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Tour de France Stage 7 Preview

Another sprint stage, the last before two stages in the Jura mountains. The sprinters will dream of the finish today and fear what lies ahead this weekend.

Stage 6 Review: a sprint finish and Marcel Kittel was the fastest. He seemed to hang back before surging in the final 150 metres to win. There’s now a clear sprint hierarchy with Arnaud Démare second and then André Greipel and Alexander Kristoff on the next tier, then Nacer Bouhanni, then the rest. But it’s not fixed, we should see the same order today but it’ll change after the mountains where Kittel notably has often had problems.

More action happened outside of the race. Bora-Hansgrohe had made an appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) to reinstate Peter Sagan. Note this was initially an expedited process, the CAS can hold instant hearings sometimes but there wasn’t time to activate this. Besides the UCI rules are sufficiently vague to enable the commissaires to eject a rider without falling foul of a tribunal. But sport can’t exist in a bubble, the decisions taken have commercial ramifications and not giving participants a hearing runs contrary to fundamental tenets of justice. A subject for another day.

The Route: a gourmet stage. No chance for the riders to enjoy the local produce but there’s fine wine, cheese, mustard and more along the route. Otherwise there’s nothing of great strategic interest, more rolling roads as the race heads south. The Côte d’Urcy is gentle, 2.5km at 4.2%.

The Finish: a big wide road. There are some undulations and central traffic islands but it levels out and there’s not a corner in sight for the last 5km.

The Contenders: Marcel Kittel is the fastest but can he get a clear run to the line? The finish certainly helps, a long straight line. No team seems to be imposing themselves on the sprint, nobody is pulling out the field leaving it to the sprinters themselves to open things up in the final metres and this can make things chaotic. Arnaud Démare again is the second choice.

Marcel Kittel
Arnaud Démare
Greipel, Bouhanni, Kristoff

Weather: hot and sunny, a top temperature of 33°C. A 5km/h breeze… which could gust to 40km/h if things turn stormy with the heat.

TV: live from the start at 12.05pm CET with the finish forecast for 5.25pm CET. With another sprint finish likely, tune in for the final and save your sofa time for the weekend’s mountain stages.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Foley Friday, 7 July 2017, 6:13 am

    No offense to the other guys, but I miss Cav after reading this. Kittel has always had top-shelf speed, and I’m totally chuffed–as the Brits say–about Demare’s exploits thus far. But to see Greipel written down grates for some reason. I’d be delighted to see him win a sprint in which everyone stays away from the barriers.

  • RonDe Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:02 am

    Ok the constant 200kms boring flat stages are starting to grate on me now. Prudhomme has tried to manufacture a different winner by making the race featureless to keep things close. Nine possible sprint stages is too many and there’s too little going on between flag and line. We have to hope that local gusts of wind will blow parasols into the bunch for goodness sake! Of course, this doesn’t interrupt me watching France go by bathed in golden sunlight but I do sometimes wish a race would break out before 10kms to go.

    • Junker Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:46 am

      +1 without the cav/sagan crash this week would have been a real disappointment, and knowing we have another today is really frustrating. So many long dull stages.

      • Graham Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:41 am

        Without the Cav/Sagan crash we could still be having to talk about bobbly skin suits….

    • Somers Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:02 am

      A category 3 climb 15kms from the finish would make today more interesting.

      • RonDe Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:28 am

        This is my main beef. No problem with stages for sprinters (although I think 9 is too many. 6 or 7 tops) but there are cat 3 and 4 climbs that could have been included on the way to make it not so… flat and still have the same start and end points.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:37 am

      Be patient, things get much better this weekend. Saturday’s stage has a tough ending and even better scenery. Sunday is a very hard day for the peloton and thunderstorms are forecast.

      • Guille Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:17 am

        and then, all the accumulated km will make for a better spectacle.

        An optimist

        • Barry Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:03 pm

          Precisely, this is a race of endurance, physically and mentally. The modern Vuelta seems to have an increased amount of summit finishes, swings and roundabouts! 200+km a day is hard by any measure and Cav speaking of lineouts and tiring days shows that it is having an effect on the riders. Really looking forward to the weekend!

