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Biosphere

Tour 2013, Stages 5-7: Vive la Transition, 3rd - 5th July

Three transition stages to get us to the Pyrenees. Generally being billed as days for the sprinters, but I wonder if the 2 climbs (Cat 4 and uncategorised) at the end of stage 5 might see some lose contact. Stage 7 doesn't look like the most traditional sprint profile, but with the serious climbing all in the first half it should be doable.

Stage 5
Jean-François Pescheux wrote:
A Time to take Stock
Finally, the riders can ease off a touch and take some time to catch their breath! Our objective at this point as the organisers was clear: to give the sprinters and hopefully the baroudeurs an opportunity, because it would even better if an escape could survive all the way to the finish? Plenty of teams will already be taking stock of where they stand in terms of the race as a whole. Who is in good form? Who has lost form? Who must forget about the general classification and start thinking about stage wins? I think in some eras, a Merckx or an Hinault would have come away from Corsica with an advantage of three or four minutes and the Tour would already be as good as done! In Marseille, this year, the race should still be a lot more open.







Stage 6
Jean-François Pescheux wrote:
A beautiful landscape
A flat stage that's not too long (179km), which in theory should be the preserve of the sprinters, because bunch finishes are obviously one part of cycling that shouldn't be neglected. The landscape will be beautiful: we will be passing through the Baux-de-Provence. That said, it would be dangerous to view this stage simply as one of transition? The heat, which can be extreme, could have a role to play, especially after 219km the day before! And there's always the chance the wind can get up. On an almost identical course, the wind almost played a very nasty trick on Contador in 2009? However, logic would suggest the candidates for the green jersey will feast on this stage.






Stage 7
Jean-François Pescheux wrote:
A bit more rolling
This is the third of the so-called "transition" stages, even though the route for this one is a bit more rolling: we are approaching the Pyrenees, the major objective at the end of the week. In theory, there is an opportunity here for the sprinters in a Tour that quite frankly doesn't do them a lot of favours? In fact, it is quite possible the battle for the green jersey might already have been decided. Imagine, for example, Sagan has taken two victories in Corsica, leaving him well ahead of Kittel, Cavendish, Goss, Greipel? How will his rivals catch up with him? Once again, this underlines the importance of the initial days of the race. Any time or points dropped there could be regretted to the very end!




Biosphere

I guess that bunch sprints are more likely for these upcoming 3 stages, given that OGE will have non intention of giving up the yellow and will work to keep it. Cavendish has had bronchitis, so not clear how much of a factor he will be in the next few days.
HuwB

A very slow day at the Provence office.
Finish at around 17-45CET, I reckon.

Just under 130kms to go, break at +10 minutes.
kathy

Why was Sagan hanging around the car?
gerry12ie

kathy wrote:
Why was Sagan hanging around the car?


Probably trying to keep up to date with Warren Gatland's meltdown... Wink  Wink
HuwB

Bouhanni doing his best to climb off.
Meanwhile, Kirby thinks he's on the attack.  Rolling Eyes
Biosphere

Mrs kindly volunteers to take kids away to here sister so I get an afternoon of me time. Why couldn't she do that on the upcoming Saturday afternoon Smile

Slow catch of the break proceeding to schedule.

I think I will follow Mrs. and tell her I was missing her too much - until next Saturday anyway Wink
Fontfroide

Quick question to pass the time.

Road closed up Col de Treize Vents on Friday, between 11-3.  I want to ride fairly late on, as I will be in Montpellier checking out Busses in the main square.  When do you reckon i can start up the 45 mi ute climb and not get stopped by various gendarmes.  Just me and the bike.

I have only ridden up a hill to watch once, and that was 20 years ago.  I forget the procedures.

Thanks.
Fontfroide

Wake up guys, looks like the peloton is moving a little faster, so we can predict where exactly the break will get caught.  I say 12k from the end.

AND we are getting near the Calanques of Marseilles which are really cool.
HuwB

A half an hour before the publicity caravan would be my guess, just to be safe.
You do see cyclists on the minor climbs fairly late in the day, but much depends on what sort of gendarme you draw.

Speed right up, now.

