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Biosphere

Tour 2015, Stages 17-21: The Alpine Showdown, 22nd-26th July

Quite a good interview with Thevenet regarding 1975 / 2015 on ITV4 tonight



Stage 17

Biosphere

They're off. Sagan trying to get in a break but  nothing sticking at the moment.
mazda

Pinot was there too.
mazda

Appears that TJVG is one minute behind.
Not sure of the cause yet.
mazda

Talansky and Kruijswijk trying to make a gap on the descent.

... and Sagan of course.
phildange

TJ over 3 mn behind. No reason yet . They just sais he is sick .
Boogerd_Fan

Sagan tried again.. but is now dropped in a 2nd group with JRod

Just 30 riders at front, and SKY with only 3 helpers..

...excellent! Smile
mazda

Sagan has Majka with him today. Hesjesdal also in a large front group.
Sky led peloton, not pushing too hard.
mazda

Says here that Roche and Porte are up ahead in the break !
Frank is highest placed on GC at 14' 23"
phildange

It looks like TJ will give up . 4mn late and he can't follow his pals .
mazda

Uran, Pinot, A. Yates and Degenkolb also there.
mazda

I've nicked this list off Letour.

Tanel Kangert (Astana),
Jan Bakelants and Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale),
Thibaut Pinot and Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ),
Richie Porte and Nicolas Roche (Sky),
Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo),
Jonathan Castroviejo, José Herrada and Gorka Izagirre (Movistar),
John Degenkolb and Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin),
Alberto Losada (Katusha),
Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge),
Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step),
Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar),
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo),
Kristjian Durasek and Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida),
Andrew Talansky and Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin),
Nicolas Edet (Cofidis),
Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling),
Merhawi Kudus, Serge Pauwels and Daniel Teklehaimanot MTNèQhubeka).
phildange

MTN-Qhubeka competes with Movistar for the team GC, 3 riders each . Maybe Movistar are also preparing something for Quintana-Valverde (if only!) .
TJ looks better, only 2.25 mn late and he leads .
mazda

Leaders are on Colle-Saint-Michel.
Sagan and Degenkolb leading !
Just went past a train that seemed to be sitting on a steeper incline than the road. Looks like it follows the valley then goes off under the peak.
phildange

TJ is back . Strong headache, whatever that means .
Majka is figthing for the Polka dot, he doesn't hide . Sagan will do the intermediate .
Four riders between the 10th and the 20th at the GC in the breakaway; over 4 mn ahead .

Some points of interest beside the yellow .
HuwB

TJ back with the bunch, but he'll drop like a stone when the pace goes up.
After a really hectic start, the race is now on it's mid schedule.
mazda

Yes, Peloton has slowed and TJVG, Kwiatkowski et al have caught back up.
Maybe TJ can give Froome a snog as a means of saying thanks ?
phildange

After Contador's attack TJ couldn't follow . Alone now behind the head of peloton . Naughty Bertie, hitting an injured man .
mazda

It's done a bit more than that.
Peloton smashed to bits.
phildange

TJ quits !
mazda

TJ off his bike, v. upset.
mazda

Peloton back to about 30 riders.
Unfortunately letting Sky set a tempo again.
mazda

Rogers, Malori and one other going on attack now.

Gallopin as well, and a couple of Europcar.
edit - not Gallopin

Could get out of hand if Sky don't speed up.
phildange

Today the Movistars want to give us entertanment . Multiplication of attacks . Good .
The descent of the  Allos is reputed as very dangerous . Something can happen there too . Maybe another Barguil's commando ?
Gallopin is behind I think, he can't cope .
mazda

Pauwels first over the Colle, moving up the KoM comp
Fontfroide

Anyone heard what happened to Tejay.  A headache?  From what, starting when.  French TV gives no details.
mazda

No doubt there will be a tweet about it shortly.
gerry12ie

Lanterne Rouge Sam Bennett abandons
mazda

Did Sagan just let someone else win the sprint ?
Looked like it from head on.