      • BenW Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:12 pm

        As an aside, has there ever been a Grand Tour where all “recognised” sprinters have abandoned and the classification jersey has been won by someone who’s barely been in the competition?

    • Paul Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:17 am

      + 1 i dont know what the answer is but a real yawn fest

    • Ferdi Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:18 am

      It’s not the length, it’s just the course and the number of sheltered sprinters. 130km would be the same, only a bit more of a joke. 330km on the other hand could make it a bit more unpredictable, but pundits, for some obscure reason, don’t even toy with the idea.

      • Ecky Thump Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:55 am

        I recorded the live television (ITV4 for us Brits) and there was some fine chitter chatter that helped to put the day in.
        The highlights show even managed to dig out some archive footage of the race stopping for de Gaulle.

        What an impressive monument to him too, though I feel his legacy was somewhat tainted by his refusal to recognise the post-war change to the world; dragged France and many people to death and defeat in North Africa and Vietnam.
        *ps* one of the best books I’ve ever read – “10,000 Days War” by Michael Maclear on Vietnam. And it could be argued that the subsequent disaster there was mostly / partly of de Gaulle’s making.

        • Ferdi Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:17 pm

          I seem to recall De Gaulle’s accession to power was well after Dien-Bien-Phu, and that he was the one who decided to let go off Algeria…

          • Ecky Thump Friday, 7 July 2017, 6:11 pm

            de Gaulle oversaw the French re-assertion of their former colonial territories after WWII.
            The 10,000 days war in Indo-China was really a continuum of conflict from WWII, through the French defeat in Vietnam and on to the eventual withdrawal of US forces in Saigon in 1975.
            His ceding of France’s North African colony was seen as a betrayal by some in the French military and formed the back-drop to the fictional novel “Day of the Jackal”.

    • Richard S Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:52 am

      There’s not much you can do about it if you are going to have a genuine Tour of France, rather than a race like the Vuelta that just skims through the mountains. Even if the ASO did want to do that for commercial interests and plastic fans I don’t think the French public would stand for it, thankfully. It is what it is and is best enjoyed for what it is. The first week of Wimbledon isn’t exactly riveting as the favourites stroll through in straight sets either but nobody suggests changing that. Maybe this part of France would have been better utilised with a 50-65km undulating time trial? It wouldn’t be straight forward even for the specialists in that heat.

      • DAVE Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:17 am

        All fans are good Richard. Sorry to disagree with you two days in a row, but there are a lot comments here re Plastic Fans or Real Fans… a plastic fan can become a real fan in the blink of an eye and it’s pointless working from conversations that play only to an established base as you get stuck in the past very quickly – the ‘everything was good in my day brigade’, who probably don’t watch or know as much as they think yet stand in the way of changes that would bring more fans to the sport. I feel if we managed to move the conversation to being as inclusive as possible of all fans, (the 8 year kid who might be half interested today and his grizzled grampa who’s watched forever), rather than generalised factions we’d end up with better decisions being made and a sport better equipped for the coming years.

        • Richard S Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:27 pm

          Most of France was flat when I was young and as far as I’m aware it’ll stay that way. So you either have a Tour de France with a certain amount of flat stages, or an extended Dauphine to suit consumer TV viewers. Thankfully the Tour is more than just a bike race for the French making that unlikely to happen.

      • Ferdi Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:21 pm

        TTs are an option for sure. Using some other roads than nicely surfaced ones (cobbles, gravel, whatever) is another. Exaggerating the mileage here and there is another. What matters is to absolutely make a point of preventing controlled, slipstream-centered racing.

