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Biosphere

Tour 2015, Stages 5-9: The Hell of the North, 8th-12th July

Taking us up to the 1st rest day is a journey across the North of France. Looking more like days for sprinters than the classics trilogy of Stages 2, 3 and 4. Nevertheless, there is still the chance for GC reshuffling due to accidents and wind, even before the TTT on Sunday.

Stage 5 spends the day twisting and looping and turns what could be a 60km drive between Arras and Amiens into a 190km bike ride - and with scope for it to be windy.

HuwB

Today's weather forecast and there be wind.

Biosphere

Came here to post the weather - we're not finished with the Spring Classics yet it seems.

Have come across several mentions of the Battle of the Somme and hence today's route, but having refreshed my shaky secondary school history, the anniversary is next year. The scale of it is mind boggling - the first day of the Somme offensive was the bloodiest in the history of the British Army. More than 20,000 were killed and 60,000 injured.

Quite impressive too that within 40 years,  things had progressed to the point that an economic block was being set up as an antidote to the subsequent war and associated mongering. Nowadays the political leaders are busy sending money off to die in yet another campaign and the public grow weary of the losses again.

Sorry, I digress.
Fontfroide

Indeed, we have peace in Europe.

Oh wait, Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia and Basques and …

Still, it is good remember what once was the case.
gerry12ie

Early action on the ticker... Bouhanni crash and abandon - and echelons already with still 165k to go!
mazda

Was it only Cofidis riders that went down ?
gerry12ie

mazda wrote:
Was it only Cofidis riders that went down ?


I thought so at first but Albasini seems to have been involved too.  Certainly a rough few days for OGE
HuwB

gerry12ie wrote:
Early action on the ticker... Bouhanni crash and abandon - and echelons already with still 165k to go!




GVA and several Cannondale down in another chute.
Another typical, early day of carnage at the Tour.
Fontfroide

Really sad for Bouhanni, he is going to be 30 before he gets to finish a Tour at this rate.  We are unlikely to know how well he could actually do against the best sprinters.  Oh well.
Mrs John Murphy

Can you have a TTT with 3 riders?
gerry12ie

Proper crash fest today.  To avoid getting caught up in them, all the teams should encourage all their riders to get up to the front... Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes
Slapshot 3

There were small battles and fights around the Somme River area from late 1914 so although technically the First Battles of the Somme took place in 1916 they are probably within the levels of "license" to commemorate this year.
Bartali

Biosphere wrote:
the first day of the Somme offensive was the bloodiest in the history of the British Army. More than 20,000 were killed and 60,000 injured.


... though 28,000 were killed in a few hours in the battle of Towton in 1461.  (Most of them Lancastrians ... just say'in)  The level of brutality man can inflict upon man - whether by arrow, sword, bullet or grenade - is simply appalling.
gerry12ie

Hell of the North indeed - Jack Bauer down and out
mazda

Rolland off the back of peleton 1.
Hardly news, I know.
He may just manage to tag onto a recovering Majka.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
... though 28,000 were killed in a few hours in the battle of Towton in 1461.


On a completely irrelevant note, Chateau Slowrower is but three miles from the Towton monument.

Given the population at the time (circa 6 million) the casualty rate is mind-boggling.
Biosphere

Pinot involved in another crash.
billgull

At this rate, the TTT may very well end-up as a ITT  Embarassed
mazda

Still, only about 10 riders have abandoned.

I fear for the FDJ TTT.
Two of them trying to get back to the peloton were passed by a lone Etixx rider who just cruised past them without trying.
mazda

Greipel times it right to win, again.
Sagan leaves it far too late, again.
Cav 3rd ?
HuwB

The Renshaw-Cav telepathy on the blink for the second time.
Cav will be miffed. I think he might have won if the lead out had functioned.
Sagan absolutely owns the first best loser spot.
Greipel back to his old self.

Other than that, a right old zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Fontfroide

My man EBH had to stop riding, cut off by Kristoff, bad choice, who knows.
Boogerd_Fan

Sagan had some brilliant speed at the end there... too bad he was boxed in, positioned poorly with about 300m to go.

