Tour de France Stage 14 Preview

A likely sprint finish but an uncertain outcome. Mark Cavendish has proved the best sprinter so far yet each of his wins has been a surprise rather than an inevitability. With time and flat roads running out this is a high pressure stage for the likes of Katusha, Lotto-Soudal, Lotto-Jumbo and Direct Energie who all want and need a stage win.

Stage 13 Wrap: a sombre day after the attack in Nice. The publicity caravan turned the sound off and when the riders lined up in the start house the speaker simply announced their name rather than shout and cheer. The stage went to Tom Dumoulin and by some margin. The course might have suited him but he relegated the other time trial specialists putting a minute into Chris Froome. Movistar’s Nelson Olivera was the surprise third but he’s had strong showings before. Jérôme Coppel was at 1.35, Rohan Dennis 1.41 and Tony Martin over two minutes.

Chris Froome

In the second race for the overall classification Chris Froome put significant time into all his rivals. Bauke Mollema did the ride of his life – so far he’s having the Tour of his life – to limit his losses to Froome in seconds while everyone else were minutes behind. Froome has now proved superior uphill, downhill, on the flat, against the watch and he even runs fast. Mollema is looking good for second place but that’s far from certain and there’s an interesting race for the podium. We’re used to Team Sky controlling things for Froome but the likes of Mollema and Yates in second and third overall don’t have much support and we could see the likes of Romain Bardet, Richie Porte and Nairo Quintana attacking them.

The Route: north up the Rhone valley. There are some climbs but they’re no harder than 2km at 5%. The more the race goes on the flatter it gets and the final kilometres see the road gently rolling up and down past a landscape full of lakes. Apparently these lakes are a big deal for migrating birds. The finish is at the Parc des Oiseaux (Bird Park).

The Finish: the final 10km are easy to remember, first because it’s a copy of the finish used in the 2015 Critérium du Dauphiné – Stage 2 won by Nacer Bouhanni – and, second because it’s got one left turn with 5.7km to go, a right turn with 3.1km to go and that’s it. The road rises a falls a little. However this 2.5km section between the turns means a west to east run instead of the day’s northerly approach and exposes the finish to the crosswinds.

The Scenario: a likely sprint finish. The headwind won’t help a breakaway and several sprinters and their teams known their chances are limited.

The Contenders: a real dragstrip finish this is ideal for Marcel Kittel but is he ideal for the sprint? He’s not the certainty we imagined coming into this race.

Mark Cavendish is still in the race when we imagined he might have left. With the green jersey contest looking like it’s over no need to contest the intermediate sprint so he can save himself. With his win rate this Tour he’s hard to bet against but still doesn’t seem the surefire winner of old.

Alexander Kristoff looked a lot better in Montpellier than we’d seen him all race and Katusha are bound to work hard today to set up a sprint for him. Still one fifth place is not much to go on either.

Can André Greipel get that elusive stage win? Lotto-Soudal have their win thanks to big game hunter Thomas De Gendt but they’ll work to set up their sprinter once more. It’s his birthday which make his chances of a win no higher, just that more poetic.

Will Peter Sagan sprint? That crosswind section in the finish could be a sneaky place to get away but the weather will be calmer the further north they go meaning a less windy finish. Otherwise Dan McLay and Dylan Groenewegen are still in the mix. If you like omens or signs then maybe Bryan “Le Coq” Coquard will triumph in the Parc des Oiseaux.

Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel
Alexander Kristoff
Greipel, Coquard, Groenewegen

Weather: sunny, mild and 25°C. Sounds good only there will be a 30-40km/h headwind with gusts of 55km/h.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.10pm Euro time. It could be later given the headwind but the race but be started earlier because of the weather forecast.

Update: the start has been moved forward 15 minutes because of the wind.

103 thoughts on “Tour de France Stage 14 Preview”

  1. @Inrng,
    Lots of odd results from the TT, but one that called my attention was Cancellara with >3min behind.
    Any insight? Could be he saving himself for a late attack today? (although per your stage description doesn’t seems to suit him)

      • ‘he even runs fast’ hee hee

        A bit off-topic but I still don’t understand the people making snide comments about the Tour already being over. The reason I stuck with watching cycling when all other sports left me cold was that even if one result is certain, there’s almost always something else to follow with interest, like stage wins or the KoM. If people don’t want to watch Froome (maybe) (okay probably) roll first into Paris again that’s their prerogative, but I tune out most of their observational ‘comedy’ about it nowadays.

