Grand Tours (cycling) talk

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Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:10 pm UTC

Sporting results talk ("actual (association) football" thread, "are you ready for some 'football'" thread, etc) seems to live here in News & Articles, so here we go.

Tour de France 2015 is underway. An unexpectedly eventful stage 2 in the rain in the Netherlands is just wrapping up, so I won't post any results yet for those who may be waiting to watch a delayed broadcast or re-broadcast later tonight, but to start things off, here is the recap from yesterday's stage 1 time trial.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:19 pm UTC

I think once it's happened, it's fair game to talk about. That's the common approach I've found, anyway. Anyone desperately trying to avoid the results, Likely Lads style, should know to avoid such threads as this.

Anyway, I love the Netherlands. Maximum altitude on the course, 6m. Not one for the climbers.

Interesting breaks in the peloton from the wind, though I was surprised that more wasn't made of the earlier ones.

And as per usual, pefect setup for a sprint, Cavendish is the man to beat... and gets beaten. I hope he sorts his stuff out and manages to pick up some stage wins this year.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:52 am UTC

Well, that was an unexpected twist today. I wasn't able to catch the stage live this morning, so I just finished the evening replay. I don't think I've ever seen the organizers neutralize the field before, but it does make sense, with two different heavy crashes there. As of the end of the stage, I think it was four riders who had been forced to abandon (we'll see in the morning if any more fail to start) from their injuries, including one head injury - were any of those in the second crash, or all from the first? They never got any footage of that second one. The cobbles tomorrow will be "fun."
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:21 am UTC

I used to play Dwarf Fortress, and that's infected my definition of "fun"...

I completely understand the neutralising of the race - two heavy crashes reported, no idea what happened in the second, and all the medical support (and cameras and everything else) stuck behind the first... yeah, a disappointment for those wanting to race, but the best thing to do for the Tour as a whole. Hopefully riders will give each other a bit more room today just in case.

Apparently Cancellara's out, on top of the four who didn't finish yesterday.

I hope everyone left gets to the cobbles today, and over them safely. A bit of a settling-down kind of day would be good after yesterday.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:55 am UTC

Good on Tony Martin! He could not have timed that move more perfectly. Doubly impressive considering that he finished the race on his teammate's bike after getting a late flat and having to come back. It was good to see that while the cobbles were grueling, it was a safe stage for everyone, and the only major unexpected difficulty seemed to be Pinot's mechanical issue. Sky continued to rise a good race, and Froome responded well to Niboli's accelerations late. And Van Garderen is still 13 seconds back of Froome, also riding solidly. I'm getting a kick out of the rider interviews afterward and all the sunglasses dirt tans. It looks like breathing must have been miserable.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:12 am UTC

Yeah, I was cheering Tony Martin on in the highlights programme. Few people could have pulled that off, but he did, and now has a well-earned yellow jersey. I suspect that was partly because Froome wanted someone else to look like a big yellow target for a few days before the main GC contenders start racing each other properly. Good efforts from Nibali, trying to recreate what he did last year - did he win the "most aggressive rider of the day" thing?

Oh, and yeah, the dirt tans were amusing. I'm half surprised that I didn't see anyone trying some sort of commuter-style mask to filter that crap out...
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 6:56 pm UTC

OK, sprint finish for the stage, and Etixx Quickstep organise everything neatly and it all falls apart before the finish. Points to Greipel, he comes from way back to take the win, and Sagan's cheeky second is cool as well, but I'm starting to think Cavendish might as well start planning for next year.

And Tony Martin gets another day in yellow. For which, yay.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:00 pm UTC

Crap. Word is that Tony Martin's collarbone broke. Which he found out after sticking around for all the presentations and interviews and so on.

Real shame that it seems he's out.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:27 am UTC

Aw, jeez. He did make an official announcement, a few hours ago. And it was working out as such a happy stage, too, with Daniel Teklehaimanot making history in polka dots. Martin really did not look good on the ride in after he got up from that fall. Small consolation that his teammate did get the win (not a name I'd ever heard). I wonder what Froome will do with the cursed yellow. Let it go again immediately? He has no more reason to try to defend it (other than against GC rivals) now than he did a few days ago, I suppose.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby duckshirt » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:56 am UTC

I am excited to see Daniel Teklehaimanot of Eritrea scoring the first points of the mountains classification. I think the East Africans who excel in running can someday do well in cycling, particularly in mountain/altitude stages if they get the resources. (I think just growing up at altitude may have been an advantage for Froome as well.) I don't expect his lead to last, but he gets to wear the coolest jersey for a day at least.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:14 pm UTC

I missed yesterday's stage, but glad to see that Cav got his timing right and took one. So now the pressure for stage wins is back on Sagan. Losing both sprints yesterday must have stung for him.