Another 20m and he would've won today (same as Stage 2)
Biosphere

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
. . . Another 20m and he would've won today (same as Stage 2)


Think he could have done it with less than 10m he was so fast. Lemond saying that Sagan's late burst benefits from having a hole punched through the air by those that are out in front and fighting for the win.
Boogerd_Fan

did he see where he came from?? He was miles behind!
Biosphere

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
did he see where he came from?? He was miles behind!


I know - the winners-to-be create a powerful vacuum Wink
Fontfroide

Indeed, Sagan was totally impressive.  In an interview after he did say his job was to help Alberto, but in the end he was alone, the team gave him very little, as he expected.  Nevertheless the guy was powerful and dramatic.  He is another one who "deserves" to win a stage.

Glad EBH made it into the scoring places, but he just made a bad choice to try to pass Kristoff on the inside, even if Kristoff did swerve just a tiny bit at a crucial moment.  If EBH were a really fast guy he would have been alongside, not behind.

I do love watching and rewatching those sprints.  Supposedly they have some kind of super slow mo this year, but I have not noticed it.  Anyone else noticed a change in replays?
Fontfroide

It is beginning to look like the late arrival of the TTT might be a joke for a few teams who have lost some riders already.  I doubt they will try that move next year.

I wonder what the rule is if a team does not have five riders.  Must look it up.  

Seems like the diminished team has to finish in less than 30% more of the winning time.  130%.  But somehow I doubt they will throw off a four member team who finishes outside the limit.
HuwB

Tomorrow. All pinched from CN. Cool














HuwB

Orica now down to five and a half riders.
Albasini DNS. Has broken his arm.
Still 3 stages to ride before that TTT.
Chapeau Monsieur Prudhomme.
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:
Orica now down to five and a half riders.
Albasini DNS. Has broken his arm.
Still 3 stages to ride before that TTT.
Chapeau Monsieur Prudhomme.


I do think some fair bit of credit should be given to Thierry Gouvenou, whatever one thinks of the precise route.

Kind of dumb to have the TTT so late on.  I heard it was so late that they had to get special permission from the UCI.  Otherwise it was against the rules.

This year, you just have no idea what will happen from one day to the next.
gerry12ie

But the whole point is that holding the TTT so late in the race is against the rules, and although we have previously debated the merits of a TTT ad nauseum, there are still a couple of more dangerous days racing ahead to decimate teams further and potentially skew GC ambitions.

Why on earth did they think that stage 9 is a viable position in the race for a TTT after a hard weeks racing?
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:


Why on earth did they think that stage 9 is a viable position in the race for a TTT after a hard weeks racing?


I am sure I heard some kind of "reasoning", maybe I can find it.  But it does look a little silly now.  Maybe it was a good rule.
HuwB

We have often discussed the merits (or lack of) of the TTT and how it impacts upon the individual GC.
Sunday's 28km technical and tough stage is predicted to take around 40 minutes for a full team.
How much can we expect the five fit men of Orica to lose to the eventual winners? Surely, 5 minutes would be a conservative estimate.
Now, what if Orica's fate had been that of one of favourite's teams?

To repeat Gerry's summation: Why on earth did they think that stage 9 is a viable position in the race for a TTT after a hard weeks racing?
Biosphere

I don't find a TTT too much of a problem as a GT opener (as I think the bad luck that can happen in them can happen on a normal stage too), but I think this one is a terrible idea.
HuwB

Today's weather, which I read as tailwind to start, becoming a cross/headwind for a while, then most of the coastal run as cross/tail. Again, this will increase the level of nervousness within the peloton.

mazda

Biosphere wrote:
I don't find a TTT too much of a problem as a GT opener (as I think the bad luck that can happen in them can happen on a normal stage too), but I think this one is a terrible idea.

Agreed.
But I'm still looking forward to it  Evil or Very Mad

Orica seem to be far more positive about the TT than you would imagine.
Albeit this was before Albasini departed.

Quote:
"If Matthews pulls through, he could compete for Saturday’s stage win on the Mûr de Bretagne, along with Simon Yates. The team time trial the next day was also high on Orica’s list.

“We are a good TTT team with or without Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey,” White continued.

“It doesn’t help our chances to have seven [now six riders after Albasini’s abandonment], but other teams have to get there as well. A good example is when with Garmin in 2009, Astana beat us to second. We had five riders left after 11 kilometers over a long time trial. It’s not to our advantage, but we are still going to go for it.”


http://velonews.competitor.com/20...orica-keeps-upbeat-in-tour_377140
mazda

HuwB wrote:
Now, what if Orica's fate had been that of one of favourite's teams?