        Thanks for your posts as always

        • Totally agree, I have been following cycling and the TdeF since 1984, that year it was Robert Miller winning the KOM that made me love the sport. I have never understood the ‘its boring because….’ line, there is always something that has/might/could/will happen to keep me interested.

    • There was talk he focuses less on TTs nowadays and he seems to be enjoying this Tour, the Cycling Podcast spotted him relaxing with a post-stage beer the other day. I think his focus is on the World Road Race in Qatar. What a way to bow out that would be…

  2. Porte had a great start but faded badly in TT. Said he couldn’t hear radio but looks like he overcooked it and blew up in second half.

    Now Cav is out of Green jersey will he want to stay until Paris? Hope he sticks around

  3. I feel like we’ve got to the point in the race where its easier to be in the yellow jersey because you are less likely to be forced to respond to every attack as others will responding, seeking to keep/obtain a podium place.

  4. @Somers: My thoughts exactly; the way it stands now Froomey has that advantage too (plus the strongest team bar none of course). The fight between number 2 and at least number 5 pr. today, will be hard. Wonder what Movistar will do? Keep on betting on Quintana or let Valverde have a go?

  5. Nice to see the resurgence of Mollema but will be ok interesting to see if he can hold on. Can Quintana salvage anything, personally I’m not sure? My feel is that he was waiting for, and planning, an attack on Vonteux that would get him enough time to neutralise what Froome would gain in the TT. Froome might have the strongest team but he has also taken every chance he has been given. I hope this is a lesson in future years to the GC boy’s that racing if the way to put yourself on top. It’s still no certainty, it doesn’t take much to loose a couple of minutes and I really hope there is more great racing to come.

    • Although, to be fair, Quintana did attack twice on Ventoux and then was dropped.
      There’s still interest elsewhere in the race, but it’s disappointing to again have no real contest for GC (unless Froome falls off/gets sick and then whoop-dee-doo).
      Still interesting individual stages and the mountains classification, but the Tour’s problem is that the biggest race is usually over so early.
      There was interest of a sort from the Ventoux debacle, but that’s not the sort of interest I’m after.

  6. Mollema would have been third in the 2013 Tour if not for illness. He has previous. Better rider than he’s given credit for. Here’s hoping he holds on.

  7. To all TT haters:
    1) Yesterday was a very good show, with lots of things happening, lots of little stories, and the feeling that the whole thing was important. Some surprises too, who would have thought Porte would go down in the end, and Quintana improve so as to match his time?
    2) With 100km overall, Dumoulin might be an overall contender, and we would have a richer race (and more balanced).
    3) Oliveira: “With the new technologies, you can watch the watts, you know what you need to do. I just followed the watts. I knew I needed some energy for the last part”. He’s actually telling what’s wrong with modern TTs. How much better YY would be if riders had to do the exercise witht their brain and sensations? Shouldn’t we all start demanding that poweer-metres be banned from TTs, since they provide nothing good for the spectator and the race? Honestly.

    • I’d go further and ban them (or at least being able to see them like on the track) for all racing. They only detract from the spectacle and quality of racing. Otherwise, just give everyone a ramp test and be done wih it….

      • One of the things I’ve learned from this blog is that the Tour, and pro cycling generally, is one giant (forgive the pun) shop window.
        A bike, and definitely a TT bike, with a built-in power meter is probably not far away?

    • Shall we get rid of derailleur gears, aero bikes, etc as well?
      Don’t be such a luddite, power meters do not detract from racing in the slightest

      • Couldn’t agree more. It’s total nonsense to suggest they are so influential in results. All riders will still pace based on sensations on the day. Over a 3 week tour how you feel from day to day will vary a lot, the power meter doesn’t know that.

          • Interesting to see other responses – I’d probably ban power meters for non-TT stages – do you decide to follow the attacker or not, not set your power to 410 watts because you know it’s your threshold…

          • Then why have the gadget?
            Knowing your own limits is a skill – one that probably comes with experience, I’d guess.
            This is another important ‘brain factor’, which they have got rid of.
            If you want the riders to ride in a more exciting style, maybe – only maybe – it would help if they had to rely on themselves more.
            For that reason, I’ve also come round to the idea of getting rid of radios.

