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Tour Stage 18 Preview

An uphill start and then rollercoaster roads for the battle to get in the breakaway, today’s route should reward the bold. The Col du Glandon sits too far from the finish to deliver fireworks but it’ll be selective before the scenic novelty of the Lacets de Montvernier.

Stage 17 Review: an action packed stage. The start saw some wild attacks and big moves going clear and Tejay van Garderen in trouble. His exit means he falls off the third place but it’ll change the race too as BMC won’t be trying to control the race and pace their leader, they’ll now try a scattergun approach to getting in early breakaways.

Tinkoff-Saxo tried to stir up the race with attacks on the Col d’Allos, it looked exciting for moment but Michael Rogers and Alberto Contador were quickly reeled in. On the way down Alberto Contador crashed and lost time… as Movistar drove the pace in the yellow jersey group.

Another crash on the descent was Thibaut Pinot. He’d set off in pursuit of lone leader Simon Geschke up the Col only to slip on a corner and looked nervous for the rest of the run down, his bars twisted from the crash and was overtaken by Andrew Talansky in pursuit of Geschke.The final climb wasn’t long enough for the American and Geschke took a joyful, expressive win to make five wins for Germany already.

Behind Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome traded attacks with Vincenzo Nibali for company, the Italian’s form is a lot better. Every move by Quintana sees the same response with Froome slow to react, his high cadence style means upping the pace takes longer but in 10-15 seconds the yellow jersey closes the gap.

  • Km 6.5 – Col Bayard (1 264 m), 6.3 kilometre-long climb at 7% – category 2
  • Km 35.5 – Rampe du Motty, 2.3 kilometre-long climb at 8.3% – category 3
  • Km 60.5 – Côte de la Mure, 2.7 kilometre-long climb at 7.5% – category 3
  • Km 70.5 – Col de Malissol, 2 kilometre-long climb at 8.7% – category 3
  • Km 85.0 – Col de la Morte (1 368 m), 3.1 kilometre-long climb at 8.4% – category 2
  • Km 147.0 – Col du Glandon (1 924 m), 21.7 kilometre-long climb at 5.1% – category HC
  • Km 176.5 – Lacets de Montvernier (782 m), 3.4 kilometre-long climb at 8.2% – category 2

The Route: an uphill start to discover who is ill or weak, the Col de Bayard is a proper climb, the same road as the early part of the Col de Manse and then it goes up and up via a series of hairpin bends. The race then crosses the scenic Valbonnais on roads used many times in the Tour. The Col de Malissol is steep over the top while the Col de la Morte starts very steep before easing to the pass and then a fast, shaded descent to Séchilienne.

On the profile the road looks ordinary to the foot of the Col du Glandon but it’s a nasty uphill drag to Allemont, the road runs parallel to a white water river and often there’s headwind in the afternoons to make it harder.

The Col du Glandon is 21.7km long and with regular 10% slopes. This is a hard climb and anyone in the day’s breakaway who is excess baggage can be dropped early. The longer the climb goes on the easier it gets especially once above the tree line. It’s followed by a fast descent, especially the first third.

The Lacets de Montvernier are this year’s novelty, a 3.4km climb with 18 hairpin bends. It’s steep, narrow and each bend is tight, you climb from hairpin to hairpin like some manic hill rep session. It’s followed by a more regular descent, narrow in places and fast before reaching the valley floor and a ride into St Jean de Maurienne.

The Finish: the race finishes on the outskirts of town after the riders come through the town and past the railway station. The roadbook says there’s a left-hand bend and then finishing straight that’s 75m long but on closer inspection the finishing straight looks much longer and if so riders won’t want to come through the final bend first; it’s also an uphill drag to the line.

The Contenders: who is in good form, didn’t go in the breakaway yesterday, climbs well and can finish with a good sprint? Today should see a breakaway stay clear and if someone can meet all these criteria they’ve got a good chance. Any early move will get thinned on the Col du Glandon and then the hairpins of Montvernier are selective in a punchy way.

Joaquim Rodriguez seems a good choice, he’s been going in the breakaways and today is polka-dot points a plenty with the Glandon and then the Lacets as a launchpad. Jacob Fuglsang was second to Rodriguez on the Plateau de Beille and is a big name contender but has a small list of wins to his name.

Dan Martin and Romain Bardet have the engines to ride away from any breakaway companions up the Glandon and both are faster in the sprint that everyone thinks; Bardet had a bad day yesterday finding himself in an hypoglycemic haze early in the stage, as long as he’s recovered he should be fresh. Pierre Rolland had problems too with “digestive troubles” yesterday and this could be a problem that lasts more than a day or at least takes a toll today. Serge Pauwels has been climbing very well and a puncture thwarted his chances at the foot of the Col de Manse. If he’s still there at the end then maybe Alexis Vuillermoz can use his high intensity power on the Lacets.

Will the GC riders take it steady? Perhaps Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali will be motivated to try something because they have nothing to lose. But they’ll find it hard, any accelerations on the Glandon will be matched by the others. Alejandro Valverde won’t want to let them go because he’s worried about his third place, the same for Geraint Thomas in fourth who has to follow Valverde and with this Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana will follow… in theory.

Joaquim Rodriguez, Dan Martin, Romain Bardet
Jungels, Yates², Pantano, Pauwels, Cummings, Bakelants, Fuglsang, Riblon, Vuillermoz

Weather: sunshine and clouds with a top temperature of 31˚C in the valley and the chance of a rain shower on the Glandon.

TV: the Col du Glandon starts around 3.15pm, they will reach the top around an hour later and the finish is for 5.20pm.

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.

  • Fatso Rosa Thursday, 23 July 2015, 6:16 am

    For a team with two gc contenders, movistar is too conservative.