I refer you to the GC misfortunes in last years race, which most of us readily accept as part of racing.
Surely having a contender crash and retire is a worse piece of luck than the possibility of losing a minute or two due to "cumulative wear and tear" on that riders team ?
HuwB

M: I would refer you back to the rules which had to be changed to accommodate this TTT. So, no, not normally just part of the racing.
If the leader has already crashed out, then obviously the example I gave does not then effect him, or that team.

Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar), Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka)
have 2 and a half minutes over the bunch, after just 11kms.
Mrs John Murphy

But Huw  you are the first person to complain if we have a TT early on which gives a GT contender a margin whereby all they have to do is follow wheels.

At least by having these stages it has given riders a chance to try to attack. Think how boring the Huy would have been if all Vroome had to do was follow wheels, or how boring the cobbles would have been if Nibs had just had to follow wheels.

You'd also be the first person to complain if we'd had a week of panflat stages where all the action takes place in the last 500m.

Also, how many times have we seen people get screwed by crashes as the sprint has wound up? We've seen plenty of GC contenders lose their domestiques to crashes.

If the TTT is a bad idea it is because TTT are bad ideas not because it is stage 9.
Bartali

I'm in the camp that TTT are a bad idea period.  I have a problem with this one, but equally I have a problem with the early ones too.  On balance, I'd rather have the racing we've had to date than the snooze fest resulting from early TTT and long ITTs. (goes without saying I'd rather people didn't crash)
Mrs John Murphy

The reality is that in every GT riders who were GC contenders will be out of it. The main hope is that no one rider will be so far ahead as to make the rest of the race a procession.
Fontfroide

Although probably most of you already have TVs that do magic things, I am a bit backward.  If you tune into this link on your computer, you can choose to have Jalabert and Thierry Adam chattering and the picture the editors choose, or you can click on Moto 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and get the pictures they are sending back, without commentary.  Kind of cool.

http://www.francetvsport.fr/tour-de-france/direct
Mrs John Murphy

Unfortunately it is only available in France Sad
mazda

I am watching Sportschau.de via my allegedly German connection.
mazda

They didn't have the 3km rule for the Mur de Huy.
Do they have one today, or 1km even ?
mazda

Guess who was second !
mazda

Assume everyone will be given a time of 2" ?
Except Stybar of course.

edit - in fact everyone getting the same time.
HuwB

It was claassified as a sprinter's stage. The climb was classified as such, hence the 3km rule applies.

I've looked the crash so many times and I can't see any wheel touch. Clear in front, to the rear and the side. Very, very odd.
phildange

Martin probably out of the Tour .
mazda

Looked as if Martin's downstroke with his right leg just gave way, so a mechanical ?
I don't think he was swerving due to contact from crowd.

edit - Martin says he touched the wheel, so he must have just caught the rider in front as he tried to move right.
phildange

They say his front wheel touched Coquard's back wheel . Then Martin heavily hit Nibali on his right and Boom .
HuwB

Martin broken collarbone but is not dropping out:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/m...ance-despite-fractured-collarbone
gerry12ie

Horse of a man is Tony Martin
Fontfroide

Martin a hero, but then he already was.  Remember when in some race or other, he attacked from a million k out and just outran the lot of them.

Amazing what a moment's inattention can do in a totally tightly packed big group, poised for the last uphill sprint.  Kind of ruined the finish, but hopefully not ruined anyone's Tour.  It did look like it was going to be a sweetheart of a finish, they were all there waiting, ready to make a move, with less than one k to go.  Makes me want to believe in alternative realities, specifically, one where Tony didn't touch the Coquard's wheel.

Watching for an hour or more today, I was reminded what a beautiful country France is, even in the parts that are not spectacularly beautiful.  Number one tourist attraction on earth, and you can see why.  Co Co Rico.
ventoux

CN has "Martin vows to fight on" (timed at 6.22 UK), while Daily Torygraph has "breaking news" (timed at 6.55pm UK) "Martin has been ruled out of the rest of the Tour..."   Rolling Eyes
ventoux

looks like it's "official" now... Martin is out of le Tour.....  Sad
Bartali

Martin or not ... that was a hugely dangerous piece of riding that nearly wiped out three GT contendors.If I were Froome, I would want to be out of that unlucky MJ as soon as possible!
gerry12ie

Maybe he headed to the Astana bus to give the MJ to Nibali... Wink
Boogerd_Fan

I nearly FP'ed Styby as well.. anyway, too many folks were on Sagan to go the usual route.

