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Yeah, they are boring as sin, but transition stages at Le Tour pay the bills.
Alaphilippe's yellow kit is tastefully done, with the contrasting black shorts. I wonder if there are third world countries that receive all of the pre-made jersey-matched team kit if they don't end up getting a jersey, like what happens with the losing team's Super Bowl hats.
I remember a video @Mark_after_Dark made of one of his races a few years ago. Pretty sure everyone in that Cat 5 Oklahoma circuit race would have put a few minutes into the peloton today. This felt like the old Giros when Cipo was boss. They would take a leisurely 28-30 km/h ride for 200 km, so Cipo could roll up his sleeves and short legs to work on his tan, then push 60 km/h for the last 20k into the sprints. I miss Cipo.
Sprinters are like ninjas or samurai who can ride bicycles very fast. The way they find spaces to go through, putting themselves at extreme physical risk while putting out enough power to make most people dislocate a hip is incredible. Watch the overhead video of today's finish and take stock of the riders that the winner absolutely blows past, in a headwind, to take the stage.
I can't decide if tomorrow will be a gong show of attacks, or if J-V and Ineos-Grenadier will control it in an effort to keep Julien in yellow. I'm betting on the latter, but I'm pretty sure Astana and Bahrain won't get the memo. Sivakov freewheeled in a few minutes down on his recovery ride today, but tomorrow will be the real test for guys like he and Gaudu.
I need to rethink my life if I'm going to own of the houses on top of a mountain that they kept showing during this stage. What borderline criminal endeavour would be most likely to get me that much cash? Website forum operator?
As they say in French, Ineos were 'mort de rire' today. They didn't take a pedal stroke in the front thanks to Jumbo. Perfect day for them.
The race will start when Jumbo says it starts. They controlled the hills today without setting a punishing pace. Early days, no reason to burn matches.
No serious crashes in the hills today, and the two that I saw were solo falls. The weather was a blessing after yesterday.
Seeng Kristoff from the side makes me feel slightly better about my dad bod. Definitely not the climber profile.
The average competitive hot dog eating fan knew who was going to attack late today, and looking at the stage profile probably could have guessed the location to within 350m of where he went. How could no other favourites have been sitting on his wheel?
That little Ineos flick on Dumoulin is going to come back to bite them at some point in the race. Maybe with one of these:
One of the greatest traditions in cycling must be the tightening of the shoes in order soft pedal a turn in the sprint.
One of the greatest images in cycling is a small breakaway fighting for a sprint with a peloton absolutely gunning for them in the chute. You're either going to shed a tear for the break or cheer like crazy if they pull it off.
It's stage 1 of the Tour and we always expect a couple of tumbles, but that was carnage. Everyone crashed. Some more than once.
Note to self - buy disc-brake equipped bike for rainy days. This has been raised before, but perhaps having riders with significantly different levels of stopping modulation and braking power in wet race environments could lead to undesirable consequences? Just thinking out loud here.
Roglic assumes the role of patron, because an Eastern European guy who used to huck himself off huge ski jumps supported by a large (for a cyclist) German dude who was tossed from last year's tour for 'assault' is slightly more intimidating than the Colombian boss in the race. (There is definitely a movie script in there somewhere.)
I'm a pretty big fan of their team, but is Astana just stupid, or what? I doubt Fraile understood the words Roglic used today, but he probably caught the gist. Astana is a wild card for this tour. They won't win yellow but they are going to win stages and stir up all kinds of sh**.
I would say that a couple of teams lost their 'Plan C' riders today, and one team almost predictably saw Plan A take a hit. They are still in the race, but they are going to lose a time over the next few days.
I get the argument about organizers being responsible for course safety, but the number of crashes that happened while the race was basically running in neutral suggest that the sport has some inherent risks.
Is there anything more likely to bring tears to the eyes of a California-based cycling executive than a racer with a fancy-schmancy new Specialized that won't move forward because the front disc caliper won't release?
Did anyone notice the wild card teams all send riders to the front when the pace slowed? "Look Madame Sponsor, we controlled the race for 13 uncontested kilometers today!"
But, you know, I’ll let you buy up ineos if you want to experiment.
Just marvelling at their depth, but from a fantasy perspective most of those guys are worker bees.
The way this pool works you kind of need a sprinter to win, but I only see three 'guaranteed sprint' stages this year so spending a lot of points on a sprinter is rolling the dice. The other stages that look sprints are either breakaway bait for the classics guys, or, like Lyon, have a cat 2 20 km from the line. A hedged sprinter/classics guy like Kristoff or Demare who will get top ten points in multiple stages would be a smart bet.
Since Sunweb has left Matthews out, and Dylan is paying the price for the Tour of Poland's shitty barriers and course setting, it's a toss-up for green. You have to figure Demare and Colbrelli are chomping at the bit for it. But Sagan looks good for green on this course, especially given doubts about Bora's GC hopes due to recent crashes. And he looks good in this picture as well:
My only concern with JV is that Wout gets bored riding on the front one day, decides he wants the yellow jersey, accelerates away and gets it, then chases down Roglic when he tries to take it back in the hills. I don't know how you manage that situation as a DS.