    • Narkie Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:45 am

      Are Movisar too conservative or is Froome too good? both Valverde and Quintana have each attacked every mountain stage and usually multiple times. What else can they do?

      • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:06 am

        They could avoid chasing when Froome’s opponents attack, in order to pressure Team Sky. Yesterday they killed the Rogers and Contador attack, that looked very promising. I’m sure Brailsford was very thankful.

      • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:08 am

        There’s not much to do but I think tomorrow will be all or nothing, the climb to La Touissire suits them a lot more. However they are struggling to take 10 seconds on Froome so pulling back three minutes looks like a fantasy, perhaps they’ll just go for late move and a stage win tomorrow.

      • souln Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:15 am

        Froome is the top dog, but Movistar attacks are conservative, only on last climb with no chance of taking minutes, just seconds… Time is running out..

        • Den Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:58 am

          Not only did Movistar kill the Rogers/Contador attack, they also bring back Froome in the peloton when he was isolated early in the stage.

          http://i.imgur.com/1LwXYat.jpg

      • rt Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:37 am

        i personally think “colombian steel” will not attack for attacks sake (like nibali) hell just probe froome for a weakness and if there will be one then he will go all out, otherwise not. hes waiting for opportunities that present themselves.

    • irungo txuletak Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:49 am

      For me as well, movistar is too conservative. But it is always so with Unzue.
      They reeled back Kontador when they had a good opportunity of obligeing sky to use some men to chase him and Valverde only began to ride hard in front when Kontador fell in Allos’ downhill (now that Kontador is too far in GC, Sky won’t need to ride on every attack). They clearly prefer to be 2nd and 3rd than to try to win. Typical Unzue’s choice, as I said. Not very entertaining for who watches the race…

      • UHJ Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:38 pm

        It’s a difficult balance but I think MOV should skip this “We ride for NQ” and go “We ride to win”.
        Unzue should put the rivalry to rest and they should take off one by one to tire out the Dawg. He can’t go on forever, nobody can. But the MOV tactics so far appear to be NQ in first, then AV.
        They should be happy whomever takes the win – and they could work it that way with their current positions. Froom cannot look away. So go! ffs…

        • Motormouth Thursday, 23 July 2015, 5:29 pm

          I suspect NQ wouldn’t be too happy about that, and the team probably wants to keep him around.

          I think they could maintain team order and still successfully attack.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:19 pm

        It’s “Contador”.

        Contador.

        • Motormouth Thursday, 23 July 2015, 5:27 pm

          I believe the K substitution by Irungo (based on his username) is due to the condensed alphabet in the modern Basque Euskara language. They do not use C variants any longer from what I understand.

          But I could be wrong, and it’s just some personal joke of his.

          • irungo txuletak Thursday, 23 July 2015, 7:33 pm

            That’s exactly it. Well done, because it is not easy to get it (unless you are a basque speaker).
            If the ks annoy, I will go back to standard C in the future – was indeed just some personal joke related to my user name.

          • Motormouth Thursday, 23 July 2015, 7:57 pm

            Anon opinions don’t matter, keep the Ks comings!

          • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:12 pm

            Don’t worry Irungo, I think most of us got that.

  • Rusty chain Thursday, 23 July 2015, 7:51 am

    GC classification is wrapped up as far as I’m concerned unless Froomey hooks in the wrong bag but he is probably not as dumb as TJ (humor me please). Although TJ faced with another slip of the podium could have been desperate enough and looked bad enough for a transfusion gone bad. Alps is shaping up to be a race within a race for glory for bragging rights. Anybody with balls will want to take that stage. Kind of hope Majka does….

    • MD Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:02 am

      I would say Majka’s display of selfishness yesterday gives him a pair of extremely small balls in the eyes of many a fan.

      • One Man Grupetto Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:17 pm

        Claims that no-one told him to drop back at any time.

      • Anonymous Friday, 24 July 2015, 4:01 am

        I don’t Rafal is selfish. It’s just a miscommunication on Tinkoff Saxo part. But that was an audacious attempt to set up Contador. Too bad he crashed.

    • CK Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:23 am

      So now even if riders have a bad day, it’s not that they aren’t doping, it’s just that the doping went wrong?

    • Narkie Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:47 am

      I see no reason to humour unsubstantiated, defamatory comments.

      • another dave Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:17 pm

        +1

    • Alex Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:00 am

      Either this is bad attempt at humour or a comment meant for the cyclingnews boards.

    • RocksRootsRoad Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:00 am

      Another idiot wandering in from the defunct CN forum. What I felt was sympathy, same as any normal human being.

      • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:02 am

        It is a bit silly but all the more reason to comment on the stage ahead rather than someone else’s trolling efforts.

        • Tricky Dicky Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:11 am

          Which is all very well until someone who is defamed by these fools takes action against our beloved @inrng (which as and does happen unfortunately) for allowing it to exist on his or her website, knowing it to be defamatory. Best to delete these stupid posts or repudiate them. Sorry to be the lawyer ….

          Onto the race, I was interested to hear Matt White say that he thought that last night’s stage was the only Alpine stage where he felt a breakaway would most likely survive, ie. OGE expect the GC riders to go “all in” the next few days. With that in mind, I guess my tip is Valverde for the win in a sprint finish….

          • Narkie Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:28 pm

            there sure are a lot of lawyers on this site. I’ve done the odd defamation case in my time and ive got an internet defamation matter atm, but there certainly doesn’t seem to be any global consensus on whether the posting of defamatory material on a website will result in publication by omission by the curator of that site. There have been a few cases in Aus where google have been done for what came up in google searches, in New Zealand there was a case where a moderator of a facebook page was found to have published defamatory comments by omission. But from memory, Singapore takes a much more narrow view. There’s also likely to be a lot of pesky cross border issues. Anyway, its a pretty interesting area of law.

      • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:06 pm

        I can’t have sympathy with a rider who says that Armstrong is no different from other dopers.
        But I agree with Tricky Dicky below.