Interesting finale. Hopefully Nibali isn't too badly ruffled from that.
Fontfroide

Nibali comes out of this smelling quite good, and Froome seems to have a bit of sense too.  Nibali thinking Froome caused the crash and doing some Sicilian trash talking I guess.  But when Nibali looked at the video he simply said he was wrong and it was Martin, which it obviously was.  Simple, no grudges, no stupidity.  Liked him more for it.  Froome was smart to go over, get in the bus and sort it.  Direct.  Nice bike handling from Froome to avoid the trouble.

Still haven't read if Barguil was injured or not.
Bartali

Agreed FF ... a bit of common sense from the pair of them.
levi

still it is sad to see tony martin out i like him as a rider.
Biosphere

Is this normal procedure? Seems odd to me and whilst not wanting to sound like I'm channelling my inner Spock, it's somewhat illogical  Confused

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/f...-the-tour-de-france-yellow-jersey
HuwB

Biosphere wrote:
Is this normal procedure? Seems odd to me and whilst not wanting to sound like I'm channelling my inner Spock, it's somewhat illogical  Confused

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/f...-the-tour-de-france-yellow-jersey


Not the first time a rider has chosen not to take yellow, in respect of the fallen.
It's my understanding that the race organisers gave him the choice.

Meanwhile, it seems that the bidon throwing affair rumbles on:

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeremycwhittle/status/619101982666702848

Not clear if this relates to Nibali, or another Astana rider, but it seems the story has a grain of truth to it.
At the time, I couldn't see how Nibali could have managed it, but we now know that Froome had stopped to change a wheel, when Nibali came past.
It would explain why Froome went straight to the Astana bus, rather than his own.
mazda

Biosphere wrote:
Is this normal procedure? Seems odd to me and whilst not wanting to sound like I'm channelling my inner Spock, it's somewhat illogical  Confused

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/f...-the-tour-de-france-yellow-jersey

So are Sky also eschewing "responsibility" for controlling todays stage, not that there will be a shortage of sprinters teams wanting to do the same.
Biosphere

The way the Cyclingnews piece is written made it seem like it was a race rule rather than a Froome wish. My only recollection of riders not wanting to wear the leader's jersey was Armstrong when Zabriskie fell and being told to get on with it. Zabriskie was still in the race then though. Millar also wanted to not wear pink after Weylandts death and again he ended up doing so. I thought that was at the organisers behest too.

Anyway, I'm not so fussed and badly written pieces in Cyclingnews are seemingly part of the unwritten rulebook. Contador and his pictograms of Clenbuterol always raise a smile . . .

Fontfroide

Biosphere wrote:
Is this normal procedure? Seems odd to me and whilst not wanting to sound like I'm channelling my inner Spock, it's somewhat illogical  Confused

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/f...-the-tour-de-france-yellow-jersey


Logical or not, it has happened.  According to l'Equipe in 71, 80, 91, 07, 49 and 78.  If you are keen I can elaborate on the examples.  Most famous, I suppose, is 71 when Merckx refused to wear it after Ocana crashed.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
Agreed FF ... a bit of common sense from the pair of them.


It would have been more sensible for Froome to take Stannard rather than Rowe as his backup, though. Smile
Bartali

I can't blame him for not wanting the MJ ... this year wearers have had a habit of crashing out!!!

Nibs did look very pissed crossing the line so I wouldn't be surprised if he had mistakenly taken it out on Froome.
SlowRower

Cavtastic!
HuwB

He left it much, much later and it paid off.
mazda

From overhead looks like Greipel keeps green.
Biosphere

Cavendish speaking of Greipel:
Quote:
"Could have boxed me in but didn't. Sagan probably would have, but Greipel wanted a fair sprint."
Biosphere

Paolini has been enjoying the Colombian Marching powder.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/p...ocaine-positive-at-tour-de-france
HuwB

Biosphere wrote:
Paolini has been enjoying the Colombian Marching powder.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/p...ocaine-positive-at-tour-de-france


I've now stuck that in the usual spot.
Sad.
Bit of a good time boy by all accounts.
HuwB

Tomorrow's profiles worth posting.





