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Tour de France Stage 7 Preview

Normally the heart sinks a touch at the mention of “sprint stage”, a day with an inevitable conclusion and minutes of action but if it helps riders rebuild their arsenal of fireworks for the weekend and gives followers more time to digest the last two days’ sport, so be it.

Coup d’arrêt, coup de jarret: L’Equipe’s lead cycling writer for many years Philippe Brunel knew a champion or two, he even had his own definition of one as someone who, when presented with a losing situation, could turn it around and triumph. Tadej Pogačar hadn’t lost the Tour de France on Wednesday but he had suffered a setback on the Marie Blanque; and on Thursday he was up against Jumbo-Visma in full strength but still turned the tables to win on them the stage and take time on Jonas Vingegaard. It marked a dramatic end to a lively stage and revives the Tour de France like a 1,000 volt defibrillator.

The stage started with a big attack from Wout van Aert, the kind that towed a group clear and a bunch of “stragglers” managed to bridge across, including Neilson Powless in his quest for mountains points and that was it, no counter moves or battle as the move up front was too strong leaving several teams frustrated. The group didn’t get a big lead with Bora-Hansgrohe chasing to defend Jai Hindley’s lead. Then Jumbo-Visma took over on the Tourmalet and launched Vingegaard and only Pogačar could follow. This looked like the Dutch team wanted to ram home the advantage they’d taken on Pogačar the previous day with a long move but they couldn’t shake him.

Vingegaard had Van Aert waiting for him after the Tourmalet, helpful for the long valley drag up to Cauterets but if was a help in terms of keeping the chase from all the others behind at bay, it didn’t sap Pogačar. Once onto the climb to Cambasque, Vinegaard attacked but couldn’t dislodge Pogačar so he decided to keep pressing only for Pogačar to respond with a huge attack, the kind that looked like his tires left skid marks on the road and he was away. He got a gap and a psychological boost, and then converted this into more time, turning a lead that was hovering around 8-10 seconds into 24 seconds at the finish, topped up with a further four seconds from the time bonuses.

It’s useful to remember that there are still 172 riders in the race, even if it feels like it’s down to two, so much that L’Equipe’s podcast was joking the podium in Paris ought to have two steps. But who knows, there are still three more Saturdays to go. Jai Hindley slips to third but has almost two minutes on Simon Yates with Carlos Rodriguez and Adam Yates soon after.

The Route: 170kmk to Bordeaux and 700m of vertical gain, the flattest stage of the race except for Paris. Normally the route from Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux would go via the vast Landes forest but today’s route isn’t a straight line, more like two sides of a triangle, first to the north-east and then once it reaches the Garonne river it heads north west. It doesn’t change much for the race but means anyone keen enough to watch all of the stage will see a variety of scenery rather than endless kilometres of pines and sandy soil.

The climb out of Béguey is 1.2km at 4%, just and a big ring kind of climb as it leaves the riverbank in Cadillac – which gave its name to car brand via the founder of Detroit – to climb among the vineyards. From here on there are a lot of vineyards and the monoculture means terrain exposed to the wind.

The Finish: a big alongside the banks of the Garonne, along the quays – past the Arkéa arena – and over the river on a big bridge with 2.5km to go and then along the other bank of the river up to the finish, a 2km flat finishing straight that follows the gentle bend of the river so the finish line isn’t in sight at first.

The Contenders: a dragster contest, normally Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal-Quickstep) would be the pick but he’s been struggling so far, then he’s crashed and he’s been battling to avoid elimination so it’d be another recovery story if he can win here. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is the safe pick, he’s handy on the hilly days but just has the leg speed for the finish and Mathieu van der Poel as a battering ram.

The last time the race went to Bordeaux was in 2010 and Mark Cavendish (Astana) won, he has a decent chance today with the flat stage, likewise Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-Al Ula) ought to be an easy pick too but he’s looked off the pace so far. Sam Welsford (DSM Firmenich) is best suited to this kind of flat finish but it’d be a surprise if he can find a way past all the names mentioned ahead of him.