  • Alastair S Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:13 am

    I think Astana, Tinkoff and Movistar will all try something early today. Froome appears untouchable on the uphill finishes so even conservative teams like Movistar will have to join in the early mayhem. So we may well see a échapper royal arrive at the finish today. If so then Valverde is my pick. Also hoping the thunderstorms hold off like they did yesterday.

    • souln Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:20 am

      Talking of early mayhem, it seems that Garmin-Canondale lost it’s spark.

  • piwakawaka Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:57 am

    Attack! Attack! FullGas! FullGas! all of them, one after the other.

  • HWSB Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:59 am

    Quintana’s surprise attack very early yesterday must surely have been because the word came through that Tejay was suffering. It thinned the pack, got rid of anyone not well, and cemented the podium.

    • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:07 pm

      I think that’s why Contador attacked too. TVG had just come back to the peloton.

      • MD Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:00 pm

        Agreed, I think Alberto saw the chance to gain GC places and his attack put the final nail in TG’s coffin…it was not a dig at Froome per say

  • Tom Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:11 am

    Any comment on the data released by Sky, INRNG? A lot has been said already, but interested in your view. I heard the interview with Paul Kimmage where his reaction was “I don’t understand all this data stuff, but Sky still need to be more transparent”, which must be rather frustrating for Brailsford and co!

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:06 am

      Nothing for now, still looking at it. It’s only one data point and there’s not much to go on. It’s still been enough to confuse a lot of people, for example Sky’s W/kg number differs wildly from the 7W/kg number cited by an “expert” on French television but these two numbers are totally different things, Sky’s number is the recorded effort on the climb of La Pierre St Martin / Col du Soudet while the Stade 2 number was an estimate of Maximum Aerobic Power.

      I’m thinking about a longer term piece about power data, an explainer but it’s such a technical thing that it feels hard to make it under 5,000 words and still end up with short cuts.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:22 am

        I’d love to read that. The longer the better. I think most here will be very familiar with power data. It’s cross referencing this against vo2 max and blood lactate etc. where it gets more complex.

      • Brian H Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:12 pm

        Would love to read an explainer as well as getting your thoughts on the various figures being quoted. In particular it would be great to have your opinion on the articles being written by Ross Tucker and Veloclinic.

    • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:36 am

      Kimmage’s interview sounded more like sour grapes than good journalism. Why give information away that your rivals could use against you? It appears that some people can only attribute success to some kind of nefarious activity.

      Sky is being accused of doping in some way, that means everyone at Sky is complicit in this. ALL of them, Thomas, Porte, Roche, Kennaugh, Stannard, Rowe, Konig and Poels they are doing something and/or are turning a blind eye. This also includes the back room staff and other riders too. But maybe not the bus driver. And if we’re to say this has happened before, where are the whistleblowers, the people having their reputations ruined for speaking out.

      We really shouldn’t be taking the word of ex-dopers and liars who are still in denial about their own past. Liars tend to try and accuse other people of bigger, grander lies to make their own seem smaller and not that bad in comparison so they can sleep at night.

      And if they are doping how far does this go back? To Brailsfords time on the track?

      The only good thing out of the interview was his question he asked Nicolas Roche – what does riding clean mean?

      • Tom Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:55 am

        Thanks INRNG, yes an explainer would be most welcome. Seems to me there are so many variables beyond body weight and measured power that the court of public opinion is not best placed to pass judgement.

        Anonymous, yes I agree that was the best point from PK in the interview: what does “clean” really mean? Is there a clear scientific or moral definition.

        • RT Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:34 am
          • Sam Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:09 pm

            yeah, well the fact that Tucker and co weren’t aware of an over-estimation problem with O-rings which has been written about for several years now by the likes of DC Rainmaker, doesnt inspire me with great confidence. You can argue that the figure of 6% is on the high side, but to not even be aware of it is shoddy to say the least.

            As is the convenient ignoring by some of the undeniable fact that comparing figures between riders using different power meters coupled with an absence of context, is misleading at best.

          • RT Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:18 pm

            It’s pretty simple. Release Thomas and Porte’s data as well.

            That should be the basis for a more consistent comparison no? And should silence all the sceptics.

        • RT Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:41 am
        • Sam Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:04 pm

          It’s totally subjective.

          So for me, WADA and UCI dictate whats not allowed in cycling – IC or OOC.

          For someone else, they may think that not even energy gels or drinks should be allowed (and I’ve seen some people opine that). For another person, they feel the same re altitude tents. For yet another, training at altitude. And for another, weight loss products that you’ll find in Holland and Barrett.

          Which is why I maintain that the only yardstick that is truly reasonable is the one set by WADA and the UCI

          • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:08 pm

            As Madiot says where have the UCI been during all this nonsense? Very little said.
            Mind you, generally when Cookson says something, the opposite happens – CIRC, Astana, Kreuziger, for instance – so maybe for the best.
            Nice to hear Madiot standing up to Velon as well.

  • Tom J Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:15 am

    @Rusty chain – you are applying the logical consistency of The Clinic. “Froome riding well – he must be doping. Van Garderen has a bad day – he must be doping”. To that way of thinking, any performance – good, bad or indifferent becomes self-referencing proof of malpractice, and every post of agreement from the same narrow circle seemingly adds to the certainty of the hypothesis!

    Tom

    • BC Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:06 am

      Although the scourge of doping still haunts the sport, I agree with Tom J. It would be a relief if those who completely missed the previous 10+ years of abuse, could calm down a little. If they insist on unfounded gossiping, maybe they could switch their attention to the real unsavoury characters still to be found within certain teams. If there is real evidence or cause for suspicion, by all means comment, but constant innuendo does nobody any good.. Those that want to perpetuate the myths of the sport would do well to recognize that their unfounded views and public internet activity could well drive away both current and prospective sponsors.