    • Anthony Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:09 am

      Just a quick question regarding the predictable and somewhat boring stages for the sprinters.
      There is often talk about sprinter’s teams not wanting to catch the break before the last 10k, because that will create chaos with new riders trying to get away. However, when the break was kept at 1:30-3 min yesterday, I kept thinking that there are strong riders in the bunch who are unlikely to win a bunch sprint but who surely, if riding well together, can catch up with the break and make it much more difficult for the sprinter’s teams to bring back. Think a group of riders like Gilbert, GVA, EBH going up the road with 50k to go – wouldn’t that be a way for them to win in a Tour where they have few chances? I realise that many riders (e.g. Gilbert) are on team duty for sprinters, but am I missing some other reason why this never happens?

      • Rod Saturday, 8 July 2017, 7:58 am

        Because escaping a peloton on the flat is a pretty mean feat. The breakaway does it on flat stages, to a large extent, because the group “allows” it. When no one wants to let go or no suitable group escapes, the speeds keep increasing and increasing until something snaps. That’s how you get something like the first hour of Roubaix covering 50 km.

        If there are crosswinds or rollers the math changes, then horsepower has a much better chance. Also later in the race when the legs are more fatigued there are better chances for surprise attacks. Right now the motivation and energy are very high for someone in QS, DD or Cofidis. Imagine the chewing you get from Sanquer if you don’t give Bouhanni a chance

    • CA Friday, 7 July 2017, 4:48 pm

      We all want the riders to be clean, but we also want 21 straight stages of GC guys attacking each other, the classic specialists going on massive one-day pace efforts and then the sprinting teams to pull it all together to duke it out at 95kph.

      Ridiculous expectations always result in disappointed people.

      For those who are able to spend the day watching the entire stage (and therefore are bored by the first 180km of today’s race), go for a bike ride to the local covfefe shop, enjoy your morning then head back home to catch the last 30 minutes!

      For the rest of us, these stages are necessary. The last few times the TdF had multiple mountain stages the riders were too cooked to attack (because they’re cleaner than the EPO-years) and therefore the mountain stages were processionary.

      So many complaints!

      • One Man Grupetto Friday, 7 July 2017, 5:12 pm

        +1. If you really want to see a race with too many sprint stages in it then the Tour of Quanghi Lake starts next week .

        • Michael B Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:22 pm

          Ha! Is that the one that Mareczko won about seven out of nine stages on a few years ago? It was one of the dullest stage races I’ve seen, for sure. 150km peloton drag races on eight lane motorways. Zzzzzz…

  • headasundet Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:28 am

    I was hoping the gorilla would nab that one but he hit peak velocity a little early, Kittal and Démare are clearly faster but anything can happen in the run in so I live in hope. Regardless of what side of the Sagan incident you sit on the race is poorer for his absence. Aru gets my vote for GC based on the fact he has the best looking jersey in the peleton, bring on dem hills.

    • irungo txuletak Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:10 pm

      +1 on Aru’s jersey. A true national champion jersey, really distinctive. Unlike the ones with just a little flag drawn on, as Nibali or Valverde wore in former years.
      The picture of Gilbert celebrating the Ronde with the national jersey, or the Cancellara Vs Boonen classic images, both with their distinctive jersey, are unforgettable.

      I understand that commercial visibility is important for sponsors, but still it is a pity to loose this cycling tradition.

      • mark taylor Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:58 pm

        +2 on Aru’s Jersey, Demare’s is also classy

  • DJS Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:37 am

    typo: foul not fowl in bit on tribunal.
    Otherwise: thanks for my daily breakfast dose of insight!
    Any chance of the wind playing a role today, not by blowing umbrella’s into the peloton but by allowing the formation of echelons?

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:38 am

      The wind seems dependent on the hot conditions, it could blow but it might not. The finish is known for its vineyards which gets gourmets salivating… but for cyclists the vineyard monoculture means very exposed terrain so it doesn’t take much wind for it to be felt on the road.

    • Francisco Friday, 7 July 2017, 1:48 pm

      I did like the ‘gamboling fowl’ of a couple days back. It joins a distingished gallery of winching crabs, spinning spiders and other animalia.

