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Biosphere

Tour 2016, Stage 14-16: Helvetica Spartacus Testimonius

And so off to Bern for Cancellara's leaving bash.

Stage 14







Stage 15








Stage 16




HuwB

The headwind is killing any intent, so I think I am just going to appreciate the scenery today.
Nolte

Brailsford on itv4 now
HuwB

Robbie McEwen on ITV4: "If there's a second to be lost here or there, Nairo Quintana has managed to do it this Tour" Cool
gerry12ie

Just had a peek at the betting with 15k or so to go...




Difficult to overlook Sagan at that price, and maybe Bio might be tempted by a sentimental couple of Euros on the Cancellara retirement fund?

I managed to clean all the windows today - looks like I didn't miss a whole lot Wink
gerry12ie

Did Sagan just roll up to the front and tell Sky to get off the front and leave it to the sprint trains?  He looked a bit cross...
gerry12ie

Can fair and square for me.  I don't know what Kittel is complaining about there...
Nolte

As much kittel's fault as Cavendish in the sprint that they nearly hit. Kittel started way too early and with the bend in the road, didn't help
HuwB

Thank God that's over. Razz
Nolte

I'd say bring on tomorrow but I am away tomorrow  and monday

Though looking I have the feeling tomorrow will be a day for a breakaway and not much will change in the GC.

But for the rest of your sakes, I hope I am wrong
Fontfroide

Only possibility is that it will take so long before the correct break forms that it might be too late.  But seems it could well be a break that does not get caught.
Biosphere

Hell of a transfer today. Started in the arse end of the Jura at sunrise, through the Alps but arrived in plenty of time to watch the Pyrenees at sunset even though there was a liberal sprinkling French summer holiday traffic in the mix. Had a picnic at motorway layover by Montélimar (the start town). Wind was crazy. We each had to ring or food with our arms to stop it blowing away. Even drinks bottles were just being knocked over. Was half wondering if I was going to read about a day of carnage when I caught up. Had it come from a different direction then maybe it would have been.

Tomorrow is the stage I am most curious about. If enough teams take it on it could be a very disruptive day. At least I'll get to watch it in about 8 or 9 days Rolling Eyes
HuwB

The wind has gone. Going to be a lovely day, but not for those in the bus.

Nolte

HuwB wrote:
The wind has gone. Going to be a lovely day, but not for those in the bus.


Especially if the break takes long to form causing it to be a fast first hour with the cat 1 close to the start
HuwB

Don't forget, whole stage is covered, live.
I guesstimate there to be no more than 20kms of what I would call flat, plus several more, uncatagorised climbs.
Proper Injun territory, with the potential for ambush around every corner.
The question is: are the Indians hostile or peaceful?
gerry12ie

Break has formed but Reichenbach's presence @ 11'41" makes the break's chances a wee bit iffy... will his co-passengers chuck him under the bus?  

They seem to be holding at 4 minutes, but Sky are having to work already to keep it at that
HuwB

Going to finish quite late this one.
Hardly surprising with less than 20kms of flat all day.

Been interesting to see if any of the teams get itchy feet over Reichenbach, as the break continues to stretch it's lead.
Fontfroide

Woke up from my nap and thoughI might be a genius for picking Nibali, although I had thought of Zakarin and Majka.  Sure enough, Vincenzo gets dropped.  Nearly nine minutes, they seem to have a chance, or at least one of them.  We shall see.  Nice mountain.  Looking forward to the  "lacets" which should be real pretty.  Nice to see FDJ in front in spite of the bummer of Pinot.

Allez Ilnur.  Allez Rafa.
HuwB

Zakarin not enjoying the descent at all.
Astana have done a job on the peloton, but is Nibali in no man's land.

Kelly tells Kirby to shut up. Hurrah!
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:


Kelly tells Kirby to shut up. Hurrah!


Sorry I missed it.

Looks like we are in for a fine finish, another two for one deal.
mazda

Reichenbach is even harder to watch.

Alaphillippe crashes (unseen).
mazda

HuwB wrote:
Kelly tells Kirby to shut up. Hurrah!

To be fair it was that Carlton was getting rather anxious about the descending.
HuwB

Good stuff this and almost nothing to do with the GC lot.