      • Runty Wilson Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:02 am

        +1 All good points, well made.

        • Othersteve Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:17 pm

          +2
          And those long time readers who have become a bit disenchanted and weary having to
          parse through the recent increase in non relevant posts.

          Thanks Inrng, but it is tedious at times of late.

          • Foley Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:42 pm

            Yes Othersteve, but like “too many camera motos,” “too many low-value comments” might be a symptom of a “good” problem. I think the inrng vibe has held together fairly well through the “Beeg Shew” onslaught. Goodness knows how much sewage may have been filtered before we ever saw it.

  • Helmer Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:17 am

    Sammy Sanchez? Freed of duties now TJ is gone.

  • Flashing Pedals Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:25 am

    Re Pinot’s bike handling skills – it’s clearly a major issue for him. 57 seconds down at the summit, shouldve reeled that in on the final 6km climb.

    He wasn’t riding smooth lines on corners, and a split second before he fell on hairpin, he glanced back up the road he’d just come down – whether his carbon brake pads “grabbed” the carbon rims, or he just messed it up, down he went. After that he went slower.

    Tejay VG – never ridden a podium on GT – 3 weeks too far? He’s progressed for 2 weeks stage races, but that 3rd week, is a killer. I don’t see him as a contender – he got close through his prologue & TTT efforts, but I’m amazed he actually got a suntan, because I hadn’t seen him on the front all race.
    I’m sure his supporters and all, will come back with “x” or “y” but if (as was mentioned online elsewhere, so it must be true – TJVG is on a relatively big contract, as a GT prospect, rather than paid on actual results) sooner or later, you’ve got to race to win, otherwise why race?

    Let’s hope he isn’t another Danielson….

    • PaulG Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:59 am

      Watching Pinots crash in SloMo…He started to pedal early while the bike was still leaning well over. The inside pedal hit the tarmac, you can see the bike lift as it does so, and boom….gone…..

    • Alan Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:07 am

      Re Pinot : Greg Lemond spotted that he’d clipped his inside pedal – started pedalling too soon out of the corner.
      I though he looked like he was going OK until that point, but its hard to tell without any reference – he obviously lost his confidence to some extent after the crash, and the difference in speed and lines taken by Talansky and Uran as they caught him was impressive !!

      • Alan Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:09 am

        … beaten to it 😉

    • Nick Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:33 am

      He doesn’t have the acceleration to follow or make stinging attacks to get time on riders, it’s a shame because he can climb with the best at a steady tempo.

      • Richard S Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:50 am

        TJVG is basically Wiggins but not as good at time trialling and in an era when there are barely any TT’s anyway. Back in Indurain or Hinault’s day he might have been a force. If there were two 50km TT’s in this Tour he’d probably have been a comfortable second.

    • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:59 am

      If TJVG says he had a cold, then he had a cold. That said, men are riding this thing with badly bruised/almost broken ribs (Michael Matthews) vastly reduced amounts of skin (Peraud, who crashed, got back up, got 12kg of bottles for his team and FINISHED the stage), bouts of diarrhea (Cavendish plus a few others) and a variety of bumps and bruises. TJ had the “sniffles” and a headache… Right…. the man looked as fresh as a daisy all week and during the rest day. He talked his normal big game about “ticking boxes”, fueling properly and resting well and keeping the legs open and avoiding the mistakes he made at rest day 2 last year and at NO point did he look like he was a sick man getting smashed in the TdF. Then he threw his leg over his bike yesterday, had his normal bad day and the pressure and embarrassment cracked him. I mean his doctor said that physically, he is fine and there are a lot of guys who are not physically fine who finished the stage in the grupetto…TJVG is getting a massive paycheck and has some of the best riders in the world working for him (Rohan, GvA), and were consciously excluded from the team for him (Gilbert). Dude needed to deliver this week, and when his body failed him- like it usually does in the TdF- he could not find the mental strength to ride through it. TJVG is an excellent rider, but not a leader for the 3week GTs. It is now very clear what kind of rider he is- Classy TT man and 1 week SR ace, more than capable on mountains with long steady gradients, and capable of defending himself in the flats, but not an elite climber, not the best at recovery, and gets gradualy weaker during a 3 week tour until a bad day when the wheels fall off… He is wildly overpaid and oversupported compared to the performances of men like Talansky, Landa, Aru, Pinot, Quintana, or Stephen CruiseShip or Barguil. he is on the Mollema, Gesink, VdB level and so enter Richie Porte (okay, maybe not a GT leader either, but a solid TT man, good teammate, consistent winner and very professional)… I hope TJVG feels better soon, but this is not really a physical illness (as least that’s what his personal physician says)….TJVG needs to gain more bearing, then return to the arena when he is more worthy…

      • The Other Nick Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:46 am

        I love Stephen CruiseShip, did you make that one up, or should the spell checker take credit for that.

        That’s my new favourite cycling nickname. Better than ‘Welcome to Hoogerland’, although Granite Thomas from yesterdays BBC text commentary feed was pretty good to.

      • noel Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:53 am

        Stephen CruiseShip! love it!… I’m never going to have to look up that spelling again….

        • noel Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:56 am

          and the rest of your post was pretty good too… really nothing I can disagree with in there… particularly the Porte bit… seems like a lovely bloke, great bike rider but not comfortable as a GT team leader… so BMC are stacking the ranks with one week GC guys…

          • Cameron Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:29 pm

            For some reason I feel like I at least want to give Richie the benefit of the doubt of a new team before writing him off completely, but I certainly see why you would. He’s been very disappointing when he’s been given chances, and some guys just aren’t GT riders.

          • bmj Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:25 pm

            How many GTs has Porte ridden as the protected leader? Honest question…no trolling here.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:02 pm

        such a nice to read comment!

