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Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 7 Preview

The final stage sees the race end with a tricky mountain stage packed with technical descents – La Rochette might ring a bell – and the unheralded but difficult climbs of the Col de Moissière and the Col du Noyer. Don’t miss the earlier finish time.

Thibaut Pinot

Stage 7 Wrap: a fast start as 25 riders went clear on the twisting ramps of the Col de Champ Laurent including Thibaut Pinot. A few riders were shelled on the way up the Col de la Madeleine and behind Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru and Joaquim Rodriguez attack Chris Froome. It was lively but it came to nothing and later on Aru would be dropped for his efforts. Romain Bardet attacked over the top of the Madeleine and used his descending skills to bridge the two minute gap the group up the road where he found Mikaël Cherel and Jan Bakelants waiting for him. Team Sky chased but the gap grew to three minutes by the start of the final climb and Bardet attacked out of the lead group. Pinot gave chase and at first it looked like he couldn’t close the gap but, diesel-like, he got across and the pair linked up. With Mikel Landa eating into Bardet’s virtual yellow jersey position the Ag2r rider tried a couple of accelerations but Pinot hung on and powered past for the stage win and the mountains jersey. Had the two not played games – perhaps if Bardet had promised the stage win, “we could have arranged things” said Pinot – then Bardet could even have finished the day as the new race leader. Speaking at the finish line Bardet looked icier than some of the surrounding mountain peaks, “I could have raced better… I’m very very disappointed” he told Eurosport through gritted teeth. Further back Dan Martin and Chris Froome escaped in the streets of Méribel to take time and give Froome a more comfortable 21 second margin over Richie Porte.

The Route: 151km south by south-east across the Alps as the race sticks to the valley floor as much as possible even if a lot of the stage is run at close to 1,000m above sea level. The opening climb is labelled as the Côte de Monteynard by the race, it’s the Col de la Festinière to locals: perhaps they don’t want to scare the riders with a big sounding climb at the start? Still it’s not so hard, a railway runs by the road at times and it’s an obvious launchpad for attacks and a lot easier for the big teams to filter who goes off the front as the road is wide. Then follows a more stable part of the course.

Just past halfway, after the Côte de Saint-Laurent, comes a familiar road past La Rochette, scene of chamois-browning descents in the past but they stay on the main road rather than taking the hardest section where Geraint Thomas lost his sunglasses last summer. It’s still a fraught descent.

Col de Moissière

The comes the Col de Moissière, not a famous name but it will leave it’s mark today, a hard climb on a narrow, rough road and then only a short descent as they drop on to a plateau and then 25km across to the main climb of the day.

The Finish: a combo of climbs, identical to the finish used in 2013 when Samuel Sanchez won. The Col du Noyer (“Walnut Tree Pass”) is hard with irregular gradients and a series of hairpin bends with stunning views of the valley below. The upper slopes are particularly steep. They’re followed a fast, technical 6km descent and then it’s straight to the finish, 4km at 5.9%.

The Contenders: Chris Froome’s 21 second lead over Richie Porte is slender but enough to allow him to mark his rivals without too much worry and ideally Team Sky will let a breakaway go away in order to mop up any time bonuses. There will be all sorts of calculations today, for example Thibaut Pinot wears the polka dot jersey but is tied on points with Daniel Teklahaimanot meaning a battle between FDJ and Dimension Data along the way. Similarly there’s only six seconds between white jersey wearer Julian Alaphilippe and Adam Yates in the best young rider competition.

Dan Martin has enjoyed a great race so far, fourth in the prologue and he distanced everyone in the finish yesterday. He’s fast in the final kilometre and sprints well but will he be allowed any room? He’s fourth overall and Romain Bardet and Richie Porte will be defending their podium spots. Which leaves the door open for Julian Alaphilippe who should find the more gentle gradients allow him to contest the finish. Adam Yates should be close by too.

What will Alberto Contador do? He was on the attack yesterday and if it came to nothing he may fancy trying again today but he’s still going to be closely marked.

Cannondale’s Pierre Rolland fell off the pace yesterday but otherwise has had a good race and is the kind of rider strong enough to barge away and not threatening enough on GC, the same for Louis Meintjes of Lampre-Merida and Daniel Navarro of Cofidis. Movistar’s Daniel Moreno has been good in finishes like this too. Finally if his legs are sore, his mind seemed even worse yesterday so Romain Bardet could try to hang and sprint for the win.

Dan Martin
Julian Alaphilippe, Adam Yates
Navarro, Contador, Rolland, Moreno, Bardet, Meintjes

Weather: sunny but cool with a top temperature of 21°C. The wind will get up meaning a tailwind early on until the route turns back and the final 50km will have a headwind.