      • 1) Oh, please!! Who’s talking about derailleur gears? Why is it mentioned? Some people seem to mix everything up in order not to value things on their own merit.
        2) If these devices don’t make much of a difference ( and Oliveira would disagree), why are they there? If they do, is it in the interest of the race and the spectator or not? This is the only question that matters here.
        It is obvious that they don’t add anything, and that they do detract.

      • But was it the fault of TTs, or because the best climber could not attack the best TTist, because he was in the same team????? If the best climber had been on a different team, we would have seen a magnificent race, with Froome attacking all-out, and Wiggins chasing him across the mountains!!!

  8. Bravo to Dumoulin, sure, but I thought that Froome was excellent too in yesterday’s ITT and without having the luxury of picking and choosing your stages like Dumoulin had. What could Froome have done if he wasn’t a GC rider? He’s said to be targeting the olympic ITT head to head against Dumoulin and I think it might be closer than some imagine.

    • I had the same thoughts in regards to Froome if he was just targeting the ITT.
      I just checked and Tom Dumoulin finished 15 minutes behind Froome the stage before, and also Tom skipped the uphill jogging in cleats section as well!

  9. Can’t help but be impressed with CF. Wether you like the guy or not, one of the most complete GC rides I’ve seen for a long time so far. Quintana has the block in the Alps but CF seems comfortable. Porte will still podium.

  10. Got to feel you’re being a bit harsh giving Greipel only one chainring. He has been disappointing so far in the sprints but has been more visible than Kristoff – he was in the break a couple of days ago and even attacked on Ventoux!

    • Which, pardon my French, was dumb as a rock. If Greipel feels the need to attack on Mont Ventoux its basically waving the white flag. What a stupid waste of energy.

      • I’d suggest it was a good move. Greipel was no use on the climb but his move made Cofidis and Dimension Data set the pace leaving Thomas de Gendt to sit on the wheels for longer on the exposed crosswind road on the foot of the climb. This wasn’t result-defining but Greipel used what was left in the tank to help.

  11. Is it me or is Quintana either looking ill or a long way from form? Have the winds knackered him out?

    The way he came in behind Valverde looking completely shot on Ventoux was very strange? We’ve seen him beaten by Froome before but a always riding in a strong second never dejected behind a weaker team mate?

    If it’s really the affects of the wind and Sky pressure (mental as much as physical) you can’t really escape (unless things change) that this (nicking a tennis expression) has been a pretty comprehensive dismantling of his game? I have always assumed he’ll win the tour one day (and maybe things will change this year) but it’s the first time I’ve ever doubted him even a tiny percent. Feels like Sky came with new improved tactics directly focused on Q and Movistar came with the exact same as last year. Very surprising and pretty poor from Unzue.

    I’ve been wondering, given that the tour route very often seems to favour the closest challenger/s to each eras dominant rider (last few have been very much skewed to climbers as there’s no all rounder to touch Froome in a TT), and even this year’s TT’s are hilly, do you think next year they might begin to open it up more to Dumolin if he’s starting to look like a more realistic threat to Froome than Quintana?

    Taking 1min out of F yesterday and his Vuelta beating of F in that stage last year were incredibly impressive, he’s really looking like the real deal whatever the caveats might be of those two results.


    • In hindsight, Quintana is lucky that the wind was not an issue on the Normandy coastal stages.

      The last couple of Tours have highlighted his core problem – he’s just too small and light, and this provides a natural limitation to the range of cycling disciplines and terrain that the Tour inevitably tackles.
      Riders like Froome, Wiggins, Dumoulin can afford to lose / gain 5kg in weight to compensate for a particular course / target and be very competitive at both ends of that weight spectrum.

      Quintana’s lack of size does not give him that luxury.
      Whilst his TT has improved a lot, he essentially is, and remains, a climber.

      Unless the Tour were to have an uphill TT, team TT and, say only, a short TT *together* with a route that was not be-deviled with crosswinds or cobbles, his ultimate success to win a yellow jersey could be difficult?

      • I’m starting to agree, he’s a brilliant cyclist with years ahead so surely he’ll come good even if this isn’t the year etc, but given last year’s route could not have been more favourable (no TT’s just a TTT and multiple uphill finishes – will he ever get given a course so perfectly designed for him again?

        And will someone in the next generation come through to replace Froome as his bete noir? I foresaw years of domination for Q once F retired/weakened but maybe not now?