Vaugrenard, Degenkolb and Sagan.
mazda

Geschke attacks with just the two climbs left.
Fontfroide

Went out for a minute and Sagan gets beat?  What?  How?
gerry12ie

Today's wild card bet is Durasek @ 66/1

Is J-Rod in the main group?
Fontfroide

So the yellow jersey is letting 30 riders or so just cruise off into the distance?  Two races in one again today.  A bargain.
Fontfroide

Fontfroide wrote:
Went out for a minute and Sagan gets beat?  What?  How?


Could Peter be trying to win the stage!  Nahh.
phildange

Peter didn't fight . Either an agreemnt or he wants the stage . But he got 15 Pts and Greipel looks out for the green now .
phildange

Michal Kwiatkowski abandons too . What's the heck ?
mazda

I don't think J-Rod is anywhere but the yellow jersey group.
Do you want to know if he is further back, having a rest for later in the week ?
phildange

I'm surprised everybody lets 11 mn to Mathias Franck . He is 5th at the GC ..
mazda

Not quite. He started over 14 minutes down today.
edit - you edited it !
phildange

Yes, edited . Pinot gone for a great one . Will he catch the leader ? Mind the descent .
Sure Nibali will do a crazy descent . Interesting .
mazda

Pinot isn't catching Geschke though is he.
And he is unlikely to gain on the descent.
mazda

Only 8 left in the yellow jersey group.
Poels is losing touch.
But I think Porte is coming back from the front groups.
mazda

Pinot has a gentle crash on what looks like a newer piece of road.
mazda

Nibali attacks. Good lad.
mazda

Gesink is left dragging Poels and Thomas.
mazda

Quintana attacks.
But they have caught Porte now  Rolling Eyes
Fontfroide

Kinda iconic, the Big Four at the top of a climb, and none of them can drop Froome today.

And Pinot still not able to descend fast, although with Talansky he can do something.

Love these little cameos.

Goodness, Talansky just blew past, Thibaut really is a bit slow.
mazda

Talansky has caught Pinot.
edit - he has passed him

edit - Uran has passed him as well

Nibali going to the front.
phildange

Pinot lost the stage in the descent . But I'm disappointed by Nibali, not able to drop anybody .
mazda

Contador crashed / stopped ?
Seems to be with Sagan on side of road.
mazda

75" To Talansky.
85" to Uran.
mazda

Pinot is working his way back up. Will probably be the fastest climber. Don't know the gap.
Fontfroide

Race one unfolding nicely.  Will the bearded one hold them off, Talansky and Pinot can climb, but maybe not fast enough.

Nice shots of the descent with the Big Four or three anyway.  Such smoothness, so NOT Pinot.  

So Contador is riding a bike made for someone 6cm taller.  That is, Sagan.
mazda

Geschke has enough left ...
phildange

Without his crash Pinot would have won . Bad luck for Contador . Disappointment from Nibali .
mazda

Valverde group has picked up Herrada.
Steepest with 3.5 km to go ?
mazda

Geschke 30 seconds from Talansky.
Now to the GC please Mr Director.
mazda

Hmm.
They're not really attacking Froome.
More making sure of distance to Contador methinks.
mazda

Froome slows and swerves to make Valverde go in front of him.
Fontfroide

mazda wrote:
Hmm.
They're not really attacking Froome.
More making sure of distance to Contador methinks.


I saw several attempts at an attack at the end.  Froome answered everyone immediately.  He is better than them all combined today.

Kinda sad watching them all fail, especially Contador falling.  Almost seems like the Tour is an unfolding of missed opportunities, crashes and illnesses … plus Froome beating them all.
phildange

Someone should tell Froome to turn his electric engine off .
I feel for Contador, looks he did his best climb after his crash, nearly all alone, but ends with like 2mn lost .
And for the French too . After their stupidity with Cummings, now this fall from Pinot !
mazda

At least they showed they could get rid of Froome's support.
If he weakens or has a Contador moment.
But he need only respond to Movistar now.
Anyone else he can let go up the road and see who blinks first.
mazda

I don't think Pinot could win today.
Even if you put him at just a minute back at the base of Pra Loup he wouldn't have caught Geschke.
Fontfroide

Took me a little while, must be getting old.   I am utterly delighted Geschke won.  Best day of his life.  He did win the stage.  He attacked and kept it up.  No idea why I can't just immediately be happy.  

