know)

      • RonDe Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:34 am

        I don’t usually agree with J Evans about much but I do detect in Cycling News a desire to keep the controversy rolling on. (The “a flexible brand of logic” comment seems a direct poke at Froome for pointing out that press and media alike seem to feel free to accuse him and push every innuendo going without any responsibility whatsoever.) Almost like they want to attract readers or something.

      • J Evans Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:54 am

        The cyclingnews article seeks to suggest that the urine-throwing had nothing to do with what the press have said: hard to believe that when the person who threw it reportedly shouted ‘dopee’ whilst doing so.
        This – ‘On Saturday, Froome had demurred when challenged to specify the journalists whose reporting had supposedly incited a – we can only presume – otherwise reasonable man to throw urine at him as he rode past.’ – is not a reasonable sentence, in my view.
        The article also notes Froome’s ‘brazen denials’ with a sceptical air – what else could he do?
        The insinuations of the press have clearly had an impact on the public: that doesn’t make them all urine-chuckers, but does create the agitation of a large part of the crowd.
        And all this is based on zero evidence.
        And that is precisely the point I was making with my Quintana comment. You are wrong to say that I was casting aspersions about Quintana (that was Nibali). I was holding up the Quintana example as a mirror to the media’s behaviour towards Froome. I would have thought that this was clear from the sentence ‘Not saying anything about Quintana, just a bit of balance.’
        Specifically, I was pointing out that there is just as much evidence for Quintana doping as there is for Froome doping – i.e. zero.
        Were Quintana in the lead, would we be hearing about ‘suspicious training in Colombia’ instead of ‘Mount Teide’? Would we be hearing about how oddly strong he is for a 25 year old? I suspect not as much.
        If it was Nibali, would we be hearing all about Astana? Didn’t last year – not as much as with Froome. If it was Contador, would we be hearing quite the same furore regarding his previous doping ban – again, oddly, probably not.
        It is all the more galling that the one of his key accusers has been caught doping – Jalabert: see Matt Rendell’s interview to see just what a disingenuous hypocrite Jalabert is (lacks even the courage of his convictions to admit what he said, never mind what he did as a rider).
        As for Vasseur (as if Sky would be stupid enough to put an engine in a bike), has anyone asked him if he rode clean? Perhaps he was one of the tiny minority in that ‘different era’.
        One does wonder how much anglophobia is involved (the enmity between the two nations was also apparent by the number of comments suggesting that Pinot and Bardet rode as they did to lose to Cummings because they were French).
        I honestly don’t know how these people can continue in this manner, considering their history – I always laugh when I see Virenque advertising Festina watches of all things (interestingly, their sales went up after the 1998 scandal, showing that there really is no such thing as bad publicity).

        • Richard S Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:37 am

          Jalabert is a compulsive liar. His samples from the 98 Tour have actually tested positive for EPO, but he still won’t admit it saying that he trusted his team Doctors and didn’t ask what they gave him. Please. Plus he’s going on about unbelievable performances that are out of this world, and Sky being dominant. He rode for ONCE at the 95 Vuelta, one of the most dominant team performances of all time. He won overall, and the points jersey and the mountains jersey. His team mates Bruyneel and Mauri were 3rd and 4th. They rode on the front of all the stages and totally dominated. Do you get any less believable than that? Of all the performances in the EPO era that was probably the most blatant.

          • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:31 pm

            Froome is possibly more guilty than Jalabert, read his comments on bilharzia, then read about the disease, I think he’s full of it. And then you have to ask yourself, why would he lie about this??

            Froome is also the King of the whingers in the peloton; where is the video of him being doused in urine? I think he made it up. He’s in yellow, there’s not 5 seconds of the race that a moto isn’t filming him, and yet no one has come up with evidence that his statements are true.

          • Larrick Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 6:21 am

            “Not 5 seconds”. True that. Just the first hour and half when the helicopters weren’t up!

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:56 am

          We simply don’t know the uribe thrower’s motivation. To assume they took their cue from the media is understandable but not proven, they could just be a moron who spent the whole day in the sun drinking beer.

          Until we know there’s a risk in making these leaps, it’s the same thinking that nW/Kg is evidence of doping.

    • Richard S Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:30 am

      I read that Cycling News article and decided I’m boycotting the website (I’m sure they’ll care!) from now on. Like you say very biased, childish reporting. Like you I’m no Froome fan, I just can’t get on board with his ‘crab on wheels’ style. But the way certain areas of the media are reporting is ridiculous. If it wasn’t for the cross winds stage he’d be a minute ahead of Quintana, who may yet be coming to the boil for the Alps. Hardly a big deal. I don’t remember a furore when Nibali won at a canter last year on a team ran by a man who has been caught doping, actually caught not just suspected of, TWICE. Plus you have Valverde in the top 5, implicated in the Operation Puerto scandal. Nobody has been bothering him. Plus Jalabert is on TV and Richard Virenque is practically King of France. They were actually caught using EPO, again not just suspected of doing so. As was Basso, did he get any grief when he was still competing? I can’t remember any.