Anybody see the bloke in the Ag2r shirt getting poll axed?
Man in red tee shirt whacked him with his elbow.
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:
A half an hour before the publicity caravan would be my guess, just to be safe.
You do see cyclists on the minor climbs fairly late in the day, but much depends on what sort of gendarme you draw.



You mean start from the bottom half an hour before the caravan, or be at the top half an hour before.  The climb takes me about 45 minutes, and has very few roads that go into it for the last 4k.
kathy

And they all fall down agaih!
HuwB

The compulsory mass pile up. BMC was first down, touched a OPQS wheel.
RSNT hit BMCer and voila.
Luckily, nobody counted out.
Fontfroide

My guys say Kittel got caught up.
Fontfroide

Who was second?  Who?  Who beat both Sagan and Greipel, plus everyone else.  

EBH!!!
HuwB

FDJ, once again a rear OPQS wheel.
Gilbert caught up apparently.
Quintana definitely hit the deck. Looked in some pain.

Cav, by a long way. Greipel surprisingly nowhere.
gerry12ie

Fontfroide wrote:
Who was second?  Who?  Who beat both Sagan and Greipel, plus everyone else.  

EBH!!!


So another fail for the New Merckx then? Wink
HuwB

Far better watching France 2 afterwards.
No trains due to the headwind. (obvious really)
Who caused the pile up? Nacer Bouhanni of course.
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Fontfroide wrote:
Who was second?  Who?  Who beat both Sagan and Greipel, plus everyone else.  

EBH!!!


So another fail for the New Merckx then? Wink


Yeah ... well … second to Cav, with no leadout is not exactly a total fail.  while not exactly a total success.  Frankly I was surprised, never would have guessed he could beat Greipel AND Sagan, by any means whatsoever, on a totally flat finish.  I still think he is a very gifted rider, but never the next Merckx, not when a better rider, Sagan is riding right now.

Maybe the Norwegian Merkcx?   Laughing
gerry12ie

Just caught the end of it there and EBH actually looked very strong in that sprint.  It's a shame that he will have too much to do for Froome this year as it could be interesting to see him actually play in the points game, given that kind of sprinting form...How did Lotto manage to lose Greipel?
Biosphere

Just watched the ITV replay, having bailed this afternoon. Bouet out with a broken wrist. Bouhani looked to be at fault and a bit reckless with the line he was taking. He will be sore tonight. Boasson Hagen impressed me with his speed too.

FF, I have been told to get off my bike on a climb by a Gendarme much more than half an hour before the Caravan. I walked for a bit and got back on and passed other Gendarmes without issue until eventually another issued the same command. It was the stage after the Huez ITT where Landis, Armstrong Ullrich and Kloeden took off. It wasn't even one of the important climbs on that stage and I think it was maybe only a Cat 2. I guess you can probably speak politely with the officials like the respectable gent that you are and hope for the best if they tell you to dismount.
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:

Who caused the pile up? Nacer Bouhanni of course.


I looked at all the videos I could find and I can't tell a thing about who caused the crash.  Other than the forces of sprinting.  Nacer's bike supposedly spun across the road and "caused" a secondary crash.  I heard on ITV4 that it was Matteo Trentin who "caused" it, drifting back through the peloton after leading out Cav.  But they also said that Nacer caught Trentin's back wheel, which could mean Nacer was switching back and forth looking for a wheel, much like JJ Lobato was doing in the front, neither of them having a leadout.

I don't really care THAT much about Nacer, even though I have semi-adopted the young lad as a top French sprinter of the future.  But I am curious where you discovered that Nacer caused the crash.  I also love trying to decode the details of sprint finishes, even if I don't always get it right.  

So where did you find out Nacer caused it?

And thanks to all for advice on the stage viewing.  Sounds like I should leave Montpellier quite early.
HuwB

FF: I said he caused it, quite clear to see.

Bouhanni changed his line so many times following various wheels. Finally clipped Trentin's wheel. Was the OPQS rider drifting back, sure, but Nacer was all over the place.
Having said that, what sort of DS leaves the guy out the back of the peloton for much of the race, gives him a solitary guy to get him somewhere near the front, then leaves the novice sprinter to find his way home?
Perhaps the Mad in Madiot has a more literal meaning.