      • Othersteve Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:34 pm

        I think I will rummage around the wine cellar for nice Pinot to enjoy when I watch the highlights tonight. Viva la Tour

  • DAVE Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:44 am

    What happened to the helicopter replay yesterday? Two sprint stages this tour have missed the overhead shot, it kind of ruins a sprint stage for me without this as you just can’t see what happened or see real distances…

    • Martijn Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:17 am

      There was a helicopter replay. It is in the stage summary by our local broadcaster, NOS, (http://nos.nl/tour/video/2181802-kittel-klopt-demare-en-greipel-en-pakt-tweede-ritzege.html, but there’s probably geo-fencing on it) but strangely ASO left it out of the summary on the official TdF YouTube channel.

      • DAVE Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:03 am

        Ah! Thank You – this was left out of UK live coverage also… which comes from ASO??? I’m lost… why???

      • Ecky Thump Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:57 am

        Did a helicopter cause that parasol to go catapulting across the road and into the riders!??

  • Ian Anderson Friday, 7 July 2017, 7:47 am

    Interesting to see Dimension Data ride about the most tactically naive lead out train for EBH I think I have seen in some time, not only did they run out of riders too soon but because they had pushed so hard and strung out the whole field there was no one for Eddy to hide behind except that solitary Quick Step rider who played it beautifully and again dumped EBH out in the wind this time with 400m to go leaving him with nonchoice but to lead every one else out. Did they forget that Cav is at home? He must have been turning the air blue if he was watching that on TV

    • Cilmeri Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:43 am

      I was going to post similar, in case anyone had any thoughts as to what EBH was doing? ITV commentary seemed to think they were sprinting for another rider (apologies I don’t recall the name), but Renshaw went too early then EBH tried the longest of long sprints. Bizarre.

      • hoh Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:35 am

        My theory is that they were trying to deliver an imaginary Cav to the line, and a 2010 Cav. Still at least 100m short if they are delivering the current day Cav.

  • Somers Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:05 am

    FYI Mr INRNG – the mobile version still has the “Giro d’Italia Guide” in the menu. Feel free to zap this after reading.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:35 am

      Fixed, thanks. One of those things where you think you’ve changed the settings but some hidden menu option overrides something.

  • AK Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:47 am

    Great image of Kittel taking a solo win 🙂 As long as nothing happens that really messes up his positioning I don’t see him anywhere else than top spot again today. It is amazing how much faster he is even in this top field.
    He does tend to be more worn down by the mountain stages than others. So if Demare keeps his form and Bling goes adventuring in the mid mountains the battle for green could become interesting.

    • Cilmeri Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:45 am

      He did well yesterday. Seemed to completely ignore everyone else, and just took the completely empty road on the left. Clever.

      I put a couple of quid on Kittel for green, but suspect he won’t get close actually, as he doesn’t pick up points apart from these very flat finishes. Interesting to see who does what at intermediate sprints now.

      • BenW Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:40 pm

        ITV managed to completely ignore him too, they were calling Demare for the win even though Kittel already had about a bike-length, they didn’t spot or mention him at all.

    • pedalierer Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:17 am

      Demares top speed was much higher as Kittels (75 km/h at 400m vs 71 km/h at 90m), but Kittel timed it better and had a clear line.

  • jc Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:14 am

    I am not a great fan of “medium mountain” stages and generally like sprint stages but sort of agree today might be one too many. Of course we will all be proved wrong and the weather will blow the race apart…… I am sure the GC teams will be happy to have another “easy” day considering what is on the agenda for the next couple of days.

    The weather forecast I have seen suggests a 50% possibility of a thundery shower in the Dijon this afternoon. The weekend forecast is hot and sunny tomorrow but Sunday afternoon does seem very likely to be thundery and wet, not ideal for a fast and narrow descent from the Mont du Chat. Might be difficult for TV images too

    • RonDe Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:33 am

      A Froome descent from Mont du Chat like he did in the Dauphine but IN THE RAIN would be somewhat exciting. I think that he and perhaps Aru or Bardet are the only riders here prepared to risk anything. Porte seems a much more cautious rider. Fortune favours the brave.

      • hoh Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:38 am

        +1 Fortune favours the brave.