      The media think they are untouchable and can say anything about anyone. You get newspapers in the UK who for years have been publishing things about people that have no kind of foundation, and they have even admitted later wasn’t true. But if anybody dare question them or criticize them they get all high and mighty, like that Cycling News article. Nobody else gets away with behaving like that.

      • RouteDuSud Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:03 pm

        Kimmage isn’t immune from this either. That slapping he got from Lance he now wears as a shield of invulnerability. But just because Paul Kimmage expresses an opinion it doesn’t make it right. And he seems to think Vayer is some kind of expert when all he is is a guy with a big mouth. Evidence people! Evidence! Science catches cheats not people blathering on about pedal cadences and using dodgy formulas to “prove” someone must be cheating.

        Meanwhile the papers will print it all without any responsibility.

        • John Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:27 pm

          One wonders what evidence would be deemed satisfactory. If Sky were to (hypothetically) provide all watt,heart rate data etc, could that be used to disapprove doping? I doubt it. There is too much disagrement between the ‘experts’ as to the interpretation of this data. Instead opinion would be dominated by the ‘expert’ who shouts the loudest (Vayer). What about more testing? Given that Lance never failed a drugs test, testing clearly has its limitations. Although 24hr drug testing is an interesting idea. Or maybe physiological tests to establish natural causes of rider’s superiority e.g VO2 max test, DNA analysis. However, this approach seems only useful, if (Froome’s) data could be set against a back drop of other riders, and thus requires compliance from the peloton.
          I am not saying that Froome is clean (there is no way I could be certain either way), however, his backing of the latter two ideas (even given their relative limitations), as well as his questioning of the lack of testing at Mount Teide this year, show a openess that we haven’t seen before.

          • BenW Monday, 20 July 2015, 3:31 pm

            Personally I suspect no evidence will be satisfactory for certain sections of the population. I too admire Froome’s openness though, something we haven’t seen before.

            For the purposes of furthering my own understanding, what makes Sagan’s performances credible? There he is, day after day after day, seemingly never without a “jour sans”. Is this to do with power outputs? It’s usually W/kg power deduced from rider weight and climbing speed that sets off the “Doping Alarm”, isn’t it? I’m in no way suggesting he is doping or he isn’t, I’m just wondering how is consistency isn’t challenged.

          • J Evans Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:49 pm

            BenW – yes, shows what bad journalism it is: no balance.

      • Salsiccia Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:22 pm

        In fairness, they also have this:


        This one is pretty damning about Jalabert.

        • Kings of the Mountains Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:23 pm

          Which is no more than a rehash of Matt Rendell and ITV’s 2-minute skewering of the cowardly toerag, plus a Froome tweet.

          Fearless investigative reporting or lazy copy-and-paste journalism?

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

            And added at 11.35am UK time – possibly after receiving complaints?

  • Dave Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:20 am

    Barking owl is correct: froome was following Contador, Contador messed up the exit of a bend, froome had to take evasive action which left him wobbling on the edge of the grass.

    Which makes INRGs point that it is a descent some GC riders attack on to make up time.

  • Augie March Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:21 am

    Having aspersions cast on your performance by Laurent Jalabert is like being accused of dodgy accounting practices by Bernie Madoff.

    • Nick Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:10 pm

      Nice comparison. Made me chuckle.

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

      That doesn’t mean that Jalabert or Madoff are wrong. In fact, both of them are experts in their respective fields, though Madoff is a much more evil figure while Jalabert just played the same game as his peers..

      • Andrew Monday, 20 July 2015, 5:51 pm

        Expert he may be, but when Jalabert says something on the radio and then the next day flat denies speaking those words, his opinion must surely carry less weight?

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 6:01 pm

          It’s long been the problem, he’s struggled with the truth about his past which means a big blindspot and he’s lost friends for this. More on this at http://inrng.com/2013/06/jalabert-equipe-positive/

          Unfortunately it’s almost structural problem in the sport, many pundits are ex-pros with a lot of baggage, readers will spot their host TV commentator crew probably has a convicted rider in tow.

          • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:45 pm

            I’m not sure he’s struggled, a lot of riders did what was suggested without knowing what was really being given to them. But, “coming clean” is not easy for anyone. And it’s easy to beat Jalabert up for his past to try and discredit what he said. Fact is, Froome’s performance IS unbelievable. He’s riding stronger than the greatest cheaters of all time. All the while, he can barely ride a bike…

          • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:15 pm

            Stop the trolling. I’m sure you’ve seen the times up the Plateau de Beille when Valverde was 2 minutes slower than Pantani’s record. If you just want to bait people you’ll get zapped with a yellow card, otherwise try to supply some more factual support to your arguments.

        • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:37 pm

          He is denying the last statement in the question, I think. Vid’s been pulled

  • Dave the 4th Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:03 am

    I am a 4th Cat rider (have been up to 2nd years ago, but I am now too old to bother chasing points, and race just for fun), very often at the end of races I see some of the most horrendous sprinting, which causes crashes.
    If you have the time look back at yesterday’s sprint and you will see Sagan on the left side shouldering Deginklob, then he is on the right side shouldering Coquard, finally he is back on the left almost rear ending Kristoff, for which he has to take avoiding action by sharply pulling to the right and slamming on the breaks. To my mind Sagan’s sprinting yesterday reminded me of what I see in many the 4th Cat races.
    That said hats off to Deginklob, Coquard and Sagan for not crashing as any 4th or 3rd Cat race with that amount of line changing and barging would have ended in a mass pile up and lots of paperwork.
    However, the question I don’t understand is why Sagan was not DQed, after all we have seen riders DQed for less in the past (Cavendish avoiding barriers in 2011 comes to mind), it’s not the shouldering that I am looking at it is what I perceive to be multiply lines.
    Would like to read others thoughts.

    • Richard S Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:44 am

      Cav was at the height of his dominance in 2o11 and they were desperate to stop him any old how so loads of people complained about him. Sagan is not winning all the stages so they don’t care. I believe its that simple.

      If Froome is the aesthetic low point of the GC contenders then Degenkolb has to be his sprinting equivalent. He looks ridiculous!

      • MickR Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:18 pm

        It looked like Coquard was the man muscled out worst, and that doesn’t seem that much of a surprise considering his size against the others. Sagan was positioned poorly and did barge around. Good thing Coquard just backed off, wisely, and let him get through. It is mad how hours of racing come down to the last bit. Sprinting is definitely not for the meek!

    • JEB Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:40 pm

      I missed seeing the actual winner cross the line yesterday as I was too focused on watching Sagan – it’s the same every day – absolutely incredible to watch – spot him from about 300m watch him weave through the group. He appears to be impossible to box in! One minute he is one one side then he almost goes backwards around the rider and up his other side.
      Yes, totally crazy and could have caused a major accident – but also very impressive and great fun to watch. Really hope he gets a win – absolutely fearless.

    • JP Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:46 pm

      I don’t quite agree with your view. At about 800 m to go Sagan was on Greipel’s wheel and had Degenkolb on his wheel. Suddenly, Degs decided he wanted to go one position up the line and literally tried to bully Sagan out of Greipel’s wheel. Sagan defended his position until Degenkolb changed his mind and the turn repositioned everyone. Chaos ensued until the line, as usual.

    • Pete Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:36 pm

      I thought that once you have been 3rd cat you never go back to 4th?

      • Dave the 4th Monday, 20 July 2015, 4:27 pm

        I was racing on a non UK licence years ago then stopped for a lonnnngggg time, and came back to racing after moving to the UK on a UK 4th cat licence.
        I don’t bother chasing points, just go out and race 4th cats and vets for fun, backing off before the mad dash to the line.
        I have been told that if you don’t keep your UK licence updated for a number of years then all your points are gone and you have to start back as a 4th cat.
        That said I was at a race a while back where a certain S Yeats started in a 3/4 race. He lapped the field a few times and climbed off with one lap to go for himself, & was in the car and on his way elsewhere while the rest of us were still chugging around the circuit.

  • One Man Grupetto Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:15 am

    It was an odd looking-sprint – probably because some of the major names weren’t there to contest it and some less regular guys got involved. Degenkolb seemed to struggle getting grip with his backwheel, Coquard had a shoulder-barging match with Sagan, Matthews was sniffy with Laporte and I’m pretty sure I saw Brice Feillu leading out Vachon. Messy.

  • irungo txuletak Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:52 am

    This Tour is so far in general terms a bit like every Tour: quite boring compared to other GT. A race leader with a confortable advantage, predictible stages (put a stage like yesterday on a sunday is quite a surprising choice), suspsicions on the race leader… The same as every year… At least, we had some good stages in the first week to spice it up a bit, but this lasted no more than 3 days.
    A pity after the so interesting last Giro and Vuelta.
    Anyway, I will keep watching the race of course, hoping that something happens in days like today.

  • Gazelle CM Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:14 pm

    I have been reading the comments in french on the website of L’ Equipe and they are mostly antiFroome and anti Sky. The comments are violent and hatefull ( as so often with anonymous posters on the web).
    The French have quite a reputation if it comes to abusing cyclists who are too succesful, it dates from the very early versions of the Tour de France, in the early 50’s the whole Italian equipe, quit and went home because of threats. Eddy Merckx, also comes to mind, loosing to Thevenet after receiving a blow.

    • BenW Monday, 20 July 2015, 5:33 pm

      “The French have quite a reputation if it comes to abusing foreign cyclists who are too succesful”

      There, fixed. Ludicrous blind eye to both Virenque and Jalabert’s rendezvous with the syringe, while simultaneously berating others for the temerity.

      • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 5:45 pm

        Beware of prejudice and stereotypes, “the French” probably have varied opinions, for starters most people in the country don’t even watch the race. Virenque is a laughing stock for many, to “do a Virenque” is a stinging insult often used by politicians… although he does still appeal to a certain crowd. Jalabert has been criticised by many in France too and for decades many French cyclists in yellow have troubles from morons in the crowd too.

    • chava Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:58 pm

      The way Sky rides does make it hard to be a fan, regardless of your nationality.