Should be similar to Huy, with GC men and the hilly classics crowd vying for the win.
Biosphere

HuwB wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
Paolini has been enjoying the Colombian Marching powder.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/p...ocaine-positive-at-tour-de-france


I've now stuck that in the usual spot.
Sad.
Bit of a good time boy by all accounts.


I know rules are rules and all that, but 4 years and the end of career is an over the top penalty for what I'll presume is recreational use. It hasn't harmed George "coke and hookers" Osborne's career prospects.
HuwB

Another beautiful day forecast, but after a gentle headwind for much of the stage, it becomes a crosswind as the route heads North for the fast and furious final run to the Mur.


Fontfroide

Biosphere wrote:


I know rules are rules and all that, but 4 years and the end of career is an over the top penalty for what I'll presume is recreational use. It hasn't harmed George "coke and hookers" Osborne's career prospects.


Although I would never admit it publicly, I tend to agree.  Presumably he is not snorting before every major race, and smoking a bit of dope and the occasional snort might be easy enough to overlook.  Is the permissible level stupid, like for clembuterol, that is, 0.0 is OK, anything else is over the red line?  Anyway, I liked the guy and won't stop because he snorts cocaine or whatever he does with it.  

But rules is rules.  Not like he didn't know it was illegal and well as a PED.
HuwB

BOTD currently at 3'-40". Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 1Cool, Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Romain Sicard (Europcar) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement).

Have a feeling the race will blow apart in the final kms to Muy de Bretagne. Roller coaster road and a crosswind.
Slapshot 3

Yeah.... was looking at some wind profiles a wee while ago... makes it interesting!!
phildange

New green jersey, Sagan
phildange

Already afraid about the interest of the race : no Quintana and it seems no Nibali . Only one challenger to Murdoch the Ugly's team, Contador, and he doesn't look very fit after the Giro .
gerry12ie

Looks like Nibali lost another 10 seconds there...

Green Jersey:


Fontfroide

Can't be too much happier about that winner.  First none of us picked him, not one of us.  So a surprise.  Second, I guess we will now have to have another French climber on our  minds for the rest of the Tour and for some time to come.  He was rather impressive on a team that now has at least four decent climbers.

The riders, however, certainly agreed with us.  They saw the guy leaving and thought, he ain't shit, he will fade, anyway I am not going to chase him.  Big mistake, as it happens.  By the time Martin just said "Bugger I am going for it" it was too late.  Classic underestimation of the new guy on the block.

Cocorico.  And I am pleased for the lad.  Bravo Dan Martin.  the rest of them looked like ninnies.
_________________
Politics and Cycling in the South of France
http://thomasvasil.wordpress.com/
HuwB

Today's course. No weather forecast on the LeTour site today, but it should be fair for all teams.







Start times (CEST)
Boogerd_Fan

All over the 'net BMC have already got this one in the bag (apparently).

I'm curious to see what Tinkoff can do. Has there ever been a rider to hold Yellow, Green & White jerseys at the same time, 9 stages into the Tour?? Sagan could be making history in case Saxo beat SKY by 11 seconds and hold off BMC.
Nolte

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
All over the 'net BMC have already got this one in the bag (apparently).

I'm curious to see what Tinkoff can do. Has there ever been a rider to hold Yellow, Green & White jerseys at the same time, 9 stages into the Tour?? Sagan could be making history in case Saxo beat SKY by 11 seconds and hold off BMC.


pobably eddy merckx Very Happy
Slapshot 3

I don't think it would ever have been done, not that combo, White Jersey only came in in 1975 so Merckx would never have won it. Four Gc winners have also had white (Contador, Ullrich, Abandony Schleck, and Fignon - Quintana won it with the polka dots) but not the points jersey.