Anyhow, just as bad. You know how Japanese tourists manage to get everywhere. How about this?



Maybe Cav complaining at the wrong guy?

Fontfroide

Just had a thought, Huw.  Nacer Bouhanni seems to have lost nearly five minutes today, so I think he must not have been in the crash or else he would have the same time as the others.  On the other hand, I saw the French champion's jersey in the video of the crash.  Maybe someone confused Vichot with Bouhanni.  Vichot being the new French champion with exactly the same jersey, blank, no adverts, as Bouhanni.

If Nacer caused the crash, why did he finish 4.52 seconds back?  I think it could be a jersey confusion.
HuwB

From the official site:
155. FRAMINARD Sébastien 88 AG2R LA MONDIALE 05h 36' 43'' + 04' 52''
156. FRABOUHANNI Nacer 73 FDJ.FR 05h 31' 51'' + 00' 00''

Plus, we have this:
Van den Broeck: "Vooral pijn aan mijn knie"

Enkele uren na zijn val gaf ook Jurgen Van den Broeck zelf een korte reactie: "Voor me viel Bouhanni en ik voor het goed en wel besefte, lag ik ook op het asfalt. Ik heb vooral pijn aan mijn knie, die serieus geraakt is. Ik ben vooral benieuwd om te zien hoe ik me na vannacht zal voelen."

Which roughly gives us this:

JVDB has a sore knee which was bruised heavily, wonders how he'll feel tomorrow. He didn't need to go to the hospital for the time being. They hope everyting will be allright and feel lucky it's a flat stage tomorrow. They hope his knee won't continue to swell.

He says Bouhanni fell right in front of him.

Hang on a minute, there is a photo coming up..............




Kittel came down in that first little crash with about 10km to go so never got inolved with the big crash at the finish as he never got back on.  Sounds like he's fine.  Official team site quote:

Marcel Kittel:

“It’s such a shame that I came down. Before the race we knew that it would be a difficult stage today with the hills so we decided to go for John but if I was still be in the bunch we would sprint for me. However the moment we wanted to change plan I came off and as it was approaching the finish it was impossible to get back up there. Apart from missing skin on my left I am ok. Tomorrow will be another chance, the team is looking good and everybody is focused and motivated. So I am really looking forward to that!”
Bartali

I have to say I was impressed by Sagan in that sprint.  I don't think Cavendish put any space into him and he pulled a lot back on EBH etc.  Impressive.

Cavendish was lucky again Wink
Biosphere

Fontfroide wrote:
I heard on ITV4 that it was Matteo Trentin who "caused" it, drifting back through the peloton after leading out Cav . . . .


But on the ITV post mortem, you can see quite clearly that Bouhani goes 'sideways' into Trentin's rear and kicks it all off? He was so far behind his efforts were going to be academic anyway. I don't know if I blame him 100% but . . .
Biosphere

There will be a lot of wind breaking today

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/s...ght-forward-sprint-to-montpellier
Fontfroide

Latest story from l'Equipe and the last word on the crash from me.

Bouhanni, in spite of his unwell state was there to make the sprint, he says.  He knew it would be for 10 or 15th, just wanted to finally do a sprint.  As he began his sprint he touched Matteo Trentin, who was drifting back through the peloton, after being second last leadout for Cav, as they do drift back.  Trentin made the move that touched Bouhanni because Simon Geschke of Argos suddenly moved from right to left.  This forced Trentin to make his move, which led to Bouhanni touching him and being the first to fall.  Neither Geschke nor Trentin actually fell, Bouhanni was the first to crash. At least that is what l"Equipe decoded with access to whatever information they had.

I suppose sometimes we might want to fix the cause more precisely than it actually was, that is things are complex.  There is no information on why Geschke made his move, but the truth of the matter is that in a sprint like that (a mass sprint at top speed), there are riders moving around, seeking wheels, starting to accelerate, de-celerating, all trying to win.  Having said that, it is still a bit of a puzzle to decode what happened.  Frankly, it is a bit of a miracle that there is not a crash in every sprint.  Oh ... there has been.