Today's stage was relatively boring. I'm sure that was a welcome relief for the riders. The only crash I saw (I did tune in a bit late) was the minor one just a few miles from the end, and all three riders seemed fine. I'm wicked excited for the team time trials tomorrow :D
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:08 pm UTC

I don't fancy Sagan's chances much. People are a bit too wise to how he used to win, and nobody will help him out any more. I mean, either bigger sprinters like Greipel, Degenkolb and Cav are around, and he doesn't quite have the speed, or he's the only sprinter at the front and nobody wants to play that game. Despite the way they fiddled the points for the Green Jersey this year, I still think he's got a good chance of that if he picks up points consistently.

I keep having to blink and check that he's in the White Jersey. As in, this is the guy whose name has been pre-sewn-in to the Green Jersey for the last couple of years, is he really still eligible for best young rider?

And yeah, a bit boring. Breakaway, caught, a little bit of faffing with a split of the peloton but too many riders to get organised so they got caught, one small crash but nothing bad, and then some racing up the hill to the finish. Quiet in general terms, but I think that's no bad thing at this point, after we've had some nasty crashes in the week. It gives everyone a bit of a chance to settle and practice racing together politely a bit more, before the mountains.

Team time trials should be good; a bit of a shuffle of the leaders is on the cards with so few seconds between them. I have a feeling Froome might not be too disappointed if someone else takes the lead... but who?
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:31 pm UTC

I could see Van Garderen taking it if BMC are on the form they have been so far - not that Froome would necessarily be pleased to have his closest GC rival be the one to get the jersey. Sky are a strong time trial team as well and have the advantage of the final start time, so even if BMC win the stage, Sky will know what times they have to hit at the checkpoints to stay within 13(?) seconds.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:24 pm UTC

Woooo, that was close. Four seconds in it between the top three teams. BMC take the stage, Froome takes the Yellow Jersey into the rest day. And I have to say, Froome was waiting for his fifth rider who was trailing off the back a little; he looked good for the climb and spent a lot of time on the front of his team. He'll be tough to beat, one-on-one in the mountains.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:12 pm UTC

Well, that was close. I don't think any of the top teams will be upset with that except Astana. BMC got their team win (although I was surprised at how early some of them cracked), Sky limited Froome's (what a beast) losses to just one second, and Movistar had a solid ride and limited Quintana's losses to just 4 seconds.

I feel badly for Nibali, giving away 35 seconds that he couldn't afford to lose, and really through no fault of his own. It is a little unfortunate for some potential GC riders that so much time for the individual titles can be lost on a TTT. I don't know how I feel about it.

What do folks think about the coverage so far (assuming US)? I've enjoyed the addition of Christian Vande Velde's commentary. And Jensie's obviously an experienced voice, but unfortunately it seems like sometimes he doesn't understand what Paul and Phil are saying, and they've had some trouble with his accent as well (plus the fact that they're not physically in the same place during the race itself, so they're dealing with trying to speak and listen over headsets . It interrupts some of the flow of the coverage.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:45 pm UTC

I'm watching UK coverage, with the well-settled team of Ned Boulting and Chris Boardman. They're a bit over-focussed on Sky, Froome, and the other British riders, but otherwise not too bad. Some of the pre-recorded features are a bit cringeworthy but Boardman actually riding bits of the course to explain their importance in the context of the race is quite welcome.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:56 pm UTC

Well, that was a strong move from Froome, and nobody could match him. Even Quintana, who got overtaken by Porte to add insult to injury.

It's not quite Tour Over. But what do the other teams have to do to beat Froome and his team in Sky?

Gossip on my coverage says Porte is off to BMC next year... that could mix things up a bit more.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ElWanderer » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:00 pm UTC

This feels a lot like two years ago to the day when Froome powered his way up Mont Ventoux with carnage in his wake. He does seem well-suited to 'sting-in-the-tail' stages. Everyone has such ground to make up now it's hard to see a different result to 2013, but there is still a long way to go.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby EvilDuckie » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:07 am UTC

We're only halfway and there is still a long way to go indeed, but seeing his attack yesterday it's hard to imagine him not winning again this year. Nibali and Contador seemed to be unable to even cling on.