Philipsen
Ewan, Groenewegen, Jakobsen
Cavendish, Welsford, Girmay, Pedersen

Weather: hot, 30°C and a light tailwind which can help in terms of speed but also raises the temperature.

TV: KMO is at 1.30pm and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune in for the fast and furious finish.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Andreas Friday, 7 July 2023, 7:19 am

    What about Phil Bauhaus? He did well in the previous sprints so I expect him to have a good chance as well.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:41 am

      He’s been in the mix but seems to surf the wheels, it’s hard to see him break out for the win plus I can’t do sprint previews by listing every sprinter, that’d be too obvious.

      • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:57 am

        Playing devil’s advocate, if Cavendish gets a ring, why not Bauhaus? They’ve both Ben there or thereabouts in sprints but Bauhaus has got slightly better results. I know it’s a bit of a moot point as neither are realistically going to win (I am now preparing to eat my words).

        • ave Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:58 pm

          Because of money. There is a plot to let cavendish win a stage.

          • CA Friday, 7 July 2023, 3:36 pm

            On the contrary, I think jasper, Dylan, Fabio, et al would love to be the spoiler and prevent him winning. Even Cav himself doesn’t want to win if it is gifted to him.

  • Steve L Friday, 7 July 2023, 7:52 am

    As always, a good preview.

    On an editorial note, there’s a missing full stop at the end of para 3. I think a section of sentence is missing rather than just an accidental carriage return.

    • Big Mig Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:56 am

      Welcome Too pedants
      corner .

      • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:05 am

        Corrections, suggestions, feedback etc always welcome, think of it as a fix for the next reader.

      • WillC Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:10 am

        Nicely done. We must appreciate the pedants.. there grate 😊

        • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:01 am

          Pendants are great.

  • Larry T Friday, 7 July 2023, 7:54 am

    “Normally the heart sinks a touch at the mention of “sprint stage”, a day with an inevitable conclusion and minutes of action…”
    Far below the kind of attitude I expect to read here and IMHO an insult to the fast-men who suffer all day but have to deliver in the final meters. If you don’t want your heart to sink and think these stages only good for setting up things for the mountains, perhaps there’s something else you can do today rather than suffer…maybe ride your own bike?

    • 150 Watts Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:01 am

      Flat sprint stages should have three intermediate sprints to liven things up … and mountain stages should have none.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:39 am

      Ha, by all means watch from KM0 and see some Arkéa and Total rider go up the road and soak in the scenery but it’s not a matter of respect.

      On sprint stages when there’s not much happening it’s a chance to do something else, either completely away from the race or to have it on the background, either as TV or radio. But of course you tune in for the finish, that’s what the daily “TV section” suggestions above are for.

    • Anonymous Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:39 am

      Good advice! Riding a bike is good for lowering levels of synthesised online outrage too 🙂

      • Fra Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:25 pm

        That.

        Larry, I’d respond there re Vingegaard’s panache and cadaverous form; and thanks for the reply, btw. After your comment about two years ago (?),JV is The Cadaver for me – every time I see him, I have to chuckle, always reminded of the moniker. So, although it’s perhaps wrong to use such nicknames based on one’s looks, in this case I can not shake it, because JV frankly looks like one. But, perhaps I am mistaken, you meant the moniker also as a comment of his racing style – “Froome-like” high cadence late attacks with a mountain train suffocating the oposition.

        But It seems to my eyes the current version of Vingegaard is anything but boring rider waiting for the final climb. Ok, perhaps the parcours don’t let him be… still, he attacked both pyrenean stages, wanting to break Pogacar, while we perhaps expected him to keep the powder dry for stages supposed to suit him better. He descends like a master of the craft and TTs his way to the finish, towing a group of pretenders on his back; or devises an attack on penultimate climb, having WvA in the front group to tow him, a premediated long range (almost 50km) attack… and continues the attack even with the shadow of Pogacar following him; more “va banque” than “safety first” I’d say.