TV: the finish is forecast for 2.55pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport. If not then cyclingfans, cyclinghub and steephill.tv have schedules and streams.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 12 June 2016, 6:07 am

    ryder?

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:39 am

      Ryder Hesjedal? He’s been a pro 14 years and won 4 races, granted one of these was the Giro but this only means he’s crossed a finish line first with a victory celebration three times. A very unlikely winner for today given the short and intense stage but an outsider, just, if he’s been cruising to save himself for today.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 12 June 2016, 6:08 am

    porte? froome?

  • Anonymous Sunday, 12 June 2016, 6:08 am

    mollema

  • Anonymous Sunday, 12 June 2016, 6:09 am

    Cataldo

    • Somers Sunday, 12 June 2016, 11:17 am

      Are these anonymous’ the same person?

      In other news, yesterday froome made the tdf look like its going to be quite boring. Unless Quintana is in epic form.

      • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:45 pm

        Froome, yes, but even more so, Sky.
        It’s no use for the rivals to reduce the field to a dozen riders as soon as halfway to the finish (which would normally be all captains, forced to fight mano-a-mano and spend energies themselves to counter any attack), if about third part of that are athletes from the same team, actually allowing the leader to keep the gap under control and spend little energies at the same time.

        • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 1:35 pm

          An early attack would seem the only way to counter this tactic – didn’t work for Contador yesterday, but maybe if it was a bit closer to the finish. If Quintana/Movistar have any nous, they won’t leave it till the final climbs in the Tour (I don’t think they have the balls for this, though).

        • Ecky Thump Sunday, 12 June 2016, 1:39 pm

          David Millar gave a fuller reading of the stage Gabriele. Bardet and Pinot, GC threats, were allowed to go and their gap was managed. Don’t forget that Kreuziger was in this breakaway at one point, presumably to link up with a Contador escape, but Sky let them extend out – enough to be too far away to discourage Contador, yet close enough that they could be reeled in sufficiently to protect GC.

          The principal “enemies” yesterday were Tinkoff and Astana (Aru) and both were trumped. It was excellent counter-tactics on Sky’s behalf.

          • Alejandro Sunday, 12 June 2016, 2:19 pm

            It looks like the only way to beat Sky will be to make them work from day 1, which looks unlikely looking at the parcours. A second or third string climber from Astana or Movistar needs to get in a break early and get a buffer – but the sprinters/puncheurs teams probably aren’t going to let that happen in the first week.

            Looking good for Cummins, up the Wirral!

          • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:23 pm

            Sky defended themselves well, but that wouldn’t have been possible if they hadn’t had that absurd superiority in power numbers through all the team.

            When a captain attacks, like Contador did, normally the other captains must *choose* between allowing a significant gap (way bigger than the biggest one they permitted yesterday) in order to their gregari with ’em *or* to answer and enter in a direct close combat fight, where you must lose nearly as much as energy as the attacker to counter him.

            Froome and Sky simply *didn’t have to choose*, hence it’s not what you could define “excellent tactics”, it’s rather “normal tactics” – when you’ve got such athletic excellence.

            Nothing strange, however: Landa and Henao are top GC riders… same isn’t true for Poels, but he’s having a very good year, and in a short stage race you can understand he performing well.

            Today’s last climb was another example: despite the attacks on the previous climb, on the last one out of some 15 rider, 4 were Sky guys. Hence there couldn’t be any series of attacks by several other GT contenders, with Froome forced to cover them all. Steady pace and see you in the sprint.

            All in all, despite Contador’s more or less convincing (and convinced) moves, and, – potentially way more interesting – the Bardet attack, the whole race ended up being a bit dull.
            We can’t count on Tirreno, this season, to match that (thank you Vegni!!!!!), but Paris-Nice was clearly better and I preferred País Vasco, too. This wasn’t much more enthralling than Catalunya (which wasn’t great, in case somebody didn’t watch it).

          • Ecky Thump Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:51 pm

            You say “absurd superiority” but that, more or less, could be Sky’s climbing choice for TdF (apart from Thomas) – look at their Tour de Suisse team and it’s much different and indeed Thomas will have much less protection around him.

            The other major GC teams have spread their eggs around differing baskets Gabriele.
            Whereas, after their Giro set-back, Sky have gone all in here as a TdF rehearsal.
            They’re strong, obviously, but Astana, Movistar and Tinkoff will offer much more resistance in July.
            But these respective teams simply haven’t chosen to come in strength here.
            That’s their choice, but Sky can’t be blamed for that.
            So I don’t understand why there is so much criticism of their win – blame the other teams for not showing up.

          • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 4:05 pm

            I’m not criticising them at all, dunno where you got that.
            I was criticising – so to say! – the race but that’s in Dauphiné’s nature more often than not, even if we’ve been treated to a couple of exceptions in the last six or seven years.

            I think I wrote that Sky “did well”, and there was “nothing strange” in their notable athletic performance. You haven’t seen me “criticising” 🙂

            Besides, I openly “criticised”, if anything (I was quite soft), Ag2R and Tinkoff’s management of yesterday’s stage: they made mistakes which were totally not-related to Sky’s decisions, and, if they acted otherwise, Sky couldn’t have done much, either.

            I agree with more or less everything you say here in your latest reply, I was just observing that what we saw wasn’t at all about especially clever “tactics”, as much as having an absurd firepower.
            Maybe “absurd” is too strong a word, but I deem it so… precisely because of the lack of proportion with what is at stake and with the level of competition by the other teams.
            I consider it also “absurd” that a single team can be able to field so many potential captains working as gregari, but this isn’t Sky’s (or Astana’s) fault nor is up to them to sort that out.

          • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:31 pm

            No idea of the legalities, but as many have said, this sport desperately needs a salary cap to stop Sky dominating. Biases aside, it’s tedious.

        • ZigaK Monday, 13 June 2016, 7:07 am

          Despite sky’s absurd power, if it hadn’t been for ag2r’s absurd tactics, Bardet would be leading the competition with a very good chance of retaining it in the final stage. Or at least we would be treated to very different last stage, and dare I say more entertaining.

          • gabriele Monday, 13 June 2016, 11:49 am

            Forced to quote again what I had already written above:

            “Besides, I openly ‘criticised’, if anything (I was quite soft), Ag2R and Tinkoff’s management of yesterday’s stage: they made mistakes which were totally not-related to Sky’s decisions, and, if they acted otherwise, Sky couldn’t have done much, either”.

            Hence, I agree with you.
            Which confirms my point: Sky’s tactics didn’t *demonstrate* to be especially good (they weren’t tragic, either), they were just enough to grant them victory out of a sheer display of power.

  • Vedrafjord Sunday, 12 June 2016, 7:17 am

    A stage win would cap a great Dauphiné for Dan Martin. He’s looking really good for July (please don’t crash, please don’t crash, please don’t crash).

    • Mats Sunday, 12 June 2016, 8:16 am

      It’s been a great pleasure to follow both Dan and Alaphilippe.

      • Bemused Sunday, 12 June 2016, 1:23 pm

        Totally agree. Reminds me of Dan and Ryder working together (LBL panda edition being the obvious example). If they can keep a similar happy team vibe they will be potent stage hunters next month.

  • Bill Hostile Sunday, 12 June 2016, 8:19 am

    Would Louis Meintjes be allowed to get away as he’s only 39 and 33 seconds off Alaphilippe and Yates in the young rider classification sub-plot?

  • Jordan T Sunday, 12 June 2016, 8:28 am

    I really feel Dan Martin deserves a good win but he just always (and I mean always, nearly every race he contests) seems to attack just a tad too early and as strong as his attacks are they’re doomed to fail because of it.

    • Ferdi Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:36 pm

      He does, but I think he and Alaphilippe are the only ones in top form. The others are still up and coming.

      • Bemused Sunday, 12 June 2016, 1:27 pm

        Agreed, but with their focus being the Ardennes this will always be the case. Apart from Valverde nobody can carry podium form from the Ardennes through to the Vuelta.

  • JH Sunday, 12 June 2016, 8:40 am

    Request for Article, please Mr Rng:

    There’s a bit of focus on the White Jersey competition; probably because it is a bit more closely fought than the yellow. But we don’t normally hear too much about the White Jersey winner five minutes after the event.

    So, while you are having your “rest” between tomorrow and July, how about researching an article on the White Jersey comp for the TDF:

    When did it start?
    What is it worth in terms of prizes?
    Who has won it?
    Is it a predictor of future greatness?
    What is it worth in terms of career?
    Any memorable TDF competitions?
    How important is it to teams and riders – would a white jersey leader get any protection from the team?

    Just an idea! Thanks!

  • Bikefoolish Sunday, 12 June 2016, 9:35 am

    I think the above request is rather cheeky as I suspect inner ring has already considered this but I’m going to +1 it as I want to know as well?

    • JH Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:28 pm

      Whoops! I wasn’t trying to be cheeky; just genuinely thought the topic is the sort of thing that would get covered really well here, and nowhere else. The author would enjoy the research (or updating it), and the readership would enjoy it even more.