      It has to be said though – being a fan of any of the new french hopes is also a bit hard to sustain at this tour..
      Stephen Cummings humiliating Bardet & Pinot was just the icing on the cake..

  • cilmeri Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:16 pm

    Warren Barguil? seemed to descend very well on the Tourmalet, but not sure if he’s particularly noted for descending?

    • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 5:35 pm

      Just watching the descent into Gap and thought of this comment…


      • PT Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:02 pm

        Indeed – although to be fair, he claimed that TVG put him off his line which caused him to lose balance, unclip and then take out Thomas.

        • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:14 pm

          Both WB and TVG were needlessly attempting to overtake going into the corner and ended up three abreast. TVG’s comments on the crash are disingenuous to say the least.

  • Ronan Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:18 pm

    On topic for today’s stage. The profile seems perfect from a good climber who will be allowed slip away on the final climb. Would have been Rui Costa, but maybe one for Dan Martin. Similar finale to his 2013 stage win.

    • One Man Grupetto Monday, 20 July 2015, 12:35 pm

      Good to be on topic as opposed to discussing contents of other websites and/or newspapers.

      I was thinking Hesjedal for today as a pick. I know he was in the breakaway but he seems to be one of those riders who comes into form the later a GT goes on. Otherwise Majka if he is let off the leash.

    • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:04 pm

      Now that Rui Costa is out, with Pierrick Fedrigo there is only/still one rider left in the race who won in Gap…but that was a career-lifetime ago in 2006. What a great story it would be, if he could win again after 9 years! It won’t happen, but it would be such a nice story. I think in any case one of the former favourites will try to do something before the restday.

      • PT Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:11 pm

        Would love to see Michael Matthews rise from the ashes but I fear that he’s too sore and would only be a prospect on this stage if he were fully fit. Oh well.

  • PT Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:07 pm

    A French colleague suggested to me today that he wished Prudhome would take a stand and try to calm the waters (so to speak) on the doping topic. They’re doing all the tests & controls required and indeed have already sent someone home (admittedly for coke, not your standard dope). He is a natural statesman who could add some levity as there is certainly plenty of hyperbole and hysteria and much of it is currently unchecked. I’m a natural cynic but I must agree that unless we have evidence, we’re ruining the event with speculation.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:11 pm

      He did exactly this two mornings ago.

      • PT Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:19 pm

        Ok, I and my colleague missed that. What did you think of his approach then? Did it generate any coverage? Change the discussion at all?

      • PT Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:28 pm

        A quick Google seems to indicate that he blames the media for the aggression towards Sky in a start-line interview yesterday. That is one thing but I think he needs to call a press conference and deal with the topic more completely and not just as an off-the-cuff defence of Froome. Its an attack on the integrity of the race and if their systems and processes are in place and functioning then he should point that out and defend it.

        Happy to concede if this is what he did but I can’t find that covered anywhere.

        • BenW Monday, 20 July 2015, 5:37 pm

          Quelle surprise, to be honest. The media over here in the UK are renowned for not sh*tting on their own doorstep, see The Sun’s dire covereage of the News Of The World’s phone-hacking trials and the like. “Media refuses to diss media over coverage” is hardly a surprise.

    • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:35 pm

      Let’s have some evidence that Froome Actually was doused with urine! Where’s the video???

      • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:48 pm

        Yup, I’m always inventing tales of people throwing piss on me.

        • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:56 pm

          Let’s see the video. If it truly happened, it was recorded.

          • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 2:20 pm

            You can find that sort of thing on other websites.

          • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:33 pm

            No, you can’t. And that was my point. Doubt it happened.

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 11:23 am

            Not sure that the rest of us are interested in your personal proclivities, but if you really want that sort of thing maybe try googling ‘splash action’.

  • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 1:36 pm

    I love the Froome photo: “Whoa there, little Dogma…”

  • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 6:05 pm

    Sweet victory for Lampre, nice to see that Nibali keeps his head up, Sagan again is pure entertainment, we saw IAM’s first Podium at the Tour as a WT-Team, MTN-Qhubeka had 3 riders in the top 20 today and through the huge time gap they jump high on the team classification. Great day! Gallopin worked for Greipel yesterday, maybe that was too much for him?

  • Anonymous No.99 Monday, 20 July 2015, 6:27 pm

    Great win there for Lampre, nice to see the spoils being shared. Thomas did crash, I saw it on the video, honest.

    • Larrick Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 10:48 am

      I do hope at least one of the Anon writers praising the win of Plaza are also a “Froome dopes” commenter.

      What was Fuentes nickname for Plaza again??

  • Ken Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:14 pm

    Regardless of the urine thrower’s motivation, he committed a premeditate assault on a rider, a quantum leap beyond excess enthusiasm. Why aren’t the ASO and UCI asking for more aggressive action to find and prosecute this person? There must have been dozens of witnesses, many with cell phone cameras.

    • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:32 pm

      what urine thrower? I think Froome made it up so we’d stop wondering if he was a doper..

      • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:01 pm

        If only you needed that level of proof before accusing riders of doping…

  • J Evans Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:46 pm

    Bravo Sagan – nothing wrong with second when you ride that well.
    And chapeau to Plaza for being the only one to have the guts to go for it out of Sagan’s rivals.
    With the main contenders other than Nibali doing nothing, does that show an acceptance of defeat?
    Maybe not from Quintana, who might think it’s better to play safe and have a right go in the mountains, but surely Contador knows he’s a better descender than Froome (and nowhere else on this Tour)? So, why not go for it?
    TVG also messed up on exactly the same corner as Barguil – just not as badly.

    • Special Eyes Monday, 20 July 2015, 9:52 pm

      I do feel for Sagan, actually.
      When he’s threatening a stage win, his fellow riders invariably leave most / all the work to him.
      It was possible that the group may have caught or got closer to Plaza if they’d have worked together.
      But, of course, they would not and he ended up covering secondary moves and then trying to make up a minute on the descent.
      As it was, even with a couple of over-cooked corners, he closed up by 30 seconds through his own efforts on the decent. It was great riding nevertheless to see.
      You’d have though that Tinkoff-Saxo could have spared him at least one puncheur.
      But alas no.
      Peter Sagan, the lone wolf.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:19 am

        But he gets the points jersey – the others in that break get nothing.

        • Special Eyes Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:30 am

          He will, but that’s so often the case with Sagan’s rivals though ; the fear of losing rather than the chance of winning themselves. And they end up with nothing anyway.
          Credit to Plaza for having a go, especially in to a headwind, but the fact that Sagan was awarded most aggressive rider today tells the true story.

          • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:42 am


            back to back “red number” for peter…

            stage victory or no stage victory, he is riding like a man possessed this tour…

            regardless of what oleg thinks, he’s earning his cash… heck, he has earned his entire paycheck in the tour alone, it seems like he is on my tv screen at least half the entire race….

          • cthulhu Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:32 pm

            Have we seen different races? I mean, Sagen rode a great, strong and smart race. And his descending was spectacular. But Geschke und Riblon were more aggressive, constantly attacking, even if Sagan was able to close them all down. And there was no fear of losing, since those two constantly tried, even if it meant for someone else, in this case Plaza to get away.

  • J Evans Monday, 20 July 2015, 7:54 pm

    Inner Ring, why not delete the Anonymous poster(s) above trolling?

    • ccotenj Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:09 pm

      +1… one of the reasons i finally started posting after lurking for a long time was because this blog not only is a good and informative read, but the commentary is as well…

  • Whale Oil Beef Hooked Monday, 20 July 2015, 8:52 pm

    Please leave them, most readers here are intelligent enough to ignore the twat. I’m sure INRNG has IP addtrsses if things get completely out of hand.

  • Dodge2000 Monday, 20 July 2015, 9:13 pm

    The David Walsh interview on the CN podcast was interesting. “why do you think Froome is clean?” “By the time Lance was this far into his TDF career I had 7 witnesses willing to testify that he was doping, I’ve spent 10 weeks with Froome and Team Sky and not seen anything. I think by sitting on the fence it is unfair to the rider if you think they are clean”

    I paraphrase there, but this is the key for me. Uran, Rogers, Barry, Cataldo………. Sean Yates, DeJongh………. If Sky had a doping programme then surely riders and staff that leave, some with grievances, wouldn’t you come out and say? wouldn’t you see Froome drop your rider, or yourself on a climb and know that the ‘marginal gains’ aren’t legit? All I see is that people that leave seem to take a few things with them about training techniques. Unless every team is doping again, then riders leaving Sky surely would blow the whistle.

    And as David Walsh said, the case against Armstrong had no numbers in it. It had no expert saying what was possible, as you’ll get an equally qualified expert to argue the opposite. The fact is, we don’t really know what know what is and isn’t possible for an elite cyclist as we haven’t had enough years of clean elite cyclists to work with. So until a disgruntled worker or rider blows a whistle, I’m more than happy to watch the racing and when someone destroys the field, Nibali last year, Contador’s battle back on that stage in the Giro, or Sagan seemingly every day this tour and applaud the physical feat I only wish I could reproduce for just a day.

    The Vuelta last year, the Giro and the Tour this year have barely had a stage that hasn’t had drama. Great racing, great performances. It’s a wonderful sport to watch if you are willing to give the riders a chance and take them at their word

    • Des Mount Monday, 20 July 2015, 9:34 pm

      You’ve hit the nail right on the head here.

      • Special Eyes Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:19 pm

        I am neutral on the issue but it seems to me that :
        1. It would be a good idea to have a continued WADA presence set up in each team ;
        2. There should be night-time drug testing of riders ;
        3. The controls of TUE’s should be tightened. If riders are unwell, they should recover naturally as far as possible. Perhaps only allow a certain number of TUE’s per rider per season ?

        Sky have said they are agreeable to some of these measures, and I do not know what more could be done than this.
        No other elite sport would have drug controls as rigorous as that, to my knowledge.

        • Des Mount Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:27 pm

          The problem with 1) and 2) is the cost. Especially for the embedded testers. Who is to pay for that? If the teams pay, then there is an immediate conflict of interest. There is also the danger of the embedded person “going native”.