        The race is thrilling, so far, and J-V with JV (although their strategy may be flawed) are a considerable reason why it’s that good.

        • Larry T Friday, 7 July 2023, 7:41 pm

          It’s mostly what the guy looks like – he could be in a coffin and who would know he’s alive? As to racing, IMHO he’s a kind of kite-man controlled by radio earpiece. Whether LeTour 2023 disproves my opinion remains to be seen. I think he won in 2022 thanks to a great team and tactics + the reduced team of UAE rather than panache or class. He could prove me wrong for sure..only time will tell.

    • Tom Friday, 7 July 2023, 12:09 pm

      Do you ever stop moaning?

      • Potomac Friday, 7 July 2023, 12:40 pm

        Thank you for that.

  • AK Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:29 am

    Jumbo had a plan yesterday: get Jonas solo over the top of the Tourmalet, let Wout drag him through the valley and finish it off on the last climb. Good plan, but Pogaçar wasn’t having any of it. You could see near the top of the Tourmalet that Vingegaard was feeling the effort quite a bit while Pogaçar looked steady.

    I am happy we still have a race, the past two days was the clash of the titans that I was hoping for.

    • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:07 am

      @AK I thought the plan was good. But the devil was in the detail and JV didn’t appear to have read that properly. He did a lot of work on the front pulling for Pog and pretty much dispensed with the services of Kuss. And yes he did look like the effort hurt him so little wonder that he got mugged near the top of the final climb.

      • Friday Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:56 am

        Yes: if you like, you can call it hubris when Vingegaard didn´t ditch the plan the minute he saw that Pogacar could follow. Pogacar would be the favourite to win the stage (on a climb that suited the Slovenian), but he wouldn´t have lost more than the bonus seconds.

        OTOH by making the Tourmalet as hard as could, he kept alive the possibility of dropping Pogacar on the final climb, if the Slovenian was empty.

        Depending on how you look at it, it was either a case of slightly underestimating Pogacar or of thinking that if you don´t try. you won´t achieve anything. I think we – as spectators – should be grateful that Jumbo Visma and Jonas Vingegaard chose to make the decisions they did!

        • WillC Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:41 pm

          On the Never Strays Far podcast they said that the JV DS told Vingegaard over the radio that Pog was struggling, even though he obviously wasn’t. So this could be why Vingegaard persisted with the plan instead of adapting and possibly losing less time.

  • DJW Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:46 am

    A side story for me is the number of potential GC top tens who started the Tour well but who fell away and often spectacularly: Skjelmose, Ciccone – though he had the excuse of a long and tiring breakaway, Woods, Haig…

    The final top ten is starting to take shape now with – in some order: Gaudu, Hindley, Yates * 2, Bardet, Rodriguez, Pidcock, Kuss…and, of course, Pogecar and Vingegaard above the others. A Yates and Kuss positions depending on team priorities.

    • slowK Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:11 am

      Haig is very likely tired after the Giro and Dauphine. TV commentary in Australia said he was only told after the Dauphine that he was going to do the Tour as well.

  • Tovarishch Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:59 am

    I thought the Cadillac were native Americans. At least it now means I can spend the stage going down a Wikipedia worm hole.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:07 am

      That’s Pontiac, although this also sounds like the name of a town in SW France. Tomorrow sees the race go to the Limousin region which lends its name to cars too via a long delivery truck once made in the region. Now you know.

      • Chris Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:23 am

        This is the best ‘french vocab’ trivia I’ve learnt since I found out the French word for bin – poubelle – was named after the person who ‘invented’ it

      • Tovarishch Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:24 am

        When the World Championships visit Glasgow we will be able to celebrate the Clydesdale truck.