Alaphilippe being very.......................................French
gerry12ie

mazda wrote:
Reichenbach is even harder to watch.


Painful.  I think Zakarin gave him a pat on the back as relief that both of them had made it to the bottom.  Pantano looks strong
gerry12ie

I'm liking the KOM battle this year.  It's going backwards and forwards and should go right to the wire
Biosphere

Found a way to watch after all. It's like a world championships with the bell and laps Smile
gerry12ie

Nibali proving to be about as much assistance to Aru as an ashtray on a motorbike...
gerry12ie

Good racing up front, stunning scenery and a FP to boot.  However, in GC terms a very damp squib with no effect at all on standings, bar Reichenbach jumping a couple of places.

Poor Nolte FP'd Reichenbach, then switched to Pantano who we both picked around the same time, and even though he was in first he jumped off to avoid doubling up Embarassed I'd be happy to hand over half the points, especially as he posted first...
HuwB

The 10km flat at the end meant that the sheep behind the much hated Sky train were never going to try much.
Chapeau to Bardet for at least giving it a go and jumping over TJVG in the process.
Porte also benefits.

A very good race to be watched aside the GC lot.
Which, to be fair to French tv, got the lion's share of the coverage.
Fontfroide

Well even tho the GC was fairly untouched.  Control of Sky.  But fun to watch.  Totally cool lacets, really pretty.  I felt like I was watching the young guys foreshadowing what might happen when the older guys go away and maybe Sky has a bad year.  To and fro, descending well and not so well.

Nice stage.  but if no one attacks, then it is over already.  I suppose if Mollema attacks, then Yates, then Bardet then maybe something will crack.  No other real choice, and most of them are not going to really risk much.  Maybe not.
Boogerd_Fan

thank goodness for the wonderful scenery, hopefully the rest of the GC group could enjoy it too, if they would pop their head up out of Froome's backside for a second or two.

I understand Mollema not attacking - he will defend his podium spot now. Maybe if Quintana or Yates would start dropping he would do something?

But the rest? Aru & Bardet managed to clip off the front, but only for 3-40m... it's a ridiculous joke... Poels pops open a can of Coca-Cola half way up final climb, and finds an extra 5mins of pulling power, Popeye style.

Quintana. Forclaz. He has to go. He can't afford to just sit there and collect another 2nd place by attacking Mollema on Morzine (i think Yates was in trouble today - and they missed the chance but he might fade in 3rd week now).
Bartali

From a GC point of view - with the honourable exception of Froome's decent into Luchon - this is probably the poorest tour I have ever seen.  Yawn fest.
HuwB

It's always been the trouble with the Tour,
Here, unlike anywhere else, 5th place means something.
Boogerd_Fan

I have the feeling Movistar and Quintana were plotting a snatch & grab on Ventoux - it's long enough and hard enough for his slight weight to make a difference and distance most if not all GC guys.

With that stage neutered by weather and fans, just wondering if they have a Plan B? Wednesday's stage could get interesting if someone has the guts to attack on Forclaz.
Bartali

HuwB wrote:
It's always been the trouble with the Tour,
Here, unlike anywhere else, 5th place means something.

Not to me it doesn't!!  Rolling Eyes
Boogerd_Fan

“I can’t say what the other teams are doing… We had Valverde try with Aru for a moment, but Poels immediately controls it, gives it a little bit more gas, and controls everything. After with Bardet, he did the same thing. It’s Poels, or then it’s Landa, or then another. Above all, Poels is incredible.

a telling comment from a guy who knows a thing or two about race horses.. Eusebio Unzue

and...

"I don't know if Bauke will attack, maybe in the end of a stage. We don't think we should make the same mistake like Andorra, attack too early then lose seconds. I know we should always go for the win, but I think we are quite happy where we are at the moment."

the Trek DS
HuwB

You don't write the contracts, Bart. Wink

Poels: a little reminder of the last time the LBL winner climbed the Lacets du Grand Colombier:-

http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Tour_de_lAin_2010_Stage_5_Belley
Bartali

More's the pity! Smile

Poels, Thomas, Nieve, Landa ... an embarrassment of riches .....
Nolte

gerry12ie wrote:


Poor Nolte FP'd Reichenbach, then switched to Pantano who we both picked around the same time, and even though he was in first he jumped off to avoid doubling up Embarassed I'd be happy to hand over half the points, especially as he posted first...


