Tag Archive: Le Tour

Jul 05 2016

Le Tour: Stage 4- Saumur to Limoges

Jul 04 2016

Le Tour de France: Stage 3- Granville to Angers

I’ll get to it.

Jul 03 2016

Le Tour de France: Stage 2- Saint-Lô to Cherbourg-Octeville

Jul 02 2016

Le Tour de France: Stage 1- Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach

Le. Tour. De. France. I’m afraid it’s that time of year again, 23 days (21 racing and 2 rest) of flaming chunks of twisted metal (perhaps I should update that to shattered shards of Carbon Fiber and bone). I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how my father Richard was at a race here in the U.S. …

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Jul 27 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 21, Évry / Paris Champs-Élysées

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

No rest for Dancin’ Dave.

Umm… changes.  Not many.  Jean-Christophe Péraud had a puncture and still finished 7th to move up to 2nd in the GC.  Bardet had a flat and lost a place to Tejay Van Garderen.

That’s about it.

On the stage it was Tony Martin, Tom Dumoulin (1:39), Jan Barta (1:47), Vincenzo Nibali (1:58).  Everybody else lost time.

What about a parade are we not understanding?  As everyone limps into Paris (except the Sprinters who will want a stage win on the Champs-Élysées) the General Classification looks like this- Vincenzo Nibali, Jean-Christophe Péraud (7:52), Thibaut Pinot (8:24), Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (9:55), Tejay Vangarderen (11:44), Romain Bardet (11:46), Leopold Konig (14:41), Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (18:12), and  Laurens Ten Dams (18:20).  Everyone else is over 21 minutes behind.

In the Points competition it is Peter Sagan (417), Bryan Coquard (253), and Alexander Kristoff (247).  Every one else is under 200.  Maybe Kristoff will make a move on Coquard but I doubt it.

King of the Mountains is Rafal Majka (181), Vincenzo Nibali (168), and Joaquim Rodriguez (112).

In Team competition it is AG2R, Belkin (34:44), and 3rd place between Movistar (1:05:44) and BMC (1:08:09)

The Young Rider Classification is Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet (3:22). and Michal Kwiatkowski (1:12:25).

Today’s final stage of 85 and a half miles actually has a rated climb I missed at the beginning, Côte de Briis-sous-Forges, a Category 4.  Otherwise the main feature is the customary 10 laps of the Champs-Élysées.

- fin -

Jul 26 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 20, Bergerac / Périgueux

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Yawn.  Good Morning.  The time is 6:30 am.  It’s the next to last day of Le Tour.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing ever changes.

Now you may think these strange sentiments unless you’re as utterly sleep deprived as I am by 21 days of racing and you may think that 7 minutes a slim enough margin over 2,156 miles and you may look at yesterday’s massive pile up in the final 3 km of the stage precipitated by Peter Sagan who doesn’t even remember what happened so road numb is he and took out or tied up the vast majority of the field 74 of whom (more or less, the math is complicated) all finished :07 seconds behind the stage winner, the unheard of up until now Ramunas Navardaukas.

Other popular times (1:06), (3:10), (5:12), (5:58), and (7:57).  You didn’t even really have to pass the line.

Admittedly the course was a little damp.

So what does this all mean?  Nothing.

Oh sure, if you drill down to the also-rans, the 15th or 16th places you may see some movement and people faced serious injury and some were badly banged up, but if you’ve hung with it this long you’ll suffer through to the end and say “Wait until next year” and pretend you enjoyed it.

On the stage it was Ramunas Navardaukas, John Degenkolb, and Alexander Kristoff (the only one you’ve ever heard of).  In the General Classification it’s Vincenzo Nibali, Thibaut Pinot (7:10), Jean-Christophe Péraud (7:23), Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (7:25), and Romain Bardet (9:27).  Everyone else is over 11 and a half minutes behind.

For Points it is Peter Sagan (417), Bryan Coquard (253), and Alexander Kristoff (247).  Every one else is 58 points behind.

King of the Moutains is done done. Rafal Majka (181), Vincenzo Nibali (168), and Joaquim Rodriguez (112).  Everyone else is 23 points behind.

In Team competition it is still Belkin (28:33) to pass AG2R for the win and 3rd place between (1:05:47) and BMC (1:12:25), Europcar (1:27:49), Sky (1:38:37), and Astana (1:39:06).

For the Young Rider Classification (yawn) a 2 way race between Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet (2:17).  Michal Kwiatkowski (1:09:35) is still a pretty sure 3rd since he has a 38 minute margin over Tom Dumoulin (1:40:19).