        • noel Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:16 pm

          Cameron – he’s definitely a GT rider, but just not a team leader, rather a domestique de lux..

  • Danny Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:28 am

    Lacets de Montvernier on velo veiwer:
    http://veloviewer.com/segment/683404/Les+Lacets+de+Montvernier

    Handy for visualising climbs where the tour graphics with straight lines and 1km gradient steps don’t do them justice.

    • frood Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:44 am

      That’s really cool, thanks!

  • Rod Thursday, 23 July 2015, 9:51 am

    I really felt for TvG standing by the side of the road yesterday, not only has he spent months building up to the event but he has the added pressure of Richie Porte’s anticipated arrival. I bet he was itching to prove to his team that he could go well in a GT.

    On another note, is anyone else kind of hoping that Sagan gets in a break again today to compete for the stage win (however unlikely)? He doesn’t stop trying which makes me hope he gets the win his aggressive riding deserves!

    • Nick Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:35 am

      Now BMC will have two great GC riders who can’t string three weeks together!

      • diamondjim Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:05 am

        Ouch! 🙂

    • L_Islandais Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:17 am

      Agree re. Sagan. Although the inrng sets a criteria of not having been in yesterday’s break, Sagan has shown time and time again that he refuses to fit into any one box. Surely, he is the rider who has used up most energy during the tour? Now there’s data that would be interesting: combined wattage for the whole three weeks!

      • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:27 am

        There will be people in the break who were yesterday too, maybe Pinot for example but I wanted to make some simple criteria above. Sagan perhaps for the watts but it could just be the heaviest rider in the race that wins there.

      • John Irvine Thursday, 23 July 2015, 3:43 pm

        Thing about Sagan is that he doesn’t appear to target specific stages, like most stage winners tend to do. He either targets them all, or just goes for it whenever he’s feeling good. Makes for some great racing, but means I’m not at all surprised at his lack of a stage win here. It’s like he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of conserving energy today for an attack tomorrow on a stage that better suits his talents.

  • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:11 am

    Yesterday on Spanish TV, Induráin was criticizing short stages,saying that they favoured control by teams, and that if they are really long, no team can hope to be in control for the full distance, and to thwart all attacks. Delgado added that with stages of not insignificant distance, it is more possible to recover 2 or 4 minutes than on short stages. Let’s see today, it’s less über-short.

    • Tom J Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:52 am

      Maybe Indurain is thinking back to the Pamplona stage in 1996.

      The stage was 260km long, very mountainous in the first half (including the super-steep Port de Larrau) followed by a second half of “heavy” roads, but no major climbs as I recall. The race split up into groups early. By the top of the Port de Larrau, the lead group of 8 were away and they ended up finishing with about 10 minutes over a second group of a dozen or so, who in turn were many minutes ahead of the next group, with the Autobus about 45 minutes down.

      The lead group of 8 ended up filling the top 8 positions in Paris – Riis, Ulrich, Virenque, Dufaux, Luttenberger, Leblanc, Ugrumov and Escartin.

      The next group of a dozen or so more or less took the next dozen places in Paris, including Inurain, Olano etc.

      It imposed a pretty brutal order on the race, but it didn’t make for rivetting viewing – the last three hours was pretty much watching a group of eight do through-and-off through some nice Basque scenery, with occasional cuts back to a second group steadily losing time and interest in the outcome…

      In a way, it was a late throwback to Tours past: a stage that needed a good writer to make its significance come alive (swansong of Indurain in his home city etc), rather than a stage for the TV era.

      Tom

      • Foley Thursday, 23 July 2015, 6:53 pm

        Another nice post, Tom. Always great to see the sport deeply and properly appreciated, instead of just debated.

      • irungo txuletak Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:00 pm

        Agree. nice to read this post. Cycling is full of stories that are not pretty TVable, but when well written, they come to their full meaning.

    • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:32 pm

      A mixture of both is the ideal: a very mountainous 120km stage can be very exciting; whilst a very mountainous 220km stage provides a different kind of possibility for attack. Means the winner has to be more well-rounded too.
      (The biggest – and certainly most interesting – challenge to Froome in 2013, for instance, was that really long stage where it kicked off early.)

  • Joe K. Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:29 am

    BMC should have brought along Gilbert as a Plan B. He’s won a local race the other day, so he’s still on form. Maybe it was team politics, who knows? For all the money they have, the core of the team is the Belgian Boys. They need to restructure that team, starting with the top management. Especially now that they’re getting Porte. With the current management’s mindset, they might actually be thinking of having Porte play the role of the super domestique for TVG. I mean, …come on!!! If I were Porte, I’d be worried about moving to BMC, unless they showed me some major changes to the team management. Jim Och’s game plan seems to be to create the next Lance and recreate the old Motorola or USPS around him. In the meanwhile, back in 2015/16 reality land, the Euro riders, who are the backbone of success for BMC, don’t look too happy about all this Americo-centric strategizing. Via the in-door or the out-door, there will be plenty of changes at that team for 2016 for sure.

    • Richard S Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:07 am

      Didn’t Gilbert have a minor fracture in his leg? It would appear it was a ‘Contador fracture’, i.e very faint and quick healing! This route really would have suited him with the short uphill finishes and the lumpy transition stages similar to the ones he won at the Giro. There seems to be tension between Gilbert and van Avarmaet. It would be understandable if there was as they are practically the same rider in terms of characteristics, just Gilbert has a better nose for sniffing out wins, though van Avarmaet appears more popular with team managment by getting the nod at more major races. As a fan it is a shame they are in the same team as BMC has to favour one at each race and we lose out. Both of them should be up for the win at all the classics, but Gilbert has to sit out the cobbles and van Avarmet plays domestique or plan b in the Ardennes. I don’t know what Gilbert’s contract situation is but he has kicked up a bit saying he wanted to do the cobbles and then wanted to do the Tour, and got neither. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in different colours next year.