If it happens I think it's a first!
phildange

The good egg Laurent Jalabert won the Green Jersey and the Polka Dot in Paris, and twice each ! Not the same years, but I wonder how many riders were able to win these two Jerseys.
Mrs John Murphy

The transformation of Laurent 'pot belge' Jalabert from sprinter to climber was one of the more interesting transformations in cycling. Up there with Armstrong, Wiggins and Vroome.
phildange

Yes, but we in France have always known riders were on dope . It started with red wine in the legendary beginnings  Razz So for me it never was a shock, not even an interrogation in any time . Never any doubt about Lance for instance, from the very beginning of his Tours .
Once you know that, either you quit watching the Tour or you do with it .
And Jalabert is a fine bloke . He is modest and simple, and his comments are accurate and aware on French TV .
gerry12ie

Nibali and Contador ship more time then to Froome and TVG.  Roche probably cost Sky the stage, but poor old OGE who would have been one of the big pre-race favourites for this...
Slapshot 3

Vroome taking the piss now.... is he trying to do the Astana three week Giro TTT all on his own??
Mrs John Murphy

Slapshot 3 wrote:
Vroome taking the piss now.... is he trying to do the Astana three week Giro TTT all on his own??


don't worry uncle Brian will make sure nothing happens. And remember this is all down to marginal gains like sleeping in your own camper van and having your own pillow.

And where are the Astana and Tinkoff so dirty voices now that Sky are pissing all over them? No where to be fucking seen, and yet we know full well that if it had been Nibali or Dertie doing this pissing the silence wouldn't be so fucking deafening. Fucking hypocrites.
gerry12ie

He has 3D printed handlebars Wink
Fontfroide

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
The transformation of Laurent 'pot belge' Jalabert from sprinter to climber was one of the more interesting transformations in cycling. Up there with Armstrong, Wiggins and Vroome.


I have always thought that in recent years nobody actually gave a damn about the spotted jersey.  With one exception Virenque never had a serious competitor.  He had a method which worked great, and Jalabert just copied it.  I think he has even talked about how he copied it.  You don't have to be a great climber to win the jersey, you just have to be the only one who cares about it, march over a few big hills ahead of everyone else, since nobody cares about it, then fade on the last climb which riders DO care about.  As far as Jalabert, I thought it was well known he was a doper, so there really is no transformation to talk about.  Just application of the Virenque strategy for winning the jersey, which has little to do with being the best climber.

I am sure you will correct me if I am wrong.  I might be simplifying.  But does anyone actually think that in recent decades the best climber won that jersey?  Or that Virenque is the best climber in the history of the Tour?
gerry12ie

I'm no Sky fan, as you should know, nor do I like Froome but I'll play devil's advocate for the sake of it.  

After a week of Northern classics, a short ITT and a TTT a very fresh Froome is 12" ahead of Tejay, 1'03" ahead of Contador who won a Giro on his own and is attempting a double, 1'18" ahead of Uran who rode the Giro and had TM absent from the TTT, 1'59" ahead of Quintana, and 2'22" ahead of Nibali.  

Some points:

1.  Sky shepherded Froome through the crosswinds on stage 2 and he nabbed a short lead over a couple of his main rivals - a bit similar to the lead that Nibali got in Sheffield last year.

2. An explosive climber increased the lead over his rivals on Muur de Huy - well thats hardly a huge surprise now is it?

3. The big surprise was to Cambria where Sky did a job in keeping him upright and he again took time.  When Froome crashed out last year and Nibali dominated the cobbles (albeit in very different conditions), Nibs was hailed as a tactical genius and master bike rider.

4. Froome gained more time yesterday over Nibali, who simply couldn't keep up.

5. Sky rode a near perfect TTT, but with Froome, Thomas and Porte involved, did anyone really expect any different?

Froome is in yellow mainly because his principal rivals have been sloppy (Nibali and Quintana) or jaded looking (Contador, Uran).  The only one who has challenged seriously so far is Tejay, who has more or less been in the right place in the first week and ridden a good ITT and TTT.

I'm sure they will all have a fantastic rest day and come roaring out of the blocks for the mountains, they are pro cyclists after all... Wink

I'm not sure there is anything to see here yet, although I'm sure there will be next week Very Happy
Mrs John Murphy

Pantani as I recall accused Virenque of sprinting for a bridge over the motorway which tells us all we need to know about how much Pantani thought of Virenque's climbing skills.

It's worth noting that Sastre, Samuel Sanchez and Quintana have all won KOM in recent years when finishing 1st, 5th and 2nd.

So it depends on the race more than anything else.

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