      • Anonymous Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:25 pm

        “he most definitely was not one of the ‘great early heroes’ and probably deserves to be ranked with the ‘worst scoundrels ever to set foot in New France’.”

        Quite an endorsement!

  • HPster Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:00 am

    Given V’s dominance yesterday and advantage on long climbs not sure what conclusions to draw from yesterday. He smashed the competition record on the Tourmalet so they weren’t hanging around. Vinegaard didn’t have it at the end so does he not recover as well (?) and what would have happened with a third mountain stage today?

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:09 am

      Wednesday evening and there was talk of Pogačar lacking form, not being in best shape after the scaphoid injury etc… that’s faded. It’s quite possible each rider has only had a small fade at the end of each stage from not enough food but we won’t know, nobody in their entourage will let on of course. Makes it close though as we try to tell what happens next.

      • Cepphus Grylle Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:20 pm

        Interesting you should say that. In the valley and approach to the final climb I was watching Van Aert and Pogacar regularly drinking, but barely saw Vingegaard touch a drop. Mind you, he already looked in pain over the Tourmalet. That solo TT on the previous day to the finish might have cost more than he thought

    • Irungo txuletak Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:14 am

      I think they are just very close to each other, and with this way of riding (mid range attacks), any dip comes to light.
      In any case, the way Pogačar followed the attacks of Vin, on the saddle turning the legs fast, was quite impressive. It was prefiguring what happened next.

  • Irungo txuletak Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:09 am

    Still not 1 week Tour, and so much has happened already. The trend giro entertaining / tour boring looks to invert itself… One thing is sure, I don’t miss the Froome era.

    • Alan McD Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:19 am

      I get your point, but if Froome had a genuine and credible rival in the years of his dominance, or a Sky like super team to joust with, it could have been a different story.

      • spicelab` Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:08 pm

        I often fantasise about how hilarious it would have been to watch Pogacar absolutely wrecking the Sky train if he was born 10 years earlier.

        It would have been soooo funny to watch.

        • Anonymous Friday, 7 July 2023, 4:22 pm

          A popular narrative at the time was that Sky’s dominant budget meant they were fundamentally unbeatable and that their performances were not naturally possible.

      • Irungo txuletak Friday, 7 July 2023, 3:46 pm

        Fair enough. I remember a Vuelta with a good fight between him and Kontador, and the absolute dull was this Tour he won to Uran and Bardet.
        My comment was more on the era than on the rider itself, even if it is also true that I found others were more entertaining (for instance Nibali or Kontador).

        • Fra Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:53 pm

          Nibali was entertaining cheat, speeding to distance holding his team’s car. Contador is a proven doper.

          Also, was Froome’s Finestre boring? Surely not. Sky tried to minimize chances of failure and therefore maximize chances of winning. The caveat was in their disproportionately bigger budget, alas.

  • BC Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:11 am

    Two absolutely brilliant, knock out days of racing, with the eventual winner still to become evident.
    Here the sun is shining so its out on the bike today and no Tour for me, except the last 40 minute replay later.
    If you are watching, enjoy.

  • jc Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:16 am

    This all seemed a bit odd to me. On Wednesday Tadej Pogacer looked to be not quite “at the races” and lost over a minute to Jonas Vingegaard on the final climb. Yet yesterday he powered away, to me Jonas Vingegaard looked to be in the same sort of condition both days (though sure someone will produce a bunch of numbers to prove otherwise). Chris Horner was speculating yesterday that Tadej Pogacer had had some sort of minor bug or stomach upset, maybe that was the case impossible to know. All a bit strange.

    Easy to say in retrospect but JV’s tactics backfired in that all they achieved was to tow Tadej P to the finish, they need to make UAE do the work (which they did on Wednesday)

    Fingers crossed for Cav today.

    • MS Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:52 am

      “Easy to say in retrospect but JV’s tactics backfired in that all they achieved was to tow Tadej P to the finish, they need to make UAE do the work (which they did on Wednesday)”

      Exactly. To some extent UAE’s aggressive tactics have played into the hands of Vingegaard whilst JV’s aggressive tactics have benefited Pogacar. Makes me very curious about how both teams will approach the stage on Sunday.