      • irungo txuletak Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:14 pm

        I think Froome is taking too much risk in downhills.
        And reward is not that high.

  • Eskerrik Asko Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:46 am

    It’ll be a huge laughter all around if the CAS decided in favour of Sagan! I’ll be joining in the merriment with all my heart!

    PS As I wrote in an earlier comment, it is today quite unimaginable in F1 that the jury would deal out a similar harsh punishment without first hearing the driver in question or that the jury would consist solely of old fogeys, sports leaders and so on and therefore have no first hand experience of what it is really like.

    • Charles Friday, 7 July 2017, 9:53 am
    • RonDe Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:37 am

      Eskerrik, the argument, in any sport, that “unless you have been there” you are not qualified to judge is COMPLETELY BOGUS. Riders have not drafted cycling rules either so, on this silly argument, they are not qualified to make or judge the rules either. It is often the case in main sports, cycling not excluded, that when all is said and done its a judgment call. Such is probably the case here. In that case you back the judges, accept a decision was made and move on. Both individuals involved here have said they’ve done that. Fans should too. Its over.

      • Eskerrik Asko Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:41 pm

        I’ll begin from the opposite of the beginning.

        I find it a bit silly to suggest that if someone comments (what was at the time) a new and recent development he has therefore somehow been unable to “move on” (unlike presumably the more mature commenator). I’m also reminded of the story about the two Buddhist monks and a lady whom someone must carry across a river in his arms…

        The individuals obviously have no choice that to accept things as they are. FWIW it is and it was my view that CAS takes the view that the rules of the game are the rules of the game and that there is no case when someone doesn’t like the rules or how a particular rule was interpreted. A referee can make a clearly wrong decision but it the rules of the game say the referee’s call is final then there is no case. I don’t think it would or should be any different with road cycling in general and the Sagan case in particular.

        The argument that “you must have been there” can of course be pushed ad absurdum, but I wasn’t suggesting anything along the lines that crooks and criminals would make the best judges or that you shouldn’t sit in a jury unless you have a decent sized record. Some people, usually the people or the kind of people who wrote the rules have the expertise in interpreting them – but in similar fashion, some people have the expertise in interpreting *racing incidents*.
        I do not follow or understand motor sports, but I defer to the opinion of the people who I imagine would know what they are talking about and who find that the quality of jury decisions in F1 has greatly improved since ex-drivers with recent experience were involved.
        One problem with a “members of a closed club behind closed doors” making decisions is that sometimes members vote in a certain way in order to curry favour with an influential member or to return a favour etc.

        And since we are in France, I should probably add a suitable quote from no lesser author than Jean Genet about judges, the books they throw at the accused and the kind of crimes that makes them throw that book – or is it “to hit with” – but it probably wouldn’t be terribly relevant, even if I personally found it hugely amusing.

  • Cilmeri Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:49 am

    INRNG – regarding the “subject for another day” I’d be interested in your take on the decision and how horse racing have stewards enquiries, which I gather brings all interested parties into a room, hears everyone’s opinion then makes a decision. It would seem like a logical way to go to resolve decisions in bunch sprints, and hopefully won’t take too long to sort things out.

    • Nick Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:29 am

      Most other sports have an opportunity for those involved to have their say before punishment is meted out. Even in team sports, where a player may be sent off simply by the wave of a referee’s card, but any further punishment requires a hearing at which the player can have his/her say.

      • Jeff Friday, 7 July 2017, 2:21 pm

        I was astonished that there was no hearing or discussion at all and that the punishment escalated rapidly from docked points to DQ. It seems like they heard DiData’s opinion, so I can’t understand why they wouldn’t hear Sagan’s.

        • Red Tornado Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:06 pm

          What gets me is DD deciding that relegation and loss of points isn’t enough. Riders had barely stopped coming across the line and they were already heading to the commissaires to ask for further punishment.
          IMHO should have waited until ALL had time to review the video and tempers had cooled, then take a reasonable/logical decision whether or not further punishment was needed – to be decided by the jury, not a couple of bullying team directors.
          Bad form all around, and especially disappointed in DD.
          Feel free to disagree if you want, that’s my feeling.