Huw, thanks for the correction from the official site about Bouhanni's time.  Yesterday Cycling News had him in a small group of three or four at 4.52, leading to my incredibly long, but wrong, guess about the jerseys.  It was a good story I constructed though, was it not?

Bio, the story in l'Equipe does not fit with who did the drifting as you saw it on the ITV clip.  Go figure.
Fontfroide

Huw, if that shot of the knot of people is not accredited photographers in their usual awkward place just after the finish line, then we are all lucky the sprinters didn't crash AFTER the finish.  Who exactly ARE those people?  And why are they in the middle in a knot rather than arranged along the side in an echelon like the photographers usually are?

Today when I get to the finish, I am going to go behind the line, maybe fifty metres and see if they are still there..   Won't see anything at the actual finish anyway.  I have found at least twice that a hundred or more metres behind the line gives a nice view of various riders and helpers.
Biosphere

In general yes I am surprised there are not far more incidents in sprints given the speeds involved. I'm not fussed about the details of yesterday, I saw Bouhanni going sideways into Trentin on ITV 4 and only brought it up as you said you couldn't see anything on ITV 4.

Those are mainly official photographers as far as I can make out - I think I even recognise the Asian guy from races I've been to. We've had this discussion before there they split them into two groups and put them on opposite ides of the road and offset them a bit making a chicane for the riders. I think we had the discussion after one of the Belgian midweek Spring classics when the chicane wasn't cleared by all the riders and there was a nasty crash. The bend on the road yesterday meant the ones on that side were going to have to creep out to get the shot that puts bread on the table.

If you do watch them today, I predict a few will arrive within the last few minutes on the back of a bike having been on the course and will barge their way into the group that had been marshalled and told where to stand earlier.
HuwB

There's a fairly good chance of chaos today. Racing more or less East to West, check out the wind forecast:



FF: Do you have the Mistral?
Fontfroide

Nope Huw, we have the tramontane, which is mostly like the Mistral except it comes over the mountains from the northwest rather than down the valley of the Rhone from due north.  Mainly it is around much of the time.  We also get a wind off the Med too.

I don't even consider 40k a big wind.  Certainly nothing at 30k would even be worth taking note of, and the national weather report does not.  Now 70k or more, THAT is a wind.  With one exception maybe, we have the windiest area in France.  A little bit annoying when riding a bike around here.  But there are plenty of hills to shelter behind.

One small detail.  When I climb the first semi-serious hill on the stage near me, Col de Treize Vents, when you round the last corner, and face the 10% bit, the wind suddenly appears and makes the last few hundred metres quite difficult.  For me anyway.  For that effect we need a wind from the Northwest, the Tramontane.  Mind you, the lads on the Tour will just shift down one tooth and carry one.

Of course Treize Vents means thirteen winds, of which there are that many apparently.
Biosphere

Van den Broeck the second casualty of yesterday's sprint crash.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/van-den-broeck-abandons-tour-de-france
gerry12ie

VDB doesn't have a great deal of luck either... It's obviously karma for costing Cadel the 2009 tour in that ghastly TTT Wink  Wink
HuwB

Jurgen van den Broke. Sad

First thing French tv mention as ther go live? The very strong wind.
I read that forecast as gusts of 60kph.
Certainly, more than enough for a bit of echelon forming, imo.

Another 150kms to go, break at 6 minutes.
gerry12ie

The ticker says that Bouhanni is in all kinds of trouble and already a couple of minutes down.
HuwB

Bouhanni abandoned.
Feed zone ignored as the front of the race goes into overdrive.
Amazingly, Geraint T is right on the head.
gerry12ie

Kessiakoff climbs off too.
Biosphere

Cavendish 40s off the back after crash.
HuwB

Disappointing stage; a real phoney war.
A lot of sparring for the front, but no hammer applied.
A few minor crashes, but little else, so far.
I can't see it changing in the last 20kms.
Of course a carnage inflicting pile up is never out of the question.
Biosphere

Cavendish a bit blocked by the last of Greipel's train peeling off, but he seemed to be lacking pace anyway.
HuwB

Brajkovic the day's main casualty.
The sprint was less than stella.
Cav too far back and as you say Bio, forced wide.
gerry12ie

Perfect job by Lotto there and the sprinters sharing it out so far.  And all the time Sagan pulls away further in the points competition...
Bartali

I'm impressed with Sagan's competitiveness in these stages.  Only a matter of time before he bags a monument or two IMO.
HuwB

JRod had a bad fall today. Nothing broken but he's bruised and battered.
Quintana fell 3 times I think. Nasty bang to the knee, but he still crossed the line in the top third.

