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Tour de France Stage 17 Preview

A sprint of a mountain stage but with four sharp climbs before the steep finish on the Peyragudes airstrip.

(R)emporté par Houle: a maxi-breakaway and a series of moves, the group was so big that within minutes of it forming riders started attacking it. Among the attacks Hugo Houle attacked with almost 40km to go on the lower part of the descent off the Port de Lers, and in his own words he was there to prepare the ground for Israel-PremierTech team mate Michael Woods. But he took 30 seconds and held this all the way up the Col de Péguère, helped by Woods marking Matteo Jorgenson. Houle stayed away to take a comforting and satisfying win, the emotional story of dedicating this win to his lost brother but also a win for someone who’d travelled a long way just to race in Europe, had become a valuable team mate, but until now hadn’t won a pro bike race: now he takes a stage of the Tour de France, solo.

Behind Pogačar tried a move on the Port de Lers but Vingegaard was his equal. UAE and Jumbo-Visma clashed again on the Col de Péguère, until Rafał Majka jammed his chain to leave Sepp Kuss to set the pace and Pogačar could only sit tight. If nothing happened, it suggests Vingegaard’s crash on Sunday hasn’t had any after effects.

Nairo Quintana is up to fourth place overall, David Gaudu up to fifth but both are over two minutes behind Geraint Thomas. Quintana’s interesting if he can get into a groove for the upcoming stages, he was climbing faster than Thomas; Gaudu is yoyo-ing but of course even if Quintana can take back two minutes on Thomas, he’d lose this in the Rocamadour time trial on Saturday. Romain Bardet fell to ninth, complaining of feeling ill.

The Route: just 129km but 3,300m of vertical gain and most of this crammed into the second half of the stage with four climbs, it’s a stat but later today it’ll feel too real: this is a hard day. A start in Saint-Gaudens and then across the Comminges but sticking to the flat roads all the way up the Neste valley to Arreau.

The Col d’Aspin’s climbed via the harder side and there are no surprises on the way up but there are some tight hairpins to make the life hard for those several wheels back. The descent is wide and regular on the way down.

The Hourquette d’Ancizan starts halfway down the Aspin, a backroad behind the Lac de Payolle. It’s an irregular road than frequently changes pitch, including a descent as the profile above shows before it finally climbs up beyond the tree line. The descent is as irregular as the climb, but longer and all on a narrow road.

The Col d’Azet takes the race from one valley to another and the hardest part is through the village of Azet midway, from here onwards the slope is more regular. The descent is very straightforward, a series of hairpins to drop down to the valley. There’s a short section to the final climb, it’s around the lake and includes a couple of uphill sections just to reach the final climb.

The Finish: most of the Col de Peyresourde with a sting in the tail. The road up to the ski station of Peyragudes is a regular road, a highway even, at least by Pyrenean standards. Approaching Peyragudes instead of taking the road into the ski station they use the “altiport” airport runway like they did in 2017. It’s an airstrip but a unique one where the runway hits 20% with the final 200m averaging 16% just before it levels out to the line.

The Contenders: the breakaway has a great chance again, Jumbo-Visma and UAE aren’t going to drive a fierce pace across the plains and then all four climbs, neither have enough riders left especially with UAE losing Marc Soler; Ineos are sending riders up the road more for stage wins too.

But it’s not easy to pick a stage winner, we need a strong climber free from GC duties who is looking fresh in this third week and there just aren’t many left. Michael Woods (Israel) was in the thick of the action yesterday but might still have something left for today, because he had Houle up the road he could hold back a touch. Chris Froome could also be in the mix here but the stage win is still a step up.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) sat out the breakaway yesterday, does he go up the road today or his David Gaudu’s fourth place overall more important? The team can probably spare him today or if not, tomorrow.

Rigoberto Uràn (EF Education) could go for a swansong stage win, he’s 35 and has spent all his adult life in the pro peloton. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) can be better on shorter climbs and today suits.

Otherwise Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) is looking unflappable, matching everything Pogačar can throw at him.