  • Thomas Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:08 am

    I would love to see Groenewegen get himself in position for a full-out sprint. Until now, he has been mis-positioned twice (stage 2 and yesterday) and crashed out once. I think he is faster than Greipel and Bouhanni when it comes to pure speed, but he has not been able to go flat out yet.

  • Si Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:50 am

    Wont be another boring pricession if those 40kmh winds kick in.
    It’s the “boring” stages that sometimes turn decisive.
    Ive lumped on Kittel but would love to see some echelons to turn the stage on its head.

    Cant believe people still talking Sag/Cav. Its a done deal. Move on 😆👍🏼

  • AnotherDavid Friday, 7 July 2017, 12:26 pm

    Does a pure sprinter ever win Le Tour? (Not a long term race fan, but always been a cycling fan). Are there any stage races that consist of only uphill races, i.e. nothing for the sprinters?

    • One Man Grupetto Friday, 7 July 2017, 1:36 pm

      No, a pure sprinter never wins the Tour. The abilities required to be a top class sprinter as well as a top class mountain climber are mutually exclusive. Although there are some sprinters who are decent enough climbers and some climbers have a decent kick in them.

      In terms of stage races with only uphill stages, I don’t think so. But the Vuelta offers slim pickings for the fast-men. As for stages races which pure sprinters can win, the something short like Ster ZLM Toer is the one that comes to mind.

    • Prognosticater Friday, 7 July 2017, 3:41 pm

      A pure sprinter has never won the Tour. There are a few stage races that are suited to sprinters or at least classics men with little climbing. The spring races in the desert, Eneco Tour, Tour of Belgium come to mind, but there are others. As for pure climbing races, there are none, but races like the Tour of the Basque Country come close.

    • Michael B Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:29 pm

      No “pure” sprinter can win a grand tour as it only takes one mountain stage or time trial to wipe them out. The closest I can think of – although others might know better – was Sean Kelly. He broke through as a sprinter/green jersey winner and is rightly thought of as a classics legend, but he won a flattish Vuelta (and almost won another but for a cyst in an unfortunate anatomical place). I think he also came fourth in the Tour. And he won Paris-Nice a ludicrous seven times in a row.

    • Michael B Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:44 pm

      Oh, and Jalabert won green at the Tour before going on to win the Vuelta and place high in the Tour (fourth again I think). He also won the polka dot from memory although he was a rider of his era, you might say. Regardless, neither Jalabert nor Kelly were pure sprinters in the way Kittel or Cavendish are. They’d be more akin to Sagan or Gilbert out of the modern peloton.

      • osbk67 Saturday, 8 July 2017, 8:16 am

        Freddy Maertens, one of the purest sprinters of his generation, won 13 (yes, 13) stages en route to the overall at the 1977 Vuelta. A feat about as likely to be repeated as Kelly’s seven straight Paris-Nice titles, I think.

  • JEB Friday, 7 July 2017, 1:32 pm

    Hmmm, Kittel’s success may hamper his chances of a win today.

    He is clearly the strongest sprinter. The other teams might use this as an excuse not to work – you have the fastest sprinter – you chase down the break if you want a sprint finish. So Quickstep end up with a weakened lead out train, opening the door to Griepel.

    Come on the Gorilla. But I think we might have to wait until after the mountains for his customary Grand Tour stage win.

  • noel Friday, 7 July 2017, 1:42 pm

    a week in and Bouhanni’s best is a 4th place?. No sign of any Cofidis riders making efforts to get in any breaks and no one in the top 35 GC… lucky for these guys they are French and get their guaranteed spot, but the pressure has got to be building to do something… hopefully nothing daft from B…

    • One Man Grupetto Friday, 7 July 2017, 1:54 pm

      They’re definitely missing Geoffrey Soupe, their lead-out train has not looked good at all. I expect to see Mate or Edet, possibly Navarro, over the weekend but they’ve been using the former two on the front between 100 and 50km out to assist in bringing back breakaways.