          It’s great in principle, but the application would be difficult.

          • Special Eyes Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:18 am

            Fair points.
            But how much is lost to the sport in sponsors leaving / staying away ?
            The cost of bad publicity ?
            Self-regulation has been seen to fail.

          • Cameron Isles Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 7:33 am

            You would move the chaperones around to reduce the likelihood of individuals being bought off. I believe Sir Dave made this point on the cycling podcast with Daniel Friebe and Richard Moore earlier this year.

            The teams themselves should want to fund this seeing the stereotype of systematic doping programs within teams remains the biggest stumbling block so far as increased sponsorship is concerned. If the teams truly are doing everything in their powers to clean up the sport then such initiatives would help provide “cover” for sponsors. “We were given these assurances” etc etc, they can say to their clients. You sometimes have to spend money to make money.

            I also wonder whether greater efforts need to be made before a rider ever receives an elite racing license. Right now really all you need is a team willing to take you and boom, you’re a pro. Maybe some kind of competitive qualifying school is required, under fairly strict quarantine conditions over a period of several weeks. Similar to the FIA super-license drivers have to hold before they can race in Formula 1. Where you would hold it or what form it would take I have no idea, but say you had 150 young riders looking to turn pro, you could limit the number of cards to 100 or have some other ratio. Both the “wheat” and the “chaff” have proven themselves capable of doping in the past, but it appears to me a much greater percentage of the chaff undermine anti-doping efforts; ie some riders without drugs simply wouldn’t be pros at all.

            I also think the number of directeurs sportif with doping backgrounds is still troubling and it’s something we perhaps become desensitized to. Jonathan Vaughters reckons cycling would look like a ghost town were you to get rid of everyone. Maybe for two weeks it would be. Pretty soon, however, others would move in to fill the void.

          • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 10:41 am

            Good ideas, Cameron Isles.

    • Peter Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:41 pm

      Top post Dodge 2000

      • ccotenj Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:13 pm

        agreed… well reasoned and well put…

      • Nick Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 10:30 am

        I second that.

        I’ve always though that the peleton should self police.

        Rider X leaves Team Y and boom grasses on any doping programme. But it seems that Omerta is still too prevalent in the pro ranks.

        How you would punish Rider X for doping on the team in the first place would be an issue, as too big a punishment would stop riders from coming forward.

    • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 10:39 am

      There does remain the possibility that Froome could be doping outwith Sky’s knowledge.
      Seems unlikely – you’d imagine they’d catch him in tests.
      As you say, no-one ever keeps a secret: someone would be at least ‘hinting’ by now, you’d have thought.
      Also, as you say, Contador rode down Aru and Landa and didn’t face all this. Why? Because this is the Tour and so the BS level is ractched up to 11.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 10:39 am

        Or ratcheted

  • Walter Raleigh Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:14 pm

    Geraint Thomas is a hero. I just hope he has a spare pair of those classic oakleys he said he lost….

    • EwenM Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 9:44 am

      I saw a tweet this morning from his fiancee saying she has found another pair for him.

      • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 5:24 pm

        i wish i had a pair of something else he has a pair of… dang… i freely admit mine are not nearly that large…

        to quote the great bill raftery, that boy has ONIONS…. 🙂

  • Will Monday, 20 July 2015, 10:20 pm

    On a slightly different topic, I was so pleased to see Adam Hansen finished 18th today. He has had to ride through a lot of pain. Highly intelligent, slightly eccentric, definitely one of my favourite riders.

    I read his posts on weight weenies (Zakeen), you get the mad scientist inspiration for his shoes.

  • Anonymous Monday, 20 July 2015, 11:33 pm

    Thomas is my favourite rider on the tour this year – regardless of who wins. I’m so glad he doesn’t appear to be injured after that crash although, based on experience, I’d imagine it’ll hit his body the hardest on Wednesday. To crash like that and only lose 38 seconds is extraordinary. I wouldn’t be able to stop and unclip without losing minutes. Also very encouraged that the team respect his position and efforts enough to instruct Poels to drop back to pace him back to the finish rather than stick with Froome and let G fend for himself.

    • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 2:27 am

      he’s certainly on my short list, along with sagan and the sadly departed martin (the persistence he showed to get the yellow gets him on my list, even though he is no longer in the race)…

      i also appreciate and enjoy his interviews, especially after the stages… his composure, while still showing raw emotion, during today’s scrum was remarkable…

      he is becoming one of my favorite riders, period… 🙂

  • SeeingElvis Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 3:36 am

    That G Thomas remounted and finished after that crash was amazing, period. He certainly would have had no less respect from me if he rolled in twenty minutes later, or was unable to continue, for that matter- I assumed he was going out via medical helicopter, frankly. Just glad he is ok and able to ride; his work has been nothing short of superb. I hope for his sake they can limit his rest day media exposure simply out of respect for his crash and use the day to recuperate as best as possible. I seem to recall reading here that he has another year on Sky contract, right? If I were a DS, I’d certainly have him on my wish list. Cannot place where I would see him best, though. Ideas?