        One thing on Q – what are his climbing characteristics? (Would love to see a breakdown of each climbers strengths and weaknesses in INRNG!) because you hear the commentators say regularly ‘this is steep it will suit Q’ – and yet from what I’ve seen Froome is better at the steep irregular stuff than Q and he seems stronger of the consistent drags? I always hear it thinking the commentators are just inventing things because of Q size/weight/look rather than looking at the times/facts – but what are the facts? Maybe I am wrong? What are the actual speed/cadence or whatever you measure it by differences between F&Q on specific mountains in theyve both climbed in the last few years?

        • Quintana’s good on the long, hard climbs. He doesn’t have a big jump or punch, he’s more of a diesel. See how he barged clear on Alpe d’Huez or the way he stayed out in the Giro on the Stelvio stage his way to the win, or the Monte Grappa TT.

          (PS fixed your typo)

          • Ah thanks – so you say and average gradient of 10+% favours Q – an changing gradient favours F and anything below 8% keeps them pretty equal?

          • Re: Quintana’s lack of a big punch I found what Greg Lemond said recently to be insightful. Lemond said that Quintana stays at altitude too much where training to be explosive is much harder. We saw exactly this on Ventoux. If he had had the punch of Froome, Porte who followed him, or Mollema who broke away to join them, when he attacked it could have been a tale of how the rest of the GC chased him up the mountain. Instead, his couple of attacks were weak and ineffective and pulled back easily by Poels working for Froome.

          • +1
            I’d also say that Froome won his first Tour at the age of 28. At 26, Quintana has come closer than Froome had at that age, albeit in a relatively inflexible way that can be beaten tactically (just these big high altitude climbs). He’s also always said he can’t cope with heat – not good for July – which is borne out in the number of snow-bound wins he has. Froome on the other hand has a build that needs heat, not to mention when he quit in the rain in 2014.
            If anything, it’s us expecting so much of Quintana that makes him look bad, more than his failure – after all, nobody else could beat Froome in the Tour either since 2012.
            To me at least, the real test is if he can’t win the Tour by 29 or 30, then it will start to look unlikely. But his Giro win for example does give cause to expect something like this, not to mention being in red in the Vuelta that year he crashed out.

        • Re: altitude, heat, build etc.
          I can relate; I live above 9,000′, 5’9″ & sometimes below 130 lbs. -the heat is bad news, cold is bad news, consistent steeper climbs allow Me to find a good gear and keep it steady.

          I often like what LeMond says,

          Greg Lemond said recently to be insightful. Lemond said that Quintana stays at altitude too much where training to be explosive is much harder.

      • Agree with the above. I think it is a romantic notion to think that a pure climber can win big on the hills and still manage to win the tour. Has ever been the way (Pantani) but if you look historically, if you can’t TT with the best, you severely hamper your GC chance. There will always be one contender who is strong on TT and and a good climber or in the form of their life.

          • Quintana pulled out a storming TT at the Vuelta last year.
            But yesterday was telling that Ion Izaguirre was the only smaller rider in the top 15 placings, all the rest were around 1.80m in height or more.

          • Why is it an issue of Quintana’s form when he’s able to finish near most of the GC guys? Is it not just that Froome is in really great shape?

          • Quintana’s form is an issue because with top form he’d be expected to be a level above the rest of the GC contenders outside of Froome. As of now, he’s just one of a group that’s fighting for leftovers after Froome, and not looking nearly like the strongest in that group.

    • Dumoulin took a minute on Froome, but has had a far easier Tour, due to not racing for GC. Put that into the equation and Dumoulin might gain some time on Froome, particularly in flat TTs. However, he’d have to significantly improve as a climber in order to limit his losses in the mountains. But Froome won’t be around forever and then Dumoulin’s advantage in the TT might be much greater than his rivals.

  12. Outstanding ride from Dumoulin that suggests he should be a strong favourite for the Olympic TT gold which seems to have been his priority for the season rather than building on his strong showing in the Vuelta.

    I’d hope that next year he’ll make the transition to turning himself into a genuine GC contender. Most of the exciting young riders at the moment are pure climbers so would be good to have a different type of rider in the mix to keep things interesting over the coming years.

    Does anyone know if he’s expressed an ambition to go after grand tours?

    • If (and a big if!) he wins Olympics and Worlds TT surely he has to? He’d have been there got the t shirt of the TT’ing world and his talent is far too great to let the opportunity slip. I wonder what his sponsors/team would say? Do they prefer close to guaranteed TT victories of a grand tour contender who you would expect would bring a Top 5 at some point next year?