  • Ecky Thump Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:56 am

    How are relations between Ag2r and FDJ generally Inrng?
    You suggested yesterday that Bardet and Pinot get on well enough together, yet in hindsight today things seem strained between the pair – team orders perhaps?

    • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:25 pm

      Bardet bitterly regretted what happened yesterday, and Pinot said that they didn’t do very well, either. That’s what happens when you don’t even believe too much yourself in your options to overthrow the GC… whatever the reason.

      • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:31 pm

        As the Eurosport Italia commentator said again today (having said it a lot yesterday), ‘Bardet stupido; directo sportivo stupido’.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 12 June 2016, 11:15 am

    Seems to have paid dividends already Dan Martin moving teams!

  • Dave Sunday, 12 June 2016, 11:21 am

    Don’t the time bonuses available reduce the chances of on-road deals and alliances? Would or could Bardet have gifted the stage to Pinot when that win came with valuable extra seconds?

    I get the theory of bonuses is to encourage racing to the line between contenders, but personally I’m not a fan as I think they can distort the overall, and lessen the chances of ‘deals’ that I’ve always thought of as adding depth and intrigue to the race rather than undermining the validity of it.

    • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:04 pm

      I agree – and bonuses also dissuade riders from attacking early, as they can sprint at the end and take a chunk of time, so there is less reward for the risk.
      Bardet seems to need lessons in tactics (as does his DS, presumably): he threw away a chance of taking the race lead (and for a Dauphiné stage?) and it was blindingly apparent what he should have done.

      • PT Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:57 pm

        I agree. Maybe I’m missing something but it seemed all Bardet had to do was cast aside his pre-determined goal of a stage, recalibrate and allow Pinot to take that and focus on the GC race. Work together towards the line, no foxing. Probably didn’t even need to say anything, the manner of riding would have made his intention clear. Instead he practically did track-stands in the last 1km. I’m sure he was bitter afterwards – a lesson in vanity harshly learned for someone who apparently has quite an intellect.

        • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:31 pm

          +1
          I think he ended up stopping believing he could really fight against Team Sky. You’re totally spot on, something he said today apparently confirms your POV.

          OTOH, bonus can have different effects, depending on the characteristics of the main riders of a specific historical moment, too. No general rule. It’s up to the organisers to decide what’s more opportune in a given period, considering the more common tactics and the personality of the contenders. In the Giro, taking them away resulted in a more boring race. Different examples can be selected to prove different points.
          I think that the’re a proper reward for the effort required to sprint. An effort which means being more tired in the following stages, which means a more interesting race.

          • PT Monday, 13 June 2016, 3:51 am

            That said, it’s very easy for us to criticise in hindsight from the comfort of the keyboard. A different matter when you’re at threshold and adjusting (or not) strategy on the go. Still, it’s perhaps more the role of the DS to spot that. And “vanity” was a bit harsh.
            I like Bardet, hopefully this will make him a better rider in July.

          • J Evans Monday, 13 June 2016, 10:26 am

            PT, I think you’re overly generous – this is really basic stuff tactics-wise. The rider should know this himself and the DS is sitting in the comfort of a car.

  • Peter Sunday, 12 June 2016, 11:36 am

    I would have thought lessening the chance of deals is a good impact of bonus seconds, not a bad one? Which distorts results more?

  • Ferdi Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:38 pm

    It was painful to see Landa and Henao defending the yellow jersey instead of attacking it. The Giro was so good because the strongest man was always isolated. What can be done to prevent big teams buying out their potential competitors?

    • PT Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:44 pm

      Salary caps are one measure but really, it’s just the way of the world.

    • Cameron Sunday, 12 June 2016, 1:16 pm

      It’s a team sport. Riders work for their designated team leader, they don’t attack them. Until there’s a NFL style hard salary cap (and god only knows if that would even be legal under EU law) I really don’t see what you can do about it. Big teams will always end up with guys who could win races elsewhere as their super-domestiques. Such is life.

    • Larry T Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:06 pm

      Can’t beat ’em? BUY ‘EM! Same as it ever was. Think of USPS/Discovery…any real threat to BigTex was bought up as soon as his contract was up…and then when he decided to go elsewhere and compete with Tex….he soon ran afoul of the anti-doping rules.

    • hoh Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:18 am

      What about dictating only 2 members of a team can enter the last session of a race. All domestique to retire at the start of the session?

      Better, dictate that every team can only register two guys on GC. That should work out nicely.

      Besides, mind you, in your very ideal & exciting Giro, the eventual race winner Nibali was never quite isolated. He either has a team mate or two with him or wait for him up the road. He even had some future team mates helping at times. He wouldn’t be able to win if he was riding for either lotto or Orica.