  • noel Friday, 7 July 2017, 1:52 pm

    and on the themes of building pressure, Katusha were probably counting on Martin taking out the prologue, but are also looking a bit absent apart from Kristoff’s near misses (well, not so near misses…)

  • Christopher N Friday, 7 July 2017, 2:17 pm

    “decisions taken have commercial ramifications”. Sag/Cav is over and I moved on, wish both were there but so be it, however given our hosts statement I wanted to address a variable that hasn’t received any discussion and that is Sagan’s attempt to tie Zabel’s 6 consecutive green jersey wins or be able to go for a record breaking 7 next year. That’s a huge deal for an athlete, team and sponsors that won’t occur again. At least for any currently involved.

  • Ken Friday, 7 July 2017, 2:23 pm

    One thing “missing” from this first week has been (with one notable exception) those large open-road crashes in the peleton. The organizers and/or teams have done a remarkable job of safe riding in all but the last 3 kilometers. Anybody know what’s been done differently?

    • One Man Grupetto Friday, 7 July 2017, 3:06 pm

      Part of the idea behind the ITT as the 1st Stage is to create time gaps in the GC so there is less of a fight for the yellow jersey during the initial stages and therefore the peleton is less nervy. Also, there hasn’t been any significant cross-winds or threat of them on the route and in this part of France, whereas it’s a pretty constant possibility when racing through Brittany or the Netherlands so teams haven’t been so nervous about the bunch splitting and there being a need to fight for position so much.

  • ziggymonde Friday, 7 July 2017, 2:43 pm

    Bling says he has a chance in these sprints if he can get his team to function for him properly. but like richie porte, he’s been saying some bizarre things.

    • Anonymous Saturday, 8 July 2017, 2:32 am

      But not half as bizarre as some of the things you can read in comments on the internet.

  • Peter Friday, 7 July 2017, 5:47 pm

    A great finish today, really interesting team dynamics starting with the bumps a few km out. Fun to watch for sure.

    On the other subject/other day. This is always difficult, in government and sports. How far do you allow the appeals process? When do you say: “OK, you hate the result and maybe it was not just but we are moving on?”

    Part of the answer is setting impressions. Of course the wronged party may want to ask for redress in order to help their supporters feel, well supported. Do you appeal to a higher court knowing that you will lose but that your team and supporters will feel much better because you did? Yes, often you do. And that is not about justice, that is about consolidating your strength for the next days.

    Is Bora a stronger team because they did an appeal that was sure to fail? Did they really believe that it might work? Are Bora and Di Data teams a weaker business investment because Sagan and Cav are not here? I think that the answers are yes, no, and no. But that is not the point, the point is that many appeals are not about justice but about much wider issues.

    Thanks for having the very best blog around. It is a morning delight!

  • Mark Friday, 7 July 2017, 8:28 pm

    That was close ! What was the official gap on the photo finish ?

    • Bern Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:20 pm

      0.0003 seconds according to le tour site
      5mm according to line judge

    • T-72 Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:30 pm

      0.0003 seconds, that is 3 ten-thousand parts of a second. While possibly measurable, I question the fairness of not calling it a dead heat when the human eye cannot observe the difference. It is not possible to see the difference in the documentation (finish line photo) supplied by ASO/Tissot.
      There was a similar close race and a similar discussion in XC-skiing in the 80’s and they ended up by ditching small but measurable differences in favor of something closer to what humans can observe, and if the same thing happens again they will call it a dead heat, because that is what it feels like. Measurements in the 1/10000 second range constitutes exagerrated precision for 200 km bike races.

      • Global Nomad Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:36 pm

        TheGoodThief posted this technical explanation on the Guardian comments of the race, he had got fed-up with our misunderstanding of how a photo-finish actually works

        “………….go and read up about how photo-finish cameras actually work.

        In short. They do not, like a conventional camera, take a picture of where riders are at the same point in time. They turn it around and take a photo of the time riders are at the same location, in this case the finish line.