      But really even for him it’s a no brainer? He’s a phenomal talent.

      And agreed on INRNG’s Quintana TT post above – he beat Geraint Thomas in a TT a few years ago that wasn’t totally uphill, and has never been in the Purito bracket of terrible-ness – even with wind his time yesterday was disappointing – either he’s got no form or has been exhausted hanging on in windy conditions. Maybe it’ll turn around in next 8 days, but with only 2 uphill finishes its hard to see.


  13. Completely unrelated to the sprint stage, but why isnt anyone talking about the fact that Quintana took a tow from a car on Ventoux?!?!?

    If it was Froome everybody would be screaming about it! Now there is hardly any reaction at all!! He should be kicked from the race like Nibali in last years Vuelta!!

    • A car? Perhaps you mean the Mavic moto? The motorbike was slowing to a halt because Richie Porte was stopped in the road so it could equally be that Quintana had to put his arm out to brace himself. If he did hold on for a tow it was probably insignificant given the bike was stopping.

      Nibali on the other hand might as well have climbed in the team car such was the assistance, that was very different, the tow went on for a long time at high speed.

      • Well, it looks to me like hes holding on to the spare wheel of the car, while its dragging him along up the mountain… He holds on, he doenst just prevent himself from falling over…

        Anyways, even if that was the case, its still curius, why its not even being mentioned? It should be something they would show in the TV studios, and then let the expert debate on wheater he was cheating or not… Instead there is just silence…

        • It’s all over social media and in the newspapers too. I suspect the lack of TV coverage is down to the lack of TV images of it. One thing missing thing is I haven’t seen any comment from Quintana/ Movistar to this.

          • I just saw it on danish television also, so im guessing it just took some time getting thorugh all the other incidents… There is no doubt, hes getting a clear tow from the moto, but apparently it doesnt seem to be a big deal?

            I dont get why that is, and i would also like to hear from Movistar on the incident, and off course the ASO also…

      • I was disappointed to see him hanging on, but I don’t see it as a tow. I think it’s just part of this unusual incident with the spectators / moto. It appears to me he was avoiding having to stop and restart on the hill.

        I think it does speak to the relative casual application and compliance with of rules in comparison to other sports.

        • Amusing that there has been far more furore about Froome running without a bike, though.
          They both broke the rules, but they were both in a very chaotic situation (and neither gained anything).
          Also, the video clip of Quintana is only about 2 seconds long. For the duration of that video, he looks like he’s being towed, but we don’t know what happened just before it (did the moto suddenly slow?) and we don’t know if he let go immediately after it.
          But the reaction of the (mostly social) media is down to the fact that everyone likes Quintana (largely it seems because he’s Colombian – that’s a big thing to a lot of people) and few like Froome (because Sky and ‘not really British’ and ‘betrayed’ Lord Wiggins).
          As someone who dislikes Sky (because Murdochs), I can still see that Quintana’s was the greater infraction. But we’ve seen similar instances before (riders pulling on a motorbike – e.g. was it Majka last year?) that went unpunished.
          Ask yourselves, if you were amongst that madness, what might you have done?
          The bigger thing – and I say this most years – is 5km of barriers before the end. Get the crowd off the road. They think they’re part of the spectacle and the media reinforces this – but they’re not. This sort of thing has been a long time coming.

        • While I don’t know if it’s an excuse, what JE said is true, We cannot imagine the chaos of those last 3 or 4k, packed Way Beyond capacity with drunken crazy people.

  14. Chris Froome, outclimbs Quintana, out TT’s Martin and rides in the crosswinds with Sagan. Brings to mind a guy called Lance, last one to dominate a Grand Tour like that.

    • This is a craven comment. Have the courage to say what you think, not take refuge in snide innuendo. If you believe Froome is cheating, then write this. If you can’t say what you mean, perhaps better to stay silent.

      • Sherlock there where a lot of guys outclimbing an out of shape Quintana. There were a lot of guys ou TT´ing Martin, and the sidewind has to do with being tactical astute, and mindful about whats happening in the race…

        Ill agree to the fact, that Armstrong was also tactically way above the rest in his time, but being smarter doesnt have anything to do with doping. Other than that i agree with David. If u think hes cheating please say so in plain language, and please tell the rest of us why u think so?