The usual.  Expectations!
phildange

mazda wrote:
I don't think Pinot could win today.
Even if you put him at just a minute back at the base of Pra Loup he wouldn't have caught Geschke.


Yes but I think he let go when he realized he had no chance to catch the leader .
Fontfroide

The big winner this Tour?  The German TV channels who must be attracting and will attract huge audiences.
phildange

Fontfroide wrote:
Took me a little while, must be getting old.   I am utterly delighted Geschke won.  Best day of his life.  He did win the stage.  He attacked and kept it up.  No idea why I can't just immediately be happy.  

The usual.  Expectations!


I think it's the same for many . Great stage win by a nice chap, but nothing happens where it matters .Let's go back to 1975, when you could see a mano a mano between the two best alone in front .
HuwB

mazda wrote:
I don't think Pinot could win today.
Even if you put him at just a minute back at the base of Pra Loup he wouldn't have caught Geschke.


On that descent, Pinot was always and accident waiting to happen.
Never going to win.

Froome, after taking loads of flack for awful descending, matches both Nibali and Valverde. For which he can expect to receive..............more flack. Laughing

Sympathy for Contador should be restricted for him having to put up with a crazy boss.

Any sympathy going should be offered in TJVG's direction.
Fontfroide

Two views.  Isolating Froome is not a great strategy, over the years.  He seems to be fine.  the trick is to attack him, when he is alone, and make it stick.  So far, no one can do it.  No one.

Pinot is on his way to be a great tragedy of French cycling.  Brilliant climber.  I say he would have caught Geschke without the crash.

But he still is not a good descender.  My wife saw that.  Immediately.  And screamed when he crashed even though she saw he might.  Pinot learned how to time trial, so he could win the Tour one day.  And supposedly learned how to descend.  NOT.  The makings of a tragedy over the next few years.  I always felt Rolland was another one like Pinot.

Glad the French have BArdet, Gallopin, Barguil, Alaphilippe, plus the gaggle of sprinters.
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:

On that descent, Pinot was always and accident waiting to happen.
Never going to win.

Froome, after taking loads of flack for awful descending, matches both Nibali and Valverde. For which he can expect to receive..............more flack. Laughing

Sympathy for Contador should be restricted for him having to put up with a crazy boss.

Any sympathy going should be offered in TJVG's direction.


Could not agree more.  Contador is a bit more complicated maybe.
Fontfroide

Quintana says he really likes the Alpe stage on TV.  Maybe.

And Jalabert is waxing lyrical about Sagan.  He's right!
kathy

We lost the internet this afternoon and ended up watching the stage in our local bar (the owner is an ex-cyclist).  I think Pinot would have won if he hadn't crashed, he lost over 30sec  because of the crash and then took it easy on the rest of the descent, and didn't go all out on the last climb.  Contador also unlucky, but I think all Sky need now is man-to-man marking on Movistar riders.

Well done to Geschke - he has looked determined to get a stage during this Tour.
phildange

For maybe subjective reasons I have sympathy for Contador . The fact he was caught on doping doesn't change it, because right or wrong I think they all are on dope and some have more sophisticated ones and don't get caught . Like virus and anti-virus on the internet .
Not forgetting complicity from the UCI, the newspaper "L'Equipe" and the Tour organizers, as it was proven by the French investigation newspaper "Le Canard Enchaîné" in Armstrong's time .
kathy

Just a point of interest.  About 10km from where we are for the summer in Asturias is a village called 'Quintana'!!
Fontfroide

If you can, go to a bar and have a chat, take a photo if there is a connection.  Who knows how Quintana's family got their name.
Biosphere

Just catching up. Was surprised Froome covered pretty much everything when he didn't need to - beating them in their heads given that he's already got their legs covered?