      • Jerome Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:32 pm

        I seem to remember they had the same issue a few years ago at something-lotto with GVA eventually leaving for BMC to get his own chances, only for Gilbert to follow him a season or two later.

    • One Man Grupetto Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:09 am

      Pretty sure Gilbert had a fractured leg so couldn’t have started the TdF – although I think it’s a moot point whether they would have selected him anyway. Everything you say seems to make sense though.

    • irungo txuletak Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:54 am

      I think -but have no proof of it- that Gilbert was indeed selectable for the tour despite of his injury (he won 2 giro stages with it…). However, since he already had done the Giro, they preferred to let him recover from this minor fracture in order to have him in full form for the end of year’s classics and the worlds.

  • Sam Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:29 am

    Its getting to the point of ‘Is a breakaway really a breakaway if Sagan’s not in it’

    • Sam Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:30 am

      ^just to avoid any confusion, not a criticism – I’m in awe of his strength!

  • The Real JHutch Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:33 am

    Will be interesting to see if Movistar are too concerned about maintaining the 2 podium places they have to make the sort of attack that could potential see them gain real time if it worked or with either NQ or AV blowing up if it failed! Whilst Froome and Sky have clearly been very strong so are Movistar and there seems to be a reliance on Froome having a bad day rather than really forcing his hand.

  • Richard S Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:59 am

    The whole thing with van Garderen yesterday, and Pinot’s meltdown on the cobbled stage, Peraud’s total no show, Bardet’s iffy form and Nibali being off colour, underlines what annoys me about modern cycling. All of them have based their entire seasons around this one race, Nibali has spent most of the year on top of a volcano and van Garderen I presume has been in Colorado. All of them have barely raced and when they have they were either off form because they intended to peak for the Tour, or not giving it full gas to save themselves for the Tour. And what has happened, for a variety of reasons it hasn’t happened for them and now they have wasted an entire season. If you target one race it only takes one iffy meal and the resulting dodgy stomach and your whole year has gone down the pan. If I were a pro I would consider it too risky, I’d much rather have a go at a few big races and lessen the impact of any unforseeable bad days/illnesses/injuries. It doesn’t seem to do Valverde or Sagan any harm. By this stage of the year Nibali could have a couple of Giro stages and an Ardennes classic in the bag, instead he has nothing, barring the Italian nationals. They don’t have many years to play with but they seem fairly willing to waste large portions of them not even racing.

    • rt Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:12 am

      thats also the beauty of cycling. you have to be very strategic to even have the possibility to win. and luck still can turn everything around. myths are born out of this.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:18 am

      I think van Garderen tried hard in the Dauphiné and won the Queen Stage of the Volta a Catalunya so he’s tried and succeed in other objectives. The same for Pinot who won the Queen Stages of the Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse, all insurance policies for the wheels coming off in the Tour. Nibali is the exception, he’s missed the whole season so far; he can liven up a race but has rarely been in a position to win anything all year long.

      Of course there’s always the Vuelta, the ultimate revenge/last chance race.

      • Richard S Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:13 pm

        I know queen stages of World Tour races are a good achievment but what I mean is major races, i.e the monuments, grand tour stages/GC’s and the world championships. Those are what you judge great riders of the past’s credentials on. I can’t remember seeing anywhere on say Laurent Fignon’s palmares the stages he won on week long French stage races, though I’m sure he did. What stands out is the Tour, the Giro and Milan-San Remo. I know those races you listed are World Tour, and therefore top tier, but in reality they are all just warm up races and very few riders target them outright.

        • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:51 pm

          I mostly agree with you. Having said that, Nibali has won all three grand tours, which is very impressive considering his talent – lesser than CF/AC/NQ, I reckon (would you say he’s a better grand tour rider than Valverde?). Maybe that makes the focus and not winning any other races worthwhile?

    • One Man Grupetto Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:32 am

      I agree that it’s a massive risk but I think you could make the case that it’s what you have to do if you want to win the TdF. Whatever your thoughts on Team Sky, it seems to me that this is the race that they circle on the calendar as the A1 priority and work everything else back from there. They certainly seemed to have the most focussed team selection of all 9 riders for success here whereas Astana had to split off some strong riders to support Aru in the Giro. Contador’s focus was split with the Giro and four of his support riders also rode that race whereas I think only Porte and Konig did the Giro for Team Sky. With Movistar, I’m not truly convinced that Valverde is all in for Quintana – plus they know that they can’t afford to focus so much on the Tour that they have to motor anonymously round Spain for the three weeks at the end of August.

      • Richard S Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:02 pm

        Sky definitely focus on the Tour, look what happened to their season last year after Froome had to withdraw – it was a total bust. I think this year they’ve made a more concerted effort at the Classics and sent Porte to the Giro to have a proper crack, plus Viviani for stage wins. Last year they didn’t really send anyone to the Giro. If the rumoured signing of Kwiatkowski is true it looks as if they are beefing out their chances in the hilly classics too, where they don’t really feature. Of course Sky have enough money to have a crack at everything, which isn’t the case for everyone.

        • noel Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:29 pm

          2014 a ‘total’ bust for Sky?… a lot of teams would love to win GC at Oman, Coppi e Bartali, Romandie, California, Bayern Rundfahrt and Austria plus a bunch of one-day/stage wins + TT World Champs and end up 2nd on the UCI Team rankings…

          • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:55 pm

            But not a team of that funding? Not even Romandie is considered a top race: yes, it’s WT, but the stage races are mostly practice for other races. And the rest are all minor races (aside from the WC TT, of course).

          • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 3:13 pm

            yes, but most of teams have a fragment of skys budget

    • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:40 am

      A bit harsh on Pinot who won at least stages at Romandie and TdS but I agree with you. I find it very strange that team owners pay a lot of money to riders who barely show up all year and have less than 50 race days in a whole season. From a financial and commercial point of view it’s difficult to understand. Imagine Messi and Ronaldo turning up only for selected matches and spending most of the season training. I can understand why Vino openly criticised Nibali for his poor form. Millions of Euros on the pay cheque and a national championship as a return…

  • Bilmo Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:39 am

    There are a lot of TVG haters out there. From the pictures on screen he didn’t seem to be just giving up. Its worth noting he beat Froome on this stage at the Dauphin so he hardly gave up because it was too hard!

    You would also think BMC have had a bad tour by the stick they are getting. Most teams would dream of 3 stage wins.

    • Dan Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:59 am

      Yes, TVG rode well in the Dauphine, but the point people are making here is that, like Richie Porte – who has for two years done so well in Paris-Nice – he doesn’t seem suited to leading a team on a three-week GT.

    • AJW Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:06 pm

      Agree – 3 stages and a day in yellow is a pretty good tour by most team’s standards!

    • Ben Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:54 pm

      Don’t forget the bucketloads of airtime coverage for being second overall for ages and one of the podium possibles for over 2 weeks of a three week race. That we’re talking about BMC in terms of the overall contest, with AC and Movistar pushing the knife in when he was struggling, now shows how well they’ve done. Was it 2013 when BMC was the most anonymous team in the whole TDF?

  • Flashing Pedals Thursday, 23 July 2015, 12:52 pm

    It’s worth remembering the disappointment Gilbert felt, when BMC excluded him from TDF selection, something along the lines of an impending broken leg, that hasn’t healed from the Spring.
    Gilbert, expressed frustration a week or two before the tour started at not knowing if he was going or not – until Ochowicz or Peiper (I can’t recall which) said he had an imminent broken leg or something. One other point, Greg van Avermaert went home after a stage win, because his wife was due to give birth, and did so.
    If you had all your eggs in TJVG basket, why take him (GVA) or let him leave, i mean, if GC was that likely or important, what was the point of taking GVA, if he was always most likely to bail out anyway.

    BMC (Bring More Cash) Deutsche Bank is like a submarine with a broken rudder. Stage wins with Dennis & TTT, brilliant, but in the big scheme, so what?

    Re Pinot’s pedal scrape – great spot, I missed that.
    Ps what’s happening with Phinney?
    Is he a bikerider or casualty?

    MTN Qhubeka’s next refugee recruit?

    • dave Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:39 pm

      I think this is rubbish.

      BMC have raced so well, looking good for a podium until yesterday and THREE stage wins is a great result? How can you criticise that? It’s great team management, they’re just missing a Froome – but there’s only one of them around……

      TVG looked fantastic in the Dauphine and given their dominance in the TTT it was the right decision to back him – like Nibali last year, if everyone feel off the road in a difficult first week he could have ended up winning.

      When you’ve got a solid top 5 prospect who’s riding better than ever and team which suits a difficult first week you’ve got to back him? If you don’t try you’ll never win anything. To also bag three stages to boot is very impressive.

      Their buys a few years back have proven to be ill fated, but you can’t really lambast them for getting in Gilbert off the back of that season? It just hasn’t worked out. That they still get stick for it when they’re clearly such a good team, building success for the future is a bit silly. Not everyone can win everything. They’ve should be applauded for taking the time to develop TVG (similar to Sky with Wiggo) – and when they win the Giro next year with Porte, podium in the tour with TVG and Rohan Dennis starts winning big elsewhere everyone will be applauding their long term planning.

      It’s a shame that if Porte fails, so many people have got it in for him, they’ll be overly criticised once again – Porte’s a great rider, one of the top five top climbers in the world, great time trialist, proven winner below GT level – I hope it works out for both he and BMC.

      D

      • Augie March Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:46 pm

        +1

        BMC have had not only a great tour but also won two stages and placed a rider in the top 10 at the Giro. Their riding in the hectic opening week was also exemplary, look at the way GVA and Oss shepherded TVG across the cobbles and how the team positioned him near the front on stage 2 so he didn’t get caught in the split. BMC are riding like a true Grand Tour team, and things like this happen in GTs. It’s easy and lazy to carp, and I doubt they’d suffer anywhere near this amount of opprobrium if they were a Swiss rather than US registered team.

        • Doubter Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:31 pm

          +1
          Yours seems a more balanced and objective opinion.

      • Flashing Pedals Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:12 pm

        I disagree.
        Rohan Dennis, yes without doubt a prospect and a great bikerider.
        But the whole team, was there, for TJVG – and that is what this thread is about,the Tour de France.
        BMC take a “GT” rider, that has never strung a 3 week race together, well, and hasn’t ever proven capable of realising that.
        Perhaps he hit form too early, and was on a downward spiral, come the tour.

        TTT – was an element of luck, Sky ran them close, and it could be argued, Sky lost it, despite BMC being current World Champions, in that discipline.
        BMC – have focused a large part of their budget, on US riders, ie TJVG – and he’s paid a large contract, on hope and expectations, rather than results.
        Thats perhaps a marketing question for their bike brands, and outlets, but irrespective of that, TJVG – whole race tactic ( as expressed in media pr) was to sit there and hope/wait.

        No part of his strategy mentioned attacking, probably the hardest i saw him ride, was when he was trying to get back on yesterday afternoon.
        To win 3 Tour de France stages, is a brilliant effort, but given their budget, expectations, and expenditure, its no wonder, they chased a German bank for long term team finance.

        Riders are usually contracted on results gained, and its not particularly a “European trait” to pay riders, solely on the “expectation” basis.
        The problem for many, is the big contract, can kill the hunger for success, within riders. Equally, with big contracts, comes big pressure, and expectation. That, pressure alone, can cause many problems, so for riders to be paid now, on expectation, rather than results, and then fail to live up to that hope.
        BMC do not pay big contracts to riders to simply participate.