Michael Woods, Thibaut Pinot
Konrad, Jungels, Uràn, Ciccone, Vingegaard, Pogačar, Teuns

Weather: cooler, it’ll be 25°C at most and cloudy at times.

TV: the start starts at 1.15pm CEST and the finish is early, around 4.50pm CEST.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • 150 Watts Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 6:19 am

    Kuss trumps Majka and Van Aert trumps McNulty. Time is running out for Pogacar but cooler conditions might perk him up a bit.

    • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:06 pm

      Cycling’s not… a trump card game, I’d say (although a certain account could disagree with good arguments).

      In a cycling fantasy game, I’d also pick both Kuss and Van Aert over Majka and McNulty, but in this Tour Majka looked clearly more convincing than Kuss both on La Superplanche and on Granon, as well as in the Swiss stages. Kuss had a great day on the Alpe than it was all more or less on par, albeit I’d agree that Kuss looks on rising form while Majka can only count on his historical steady three-week performance (which, on turn, is what always held back Kuss from any top GT result, among other things including being a gregario, of course – even in last Vuelta, his best ever final GC over three weeks with a final 8th place, after a great performance on Covadonga he was average on Gamoniteiru, where he should have well gained time, instead; and fell definitely down in the penultimate hellish Galicia stage).
      Story doesn’t repeat itself, of course, but the comparison between Kuss and Majka doesn’t look that much one-way.
      Van Aert is, well Van Aert, but McNulty should be much more effective on the sort of terrain they face today and tomorrow. Should be. Until now, Van Aert – probably, as he focussed on ITT and sprint skills – didn’t show the same level of climbing power we previously saw from him. As I said, of course absurd things can happen all the time.

      All that said, let’s be frank – Jumbo Visma once more nailed their prep and they clearly said it – they’ve worked hard (unlike some certain French teams!) and all the team is performing pretty much beyond their already impressive level. As they’ve been doing in other races this season, too. OTOH, UAE – Pogacar aside – as a collective looked good but not great, performing quite on the benchmark you’d expect (perhaps even slightly below, depending on your expectations, of course, about say Ackermann, Almeida, Bennett, Formolo, Hirschi etc.).

      Now that I think better about it, if cycling was a trump card game, in this couple of stage Majka and McNulty should actually perform better than Kuss and Van Aert – but, I must insist on it, cycling isn’t that sort of game. Luckily enough.

      • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:11 pm

        Majka out ROTFL, give me back that Kuss caaaaard 😛

  • Cedrik Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 6:23 am

    It seems that non flat tire mechanicals have increased in the last number of years. It would be very bad advertising if electronic shifting were to blame, so my guess is mechanics especially but other team members as well have probably been instructed to keep quiet about sponsored equipment failing. Anyone have some information on this?

    • brent sword Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 6:40 am

      Its really hard to day that today it is overall less reliable because we get much greater coverage. Certainly far enough in the past technology changed very slowly in comparison to now. The race to the bottom of weight and for the newest thing could easily create some equipment that has not had the appropriate long term testing.
      That said UAE had a lot of trouble early in the race with lots of bike swaps in the early stages so they seem to have a problem. Majka’s chain braking yesterday was certainly ill timed. Was this because 12 speed chains are narrow, joining links if they are being used are less reliable, bad luck or just mechanic user error.

      Personnally over the years i have only had a few issues.
      Garmin 510 that had way to many softeware bugs.
      2 X low end campag sets of shifters that both failed within 2 years in the same exact way without being used a lot (the only and last campag shifters i will buy)
      1st gen stages power metre with the poor water proofing. It still works but if it gets wet it fails and needs to get put in a bag of rice to dry out.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:19 am

      We’re seeing a lot of dropped/jammed chains but how many more than usual is hard to tell. Sometimes these things happen, it’s when they happen a lot that you wonder.

      No teams are going to come out and blame equipment though. Would be a good story for a cycling tech website to keep tabs on.

      • Rich Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:23 am

        As the number of gears goes up to 12, and the chains get thinner, is cross-chaining more of an issue, perhaps?

      • Cycling Nut Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 12:06 pm

        Was he using a special light weight chain for climbing stages and it broke?