    Sagan has been a pleasure to watch. Ran out of road today, but kudos to Plaza for adroitly taking advantage of the Sagan swarm-fest. Like hangers-on at a party- not that it is unexpected, given his pedigree. He deserves a chainring every day until Paris. Watch him infiltrate the early break and stay away enough to get 2nd on L’alpe d’Huez:)

    Looking forward to the Alps, hoping for some fireworks.

    As always, thanks kindly, Inrng. Much appreciated.

    • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 3:48 am

      when i saw him hit that pole, it did NOT look good at all…. i thought for sure he would be seriously injured… that was very scary…

      when paul said he was on his bike and just 40 seconds back, i could not believe it… i was VERY happy, not that he was only 40 seconds back, but that he was physically capable of riding a bike at all…

      jens was very strong in his commentary today about not thinking that descent should be in the tour…

      • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 10:47 am

        Didn’t hear it, but if Jens did say that then Jens is wrong. Going downhill is just as much a part of the sport as going uphill. Some people are better at it and gain time. Some people are worse, so they go slower (e.g. Schleck) – it’s only as dangerous as the rider makes it (Barguil) – and lose time. And it’s fantastic to watch – and chapeau to Eurosport (I’ve e mailed them) for employing their split screen, so that we could watch more of Sagan’s downhill exploits, whilst French TV focused on the GC contenders plodding up a hill 20 minutes back in a thoroughly desultory manner (director clearly not a fan).

        • STS Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 11:42 am


        • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 3:20 pm

          yea, it was early in the nbcsn coverage that they went to him and he was very strong about it… i was a bit surprised, but he has said many times during this tour that he wasn’t a good descender, so that likely played into it… i remember that crash he had several years ago (someone else fill in the details, i’m not good at remembering “which stage/which year” on these things), that likely put a dent in his enthusiasm for descending…

          other than that little bit (and a couple of times where there has been confusion between him and phil, shocking i know 🙂 ), he has been a strong addition to nbcsn’s coverage this year…

          i wish we had gotten the split screen… we got the leaders here, and when they finally showed a view of what was left of the peleton, there were only like a dozen guys…

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 1:54 pm

        I generally don’t believe much of what Paul says, because he’s usually wrong!

  • Joe K. Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 3:52 am

    Interesting to see fellow breakaway riders interacting with Sagan. Without the benefit of having audio, it appeared that they were not too happy with him sitting in without pulling at the front. So just to drive home the point, Sagan came to the front and rode so hard that no one could follow his wheel. Almost like saying, “See, I’m so strong that you can’t handle it when I’m up front!” Boasson Hagen seemed to be the only one sympathetic to Sagan after Trentin gave him the lecture about breakaway etiquette. It’s a good thing that Sagan speaks Italian!

  • Steppings Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 9:01 am

    When I saw Thomas crash I thought I had possible witnessed something terrible, to see him lose only seconds was absolutely amazing. I was imagining the drama other riders would have made out of it. As he hinted afterwards, riders were fighting for the minor places and taking risks where there was no need to. I think we all know who he was meaning, crazy. He is a hard nut Thomas, a solid rider and one which you can truly admire and his potential wage capacity must be Sky high (no pun intended). Nice to see Lampre take the win, sharing the spoils and justifying their presence. As for the other nonsense surrounding this race, it’s as laughable as the Jalabert kettle calling the pot black.

  • Lee Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 9:37 am

    G is def my fave rider this year, would to see him let off the leash and see if he could grab a stage win. Massive kudos to Sagan, he’s earnt that green jersey.

    On a separate note, someone further up the messages mentioned Sagan swapping a “normal” bike for a climbing bike. Given that the min weight applies (6.4kg?), what would be the advantage? Position/gearing perhaps?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 9:41 am

      There’s gearing and you can spread the 6.8kg weight differently, perhaps have lighter wheels for example. But there’s also the issue of the new Specialized Venge where he and Cavendish are said not to like the braking so he could have swapped bikes for the descent, not the climb in order to have better braking for the Rochette descent.

      • STS Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 11:42 am

        Thanks for sharing that information about the brakes on the new Venge which don’t seem to be as good as state of the art calipers. At least for top descenders as Cav and Sagan.
        May I ask where you read / heard that?

        • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 11:49 am

          I’ve heard it several times but here’s one source (Velonews editor, formerly their tech editor):

          • STS Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:05 pm

            Thanks again. Seems I finally have to join the tweeters ;-).
            What a nightmare for the Specialists if one of the few chosen pros to ride the new bike not only tells something like that to a journalist but the journalist also shares it with the rest of the world immediately. As someone also working in the bike industry I assume Caley recently upset some friends in Morgan Hill. If he had any there.

  • Lee Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 9:47 am

    Thanks Inrng, that’s a good point re: handling and weight distribution.

    Although judging by the fantastic descent Sagan made yesterday, I’m not sure he used his brakes much. Superb to watch that level of skill in action.

    Reminded me of when Fabian was in yellow a few years ago and descended like a rocket through the team cars and back to the peloton.