      Astana’s presence was as strong if not stronger in the Giro than Sky at Dauphine.

      • Anonymous Monday, 13 June 2016, 1:47 am

        Can’t get the point of this post. For instance, you might have noticed the presence of the word “Astana” in a sentence like the following one:

        “I consider it also ‘absurd’ that a single team can be able to field so many potential captains working as gregari, but this isn’t Sky’s (or Astana’s) fault nor is up to them to sort that out”.

        You should know that the reduction of team members in a race is currently talked about very seriously, so your supposedly funny hyperboles are a bit out of place. Most of those important people in the button room *did *indeed notice that so many riders on a team might become a problem if you want to sell an entertaining race.

        Besides, the difference between a boring race and an exciting one is that… in the latter the gregari are used in an exciting way.
        And, more often than not, in that *exciting race* the point is *not* that they’re able to fully match an effort which only a dozen of other athletes (mainly captains) can afford, the point is using them the right way in the right moment.
        Scarponi wasn’t finishing second after having burnt himself out to make the race harder. And that kazakh which worked on the Agnello, well, he was no Landa or Henao, believe me, and he needn’t to, because the tactics didn’t require him to survive another captain’s acceleration, just to work for a short section of the climb in order to establish a calculated tactical situation.

        • gabriele Monday, 13 June 2016, 1:48 am

          Sorry, it’s me. Involuntary anonymity.

          • hoh Tuesday, 14 June 2016, 6:43 am

            The irony is in the artificiality of the race (only two per team can go into that last session of the stage) and only the two pre-race registered rider can compete for GC.

            This is sure to limit young rider development in many teams.

  • Dave Sunday, 12 June 2016, 12:45 pm

    I think the bonus seconds does. It’s a bit like a cheesy TV game show where it’s “still all to play for” in the final round with double points offering the weaker contestant hope of overturning the result.

    I’ve always found the deal brokering, alliances, allegiances and grudges adds another dimension and more depth to the racing, especially in multi day stage races and across a season.

    The potential for Bardet to have ‘gifted’ the stage to Pinot, putting himself in yellow, 2 young great French rebels fighting together against the Darth Vader choke hold the Sky Empire had on the race, what’s not to cheer for?

    (And no I’m not anti-Sky or anti-Froome!).

  • Noel Sunday, 12 June 2016, 1:47 pm

    I have to say Froome looks in scary good physical shape, lean and even a bit muscly perhaps – or maybe it’s just that he’s raced so little that I’ve forgotten that he looks like that.. I really hope Quintana has been working similarly hard wherever he’s been hiding (Colombia I guess). Difficult to imagine anyone else getting close to these two in July at the moment, really hope I’m wrong though…

    • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:42 pm

      +1
      However, I’d be surprised if Henao or Poels (or Thomas) could offer the same impressive level of performance – necessary to create the conditions for Froome making his show – throughout the three weeks. They’re short stage race riders, with known limits for the GTs (until now).
      Logic would suggest that *the rest* of the rival teams should play against Sky’s chances, undermining the setting of the frame within which Froome has always expressed his best performances.
      Yet, logic isn’t what works in any power-&-money-influenced context… and we risk to see again another edition of Movisky, Movistana, US-deutsche Telepostal or DisCSC Channel.

      • MikeF Monday, 13 June 2016, 8:10 am

        Throughout the three weeks? Exactly how much did Sky need, for example, Poels in the first week of last year’s Tour de France? Not at all is the answer, they had him saving his energy for the latter part of the race, so he didn’t have to put in any major efforts until the uphill team time trial.

        • gabriele Monday, 13 June 2016, 11:45 am

          1) The third week is different even if you’re taking it easier than the rest before that. However…

          2) …that’s why I spoke about “the rest of the rival teams”, since the trouble which an approach like Sky’s *should* meet is that they’ve got 8 gregari, but the others *should* work against them with a total of three or four time that quantity. This is especially true since Sky’s strategy *is not* about going fast up *every* mountain, quite the contrary…

  • Larry T Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:11 pm

    This stage should have finished in Paris! Did they bust out the bubbly before TV coverage started? C’mon, the final climb paced up at a breakneck pace by noted mountain goat………….TONY Martin? Il Pistolero throws in a half-assed attack with what, 2 kms to go before the GPM and Froome and Co have a nice cruise to the finish. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Only Steve Cummings saved the thing from becoming another edition of the “Insomniac Theater”. If this is what’s on tap for Le Grand Boucle…stock up on NO-DOZ folks!

    • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:36 pm

      Larry, I must say that I don’t always agree with your vision about lesser races: they can offer great spectacle – and they do so, from time to time.
      However, I ended up being quite disappointed, too, by the way things turned out during this Dauphiné. Sky’s team depth (and two or three serious mistakes by their rivals) made the race really dull, albeit maybe not as much as you depict it.

      • Larry T Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:43 pm

        Hold on, I NEVER said the lesser races couldn’t offer great spectacle – I’ve been to see Tirreno-Adriatico a time or two as well as some others, just that they don’t count for much in the greater scheme of things… as in when the REAL racing season starts
        As to my comments above, I have been known to indulge a bit of hyperbole now and then…and I think everyone here pretty much knows that by now? 🙂

        • Gabriel Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:04 am

          To put is short, there’s nothing like il Giro, right?

      • hoh Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:08 am

        Surely Col du Noyer was raced quite spectacularly, with AC attacking twice and Froome having to close him down personally the second time. Bardet also had a go and again was closed down by Froome personally. They then kept on testing each other on the decent though the cat and mouse cost the group some speed.

        Surely up until the group lost its moment on the descent and the Sky Cavalry arrived, it was the type of “mano a mano” racing everybody was wishing for? Sure, if the decent was shorter and the last climb tougher, the race may become more animated and the 3 Sky musketeers may not come back but I suppose ASO can’t really move mountains.

        • gabriele Monday, 13 June 2016, 1:49 am

          How many kms from the summit was that, when Froome had to move personally?

  • Whale Sunday, 12 June 2016, 3:49 pm

    Positives

    Froome was isolated, but the run in wasn’t right
    Bardet riding well
    Contador officially not over yet

    Ironies
    Porte boxed in by Sky and bumping shoulders with Froome, costing him second place (I think?)

  • gabriele Sunday, 12 June 2016, 4:30 pm

    An OT reflection about superteams.

    If a salary cap system wouldn’t work or wouldn’t be allowed by the EU, perhaps the UCI might try to enforce a point-based system.
    For instance, forcing you to name, say, two captains for the stage races, then setting a maximum of points scored in GCs during the previous months for *the rest* of the team (gregari).

    Adding to that a greater importance for points (through I don’t know what system of prizes at the end of the season or whatever), you’d force the teams to choose between scoring points in shorter stage races or in the Giro with their strong secondary riders, being consequently prevented to use them as *gregari* in the following GTs (Tour), *or* scoring point in those same lesser races with the captains themselves – whom you would thus oblige to race more.
    This situation would also make clear to lesser riders that when they work as gregari of a superteam, ok, they’ll be taking the money, but their winning options might be hugely reduced.

    This isn’t a very elaborated plan, it’s probably full of flaws (typical digestive… ruminating), but maybe it’s a path worth to be explored.
    Cycling isn’t presently *sustainable* not because of an absolute lack of revenues, but because the cost of a competitive team has become too huge thanks to those four or five superteams which are wiping every available plate.
    Cycling would be totally sustainable if the teams’ dimension (all of them) was at best 10-15M. Which means you can’t be paying several hundreds of K a year to any gregario.

    • Larry T Sunday, 12 June 2016, 5:25 pm

      This might surprise as much as I dislike SKY and the $30 million they can put into their squad, but I think the ridiculous costs are as much due to the WT requirements of fielding teams at all the big races as anything. Of course we don’t know what the likes of SKY would be doing if “Heinie’s Folly” had never been implemented, but I don’t think Murdoch and Co, enjoy throwing money away.
      I say ditch the entire WT concept and let the race promoters do like they used to do – invite the top teams + teams of local/national interest. This way a team with questionable ethics might just not get invited and teams (like Bardiani for example) with small budgets would get invited to races against the big teams if the race organizers deem them worthy.
      So many like to go on about business and free market-based concepts, so why not let the teams and their sponsors spend what they think is enough to get into (and have success in) the races they target…but with no guarantees, so having the biggest budget doesn’t automatically get you what you want. While this turns the dreams of Velon and guys like Tinkoff upside down, is it really that different from the golden-age-of-cycling?

      • ebbe Sunday, 12 June 2016, 6:51 pm

        Big issue (or irrational fear? …but fears are real issues too) with that is: Smaller teams will likely struggle to get (new) sponsors if they can’t “promise” air time. Currently, a team such as Giant-Alpecin has, merely through their WT status, a guarantee they can ride the TdF. This in turn guarantees they can get their sponsors’ names on TV daily, for three consecutive weeks, in one of the biggest (by viewer numbers) sports events in the world. If that guarantee is taken away, such teams would most likely struggle (to say the least) to convince sponsors to invest.