        • psollberg Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 11:26 pm

          doesnt make any sense. bikes easily reach the uci weight limit with the’standard’ equipment+wheels

    • Apurv Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:38 am

      A chain breaking arent that uncommon. After all the force Majka puts on the chain in that climb is brutal. Ofc its made to withstand it. But just look at how a chain is made. The pins are just pushed in place held by, the links i think you call them, witch is just like plates with holes that is slightly smal, that hold the pins. The pins have no incaving or some tracks for the link, its just flat round. So if placed ever so slightly more to one side, it can more easily slide of in the other side.

      When i change the chain sometime there is a resistance when you press the pin into the link. If you are not careful its possible to not hit the hole in the link right… and you expand or deform the whole slightly, then it might fall out again more easily. Also if you change gear while having force on the pedals. It can deform chain or put sideway pressure to the joints of these links and pins, increasing the risk of a pin falling out of the link.

      When i cycle i always bring a a extra chain link and a tool for changing a link. Also tools if i have a puncture. If you cycle a lot, you will notice the few times you have a problem. Like 85 % its a puncture… and like 10% its a chain problem… 5%its other problems less easy to predict.
      Professional cyclists train a lot. And you actually stretch the chain. So one use a tool that measure the stretch. I would guess a pro cyclist have to change the chain every once a month or so.

      I have descovered that after i change the chain, the risk of chain breaking is slightly higher. I think that is because some time the pin is little hard to get into the links. It might not hit the whole totall correctly. And then its not visible that there is a slight damage/deformation to the hole in the link or the plates. Also the joint can become hard after.. and you have to bend the link sideway to get it to move smooth again.. and you have to inspect that the pin is still perfectly sentered and that it didnt give the space mostly on one side.

      • Tom Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 11:10 am

        You need to use master links mate. Pushing soft pins into deformed holes is primitive stuff.

      • Frank Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 4:13 pm

        I second this. Pins could be repeatedly pushed into and out of chains up to 6 speeds or so but modern chains are too narrow for this. A pin is swaged into place with a peening tool and that’s it, no more messing around. Or use quick-links.

      • TomH Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:21 pm

        I’m not quite sure the problem you’re describing, but note every major chain mfr explicitly states in their instructions — you read those, right? — that after a field-replacement pin is installed in the chain, or the pin used to join a new chain, then that pin must NEVER again be removed.
        The pins used for field-replacement — as opposed to the original pins installed with automated equipment at the factory — are very slightly oversized.
        By design, the replacement pin enlarges the original hole in the chain’s side-plates. Inserting any pin in the now-enlarged hole will NOT provide a sufficiently strong friction fit.

        • Eskerrik Asko Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 10:38 pm

          I’m no team mechanic, but I believe that Shimano 12-speed chains come with a quick link, i.e. pins aren’t even supposed to be used anymore. I know that 11-speed chains come with either a pin or quick link, the choice is up to the customer.
          PS I’ve been told that – unlike the hobby cyclist who rides 3000 km or until his chain measuring tool tells its time to get a new chain – the pros ride perhaps 500 km and then it’s time for a new chain. Less watts lost and more mileage out of the cassette and the rings.
          PPS Like many other active and ardent cyclists, I have become a wax man who rotates four chains and rides 4 x 400-600 km before a new wax job.

  • DJW Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 6:42 am

    On the sidelines of yesterday’s stage and leader’s battles, Froome really is improving. Finishing in small group with Mas, Jungels, Pinot, Lutsenko and Konrad and less than 3′ down on Pogecar yesterday is better than I expected three weeks ago. He’s not – and never will be – back to his great days, but I for one am pleased to see all the effort paying off. He could finish the Tour around 25th and ahead of more fancied riders like Mollema, Martinez, Uran… Well done Chris

    • George Vest Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 10:34 am

      I agree with this. When we was winning, he tended to keep his distance, although I did think that he generally stayed classy. How many others with his exceptional GT palmares would have happily turned themselves into domestiques for a few years? It’s certainly good to see him once again having a degree of relevance in races.