    The skill level on display is a tv dream. Also kudos to the camera men on the moto’s!!

    • STS Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 11:39 am

      Believe me, Lee, there are some turns in this descent where Sagan used his brakes very heavily and could have done even better with even more powerful brakes. Descending that fast on a road with sharp turns like this requires both: Ultimately powerful brakes and some strong legs to bring you back up to speed quickly.
      He was clearly not familiar with that descent and thus could have certainly shaved some more seconds if he really knew that road but he certainly set up a new record for this descent nonetheless because of his outstanding skill level.

      • lee Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 11:46 am

        Makes me wonder why Specialised, dont adopt magura hydraulic brakes on their new venge. Didnt Cav have a set of SRAM Hydro’s on a bike last year? anyone know if they are still available?

        I have a set of Magura’s RT hydraulic brakes on my P3 and I have to say they are even better in terms of feel and modulation, despite a tight line than my D’Ace brakes.

        STS – agreed, the level of braking these guys put in makes me wonder just how much glue they use to keep the tubs on with the heat buildup!!!!

  • Lee Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 9:55 am
  • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 10:50 am

    Good to see lots of sensible, well thought out comments on here – as well as mostly ignoring the troll(s).

    • RonDe Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:13 pm

      I didn’t see any troll and so I remain convinced it never happened!

  • CM Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:15 pm

    Indeed Sagan was spectacular on the Stage 16 descent; fabulous at getting himself out of trouble, but still ineffective in the race. I think the really impressive rider was the Columbian Pantano. Sagan was more powerful than Pantano in his sprints out of the corners but did not drop him since Pantano did not make as many mistakes turning in. For all the pyrotechnics, Sagan was still only 6 and 9 seconds ahead of Pantano and the trio following him -all sitting up likewise at the finish. At other times, perhaps one of Sagan’s least helpful superstar skills is his ability to look back around him at whatever speed he is riding; he spends a lot of time looking back over his shoulders to the detriment of getting on with it, so it seems. But thanks for the entertainment.

    • RT Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:25 pm

      It’s a lot easier to follow than lead on such a technical descent. He was more effective then the all the other breakaway riders only interested in looking at his back wheel.

      Pantano gets dropped pretty comprehensively anyway despite furiously pedalling at every opportunity to get back as seen in the video.


  • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 3:27 pm

    one thing i noticed yeaterday (at least on the msnbc coverage)… we are FINALLY getting some of the data from the “black boxes” displayed on screen on a somewhat regular basis… yay!!! only “speed” so far, but it is better than nothing…

    • lee Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 3:46 pm

      ccotenj – I agree, i think having speed is brilliant. just to get an idea of their downhill speed and just flat speed in the final run-in is brilliant. for a TT, would be fantastic to have speed and maybe HR?! a bit like F1 with speed and revs.

      Mr Inrng – do you know of any plans to bring in additional metrics such as HR. maybe not power because there are so many variables involved. but HR and speed would be brilliant. at the end of the day, i dont think it would change the way they’ll race…. as someone said to me in a race, would you stop attacking if your HR watch stopped! of course not, but it would add to the viewer experience. maybe a little ticker tape (graphical) at the bottom of the screen with little riders and times would be good.
      or maybe they could take a leaf out of americas cup yacht sailing…. the metrics available on that, have transformed the tv coverage. I’m not qualified enough in tv or electronics, but i assume the tech is available?

      • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 4:03 pm

        i’ll settle for speed and position in the group… hr opens up that pandora’s box that i personally would like to remain closed…

        a ticker on the bottom would be good… it would certainly beat the current scroll msnbc runs with the same dozen twitter quotes repeated a million times…

        it would make tt’s a lot more interesting for people (although i’m in the small minority that already likes tt’s), if we could see the actual speed/gaps… the “time check” methodology used now is ridiculously antiquated…

        technologically, it already can be done… the data is there, the technology to overlay datau onto the video feed when it goes through “the truck” is there… it is just a matter of them actually doing it…

        • J Evans Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 4:42 pm

          For me, the less guff on the screen, the better – I saw the last day of the Tour of California and there was a blitzkreig of garbage scrolling along the screen: who won Stage 2, etc.
          Speed is ok, but what I really want is them to tell me who is in the break, etc.
          HR would seem to be opening such a big can that we’d be smothered in worms.

          • ccotenj Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 5:22 pm

            i’m in general agreement with that… i generally want a nice clean screen (for example, the masters is wonderful, no crap on the screen at all)…

            msnbc seems to run a “worthless” scroll… repeating the same info over and over, and as you point out, information from previous stages that aren’t really germane at the time…

            i think we are pretty close in our desires… give me speed and position of riders, and i’m happy… the hr can stay in the can, as alluded in previous post… we really don’t need more armchair “scientists” evaluating information that they have no clue how to evaluate…

  • Steppings Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 5:32 pm

    Ideally there would be an option for on-bike camera footage, screen info data etc. etc. So the viewer could turn off all this stuff and as said above have a nice clear screen. A few years down the line maybe, I just hope we get options.

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