His going early after Nibali also meant he gapped Thomas and Poels, when he could have kept them with him on the descent.

So can someone explain why the likes of Roche and Castroveijo finished in no mans land rather than dropping back to help? Maybe enough Movistar men back already, but should't Roche have been back to offer a wheel and so on? Majka was up there too, but maybe there's a polka dot off chance for him, but once Contador was down he could have been used? Maybe?
Fontfroide

I tend to agree.  In fact, I keep seeing Castroviejo doing a decent job in the mountains.  I thought he was a TT guy.  I suppose they are supposed to be ahead when Contador bridges with a fearsome attack, so they can bust a gut to help him win a stage.  

So far, and remember even in 2013, Froome seems perfectly capable of catching them all when they attack, unless they really worked him over.  And they have not.

Geraint is not going to give up on him, for sure.
Biosphere

Castroviejo is for the team competition is what's occurred to me just now.

I think he's be in big trouble if he helped Contador though Wink
HuwB

Some footage of Contador's crash.
What he does afterwards doesn't seem to impress at least one of his fellow competitors. Hardly surprising given that speed and that descent.

http://nos.nl/tour/video/2048387-...ra-ziet-contador-opkrabbelen.html
Fontfroide

Biosphere wrote:


I think he's be in big trouble if he helped Contador though Wink


Embarassed

Must have meant Quinverde.
Nolte

Fontfroide wrote:
Two views.  Isolating Froome is not a great strategy, over the years.  He seems to be fine.  the trick is to attack him, when he is alone, and make it stick.  So far, no one can do it.  No one.


froome to me seems like a climber with the mindset of a time triallist. when an attack goes, he'll sit down and jug away until the attack runs out of momentum and them he just powers back up to the attacker
Boogerd_Fan

mazda wrote:
Hmm.
They're not really attacking Froome.
More making sure of distance to Contador methinks.



I was screaming at the TV... AGAIN movistar just happy to cash in on good fortune today - Bertie distanced, TJVG out... they rode tempo on last climb just hard enough to secure their podium spots.

Hoping Quintana won't settle for 2nd.. but how disappointing to see 2x Movistar domestiques feeling its "OK" to set a tempo for Valv & Quintana and of course, unintentionally also Froome.

Would've been much more pressure if Quintana or Valv attacked with those Movistar guys sitting on Froome's isolated wheel!!
Bartali

Yup ... surprised Valverde is living with Froome/Quintana at this stage so I suspect he is on the limit.  Also, looking at Quintana's little dig and the way he was drifting of the back by the odd bike length at times, I suspect he's also struggling.  

Maybe more hope than judgement, but I can see Nibali shooting for at least a top 5 here as he seems to be finding his legs a little so 'should' be able to put time into Thomas, Valverde and Gesink ... and maybe even Bertie who's lone ride today was very different from the day he faltered on the Finestre.
Biosphere

Quote:
The Tour de France isn’t just a bike race. It’s a three-week-long commercial break, and the product it is advertising is France itself. While the Velon company pushes on-bike cameras as part of the future of cycling broadcasting, and super slow-motion cameras capture scrawny arms vibrating at 2,000 frames per second, it’s the panoramic landscape shots from the television helicopter which are the producers’ favourite. And today will have the single defining panoramic landscape shot of the whole Tour: the climb of Lacets de Montvernier.

Lacets de Montvernier is where road engineering meets calligraphy – a perfectly-formed curving line of symmetrical switchbacks on a steep-sided valley (the direct translation of ‘lacet’ is ‘shoelace’). When the peloton, or what’s left of it, is on this climb, the television shots will be as memorable as the race itself.


Suspect there's as much chance of it being a damp squid as something exciting, but not many days left so I guess something has to be done. By someone.