  • Rob MD Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 7:01 am

    Pogacar does n’t seem to have the energy to get time on Vingegaard and with Thomas in 3rd that seems to be the podium in Paris. The fun part is the rest of the top 10. Bardet got the “Kiss of Death” yesterday and Vlasov getting into the top 10 liven things up. Will Ineos finally work out what Yates is going to do? DS Cummings promise of a new style Ineos has not be fulfilled. Woods for today and Sylvan Adams to get the warm feeling of money well spent. (Plus gripe on ridiculously short stage)

    • George Vest Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 10:32 am

      I’m not sure what else Ineos could have done in this race. Vingegaard and Pogacar are clearly some distance better than all the rest, and I think that third would be a very good result for Thomas. In terms of the rest of the team, Martinez has unfortunately been off colour and I can see the sense in keeping Yates close to Thomas as a super-domestique. Pidcock is the joker, but he did win Alpe d’Huez (to my astonishment) and, as someone else has said, he may not be ideally prepared for an exceptionally tough 3 week race in stifling heat. It would still be great to see him going for it in the Pyrenees, though – let’s hope.

    • hoh Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 12:29 pm

      Yates’ task is to stick around as much as possible and do a death pull to save Thomas when needed.

  • Stuie Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 8:05 am

    Surprised Ineos didn’t send Pidcock up the road yesterday, finish seemed perfect for him. Can understand the team and Thomas wanting to protect his GC position, at his age this could be his swansong and he knows he’s nowhere near the level of the top 2.
    Pogacar will try and try and Jonas will just sit on. Podium looks set.

    • Tovarishch Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 8:57 am

      I’m not expecting much in this last week from Pidcock – he hasn’t really trained for a three week race – we’ll see today. I was really disappointed with Ineos yesterday. It was the ideal time to adopt Sky tactics and really nail it over the first half of the stage but their domestics contributed nothing, except a few bottles. Yates saved Thomas and Pidcock saved Yates. Where were the rest?

      • Stevie P Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:46 am

        The SkyTrain only works if you have the best rider. Had they done it yesterday I suspect it would have just resulted in a platform for Thomas to lose more time to the two leaders. As for domestique duties, Ganna did a lead out into the first climb and Castro helped Pidcock get back to Yates.

        • hoh Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 12:31 pm

          Also Martinez help Thomas to rejoin the front group on the decent (it is a bit ridiculous given how terrible at decending Martinez is) then helped to keep its pace to sink Bardet.

        • Andy W Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:30 pm

          In the absence of having the best GC climbers, I guess their challenge is to work out how to use some very high quality rouleurs (Ganna, Castroviejo, Van Baarle, Rowe) to break things up early in a stage (before serious climbing) to somehow isolate and distance UAE/JV and then have Martinez and Pidcock to support on the climbs – stage 11 showed how Pog is human after all when attacked, while the recent losses to each of those teams does limit their ability on flatter terrain. However, how to do this if there’s not a cross wind?

          • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 2:03 pm

            Have some rouleur up on the road. Then Make Yates attack as hell on a climb or hill early enough (say 30 to 60 to the line) so that it’s followed by a terrain on which rouleurs he bridges up to can then pull hard.
            Sure he doesn’t have the pace of the best uphill, but if one attacks deep whoever wants to hold your wheel is forced to a dangerous effort, which might have them think twice. Anyway, if Vingegaard follows, repeat (hope that it’s him being forced to close, of course, if others repeatedly do that, abort the mission – you’d have tried at least).
            Repeat. Again and again. Burn out Yates in the process if necessary. Then feel assured that unless they’ve got some super fuel, Vingegaard’s legs will be sapped enough to grant Thomas some chance to try something in the finale. Your advantage is that you can burn out Yates, the rivals cannot kill themselves! – or if they do, they’ll pay for it. The difference between giving it all and having to survive for further climbs should account for the difference in level between the athletes concerned.
            If Yates is given leeway, once he joins the superrouleur ahead, make the latter go top speed. Who’s chasing behind? If captains are forced to do so, they’re in trouble. The leader might be worried to los too many gregari. The impact a monstre rouleur can have in an intermediate phase is huge.