Quite impressed with Gesink's effort yesterday, a 4th place is very good and he took initiative. If he keeps this up it can be a very good tour for him (and the Dutch fans, now that both Dumoulin and Boom have had to abandon).

If Porte indeed goes to BMC next year that can bring some excitement to the next TdF. Looking forward to that.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:39 am UTC

Today's was the first stage I was able to see this week, and I guess I missed a lot with the start of the mountains. Froome looked good today (aside from the odd decision to attack with 5k or whatever it was to go), Thomas looked great leading him, but his close competitors held up well too. Were the abandons from this week time cuts, or were there some crashes?
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby EvilDuckie » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:03 am UTC

Crashes and illness mostly. Especially in the first week the yellow jersey seemed to be cursed with 2 people wearing it (Cancellara and then Martin) and one serious contender (Dumoulin) having to abandon after crashes.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:14 am UTC

The last few days were generally more interesting than yesterday, which was a successful break over the mountains plus the GC contenders attacking each other but nobody doing enough to make it stick. Well, apart from Valverde clawing back a whole second at the line. The individual stage wins are probably going to be more interesting now - seeing how Froome was successful by being defensive and grinding down every attack, and only looked like losing anything when he attacked himself, I think that might become a bit more of a pattern.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:53 am UTC

I hate seeing Van Garderen lose time (and placement), but I love finishes like that (stage 14). No helpers, no lead-out men, just the big names head to head. Quintana looked great and got that GC time that he needed, and Froome is just so strong. The Alps are going to be so good.

Apparently a spectator threw a cup of urine on Froome on the road, though? Shameful.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:43 am UTC

Yeah, apparently some French commentator with his own murky doping history has been throwing around insinuations that Froome's performance is unbelieveable, incredible etc. etc. not as in "he's an excellent athlete" but as in "Well then he must be doping". And it's had an effect on some people, to the point that there has been this incident.

I'm no fan of Froome's but I don't think he's doping. He's strong but not significantly beyond the levels of anyone else around him, he has a very strong team including some who'd probably have a shout at the Yellow Jersey on their own, and his style is less attacking and more just riding to a certain number on his power meter that either grinds down any advantage gained by others attacking him, or exhausts them until they drop off the back. Which is probably the style that optimises performance for a given level of fitness, if not the most exciting to watch.

No helpers or lead-out men but Quintana and Valverde can still co-operate to some degree. Or at least, should co-operate to some degree. And yes, the Alps should be good. It's not as if anyone's been passing up chances to gain time on Froome, but the Alps are both the best opportunities, and the last ones. All the other contenders are going to have to try everything they can.

Did anyone see yesterday, btw? Sagan in the breakaway, maximises points at the sprint point, gets caught by the peloton after the final climb, and after getting somewhat boxed in, still manages to finish a close fourth. Even after they changed the rules, the green jersey might as well still come with his nametag sewn in...
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:49 pm UTC

I don't like Sagan much, but he sure does ride well. I wonder how he could do in GC if he rode for time, rather than just for points (/ stage wins). Only two riders (Merckx three times and Hinault once) have won both the points competition and the overall classification.

In somewhat offbeat Tour news, I just saw this: Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Seché Environment) disqualified from Tour for 100m car ride - in AG2R-La Mondiale's car - on stage 14.

Edit for stage 16: Oh, my. That was a spectacular crash for Thomas. The fact that he scrambled back up the cliff, jumped right back on his bike and finished the stage after bashing his head on the telephone pole...watching that in real time, my first horrified thought was "holy shit, did I just watch someone die?" And then barely a scratch. He was fortunate that it wasn't a huge drop-off, was well-vegetated, and that he partly caught himself on the pole. And while he was obviously not happy in the interviews after, I thought this exchange with a reporter was great: "What happened to you after the crash?" "Got back on the bike and started chasing."
And poor Sagan. 2nd again. Plaza had a nice break at the end there.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby EvilDuckie » Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:00 am UTC