        • Sam Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:22 pm

          TJVG ‘“GT” rider, that has never strung a 3 week race together, well, and hasn’t ever proven capable of realising that’…??

          Better tell him, the record books and all of us who watched the 2012 and 2014 Tours then – 2 x 5th places and a white jersey

    • Jon L Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:46 pm

      Phinney is back in training, but it was a very bad crash, so this season is a write-off, next season we’ll be able to see if he can start to fulfill his obvious potential.

      http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/07/news/bmc-hopeful-stetina-phinney-can-race-before-end-of-season_378632

  • dave Thursday, 23 July 2015, 1:49 pm

    people are way too harsh on rider like TVG, Porte, Pinot.

    give riders a chance to develop – there can only be one Froome, Quintana, Contador, Nibali – not every team can have a proven winner? And how can you become this if you’re not backed to develop and give it a crack?

    will everyone get on the Yates’ backs if they fail at 22? if it takes 5years for them to develop and a bit of luck to win a Grand Tour then it’ll all have been worth it? Same goes for TVG, Porte, Pinot who’ve all proven quality cyclists and deserve their chances.

    funny people don’t get on Mollema’s back, or many others who have performed far worse with a full teams backing. I guess he’s just irrelevant because you only get stick if you’re exceptionally good but not quite good enough.

    & criticising TVG for wimping out………. wow……. really? he’s never left a tour before and clearly broke down yesterday, I think with a body swap no-one on this thread would have even made the start line let alone back to the group after being dropped.

    armchair critics are way too harsh – still at least it takes the light off the Froome drug chat which is just painfully dull when there’s absolutely no evidence either way.

    D

    • Augie March Thursday, 23 July 2015, 5:49 pm

      If the French public talk about every French rider like some of the commentators here do about TVG or Porte it’s no wonder these young guys often wilt under the weight of mass opinion. Writing off someone as a failure because they didn’t win a Grand Tour at their first or second attempt doesn’t seem like the actions of a true fan of the sport or even someone with a modicum of understanding of it.

    • THWND Thursday, 23 July 2015, 7:50 pm

      I agree that people are being harsh on TJ on the forum. I don’t care how good a rider you are, everyone is susceptible to illness.
      That being said Porte, TJ and Pinot have had promising performances that get the teams hope up. They also talk a big game and come into major races acting as if they will win. When they flame out they do so much more vividly than a Mollema who claimed to aim for nothing more than a top 10 finish. TJ also leads a high priced and talented BMC team that is capable of supporting a GT winner. Porte has the Sky machine at his disposal and is normaly brilliant until he suddenly and frustratingly collapses. Pinot has the French press to deal with.

  • The Real JHutch Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:02 pm

    The top ranked UCI rider earlier this season! I bet most teams are pleased not to be lumbered with a donkey like Porte!

    For all the slightly hash criticism of brilliant riders and some unfounded / unsubstantiated accusations those that comment here are in the vast majority reasonable, interesting and intelligent, that’s why this is the only site where I’ll read the comments. INRNG is brilliant and long may it continue to offer the best insight and opinion on the sport I love.

  • Flashing Pedals Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:26 pm

    TJVG – nope. He can’t ride 3 weeks.

    Right or wrong, that’s my opinion, so irrelevant.
    Let’s see him prove me wrong……………

    • Doubter Thursday, 23 July 2015, 2:35 pm

      Wow….that’s quite the (erroneous) opinion.

      As someone said above……2 fifth place finishes and a white jersey……the guy clearly can’t ride worth beans.

      • Flashing Pedals Thursday, 23 July 2015, 7:15 pm

        time will tell.
        yeah, i know nothing.
        plenty of white jersey winners, couldnt scratch their arses for the overall TDF.

        Next

        • Alan Friday, 24 July 2015, 1:33 pm

          “He can’t ride 3 weeks.” you said.

          As has been pointed out more than once, 2x 5th and white Jersey loudly says otherwise, and says that he at least has the potential.
          His problem is Froome & Quintana are superior climbers, but he’s not that far off. He probably needs a Tour route like Wiggo’s 2012 route to play into his hands.

  • J Evans Thursday, 23 July 2015, 3:22 pm

    What is TVG’s salary? (Everyone’s mentioned how huge it is.)

    • dave Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:24 pm

      good question….. interesting it hasn’t been answered. D

  • ronytominger Thursday, 23 July 2015, 3:26 pm

    im impressed that frank got in the breakaway yesterday. his whole year was devotet to a top-10 placement in the tdf. He had some problems to follow the leaders in the first part of the race in the montains until the end(usually finishing with the group right behind the galacticos) . i thought he would fail his target, but ysesterday he was on the attack.

  • Rusty chain Thursday, 23 July 2015, 3:58 pm

    My comments were clearly meant to be tongue in cheek but I guess the crowd is very sensitive and … uptight. Loosen up fellas. Maybe go for a bike ride…

    • Anonymous Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:10 pm

      They were hilarious. I for one have never read quips about doping before.

  • ccotenj Thursday, 23 July 2015, 4:49 pm

    i do not “get” all the vitriol and bile being directed at tjvg…

    he’s not my favorite rider in the world, but c’mon people… the aspersions being cast upon his character/riding ability are a bit much…

  • Dan Thursday, 23 July 2015, 5:29 pm

    Delighted for Bardet & AG2R.

  • Barodeur Billy Thursday, 23 July 2015, 8:14 pm

    Very nice to see Bardet redeem himself after the Stage 14 disappointment. Great race from him today.

  • O L Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:29 pm

    Oakley need to hook Thomas up with some of his old shades; it’s much too hard to pick him out now… Barguil has a lot to answer for.

    • dave Thursday, 23 July 2015, 11:19 pm

      great comment – I very much agree.

      D

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