            Of course, the above would work better when Yates was closer in GC and when the nature of the menace he could represent or not was less clear (yeah, as in Roglic on Galibier…). Plus, the above works better if the climbs are separated by a more mixed terrain where the rouleur can dig a gap.

            So, yeah, they’d better try on stage 12. Or 14. Or 16. Or even 15. Well.

            But let’s not be negative. They can also try tomorrow or today… what do they have to lose?

  • jc Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 8:26 am

    Tadej Pogacer did not look 100% yesterday. The attacks on the Port de l’Hers made no sense but suggested he is unsettled. If he was in top shape he would have at least tried to attack on the “Mur”. I know Sepp Kuss was setting a strong pace and there were team mates ahead to help on the descent but not to even try seemed odd. Unless he gets his mojo back today & tomorrow are most likely going to see a big break minutes up the road with very minor skirmishing behind. Maybe Ineos will try to take advantage of their numbers but, despite Steve Cumming’s suggestions, no sign so far of them departing from the usual script.

    • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 10:06 am

      “Everywhere you go, your face I see,
      Every step I take, you take with me, yeah”..

      Pogacar needs to break out into the Mashed Potato atop of the penultimate summit, then go hell for leather down the descent and up the final climb.
      At least go out boogying 😀🎵🎶
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVQEHT_5zfk

      • plurien Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 3:00 pm

        If you can have that, can I have Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” playing over Kristoff’s ridiculous climbing technique on st15 before they got to Carcassonne ..?

        It got struck for ownersip by ASO when I posted on FB so I can’t link. Wasnt even their video since my son filmed it off the tv screen

    • Rob MD Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 11:04 am

      Yeah, I thought too that Pogacar looked not his usual self. Majka was seemingly setting him up for an attack when his chain broke, but Pogacar seemed to dig deep up the final climb to stay in touch. Kuss earned his wages too yesterday.
      Is there some bug going around the peloton as both Soler and Bardet appeared to have similar ailments?
      If Yates, Pidcock & Martinez go up the road then Cumming’s talk of new tactics will be justified, but this late in the race it will seem more as an experimental exercise.

  • Typo notice Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 8:54 am

    “this is hard day” should be “this is a hard day”.
    Please delete this comment as soon as the error has been corrected.

    • Tom Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 11:14 am

      Thanks Dad

      • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:00 pm

        Nah. INRNG has regularly commented that he/she appreciates corrections, thanks Typo.

  • Michael Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 8:54 am

    For all the non-Canadians/Quebecers in the crowd, Houle’s win yesterday could not have happened to a classier, more serious and dedicated rider, and just an all around nice guy Quite a few pundits were surprised he pulled it off but the writing was on the wall with his 3rd place earlier in the tour – he’s got the form and legs this year. One has to wonder what this stage win will do for the latter 3rd of his career trajectory. He’s a strong rider who will now have even more self-belief and self-confidence. Really chuffed he pulled it off yesterday!

  • Paul Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:24 am

    Port de Lers or Port de Massat, but not L’Hers. Old cadastrale maps also show Port d’Ercé. https://www.centcols.org/util/geo/visu.php?code=FR-09-1517

  • ocaz Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:30 am

    Next two days should he interesting for GC it is clear Pog needs to gain sometime and he probably has the edge on Vingegaard in time trial but how much time do you think he has to take?

    • Kennard Lamna Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 11:17 am

      The back of a packet of Gauloises mathematics based on past performances (by Lanterne Rouge podcast bloke) reckons Pog can take 40s in the ITT.

      • AK Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 11:34 am

        3rd week TT’s aren’t so predictable. It’s just as much a test of how much is still in the tank. Remember 2020?

  • Marginal brains Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:48 am

    Houle-whoop!?

