It’s been a while since I’ve tuned into Le Tour, partly because of computer woes (my main drive was deteriorating invisibly, except for the slowness that made it positively painfull to compose). It is I suppose no great loss except for those who are fans of the scenic countryside the race winds through, and it is spectacular.
The race itself has gone to form which has left me feeling the same ennui and diffidence I do when Vettel gets an early lead and disappears. You are left hoping for a game changer, something that will put a contender within striking distance and force the favorite to do something other than coast to victory.
Well, if that’s going to happen, it will happen today.
The reason is the course and the conditions. Today is the double ascent of Alpe-d’Huez and the descent after the Col de Sarenne. In addition to the two beyond category ascents there are 3 category 2 and a category 3 climb. Now this in itself is not much of an obstacle to Chris Froome, the maillot jaune, who has out climbed his nearest rivals time and again.
Nope, it will be the descents, especially given the heavy overnight rain and the dampness expected at altitude.
You don’t like to hope for a crash, but it’s a good way to modify the time picture which at this point is entirely unfavorable to any rivals with only 2 riders less than 5 minutes back and merely 2 more under 7.
|1||FROOME Christopher||SKY PROCYCLING||66h 07′ 09”|
|2||CONTADOR Alberto||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||+ 04′ 34”|
|3||KREUZIGER Roman||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||+ 04′ 51”|
|4||MOLLEMA Bauke||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||+ 06′ 23”|
|5||QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander||MOVISTAR TEAM||+ 06′ 58”|
|6||RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin||KATUSHA TEAM||+ 07′ 21”|
|7||TEN DAM Laurens||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||+ 08′ 23”|
|8||FUGLSANG Jakob||ASTANA PRO TEAM||+ 08′ 56”|
They finish this year’s Tour with 2 more Alpine stages after today before the grand procession to the Champs-Élysées so things could still change if Froome breaks down physically or something else unexpected happens.
In Sprint (Points, Green Jersey) competition things are looking equally set in stone with Peter Sagan almost 100 points ahead and only 8 riders over 100 ponts at all.
|2||CAVENDISH Mark||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||278|
|4||KITTEL Marcel||TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO||177|
|5||KRISTOFF Alexander||KATUSHA TEAM||157|
|6||ROJAS José Joaquin||MOVISTAR TEAM||145|
|7||KWIATKOWSKI Michal||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||110|
|8||FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio||VACANSOLEIL-DCM||110|
If you like handicapping backmarkers there is a race for Second between Mark Cavendish and André Greipel.
For King of the Mountains (Climber, Polka Dot Jersey) as you would expect Chris Froome has a commanding lead and Alberto Contador is not even in the picture (25 points). Only 4 riders have over 50 points.
King of the Moutains
|1||FROOME Christopher||SKY PROCYCLING||88|
|2||QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander||MOVISTAR TEAM||69|
|3||NIEVE ITURRALDE Mikel||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||53|
|4||ROLLAND Pierre||TEAM EUROPCAR||51|
In the Team Competition Sky (Chris Froome’s team) is a surprising 11th, over 1:15 behind. Also, as you can see, there’s a lot of racing left in the top 6.
|1||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||198h 58′ 43”|
|2||RADIOSHACK LEOPARD||+ 01′ 22”|
|3||AG2R LA MONDIALE||+ 08′ 14”|
|4||MOVISTAR TEAM||+ 12′ 48”|
|5||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||+ 22′ 33”|
|6||KATUSHA TEAM||+ 30′ 58”|
Youth (White Jersey) is a hard category for me to get behind, I think it a poor substitute for amature. Still, there is no denying Nairo Alexander Quitana Rojas has had an outstanding Tour, sitting at 5th in the GC and 2nd in King of the Mountains.
|1||QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander||MOVISTAR TEAM||66h 56′ 09”|
|2||KWIATKOWSKI Michal||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||+ 04′ 12”|
|3||TALANSKY Andrew||GARMIN – SHARP||+ 08′ 15”|
|4||BARDET Romain||AG2R LA MONDIALE||+ 21′ 45”|
Sites of Interest-
- Gap / Alpe-d’Huez (107 miles, Le Tour)
- Gap / Alpe-d’Huez (Guardian)
- The Guardian
- Guardian Interactive Route Guide
- Le Tour
The Stars Hollow Gazette Tags-