I've just seen it (my hotel room has German Eurosport. ).  I am actually laughing about it especially as when I decided to change it, I was thinking of vuillermoz or geschke but felt vuillermoz would stay with bardet today and not attack.

Those the breaks. :d

Oh German Eurosport use the tdf extra with Ashley and Juan Antonio too
gerry12ie

Bartali wrote:
More's the pity! Smile

Poels, Thomas, Nieve, Landa ... an embarrassment of riches .....


That's the thing - for Le Tour Sky almost always have the strongest team.  They don't spread themselves too thin with a huge focus on the Giro or Vuelta.  You actually get the impression that their chances in the other GT's are incidental, the big, big focus is on Le Tour.  The other big teams don't seem quite as single-minded in their approach in July, but I'm baffled as to why they don't mix it up a bit.  For instance, what was Astana's and Movistar's game yesterday?  Astana put in a shift that appeared to make Sky look a bit uncomfortable, but by the time Aru finally went, Sky had not only regained composure, but Valverde jumped across to Aru to effectively kill the move off.

I don't blame Sky for their approach at all.  They have come with a game plan that is very effective, and Froome has actually ridden with a bit of (albeit ugly) panache.  Sky are every bit as good as the opposition are allowing them to be.  If you want an attacking GT with surprises then look the Vuelta, or dig out some old Contador footage.  I hope I'm wrong but so far I'm pleased I didn't take any time off this week...
mazda

T. Martin and Alaphillippe go off the front.

Clearly Tony thinks he needs a better workout than his disappointing ITT effort and Alaphillippe was incredibly strong at the end yesterday, just a mechanical costing him the stage.

Nothing from Trek yet. Maybe Fabian is going to spend the day waving to the crowd, rather than trying to win the stage.
Bartali

gerry12ie wrote:

I don't blame Sky for their approach at all.  They have come with a game plan that is very effective, and Froome has actually ridden with a bit of panache.  Sky are every bit as good as the opposition are allowing them to be.

This is exactly where I am.  Froome has been front and centre of the only two (three if you count Ventoux) bits of GC action - both seemingly opportunist moves.  Fair play.  I think Valverde chases down Aru to protect Quintana and his own GT placing.  Worse race for years IMO ...
mazda

Breen, Roosen, Edet and Craddock trying to bridge across.
mazda

They never looked like catching the front duo and have been reabsorbed after over an hour.
Gap to front two coming down rapidly now with plenty of teams helping out.
HuwB

Heading inevitably towards a massed showdown in Bern.
I hesitate to say bunch sprint, as the consensus seems to be that it's a classics style finish.
Boogerd_Fan

Gerry

"Ugly Panache"

it's a beautiful concept Very Happy thanks for that!
Fontfroide

Waiting for Fabian to make a move.
mazda

Kristoff thinks he has it, but looks like Sagan by a tire.
mazda

Any GC gaps ?
Valverde tried for the stage / bonus seconds.
gerry12ie

Kirby, as usual, so over-excited he throws any professionalism out the window in the finale - just the little details, like who is in the mix and where they finished, who won, who got placed...
gerry12ie

Sagan an absolute credit to the jersey - either jersey, chapeau.  He has made this tour worthwhile...
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Sagan an absolute credit to the jersey - either jersey, chapeau.  He has made this tour worthwhile...


One hundred percent in total agreement.  The guy is stunning!
mazda

Hmm.
Letour has first 57 riders all on the same time.
Not sure there were that many riders in the main group that came over the line.
Have to re-watch it.

edit - Bardet still not listed.
HuwB

gerry12ie wrote:
Kirby, as usual, so over-excited he throws any professionalism out the window in the finale - just the little details, like who is in the mix and where they finished, who won, who got placed...


Could be any more clueless in his decent into manic hysteria as the finale approaches?
I take it this is the most obvious example of which you speak:
We spent quite a while watching the Eitx bus form, because Kittel got well and truly dropped. Loads and loads of tv pictures of the German sprint miles out the back.

Yet, come the final 2 kms, there he is, contesting the sprint.
Well, according to clown Kirby, that is.


Just 33 riders get the same time. Bardet finished directly in front of Froome.

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