        Amazing why people say hes cheatin, simply because hes the better rider! My guess is, the next rider who takes over the throne after Froome will have to listen to the exact same shit…

    • Sherlock,

      Add to that; has a complete eye-opening, ever-present team flexing it’s muscle alongside Him…

      But ultimately, I don’t want to go there; Froome is not Lance. Sky is not Postal.

  15. Looks like a boring stage 14…. Need some attacks to spice it up but can’t see it… Being in Australia was looking forward to a nice late Saturday night watching the high mountains instead we get this anaemic stage…. Somebody give me some hope……

    • Yes quite right. I rarely watch sprint stages because they are invariably a breakaway then a catch. Sometimes the wind makes the racing as in this tour but it’s been the Cav show all over again. I’ve marked the remaining stages to watch as per IR guidelines particularly next Saturday night to Morzine. That s/be a cracker.

  16. Will we ever get a contest for the GC?
    The excitement of having the best riders is almost always tempered by the lack of competition.
    And this time Froome hasn’t – yet – even needed the dominant team.
    Perhaps next year, Quintana won’t be such a massive disappointment.

    • Yes, he needed it. Quite a lot. Or, better said, he used it – and in a way which suggests it was pretty much necessary. But that’s fine, it’s part of the race. It’s not Froome’s problem, it’s cycling’s, if anything.

  17. Just a word on the “Quintana tow” affair: I don’t know if you have different sources, but the only footage I’ve seen is some two secs long, which isn’t clearly enough to call that “a tow”. It’s simply impossible to understand if Quintana had grabbed the moto not to unclip and would let go as soon he had enough inertia not to generate another fall, if he was pushing the moto (!) or whatever. We think that images speak the truth, but in this case they’re as mute as a black screen.
    Unless different sources become available, there literally isn’t any recorded event we might be reasonably speaking about.
    It feels a lot like the Aru’s arm sling in last Vuelta… everyone was soooooo sure that it was there, until new helicopter footage showed beyond any doubt that it simply *didn’t happen* because what we were watching was a different thing.
    And, seriously, I don’t know how people can be in good faith and defend that Quintana was *actually* “being towed” amidst other rivals watching.
    In Froome’s case it’s a different story, because there’s little doubt about what physically happened, we’ve got plenty of material on that.

    All that said, as I wrote above even imagining that the two may or should be DSQd means to me that a lost of people have really lost what’s the meaning of the sport. In both cases, the hypothesis simply makes little sense.

    Not to speak about the fact that the Froome rule might not be there anymore (as someone said, I didn’t fact check personally) and that, as Nick said, both actions happened in a phase of the race that was eventually neutralised.

    The TdF has got a *big* problem if we’re here (myself included) speaking of such situations which are barely real events.

    • It’s not really TdF’s problem, it’s people losing grip on reality and the ability to understand when something is wrong and when not, when something is a big thing or not. And this isn’t decided by rules solely. Sorry, for being so blunt, but that’s just silly.

      But I do get the feeling that cycling fans have really changed. Once upon a time a usual cycling fan knew about racing, knew what was really not ok and what was. And if you didn’t knew something, you educated yourself. I never had much problem to establish a common view with the vast majority of them. There was a consensus about what is right. This has changed. There are some really unrealistic views out there and they are taking over. I think in the end it comes down to respect towards the racing and the riders, which is missing more and more. They are not objects who function right or wrong. Not every minor incident needs “punishment”.

      I think part of that is because the reporting about races has changed. Every little race incident becomes “a thing”, a cause for revenge, a chance to roll out prejudices unter the pretense of “reporting”. I think Movistar is totally right in not reacting and I hope they keep it up. Not everything is worth an answer.

      • I’d go with a lot of that, it seems the most excited by the issue are those with the strongest views on the subject. People in the middle who think “that was a messy situation but I can see why the commissaires took that course of action but also see merits in alternative ideas” don’t tend to post, tweet etc as much.

        • Very true and I think you can apply that argument to the whole internet!

          It was Churchill I believe who said that the best argument against democracy is a five minute comversation with the average voter.

        • Of course they don’t, it would be pointless, it would just support the course of action taken by the cycling big fish. Which is a position that makes sense, but that cannot be considered outside the context of modern “anti-Desgrange”, anti-tragic, “compassionate”, “humane”, pasteurized, tasteless cycling. The Ventoux incident resolution, with its aspiration to “fairness” turned ludicrous and inconsistent, is actually excellent ammonition in the battle against modern cycling and the way rules are enforced (or, more exactly, not exactly enforced, nowadays).