  • Louis le Blond Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 9:55 am

    So much respect to Hugo Houle for an stunning performance yesterday!!
    And as always a pleasure reading you prewievs, Inrng 🙂
    This years TdF is truly the race of the Danes – they deserve to get to Paris with the yellow!!
    I hope this fairytale has a happy ending and HC Andersen will chapeau Vingegaard an the rest of the Danish Vikings in Paris – Denmark will explode….
    The epic moment was two days before the TdF started at the team-presentation in Tivoli in Copenhagen. The 26 year old Jonas Vingegaard on the scene with his teammates, recieving the crowds positive and strong energy and sympati …. that’s where the bond to the Danish people was made!! Jonas was overwhelmed that so many people were there greating and cheering him – he got very emotional and when the first tear rolled, he struck the heart of every Dane. That’s the bond Jonas Vingegaard has with the Danish people – he’s riding with the energy and power of a Nation….

    • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:09 pm

      The Childhood of a Leader? ^____^

  • Nick Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 10:20 am

    Gaudu’s approach to going your own pace on climbs this Tour has been borderline taking the mick. Refusing to follow any attack and just inching his way back, makes Thomas look like Contador. Admire it though, seems the best way to get the absolute most of his legs.

  • AK Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 11:48 am

    I noticed that Pogacar gave up the attacks quite quickly when Vingegaard was in his wheel. It was clear that Vingegaard is the only one that can match Pogi’s accelerations, an open question is if he can keep up that pace for longer. But to find out, Pogacar has to have the power to push on, which he didn’t seem to have yesterday, sitting tight on the final climb. Surely if he had had the legs, a more sustained effort on the steep part of the Peguere (where V would not have had much advantage from sitting in his wheel after matching the initial surge) would have been the most probable way of gaining time. Vingegaard having Van Aert up the road to TT him down the mountain must have been a psychological weapon too.

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 12:06 pm

      But ‘pushing on’ only has to be done once during a GT, a one-time Finestre-style attack is definitely within Pogacar’s capabilities if he’s feeling good on the day.

      • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:02 pm

        I think it’s hard to see Pog winning this.
        Until yesterday with Vinny’s crash and the team incidents there seemed like an opening.
        And anything can still happen.

        But Vinny just looks better tbh, in a straight fight I see him winning it needs to get tactical to change things, whether Ineos get involved is the big question but I only see that happening tomorrow not today.

      • AK Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:54 pm

        Yes, this is what we hope for of course, a Finestre-style attack. But I have a feeling that if Dumoulin would have had Van Aert to pull for him instead of Reichenbach, that Finestre attack would not have been as succesful. Nevertheless, there’s only a short bit between the last two climbs, and not too much drafting advantage on the way up. Let’s see.
        Would Nairo be tempted to do something similar to get to the podium?

        • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 2:10 pm

          I don’t know if Nairo was tempted, that further podium wouldn’t really mean *that* much for his palmarés, and it be hard anyway given the advantage of Thomas et al. in ITT – besides, his team needs the points, so risk-taking might not be received greatly. He’d maybe try if he had a favourable occasion, that is, the alliance with another leading rider (his team can’t grant much support, either).

        • KevinR Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 3:07 pm

          Froome didn’t gain much time climbing the Finestre. He got a lot of it descending Pidcock-style.

  • DMC Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:08 pm

    Majka out with an injury as a result of his chain breaking yesterday!

    • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:09 pm

      Just saw this also!!!!
      Insane… poor Pog.

    • jc Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:16 pm

      This really should offer an opportunity to both Jonas Vinegegaard & Geraint Thomas, one to cement yellow the other a chance to move up. Whether either wants to or has the capacity to we shall see.

      • Cd Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:38 pm

        But that would mean Ineos would have to attack and instead they race like a small team thrilled to have 3rd in GC. $50m budget for that and a stage win?

      • AK Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:59 pm

        To have an advantage of a bigger team when attacking, you first need to drop your opponent. I don’t see Thomas drop Pogacar. Vingegaard might be able to do that but his lead is fairly comfortable so if he wants to, he will probably wait for the last climb tomorrow.

        • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 2:05 pm

          Not necessarily, if you have two riders on top-10 level, which means that a deep attack by, say, Yates, implies a serious price to pay for whomever closes it down, especially if repeated. Then you open a whole field of tactical options. See my other post below. It probably doesn’t work. But it may as well. You don’t lose much in the process, either.