And 38 minutes is a lot to make up during a 34 and 2/3rd mile time trial over what can at best be called bumps.

Heck, even 7 minutes is insurmountable.

The big race will be between Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Péraud, and Alejandro Valverde BelMonte who have only :15 seconds between them.  Everything else is meaningless.

Jul 25 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 19, Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour / Bergerac

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

And so we are virtually done except for the Youth competition and some podium positions that have yet to be decided.  Vincenzo Nibali’s first place finish on the slopes of Montée du Hautacam has created an insurmountable lead that will not change in the 2 days of actual racing left.

After about 2 km of climbing Nibali took the stage lead from Mikel Nieve who had led an early breakaway and after that it was mere jockying for position among the back markers.  Rafal Majka had the most to lose because if he finished worse than 6th Nibali would also grab the King of the Mountains title.  Thibaut Pinot, Alejandro Valverde BelMonte, Jean-Christophe Péraud, and Tejay Van Garderen were looking for advantage headed into Saturday’s Time Trial.

On the stage it was  Vincenzo Nibali, Thibaut Pinot (1:10), Rafal Majka (1:12), Jean-Christophe Péraud and Tejay Van Garderen tied at 1:15, Romain Bardet (1:53), Bauke Mollema and Leopold Konig tied at 1:57, and Haimar Zubeldia Agirre, Alejandro Valverde BelMonte, and Laurens Ten Dam tied at 1:59.  Everyone else was over 3 and a half minutes behind.

In the General Classification it is Vincenzo Nibali, Thibaut Pinot (7:10), Jean-Christophe Péraud (7:23), Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (7:25), and Romain Bardet (9:27).  Everyone else is over 11 and a half minutes behind.  Unless there are notable external developments (crash, injury, sickness) the last stages will be a contest between Pinot, Péraud, and Valverde BelMonte for 2nd and 3rd positions.

For Points it is Peter Sagan (408), Bryan Coquard (253), Alexander Kristoff (217), Marcel Kittel (177), Vincenzo Nibali (169), Mark Renshaw (153), Greg Van Avermaet (147), and André Greipel (143).  Everyone else is 38 points behind.  Sagan has enough points to win without needing any more so this category is a duel between Coquard and Kristoff over who finishes 2nd and who finishes 3rd.

With only one Category 4 climb left King of the Mountains is decided.  There are not enough points left to change the results.  It is Rafal Majka (181), Vincenzo Nibali (168), and Joaquim Rodriguez (112).  Everyone else is 23 points behind.

In Team competition it is theoretically possible (but highly unlikely) for Belkin (28:33) to pass AG2R for the win.  Otherwise it is a contest for 3rd with the top contenders being Movistar (1:05:47) and BMC (1:12:25), and Europcar (1:26:50), Sky (1:32:46), and Astana (1:39:06) having a very slim chance indeed.  Everyone else is over 2 hours behind.

For the Young Rider Classification it’s still a 2 way race between Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet (2:17).  Michal Kwiatkowski (1:01:45) is a pretty sure 3rd since he has a 38 minute margin over Tom Dumoulin (1:40:19).

Today’s 129 and 2/3rds mile stage between Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour and Bergerac compared to the 3 Pyrenees stages is almost completely flat though there is a little Category 4 bump, Côte de Monbazillac, at the end which will give the riders a final descent boost.  It’s mostly a rolling rest day before tomorrow’s final Time Trial, but you might see some action from Pinot and Bardet (Young Rider still very much in contention), Coquard and Kristoff (for 2nd and 3rd in Points, the Sprint Checkpoint is 130.5 km in), and otherwise people who need to win a stage for pride as much as anything else.  Nibali should find it easy enough to maintain his margin going into the Time Trial and only disaster or idiocy will prevent him from doing that.

Jul 24 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 18, Pau / Hautacam

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

The big contest yesterday was for King of the Mountains (Climbing competition) which will likely be decided after today with but a single Category 4 left tomorrow between the riders and the Champs-Élysées.  It is our 3rd and last day in the Pyrenees with a riding rest day and an Individual Time Trial left in play before the customary grand procession where it’s considered bad form for any but Sprinters to attempt to change their positions.

Rafal Majka was able to extend his lead in that contest over the 2nd place competitor Vincenzo Nibali and 3rd place Joaquim Rodriguez after withstanding an early charge by Vasil Kiryienka.  As for the General Classification Alejandro Valverde BelMonte, Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Péraud, Romain Bardet, and Tejay Van Garderen attempted to improve their positions heading into Saturday’s Time Trials where presumably Nibali is weakest (though pre-Tour that was rated his strongest discipline) with most of the attention on the contest between the 2 young French riders, Pinot and Bardet, none of them to much effect.