As to the 5 second delay, it was actually Simon Gerrans who couldn't hold the wheel and left the gap.
Evans tried vainly to close it alone. Spotted by Porte and Froome who closed him down.
mr shifter

Biosphere wrote:
Cavendish a bit blocked by the last of Greipel's train peeling off, but he seemed to be lacking pace anyway.
HE used energy chasing back from a crash about 30 Km's from finish.
Torn shirt means he hit the floor and lost 42 secs and had to chase on his own then Peter Velits assisted him at 30 secs down and through the peloton.
Biosphere

mr shifter wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
Cavendish a bit blocked by the last of Greipel's train peeling off, but he seemed to be lacking pace anyway.
HE used energy chasing back from a crash about 30 Km's from finish.
Torn shirt means he hit the floor and lost 42 secs and had to chase on his own then Peter Velits assisted him at 30 secs down and through the peloton.


I saw all that as it happened Smile

In the post mortem, Cavendish acknowledged that Greipel was very strong today, whilst Brian Holm acknowledged the quality of the Lotto train and that basically they kicked Quick Steps balls.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/c...-in-montpellier-at-tour-de-france
Boogerd_Fan

v. happy with today.

Greipel and Cav can continue to share the win's on the flat stages... especially if Sagan continues replicating Boogie's bridesmaid tag!

40pts ahead of Cav = great position after 6 stages.
cadence

Is it just me, or does Sagan lack a team to lead him out, he seems to be on his own at the end of every stage looking to grab someone’s wheel?
MAILLOT JAUNE

Any sprinter worth his salt should be able to jump on anyone's wheel and win the stage. McEwan didn't always have a lead out train but still managed to grab another train and still win, Cav's also done it. It's not ideal to be left without your team to lead you out, but there are many reasons as to why a sprinter is left without a leadout - crashes, saving another team mate for the GC, and other tactics.
HuwB

Cannondale dump all the sprinters on the 2nd cat.
No let up in pace, but surely they can't keep the pace
up for 100kms.
Maybe the aim is the IS.
Biosphere

Presume it's for the IS and if riders are burnt trying to get sprinters back on, then there's going to be less trains at the end. Should suit Sagan better?
Fontfroide

Degenkolb also still in the big group.  Goss?  Kristoff?  Lobato?

Why is Cannondale still riding like fury when the big sprinters have given up.  No communication?
Fontfroide

Never mind, if they don't do the riding, who will?  About time Sagan won.  He has the green jersey sewed up.
Fontfroide

Julien Simon still present in front.
Goss must be there too, or Orica would not be riding.
gerry12ie

Sounds like a proper show of strength from the boys in green
HuwB

Half a peloton and still almost disaster on the run in and a messy sprint.
Well, Cannondale: who would have thought they were that strong?
All 8 finish in the first half.
Bart will be pleased with the Bennati sighting.

Green jersey effectively over in week 1.
I see further rule changes in the future.
Fontfroide

You think that they will try to change rules to stop Sagan?  How would they do that?  He can almost beat anyone on a flat stage and can climb a bit, like today.  He is the best at green.  Until he loses weight and tries to win the Tour maybe in a few years.
cadence

Would it be safe to say Sagan is the next Laurent Jalabert, only a little better?
Biosphere

Fontfroide wrote:
You think that they will try to change rules to stop Sagan?  How would they do that? . . . .


Take away the lucrative intermediate, bigger differential for the winner on the  pan flatters, lesser reward for the winner on days like today, there are many ways . . .

Mind you ASO must at least be pleased with the story of the day and the 100km lead out?
Bartali

Why change it at all?
Slapshot 3

Wow covers today, never thought I'd see Cannondale do something like that, Green Jersey done!
Fontfroide

I would guess at his age, Sagan is LOTS better than Jalabert.  And if he is clean, then LOT LOTS better.

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