Barguil claimed it was a bump he got from Van Garderen that sent him carreening out of control and knocking over Thomas. Can't see any of that on the footage though, he came speeding into the bend on the inside, was way too late with applying the brakes (possibly locked up his wheels) and hit Thomas. It's a small miracle his injuries weren't worse (though I'm curious to see whether anything comes up today during the rest day, it looked like he hit that pole pretty hard with the side of his head/helmet). I'm sure this isn't a deliberate action by Barguil, but it was reckless nonetheless and he deserves a stern talking to at the very least. He did go to the Team Sky bus to apologize though, so that speaks in his favor.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:53 am UTC

I'm no fan of Froome's but I don't think he's doping. He's strong but not significantly beyond the levels of anyone else around him,

That's because everyone is on the dope? Astana and Movistar hardly deny it. Tinkoff-Saxo was Bjarne Riis' creation ;-)

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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:24 am UTC

I saw the crash on the highlights... they replayed some of the earlier footage and it does look like Barguil got nudged by van Garderen shortly before the corner, hence him coming in way too fast and off line. Between that and Barguil's swift apology, I think it's more racing incident than irresponsibility.

Many points to Thomas for getting back up, switching bikes, and coming in only 38 seconds down. I too was pretty worried when I saw him hit the telegraph pole and fall out of sight.

And Sagan gets another second, after another day in the break... he's dominating the points competition at this point and keeps getting into the breaks. I'm almost expecting another rule change next year to make the Green Jersey a sprinters-only-no-climbing-necessary thing, just to avoid needing to pre-sew in Peter Sagan's nametag...
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:13 pm UTC

This is the best video I've found online so far: http://www.3news.co.nz/sport/video-gera ... 2015072109

It does show a bit of rubbing shoulders at around the 1 second mark, with Barguil bouncing back out to his right a bit, but unfortunately it's not quite as clear as the replay that was shown later in the coverage. What's strange to me is how long it seemed to take Barguil to react - he didn't start to tripod until almost three seconds later. And while I think I agree with the riders blaming him for making a dangerous move, it does look like Van Garderen is also moving to his right at the time of the bump - partly, I'm sure, to follow the curve of the road, but it looked like he was also starting to move off the wheel in front of him to make an inside pass on the two riders he was behind (which ultimately did happen - he'd almost put himself on Thomas' wheel when Barguil hit him).
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:59 pm UTC

Well, as expected, the beginning of the Alps blew up the standings, but I don't think anyone expected it to happen quite like that with the abandonment of van Garderen. Poor luck for Contador coming off and losing his chain on that descent - Richie Porte, who was right there, said in an interview that it looked like he hit a rock or bump on the corner and had his front wheel come out from under him - but I was impressed with Sagan immediately being right there to assist, then waving on the team car to send it forward to Contador on the chase back in. It was an interesting strategy day, with some of the leading teams getting riders out into the breakaway and then calling them back to support the leaders after everyone else was dropped. The top four there (including Niboli, excluding Contador, who at that point had fallen) were too strong for the helpers to seem to make much difference, though. G Thomas had already been dropped (on the climb, I believe?), the two Movistar helpers couldn't stick, and even though Porte had come back to help Froome (which had not been the original plan, he said), he got dropped on the descent when he couldn't match Niboli and Froome had to pass him. Glad the rain held off until after the stage. Unless the grupetto hit it? I'm not sure. But at least until after the descents.

Speaking of Sagan getting his name sewed into the green jersey from the start, I wish that he would get himself a couple matching bibs. It worked okay with the Liquigas/Cannondale jerseys, even though the two close-but-not-quite-matching greens looked a little odd together (side note, I really wish that Cannondale-Garmin had worn their black jerseys for the tour, rather than the green, because while I love the color, the almost solid green makes it more difficult to pick out the actual Green Jersey), but it looks awful with the fluorescent Tinkoff-Saxo colors plus the red Slovak champion's stripe. Really, I dislike the whole Tinkoff-Saxo kit, especially with the weird camo thing they've got going on.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:45 am UTC

Yeah, I really feel for van Garderen. He was about the only one of the top contenders I think might actually be likeable, as well as a top athlete.

Bad luck for Contador, but Sagan was very much being the team player there. Even if Contador apparently stopped again to switch to one of his own bikes after the descent, Sagan got him moving as fast as possible.

Oh and Pinot really needs to hang out with Sagan and learn to descend. I think he could have done so much better if he'd been racing downhill like Sagan was on the previous stage.

More alps to come, but the non-Froome GC contenders really have to make inroads now if they're fighting for more than second. Three minutes plus is... well, only the sort of time you make up if someone has a problem, really.