      • +1 agree with that, life and racing is complex its why we have judges and commissaries. Sticky bottles, saddle fixing from the team car, etc are part of the things about cycling I find amusing and add to it ( except extremes like Nabsli’s tow last year!)

    • Agreed with Anonymous above, but what I was saying about the “TdF problem” is that in two weeks we’ve got less cycling than in today’s stage of the Tour of Poland.
      Hope that starts changing from tomorrow on, but however good or even excellent it might become, it won’t change the fact that we’re having the worst Tour in years – at least before the two-third twist every screenwriter is taught about.

      • I disagree – I can’t see how this is the “worst Tour” in years. It’s definitely not short of drama… But it’s been good to see how before the first TT, not much time at all separated the top 10 GC contenders (unlike in previous years). And also nice to see some other names in the mix for podium (i.e. Mollema and Yates) – I hope they can give Froome a run for his money. Froome, too, has gained a few fans with his attacking on the downhill, sprinting with Sagan and yes even the running man – shows that he’s a fighter and would do whatever it takes to win… can’t take that away from him. Also good to see Cav back. All in all, a most entertaining tour!!

        • Very little GC action, and that very little action had short duration and very limited impact (ITT apart, but that, too, offered few surprises and proved itself quite predictable).
          The only mountain stage in which anything happened uphill was a havoc and a shame.
          And *TWO* weeks are gone, now.
          The breaks are a bit more interesting, but they often received a green light from the group and no serious chase went then on. No strategic meaning of the breaks, depriving the fight to build up the break themselves of most of its interest.
          For some reason, the great majority of the sprinters who should have offered us a sort of battle royale are evidently far from their best form.
          The overall level is technically low, be it because of the physical condition of some contenders or because of the limited quality of others (at present, many of them are young and might become great riders… one day). This is true both for sprints and for GC.
          The only thing that worked well in technical terms is the hard competition within the break for a stage win. I suspect that it’s happening because several riders who could be legitimate GC contenders find themselves short of form or – whatever the reason – knew they wouldn’t be able to aspire to a podium, hence decided to focus on partial objective… some of them intentionally let themselves fall way behind in GC as soon as possible to receive more freedom. Though, the depth of the GC fight was also hindered by this kind of situations.
          At least 2012 had some great show (from a technical POV, not everyone might like to watch it even if I did) by Wiggo in the ITTs, and Nibali attacking from time to time despite a total lack of team (quite the opposite of Quintana until now); or the Sagan-Cancellara show in Seraing, the Valverde solo in the Pyrenees… we’ve still got four stages to overcome 2012, but for now I struggle to remember as bad a TdF. 2008 was pretty dull, but the average level was way higher (not the “top level”, however) and the CERA desperates put on some remarkable action.

          PS No need to say that it’s not Sky’s fault, as long as we know at least. I blame Movistar et al.

        • Wow, seems you saw a totally different race than I did. I am not talking about the “show”. I talk about the non-existent racing. About the non-existing quality of the racing. I guess, it depends on what one expects: A show or a race. A break, getting 4 minutes is nothing. Inexistent. They will never make it, it is just a nice parade for the people roadside (which is nice for them, but not for the tv-viewer).

          It is like the teams or riders decided to make this Tour as bad as they can. The riders are not very fond of ASO, plus they get agitated permanentally from all sides against ASO. They seem to not like France, the french and racing there and they would like to see ASO gone. This undoubtedly plays – maybe even unconscious – a part it this whole mess. To not speak about this, because it is a complicated, not very nice subject doesn’t make the problem go away. On the contrary!!! BTW: I wouldn’t bet on froome making too many new fans…

          • “It is like the teams or riders decided to make this Tour as bad as they can.” – you really think that?! Overly dramatic/rhetorical much?

            Perhaps we are watching two different tours! I am enjoying it for what it is…ha! ?

          • You aren’t the only one gc, for me pretty much every day has had a compelling story – even the dullest of the sprint stages was enriched by a great sprint at the end of it.

            The problem with the GC for me has been the course. It’s felt like ASO were so scared that Froome would put time into people early on that the stages haven’t been conducive to the big guns throwing down. Obviously the Ventoux debacle hasn’t helped matters there.

            At least it’s seen a relative decrease in the tedious Froome and Sky bashing because the GC has been pretty close as a result…

Comments are closed.