        And since cycling teams rely solely on sponsoring as their source of income (exactly what Tinkoff was trying to change), it’s quite likely this will lead to the demise of WT several teams…

        First to go would be the “smaller” teams that currently already scramble to make ends meet. Next to go would be teams that aren’t invited to TdF because the French don’t like them, or use TdF entry as leverage against Velon/UCI. The TdF would end up as a race of Sky against a few dozen French (pro) conti teams. Nobody wants to see 8 guys dressed in black and blue doing a team time trial, followed by one guy in yellow, then 30 minutes nothing, and then a peloton consisting of pro conti teams for three weeks straight.

        Ok, you can ignore that joking third paragraph 😉 But the first two are very much real fears for the majority of teams.

        • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:46 pm

          But a team like G-A would be *likely* to go to the Tour, which would probably be enough for most sponsors.

          • Nick Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:40 am

            Now, sure. But when they were Skil-Shimano, they didn’t get invites in 2010 or 2011, lost their sponsors, and had to start again from scratch.

      • Nick Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:52 am

        Do you mean the costs when there are multiple races on at one time, or just the total number of WT races? If the latter, there are 27 WT races in a season, and all WT teams and all but 6 Pro-Conti teams have passed that number already.

    • Tovarishch Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:32 pm

      No problem with salary caps under EU rules. Wales, France and England all have them in rugby but they do require the agreement of all parties.

      • Nick Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:44 am

        And the reason that English rugby teams who breach the salary cap never get punished is that they’ve made it quite clear that they’ll sue if they do, and bring the whole thing crashing down.

        But if all sides agree to play by a set of rules, then those can be the rules. It’s worth noting that “all parties” includes the riders.

    • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:42 pm

      Wouldn’t the flaw in this be that a team like, say, Sky would save all their riders for the Tour?
      The 10-15M overall salary cap is the way – is it legal if voluntary?

      • gabriele Monday, 13 June 2016, 11:41 am

        See ZigaK comment below and my reply.

    • ZigaK Monday, 13 June 2016, 11:18 am

      Your solution has a fatal flaw I think: Let’s say Landa is pacing Froome to the 500m line, Froome wins, Landa fakes a cramp, fumbles with the chain, gets on a bike again, rear derailleur gets caught in the spokes, Landa keeps walking to the finish line, counting the places he lost until it’s safe to cross the line.
      But it’s a great goal to discuss. To get the rich teams spread their weight more and in effect getting more good, fiercely contested racing overall.
      My solution would be to give more power to the uci points by reducing the number of wt teams that get invited to all events (and in process satisfying ASO). So for example if sky want to get to that reduced group of top teams they need to use their star roster more effectively in order to get enough points. Also it would be good to reevaluate the points awarded by each race.

      • gabriele Monday, 13 June 2016, 11:40 am

        Agreed with your POV, and that’s why I wrote above:

        “Adding to that a greater importance for points (through I don’t know what system of prizes at the end of the season or whatever), you’d force the teams to choose…”.

        If Landa or Henao aren’t scoring point in the secondary races, or with top-ten or thereabouts placement in the main races, while Froome isn’t, either, because he doesn’t race them on form, then the team would be penalised someway. For instance, the way you suggest, which is indedd interesting.

        However, I myself find my idea very far from perfect (for example, I actually like that in minor races there’s a mix of top riders and others you don’t normally see that high, all of them fighting for victory due to different conditions of form, goals and so), it was just a hint for discussion.

  • Larry T Sunday, 12 June 2016, 7:37 pm

    What you are describing is the current problem – CAUSED by the WT “globalization” folly. Lower costs to buy-in mean more firms can take advantage of the opportunity. I fail to see a single positive benefit from UCI’s bad idea. It’s done pretty much nothing but drive up the costs of running a top-flight cycling team. There was a great piece on the benefits of being low-budget in the case of Bardiani. I don’t have the link but I posted it somewhere in response to similar arguments so it’s somewhere in INRNG?

  • Pax Sunday, 12 June 2016, 9:17 pm

    Sky is a super strong team and with Froome’s strong performances, especially Friday and Saturday, and the course layout he won.

    I appreciate the Inrng writeups.

    Larry – and other’s the times are changing, the old way will not work in the future. Suggesting globalization is a folly is for those lacking in education. Media and TV rights matter, and asset prices, especially the potential for ASO to increase their asset value vis-a-vis everyone else, especially many riders, may not be considered fair.

    • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:48 pm

      Perhaps you’d prefer a money-counting contest?

      • Larrick Monday, 13 June 2016, 9:13 am

        The assumption that a salary cap would make racing ‘better’ has some holes in it.

        A few points. 1. Would Froome suddenly not be the best (when he’s on form) because his team isn’t as strong? It would change the tactics but not neccessarily the result.