        That’s why the background to that photo above looks like a white road. It’s a picture of the white finish line over and over again.

        So, when the jury are looking at that photo they can read the finishing times across the bottom (ie the exact time each rider was at that location) to find out who won. They don’t have to measure the difference with their eyes or a magnifying glass. And as modern cameras can take up to 3000 shots a second they can, if they have the very latest equipment, distinguish between riders finishing as little as 0.0003 apart.”

      • Eskerrik Asko Sunday, 9 July 2017, 1:18 am

        You have some things confused here. There are two kinds of races, as far as how the winner is determined is concerned, in cross-country skiing: interval start races and every other type of race, (mass start, pursuit, relay).

        In the former the winner obviously has to be determined by timing. When timing moved from hand stopped clocks to electronic timing and photo cells, the smallest determining unit became 1/100th of a second instead of the earlier 1/10th. However, when Finland’s Juha Mieto famously lost an Olympic gold to Sweden’s Thomas Wassberg in Lake Placid by 1/100th, the general opionion was that it was not really fair and the rule was returned to the 1/10th.

        But in the other type of races where the winner is determined by photo finish there is no such rule. As long as the photograph was “analogue”, the gap obviously had to be observable by the human eye – with the help of a magnifying glass if necessary. But ever since the photograph has been “digital”, the minimum gap has been as small as the technology has enabled – just like in the Kittel or Boasson Hagen case. There have been quite a few extremely close finishes, especially in sprints, but basically no one has complained.

        PS A few comments down. “Malaconotus” has forgotten that there is no photo finish in swimming, the timing is based on actual physical contact between the swimmer’s hand and a timing device at the end of the pool. But a photo finish line is just that, a line that is extremely straight and accurate in comparison.

        PPS Someone commented that it is impossible to put the photo finish camera so that it lies just exactly along the finish line – but the finish line that determines the winner of a cycling race is that made by the camera, not the one painted in the asphalt!

  • Nicolay Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:00 pm

    0,0003 seconds => 5-6 mm

  • Michael B Friday, 7 July 2017, 10:34 pm

    Felt sorry for EBH. Much merriment at his misjudged sprint train yesterday but he was so close today. 200km or so covered and a misjudged lunge / few MMs in it. Ouch.

  • Malaconotus Friday, 7 July 2017, 11:21 pm

    That result’s nonsense, isn’t it? It’s a dead heat. Olympic swimming measures to hundredths, not thousandths of a second because you can’t build a swimming pool accurately enough. Lanes get longer and shorter by several millimetres just due to temperature variation. There’s no way the road is built, the line is painted, or the gantry is erected with sufficient accuracy to call that. The road is even curving slightly. How can you even decide which line is perpendicular to it with 6mm accuracy? EBH was robbed.

  • Anand Saturday, 8 July 2017, 12:48 am

    EBH, that was some sprint! (and leadout from Rensburg)

    Even without the win the gentle man will have the self-esteem to go big, like last time he was robbed.
    He slaughtered the next stage. Not so this year of course, but I hope for another Pintarello (or sprint win before Kittel would be awesome).
    He feels it now I think, how close he is to top form and with it he might take one after the rest day.
    I really hope so, and not from any nationalistic view, he’s the only viking I really like cause of how he is – wonderful loser, wonderful winner. A good example for many.

    Hyped some years back, yes. It’s not his fault.

  • Charles Saturday, 8 July 2017, 2:33 am

    Can the Tour call a dead heat for 2 winners, sharing the points? Has it ever happened before?

    Given how close it was it seemed like the only fair and sportsman like thing to do.

  • David Saturday, 8 July 2017, 10:17 am

    So the precision is 0.0003s and the gap was given as 0.0003s. That means that Kittel fell on one frame and EBH on the next, and all we can actually say about the gap is that it was >0s and <0.0006s. This potentially makes it even harder on EBH, as if the actual gap was <0.0003s, and the camera had been firing on a slightly different phase, they might well have appeared on the same frame and it would have had to have been called as a dead heat.