Stage 18


Col du Glandon


Lacets de Montvernier
HuwB

A bit cooler, but only a 20% risk of a shower.



Given the ASO seem to be very found of including Gap in their Tour itinerary, someone should suggest to them that instead of the continued over-use of the Col du Manse, they might take a look at the stage they have designed for today.
Would work a treat on a clockwise edition.
mazda

They're off.
30 riders on the attack.
A lot of strong non-GC riders.
Bardet and Talansky are the top GC, but I think most of our fearless picks are in there - Martin, Rodriguez, Pinot.
No Sanchez though.
No Sky either.
mazda

So, up to 4 riders going for the KoM - Purito, Fuglsang, Pauwels and Bardet.

Matthews is in the break as well  Smile
mr shifter

HuwB wrote:


Given the ASO seem to be very found of including Gap in their Tour itinerary, someone should suggest to them that instead of the continued over-use of the Col du Manse, they might take a look at the stage they have designed for today.
Would work a treat on a clockwise edition.
They have come into GAP from Briancon and the lake direction.
Then there are two different climbs and notorious descents to overcome.

Today it seems with this bunch of climbers that it will be the best descender might win. ??
Boogerd_Fan

Today SKY choose the Postal formula... everyone in the train... altho to be honest, their sending of Porte up the road yesterday did work - just as quintana made his move, it must have been demotivating to see Porte reconnect with the yellow jersey group.
mr shifter

So he is here for the points.
Result at col Bayard:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez, 5 points
2. Jakob Fuglsang, 3
3. Thibaut Pinot, 2
Only 4 more to have the jersey for himself.
gerry12ie

Looks like we are all represented in the break - more or less...

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
Romain Bardet, Jan Bakelants, Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
Roman Kreuziger, Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo)
Winner Anacona, Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar)
Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis (BMC)
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal),
Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin)
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
Michael Matthews, Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge)
Pierre Rolland, Cyril Gautier, Romain Sicard, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
Julian Arredondo, Bob Jungels (Trek)
Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida)
Andrew Talansky, Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), Stef Clement (IAM Cycling)
Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 1Cool
Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka).

Must have a chat with Paddy Power about Damiano Caruso... Wink
Biosphere

mr shifter wrote:
So he is here for the points.
Result at col Bayard:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez, 5 points
2. Jakob Fuglsang, 3
3. Thibaut Pinot, 2
Only 4 more to have the jersey for himself.


But with 50 going for Huez, it's a long way to go for him yet.
mazda

Our favourite tactic - Trek and Giant protecting 9th and 10th on GC.
I must admit I did wonder whether IAM would do the same, with Frank having inherited 8th through yesterday's good fortune of being allowed to go away.
But Trek and Giant probably feel their riders have earned it the hard way, having had to fight up every climb with the GC contenders.
Fontfroide

mazda wrote:
They're off.
30 riders on the attack.
A lot of strong non-GC riders.
Bardet and Talansky are the top GC, but I think most of our fearless picks are in there - Martin, Rodriguez, Pinot.
No Sanchez though.
No Sky either.


Don't worry Sanchez will bridge up on some descent.  Still, not getting many points this year.
mazda

They can't be riding for Degenkolb at the Sprint can they ?
gerry12ie

mazda wrote:
They can't be riding for Degenkolb at the Sprint can they ?


Protecting Barguil's Top Ten maybe?  Or maybe Froome has promised to start using Alpecin...
mazda

The yellow jersey peloton has split somewhat.
A few helpers trying to get back but I don't think there is a GC impact.
mazda

Up ahead there has been a break up of the leading group.
Barta, Talansky, Fuglsang, Rodriguez, Voeckler, De Gendt, Martin, Caruso, Ruben Plaza ?
mazda

It was De Gendt who attacked at the Sprint and he has attacked again.
Presumably some of the others won't co-operate.
About 5 km to the Verney lake and then up they start to go.
mazda

Main peloton only 2'30 back now !

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