        2. DiDa don’t have a big budget yet they won a couple of stages, the KOM jersey and the Points as well with EBH. A smaller budget hasn’t stopped them being, with Sky, the dominate team in the race.

        3. With this race and the TdS overlapping and coming right on the heels of the Giro, what’s to stop teams focusing a main squad on one race and make-weights on the others?

        Salary Caps have a grass is always greener aspect to them. The NRL in Australia are again going through issues with teams cheating it and it doesn’t make the competition more competitive. Caps in all sports have shown that short term ‘dynasties’ will still exist and that the smaller teams can suffer because players they produce from a young age can’t alway stay with the club because of the restrictions.

        There are pros and cons to everything and salary caps are no exception.

        • J Evans Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:15 pm

          Good points – and it would be particularly interesting to see if your first point would or wouldn’t happen. Even if it changed the tactics, but not the result, it would probably make for more interesting racing – which is the desired effect.
          My own point was more in reply to Pax’s ostensible belief that the aim of professional cycling is to make money.
          I didn’t go into any kind of detailed discussion because, as Larry says below, I considered “lacking in education” to be as baseless as it was rude.

    • Larry T Monday, 13 June 2016, 9:01 am

      PAX – I enjoy INRNG too much to get into a flame war here but I’ll suggest you reconsider your “lacking in education” trope. That was uncalled for. Hein Verbruggen called for “globalization” of the sport of pro cycling with his World/Pro Tour project. Globalization in the broad sense is an entirely different subject. Explain to me how pro cycling has benefited from “Heinie’s Folly” and why the pro cycling setup that existed prior to this will not and could not work in the present day. Your final sentence reads like it was cut-and-pasted out of a VELON press release.

  • Ferdi Sunday, 12 June 2016, 9:23 pm

    Porte lost his much-cherished podium placing…Well-deserved. You’re half a minute from winning, you’re obviously on a good day, and you just don’t try… anything… for the overall victory??

    • Vitus Tuesday, 14 June 2016, 2:30 am

      Nobody told him the 3 characters on his shirt neither contain a S, K or Y anymore. Puppet. If I’d be BMC boss, I know who’s not on my salary cap for long.

  • J Evans Sunday, 12 June 2016, 10:35 pm

    Bravo Cummings: it’s becoming a speciality.
    Porte didn’t attack once. We can expect both he and TVG to ride like that in July. They’ll just be hoping to hang on for a podium in case one of the top three doesn’t finish.
    Sky to buy Alaphilippe? Great train of Sky riders he had to get himself back in touch towards the end.

  • Anonymous Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:31 am

    Porte is the MOST BORING rider period!

    • J Quinn Monday, 13 June 2016, 2:08 am

      I understand the comment but he is in an era where better GT riders will best him. Once he put on the BMC strip he became like the other Australian to wear it but he at least eventually won a GT and a few significant races after that breakthrough. They were/are at times excruciating or frustrating to watch as they often grind their way back on climbs or have a bad day with the occasional well earned win to keep hopes alive. Supremely gifted athletes but lacking the explosiveness that we all want to see.

      • IanP Monday, 13 June 2016, 8:43 am

        BMC – Boring Mans Cycling.

        Shame for Porte, however in his post race interview he said he felt great today (final stage)… so Why TF did he not attack… 2km out, 1km out… anytime.

        He gets boxed in when the sprint starts… shame on him, not like it was a bunch sprint at 50km/h + and crazy 80kg sprinters.

        He is a professional rider, you would expect more when it comes to finishing off a race.

        I like Richie, not a personal dig, just you see lots of riders finish a stage.. oh, i felt great today.. and they did zero to entertain.. Just like me sitting here at my laptop.. feeling great today 🙂 waiting for another time to do something 🙂

        Great work @inrng as usual.

  • PT Monday, 13 June 2016, 4:01 am

    Is it perhaps a fail that will serve Richie well in the fullness of time? In July? Froome seems to have been (understandably) a “friend of court” until now…Marquis of Queensbury rules and all that. Perhaps a good reminder that everything changes once you pin a number on?
    Pure speculation on my part and of course, it’s possible he just had nothing to give.

    • J Evans Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:16 pm

      Froome and Porte did have a discussion with a few km to go.

      • PT Monday, 13 June 2016, 2:12 pm

        yes, I saw that. Was more than a passing word. Then, from the overhead shot it looked like Sky completely boxed Porte in before the sprint – simple accident or deliberate? They had two riders in front and then Froome moved over. It could have easily just been a racing incident as the peloton adjusted across the road for the sprint. Or not. Have any of the riders commented?