      However, I wouldn’t write off the Pogacar lacking form-narrative just yet because uneven performances are regularly expected from riders with not so solid preparation.

      • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:30 am

        I disagree. Tactics were good and logical. Execution by the leader less so. I posted my thoughts earlier.

        • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:31 am

          Plus they probably weren’t expecting Pog to be in such good shape a day after imploding.

          • 150 Watts Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:51 am

            I think they smelled blood but in the end underestimated the smiling assassin.

          • Dude Friday, 7 July 2023, 12:06 pm

            Well Pogi was not really imploding. He was 45 sec faster on the last part of the Marie Blanque compared to 2020, when he won the stage. Vingegaard was just stronger..

        • MS Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:54 am

          I agree that tactics were good and logical. They still backfired though, if not greatly so. It is far too simplistic to judge tactical decisions only on their outcome. Good and logical decisions sometimes produce bad outcomes. That’s exactly why I’m curious about how they proceed. Are they confident in the way they’ve been approaching things so far, or will they reconsider?

          • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 12:52 pm

            @MS Very true. Good decisions and logic at the time decisions are made don’t always give the best result. My point was that it seemed JV didn’t quite follow the tactical script when he did way too much work with TP stuck on his wheel when he had Kuss to do that but didn’t use him.

          • Friday Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:10 pm

            Didn´t or couldn´t (because the pace Kuss could climb wasn´t seen as sufficient to achieve the desire effect of dropping or emptying Pogacar)?

      • Irungo txuletak Friday, 7 July 2023, 3:57 pm

        Agreed with above. JSV tactic was not bad at all, mostly when the result of the day before is contemplated. It looked quite likely that Vin could drop Pog in the Tourmalet. And then we speak about a « grand coup ».

  • MellowVelo Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:28 am

    Yesterday was just wonderful. I’m keeping the recording of the last 30minutes to cheer me up next time I’m feeling a bit down.

    An excellent plan,,executed brilliantly by Jumbo…..except the outcome was a bit Burns 🥵, it certainly went a-glay. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bit more ‘shouting and bike throwing’ on the Jumbo bus when the rest of the team rode in and heard the result (yes , I know the Vin is in yellow, but it’s not exactly glowing).

    There’s something joyous in the way Pog rides his bike, when things go right for him . Now all we need is Cav to do the business in Bordeaux and my birthday weekend will not need any further presents.

  • Md3 Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:34 am

    A very dramatic couple of days in the Pyrenees. I think the organisers can be congratulated on the course design – although their race has been blown apart and it’s only week 1.

    Before the start it looked like a two horse race marked up with the hope it might turn into a heavyweight boxing match – and so it has, with the potential for a classic edition if the Vingegaard and Pogačar keep swinging at each other like this and jumping back up off the canvass.

    Hats off to all involved. It’s a truly epic spectacle.

  • EM Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:36 am

    Cracking couple of days.

    Ref the Pog vs Ving relative form debate, I think we often fall into the trap of forgetting of these are humans and, despite all the advances in understanding, humans performing towards the limits of possibility are not 100% predictable. There are too many known, and no doubt some unknown, variables.

    I’m enjoying h the spectacle!

    • MS Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:07 am

      I absolutely agree but that’s what makes it an attractive discussion topic, isn’t it?

    • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:35 am

      Humans performing at distinctly average levels are equally unpredictable. One day I did RideLondon and had bad legs from the start. A week later I did the Tour of Cambridgeshire and the legs sailed through (the bike was another matter…). So many variables go into performance – high or a lot less so!

  • Bennn Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:46 am

    Pogacar’s ride was spectacular, but Jumbo Visma have nothing to be down about. They’re controlling the race, their leader has the yellow jersey, the majority of the GC competition are minutes down.