And yeah, I dislike the Tinkoff-Saxo kit too. And the Cannondale-Garmin jersey acts as camouflage for Sagan, and... I've forgotten, which team has a jersey that's largely yellow? Not the fluorescent one of Tinkoff-Saxo, but one that veers fairly close to Froome's yellow jersey. It's difficult to pick out the leaders of those two competitions from the massed peloton, apart from mainly seeing them near the front, and Froome being surrounded by normal Sky jerseys.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby plytho » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:58 am UTC

Echo244 wrote:Oh and Pinot really needs to hang out with Sagan and learn to descend. I think he could have done so much better if he'd been racing downhill like Sagan was on the previous stage.


I've heard Pinot fell badly in a descent a couple of years ago and needed psychological support to be able to descend again. I guess the fear came back after he slipped and fell again yesterday.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:57 am UTC

Echo244 wrote:which team has a jersey that's largely yellow? Not the fluorescent one of Tinkoff-Saxo, but one that veers fairly close to Froome's yellow jersey. It's difficult to pick out the leaders of those two competitions from the massed peloton, apart from mainly seeing them near the front, and Froome being surrounded by normal Sky jerseys.

It's one of the Lotto teams, although off the top of my head I can't recall which one. [edit - LottoNL Jumbo]

Coverage just started here, starting with a recap of what's already happened on today's stage...looks like Joaquim Rodriguez (wearing polka dots, because King of the Mountain leader Froome is wearing yellow) broke away and took top points at the first category 2 climb, putting himself past Froome into first in the KOM. I don't think I've ever seen anyone ride themselves into a jersey they were already wearing.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:26 pm UTC

Quintana taking white from Sagan who was busy wearing green? I can't remember the timescales from the start of this year's race, but I don't remember it as being that unusual, especially with someone young like Sagan around who can get in the GC top ten on the flatter stages as well as high in the points classification, before he loses time in the mountains and the second place young rider takes the lead from him.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

You're right - Quintana was wearing Sagan's white during stage 10 this year and took back enough time to pull it on for himself on the podium that night. And I suppose it shouldn't be that uncommon - whoever is wearing the loaned jersey is in second place, after all - but I guess I've just never noticed.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Envelope Generator » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:38 pm UTC

What a boring stage today. That said, it's kinda nice how the three French guys who've been most visible in (at least the Eurosport) live broadcasts are second, third and fourth in the young rider classification. Some up-and-comers they have.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:29 pm UTC

Yeah, and Froome was sitting back and letting everyone else chase each others' attacks. I'm calling Race Over Barring Accidents on this one. Froome in yellow, Sagan in green, Quintana in white and the King of the Mountains is the only competition still running.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ElWanderer » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:12 am UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:What a boring stage today. That said, it's kinda nice how the three French guys who've been most visible in (at least the Eurosport) live broadcasts are second, third and fourth in the young rider classification. Some up-and-comers they have.

That final ascent with all the hairpin bends made for some fine aerial footage, at least. Can't imagine they'd ever have a descent down it unless they add a lot of safety barriers...
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby ivnja » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:08 pm UTC

Yeah, it was a seriously interesting backdrop for a climb, but I can't see them routing a descent down something like that. It would be slow and dangerous.
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Re: Grand Tours (cycling) talk

Postby Echo244 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:02 am UTC

Sterling effort from Quintana up Alpe d'Huez, but not quite enough. Sadly, the time he lost by was apparently less than he lost on the flat stages in the winds. I suspect a much more attentive ride from him next year, and I think he'll take the win. Also, no more co-team-leader with Valverde. Quintana looks like a better basket, so best to stick all your eggs there and have Valverde around for insurance if Quintana has a crash.

Froome got spat on again, apparently. Hope they lose that behaviour from next year's tour.

The final stage was a bit of a damp squib for me - no chance of any racing except for the win, the leadout trains went to heck again, and Greipel proved he was the fastest man out there this year. I actually preferred the finish of La Course earlier in the day, with Anna van der Breggen breaking away in the last lap and doing a bit of a Jens Voigt by spoiling the sprinters' fun.

Also, my coverage (ITV4) had Marianne Vos doing some of the commentary, and they filmed, and then later showed, her reaction as van der Breggen approached the finish line and took the win. Most entertaining and enjoyable. ;-D
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