On the stage it was Rafal Majka, Giovanni Visconti (:29), Vincenzo Nibali and Jean-Christophe Péraud tied at :46, Allesandro De Marchi (:49), and Pierre Rolland (:52).  Frank Schleck led a group of 9 riders at under 2 minutes including Alejandro Valverde BelMonte, Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet, and Tejay Van Garderen.  In the General Classification it is Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (5:26), Thibaut Pinot (6:00), Jean-Christophe Péraud (6:08), and Romain Bardet (7:34).  Everyone else is over 10 minutes behind.  For Points it is Peter Sagan (408), Bryan Coquard (233), Alexander Kristoff (217), Marcel Kittel (177), Mark Renshaw (153), Vincenzo Nibali (149), Greg Van Avermaet (147), and André Greipel (143).  Everyone else is 38 points behind.  In the In the Climbing contest it is Rafal Majka (149), Vincenzo Nibali (118), and Joaquim Rodriguez (112).  Everyone else is 46 points behind.  In Team competition it is AG2R, Belkin (26:43), Movistar (52:30), Sky (56:55), and BMC (59:33).  Everybody else is over an hour behind.  In Youth it is Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet (1:34), and  Michal Kwiatkowski (30:41).  Everybody else is 55 minutes or more behind.

Today’s 90 and a half mile stage from Pau / Hautacam is really about the last chance for a major shuffle.  If Nibali can emerge with anything like the margins he now holds any Time Trial speciallist will be hard pressed to make them up.  There are 80 points available in King of the Mountains so there’s at least the theoretical chance of movement, after today there are virtually no points left.  Peter Sagan would have to have something catastrophic happen and might win despite that.  You can expect Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet to battle to the end in the Youth competition.

This stage looks easy only in comparison to yesterday, 2 Category 3s and 2 Beyond Category.  The Sprint Checkpoint is after the 2 Category 3s.

Distance Name Length Category
Km 28.0 Côte de Bénéjacq 2.6 km @ 6.7% 3
Km 56.0 Côte de Loucrup 2 km @ 7% 3
Km 95.5 Col du Tourmalet (2 115 m) Souvenir Jacques Goddet 17.1 km @ 7.3% H
Km 145.5 Montée du Hautacam (1 520 m) 13.6 km @ 7.8% H

The Col du Tourmalet is legendary and they are going up the hard side.  It is long and steep, a little less than 3 km of 10% gradient.  Montée du Hautacam is, if anything, even worse.  It’s only marginally shorter and has a full 3 km of 10% gradient plus.  The finish is up hill, don’t expect to see a sprint.

Jul 23 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 17, Saint-Gaudens / Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

So the story yesterday was Movistar and Astana setting a blistering pace that eventually delivered the stage win to Michael Rodgers, one of the oldest riders in the Tour and a Time Trial specialist, and protecting Vincenzo Nibali’s maillot jaune.  The defense of Nibali was a little less successful since it failed to drop either of the top 2 contenders much, but it left Tejay Van Garderen, the highest ranked U.S. rider remaining, in the dust and probably out of contention for a podium spot.  Thibaut Pinot was able to take a good chunk out of his 2 main rivals, Romain Bardet and ean-Christophe Péraud. The decisive move was up the Beyond Category Port de Balès where Rodgers and Thomas Voeckler had a minor exchange over whether Voeckler was doing his fair share of the pace setting.

On the stage it was Michael Rogers, Thomas Voeckler, Vasili Kiryenka, José Serpa, and Cyril Gautier tied at :09, Greg Van Avermaet (:13), Michal Kwiatkowski (:36), Matteo Montaguti (:50), Tom Jelte Slagter and Tony Gallopin tied at 2:11, Jan Bakelants (3:33), Florian Vachon (3:45), and Anthony Delaplace and Kévin Reza tied at 4:47.  Everyone else was more than 8 minutes behind.  In the General Classification it is Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (4:37), Thibaut Pinot (5:06), Jean-Christophe Péraud (6:08), Romain Bardet (6:40), Tejay Van Garderen (9:25), and Leopold Konig (9:32).  Everyone else is over 11 minutes behind.  For Points it is Peter Sagan (402), Bryan Coquard (226), Alexander Kristoff (217), Marcel Kittel (177), Mark Renshaw (153), Greg Van Avermaet (147), André Greipel (143), and Vincenzo Nibali (134).  Everyone else is 29 points behind.  In the Climbing contest it is Rafal Majka (89), Joaquim Rodriguez (88), and Vincenzo Nibali (86).  Everyone else is 25 points behind.  In Team competition it is AG2R, Belkin (26:21), and Sky (39:19).  Everybody else is about 55 minutes or more behind.  In Youth it is Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot (1:34), and  Michal Kwiatkowski (6:22).  Everybody else is 55 minutes or more behind.