    The team and Vingegaard did everything right. Vingegaard didn’t crack yesterday, far from it. He’d pulled hard and knew he was never going to get a turn from Pogacar.

    Sure they would have preferred that gap at the line to be 8 seconds instead of 24 but they can look to the weekend with confidence.

  • Ferdi Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:47 am

    The “inevitability of the sprint” is something to be questioned. It largely depends on whether the best rouleurs work for or against a sprint. What prevents the most powerful riders in the flat (yes, those who contest TTs or cobbled classics, and that we nowadays see, rather puzzlingly, going on breakaways on mountain stages like yesterday as if it was their only chance to shine on the TdF) from putting their watts in today’s breakaway and not in the chase? The chances of victory for their team? Well, not for most teams, who may have a good sprinter but not the dominant one? For example: seeing how Jakobsen is, doesn’t QS have a better chance if it unleashes its powerhouses on breakaway? What prevents King or Bjerg or Castroviejo or Stuyven or Jungels or Naesen or Teunissen or Guillaume Martín or Oliveira (or Van Aert, for that matter) or many others go hunting the stage win? Is there a tacitly imposed culture that on flat stages the chances of a final sprint shouldn’t be challenged because it would make the stage too racy and hard? And that it is “better” to make the sprint appear “inevitable”, even if it makes the stage a complete worthless bore, and what’s worse, prone to high-speed mass crashes? Good questions, I suppose. Anyway, I just hope no bones are broken. As Larry says, today I ride and forget about pro cycling.

    • Ferdi Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:54 am

      The “inevitability of the sprint” is something to be questioned. It largely depends on whether the best rouleurs work for or against a sprint. What prevents the most powerful riders in the flat (yes, those who contest TTs or cobbled classics, and that we nowadays see, rather puzzlingly, going on breakaways on mountain stages like yesterday as if it was their only chance to shine on the TdF) from putting their watts in today’s breakaway and not in the chase? The chances of victory for their team? Well, not for most teams, who may have a good sprinter but not the dominant one. For example: seeing how Jakobsen is, doesn’t QS have a better chance if it unleashes its powerhouses on breakaway? What prevents Küng or Bjerg or Castroviejo or Stuyven or Jungels or Naesen or Teunissen or Guillaume Martín or Oliveira (or Van Aert, for that matter) or many others go hunting the stage win? Is there a tacitly imposed culture that on flat stages the chances of a final sprint shouldn’t be challenged because it would make the stage too racy and hard? And that it is “better” to make the sprint appear “inevitable”, even if it makes the stage a complete worthless bore, and what’s worse, prone to high-speed mass crashes? Good questions, I suppose. Anyway, I just hope no bones are broken. As Larry says, today I ride and forget about pro cycling.

      • MS Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:35 am

        This is absolutely very interesting and I think that people tend to overestimate the “physics” of it all and underestimate “social convention”. And conventions for how to ride classics and grand tour GCs have shifted more than once the last couple of decades, and sometimes quite radically, so maybe some day..

  • Ferdi Friday, 7 July 2023, 9:55 am

    Apologies for the double-post.

    • Ferdi Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:55 am

      And when I said Guillaume Martín I meant Benjamin Thomas. I always get those two very common-surnamed riders mixed up.

  • Lars Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:25 am

    No mention of Tobias Halland Johannesen, yesterday’s best placed finisher of the mere mortals and first over the Tourmalet?

    • MS Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:42 am

      I think the Norwegian press has got it covered. Third place finishers usually don’t get much of a mention though, do they? Personally I’m a bit surprised that the expectations for THJ in Norway aren’t higher, given that he, among other outstanding results in the U23 ranks, is a l’Avenir winner ahead of Carlos Rodriguez and Filippo Zanna. I’m aware of his injury problems but fighting for stage wins from breakaways (or for top 10 in the GC, but that ship has sailed) should in my opinion be an expectation not a surprise.

      honestly I think the Norwexpectations

      • MS Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:43 am

        Sorry about the leftover text there..