          • KevinR Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 3:11 pm

            I agree with this. And it’s about time Ineos tried something. But I don’t see if happening. I think they know Thomas isn’t quite at the level of the top two and are riding for third on the podium. Not quite what Dave had in mind though.

          • hoh Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 5:43 pm

            Well, looks like when the gods are fighting, the rest should stay clear, least you burn yourself.

          • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 6:25 pm

            @hoh What exactly have they to lose? Team classification? It would be the ultimate evidence of their Movistarisation. At least they didn’t make any of their riders lose the race, although they didn’t try much to have them win it, either.
            You might ask what do they gain. Well, the sort of kudos Bardet is earning himself with more modest means, as he did in Bernal’s Giro. Added value to a race where you just can athletically go so far, but you make it much more worthwhile than your mere final GC.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 21 July 2022, 6:19 am

            Yates has been ill.

          • gabriele Thursday, 21 July 2022, 10:44 am

            Roglic wasn’t fine, either. When Yates really started feeling ill is another interesting question.

  • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:17 pm

    Small word for Bardet yesterday.

    I like Bardet a lot and was so impressed by how he worked his team in 2017 – he seems so talented but either the French system or just bad luck has prevented him from winning more. It’s a shame his TT weakness was not addressed sooner before it became an achilles heal. I like Pinot also but he seems less measured and stable than Bardet, yet Bardet seems to have the least affection out of this generation of French riders (Alaphillippe, Pinot). Gutted to see him drop yesterday and think he’ll struggle to win big outside of one day races now, so I hope he does a Mollema and has a well deserved sparkling Indian summer in the years that come.

    I have a hunch he’s brain will be an asset to French cycling in future.

    • gabriele Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:45 pm

      Great rider, indeed, and agreed about his intelligence, too.
      Since he says he finds himself at ease at DSM, we might now see if all the talk about French teams not being “professional” sits on serious grounds or not: “unlike the French”, DSM is surely among those who use science and technology a lot – well, just having a look at their results across the years, apparently cycling’s not all about that, or they’d be steadier, but whatever.
      For now, it’s not like the 2021 season by Bardet was hugely better than his 2019 one – while at the same time also being probably worse than every previous one. We’ll be able to say more about 2022 once the year is over.

      I also agree with you about him needing to focus more on one-day racing. He always showed natural talent for Classics and it’s a pity if they prevented him from taking more advantage from it.
      Unluckily, DSM is having him doing *less than half* the one-day races he used to in Ag2R with the only exception of 2017 (which was an experiment in that sense, and frankly didn’t work).
      Shocking for a rider who since he was 23 and until he was 28 (the 1990 curse, I told you!) raced a dozen or so of Liège and Lombardia with 17th as his *worst* finishing result, while top-tenning half of the times.
      He lacks that winning punch, but – even more so – in Classics you have to try again and again. When he was Bardet’s current age, Nibali – a rider whom Bardet could take as a reference of sort – had raced 30 Monuments, Bardet is at 18.

      I’m sure it was a good idea to change team, for a number of reasons. Yet, we now see that it’s not all that obvious as commonplace narratives make it look.

    • DJW Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:46 pm

      I agree. Bardet is calm, thoughtful, and seems to respect the sport and other riders. His climbing style is strange often appearing to clamber all over his bike in an effort to get the pedals round. It’s looks like he shouldn’t be able to maintain it but he often does. A contrast with smoother riders like Gaudu, the other Yates, Pogi…

      • plurien Thursday, 21 July 2022, 11:42 am

        Have you not made a comparison with Froome?!

  • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 1:19 pm

    With EF and Israel picking up victories here it also looks fairly likely Lotto Soudal are heading for relegation? Ewan needs to have one hell of a Vuelta you’d think?

    Does this mean their future will be under threat?

    • DJW Thursday, 21 July 2022, 10:51 am

      Points for the UCI relegation/promotion contenders TdF to date:
      BEX: 390
      Lotto: 15
      EF: 210
      IPT: 265
      Cofidis: 0
      Movistar: 60

  • plurien Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 3:05 pm

    ITTs should be taken off GTs after the first week. We’re now at the point of the race where attacks don’t have to be countered because riders know they can leave it till the TT. It just stifles the racing, which is a shame when this is a race.