In today’s 77 and a third miles from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet there are “only” 4 climbs, 3 Category 1 and 1 Beyond Category.  The Sprint Checkpoint is early, before any real climbing.

Distance Name Length Category
Km 57.5 Col du Portillon (1 292 m) 8.3 @ 7.1% 1
Km 82.0 Col de Peyresourde (1 569 m) 13.2 @ 7% 1
Km 102.5 Col de Val Louron-Azet (1 580 m) 7.4 @ 8.3% 1
Km 124.5 Montée de Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet (1 680 m) 10.2 @ 8.3% H

The Col du Portillon and Col de Peyresourde are nothing special as far as Category 1 climbs go, but the Col de Val Louron-Azet and Montée de Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet are very steep with a little over 3 km and 4 km respectively of 10% gradient each.  The Montée de Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet is also quite long and though it flattens a little at the very end is basically an up hill finish.

Jul 22 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 16, Carcassonne / Bagnères-de-Luchon

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Enjoy your rest day?  I sure did.  So Stage 15 was a big disappointment for Jack Bauer who led for most of the way only to be caught out by Alexander Kristoff in a classic sprint finish.  Almost forgotten by the english speaking media (Bauer is from New Zealand) is Martin Elmiger who was the second half of the 2 rider breakaway that nearly led from start to finish.

On the stage it was Kristoff, Heinrich Haussler, and Peter Sagan who led a group of 69 riders that shared the lead time including almost everyone of note and about 99 riders were within a minute at the finish.  The last rider, Cheng Ji, the only rider from the People’s republic of China finished in a group of 17 riders a mere 12:20 behind.

In the General Classification there is therefore not much change, Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (4:37), Romain Bardet (4:50), Thibaut Pinot (5:06), Tejay Van Garderen (5:49), Jean-Christophe Péraud (6:08), Bauke Mollema (8:33), and Leopold Konig (9:32).  Everybody else is more than 10 minutes behind.  For Points it is Peter Sagan (402), Bryan Coquard (226), Alexander Kristoff (217), Marcel Kittel (177), Mark Renshaw (153), André Greipel (143), Vincenzo Nibali (134), and Greg Van Avermaet (115).  Everyone else is 28 points behind.  There were no points awarded in the Climbing contest so it is Joaquim Rodriguez and Rafal Majka tied at 88 with Vincenzo Nibali at 86.  Everyone else is 37 points behind.  In the Team competition it is AG2R, Belkin (12:42), Sky (38:32), Astana (46:10), Movistar (47:44), and BMC (51:01).  Everyone else is over 1 hour behind.  In Youth it is Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot (:16),  Michal Kwiatkowski (14:34), and Tom Dumoulin (47:46).  Everyone else is over an hour behind.

Today’s 148 mile stage is the start of the Pyrenees and has 2 Category 4s, 1 Category 2, 1 Category 3, and 1 Beyond Category climb.  It is also the longest stage.

Distance Name Length Category
Km 25.0 Côte de Fanjeaux 2.4 km @ 4.9% 4
Km 71.5 Côte de Pamiers 2.5 km @ 5.4% 4
Km 155.0 Col de Portet-d’Aspet (1 069 m) 5.4 km @ 6.9% 2
Km 176.5 Col des Ares 6 km @ 5.2% 3
Km 216.0 Port de Balès (1 755 m) 11.7 km @ 7.7% H

The big climb is Port de Balès which is not only long but has 2 very steep sections with over 10% gradient.  The Sprint Checkpoint is after the 2 Category 4s and it’s just as well because we won’t be seeing the sprinters for the rest of the day I’m thinking though the finish is on a steep descent.

So we could see some crashes as people attempt to make up time in the final 20 km though we’ll more likely see riders drop out under the load.  There have been 10 withdrawls since Fabian Cancellara- Andrew Ralansky, David Del La Cruz Melgarejo, Alexander Porsev, Janier Alexis Acevedo Calle, Arthur Vichot, Daniel Navarro Garcia, Dries Devenyns, Rafael Valls, Rui Alberto Costa, and Simon Yates.

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