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:12 am

      It’s good, we’ll see more from him in the mountains. But there are so many stories to tell, from THJ to Jakobsen and plenty in between, didn’t mention Kwiatkowski, Powless taking back the polka dots, Guerreiro on the Tourmalet etc etc.

  • DJW Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:13 am

    On a side note the splendid Sep Vanmarck has announced his retirement. Honest, courageous, talented and likeable.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:17 am

      And very strong too, his career got off to a great start when he beat Tom Boonen in the Omloop. But beset by bad luck, I can’t think of him without hearing the twanging guitar of Ray Charles and the chorus of “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all”

      • Gelato4bahamontes Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:38 am

        Think you mean Albert king – born under a bad sign. Latter covered by cream.
        Ray Charles plays piano not guitar

        • The Inner Ring Saturday, 8 July 2023, 11:10 am

          Of course, Albert King. Embarrassed to associate the song with Vanmarcke rather than a legendary performer.

          As someone once quipped about Richie Porte, his crashes and bad luck, he still won a stack of the biggest races and quits the sport as a multi-millionaire so maybe bad luck’s a question of perspective.

      • Kjetil Haaland Friday, 7 July 2023, 8:02 pm

        I had too google, and found this gem on Youtube:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AodHdQ4O_U

        • Gelato4bahamontes Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:19 pm

          I stand corrected.

          I’m more familiar with straight up electric blues than brother rays work.

          I was thinking of the lines
          Born under a bad sign
          I’ve been down since I began to crawl
          If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have no luck at all

  • F. De Mieux Friday, 7 July 2023, 12:07 pm

    Forecast is for a ~10+ kph tailwind for the whole run in all the way from the day’s only climb right to the finish. We need a bunch of talented stage hunters from also-ran teams to get off the front sometime before hump and organize a multi-jersey TTT for today to deliver the only kind of (probably pointless) spectacle that might rescue the final hour before the final seconds.

    Magnus Cort, to the podium please.

  • Lanterne_Verte Friday, 7 July 2023, 12:11 pm

    Fingers crossed for a classic Tour with two mighty protagonists landing blows on each other all the way to Paris. I expect Pogs anxiety about his partner’s crash will have taken the edge of his power on stage 5 and worrying about a loved one is enough to give you a stomach ache n’est-ce pas? Same with van Aert, this could explain his slightly erratic performance compared with normal for him. No doubt many riders have personal stuff going on in the background and some can bracket this out of their minds better than others and the intensity or otherwise of the team atmosphere and public expectations will influence this as well. For some reason I find myself hoping that Hindley can retain his 3rd place, probably because he showed real panache on wednesday. I would like to know more about his story, how did he get where he is today, has there ever been a post on here about him or can anyone direct me to a decent long form interview?

    • KevinR Friday, 7 July 2023, 12:59 pm

      I’m hoping the other two kicking lumps out of each other gives Hindley a chance to get back in the yellow fight with clever tactics like those his team used to take the lead (he’s not quite on the same level as them in a straight fight).
      Good point about personal lives.

    • Tovarishch Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:17 pm

      Mitch Docker has done an interview with him for his podcast but I don’t think it is available yet.

  • Anonymous Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:10 pm

    Pogacar rode smartly yesterday… smart cycling can be entertaining to watch too. With no Roglic to bait Pogacar Jumbo might come undone, with V having to do the probing himself. Can he keep his Dauphine legs to the very end? (Froome sruggled to do that).

  • Peter edwards Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:27 pm

    Amazing tour de France we’ve had everything in the first week I hope they make it to Paris

  • Cycling Nut Friday, 7 July 2023, 1:35 pm

    Jumbo did what I thought they would do and I thought JV would take another minute on TP and 2 on Jai. I was certainly wrong about TP!
    I’m happy its a close race and not over at stage 6. More entertainment to come.