    • KevinR Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 3:16 pm

      Strange logic when the Roglic Planche ITT is still fresh in everyone’s minds

      • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 3:49 pm

        +1 KevinR – this is entirely dependent on riders.

        If Pog takes back a few minutes we’ll all be bitting our nails by the end.
        If this were Landa vs Dumoulin we’d all be waiting for Landa to take as much time as possible.

        I actually think ITT’s on the first and last day is perfect, they mean a lot more and are far more watchable because of it. ITT’s in the middle are a little dull.

        • Baroudeur Billy Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 4:21 pm

          I like having an ITT near the end but not right at the end. I’d put it around stage 18 or so. Give the non-ITT specialists a chance on the road to make up for it.

          • plurien Thursday, 21 July 2022, 11:44 am

            This exactly. It’s a race to the line, and if you have TT stages toward the end of a GT it just stifles the racing

  • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 4:08 pm

    Total aside – watching Yates getting dropped is bugging me in regards to Ineos’ tactics…

    For a team famous for being brutally unsentimental I’m bemused by backing Yates or at least not using his high position on GC in anyway – as it stands they’ve just followed Pog and JV around France watching their numerical advantage whither away entirely expectedly without anything to show for it?

    I’ve expected Yates to be dropped decisively with by a bad day since the start of this Tour – it’s taken longer than expected but all previous evidence suggests a top 10 was his limit and he’d be very lucky to podium. I can’t believe Ineos wouldn’t have known this and don’t get why the backed him (minus Bernal) in the first place as a top10 means little to them I assume?

    Only once have I seen Yates helping Geraint (Mende) and it seems like Ineos have either let decent stage winning opportunities with Yates slip through their fingers by letting him trudge around in the top10 or, more guttingly, missed the opportunity to send him up the road and put the cat amongst the pidgeons with JV/Pog?

    Roglic’s attacks before his GC position disappeared were perfectly timed, Ineos have now missed that chance completely. I assume it’s been gone for a while, and any Formigal attempt for Geraint is unlikely as I doubt he’ll take enough advantage nor hold onto it but would have been nice to see something rather than a predicably strong ride from Yates with a bad day placing him in the lower half of top10 or top15.

    A top3 and a stage win with Pidcock is a good result but a clearly disappointing for Ineos – feels like they’ve missed a trick.

    • oldDAVE Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 10:15 pm

      facepalm – apparently Yates is ill.
      I know the TDF is about staying well and upright as much as finishing but feel a bit guilty now.

  • CA Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 4:58 pm

    Another great stage and win by Pogacar – funny how he clearly seems to be strongest on the road (by a razor-thin margin over Vingegaard). Save for that one stage, where Pogacar either bonked or was cooked after covering repeated attacks, Pogacar would be firmly in yellow.

    • hoh Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 5:46 pm

      Not sure Pogacar is stronger in mountain top sprints. It’s more Vingegaard is terrible at judging the distance he can maintain a surge. Often, he jumps too early and fades, got caught on the line by Pog. Had he held his fire for a few meters, he could have won some of these sprints.

      • CA Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 6:01 pm

        Haha, good point.

        These two look very evenly matched. Hope they can battle it out for the next few years – and hopefully Bernal can get to the start line next year too.

      • Pete Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 8:12 pm

        Yes, but he (JV) is doing exactly everything that needs to be done for Paris, defending the yellow jersey in utmost textbook style. The race lead is done, notwithstanding tomorrow’s not-unreasonable hopes of spectators for a seductive spectacle.

      • Cepphus Grylle Thursday, 21 July 2022, 2:12 pm

        I was thinking exactly the same after yesterday’s finish, but Vingegaard reasoned that he hasn’t got the same kick as Pogacar so tried a longer sprint to nullify that advantage. Didn’t work, again! Maybe he should have piled on the pressure all the way up that last steep ramp, 400m out. A tough ask after that stage and with what’s to come today.