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Jul 19 2013

Le Tour 2013: Stage 19

Christophe Riblon is the first French Stage Winner of Le Tour had a great race, gutting it out over a U.S. rider, rookie Tejay Van Garderen, in the final 2.2 K.

Though it didn’t rain the descent from Col de Sarenne, as predicted, was pretty dramatic.

Tejay Van Garderen (leader over the top) lost gearing (I’m pedaling and nothing is happening) and had to replace and catch up with Riblon.  Riblon, the eventual stage winner, drove off a left hander and into a swampy ditch and had to pick up his bike and wade back to the road.

Toward the tail end of the descent Froome had a puncture and he too had to replace his bike before the final climb.

Contador, who was attacking all day, eventually eked out a 20 second lead over Froome going into the final ascent up Alpe Huez.  But it wasn’t enough and he was soon overtaken and finished a minute behind on the day.

It might have been different- with 5 K to go in the race Froome’s a blood sugar dropped precipitously and he had to have a team mate drop back to the support car and pick up a tube of glucose (they call it energy gel, but I’ve known Diabetics).  This is a big no no in the final kilometers and eventually he was penalized 20 seconds; not, alas, enough to change the overall dynamics of the race.  If you are a big Contador fan it’s not unreasonable to think that if Froome had not cheated he might have lost up to 3 minutes.

Nairo Alexander Quitana Rojas’ outstanding performance leapfrogged him into 3rd.

General Classification

Rank Name Team Time
1 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING 71h 02′ 19”
2 CONTADOR Alberto TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF + 05′ 11”
3 QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander MOVISTAR TEAM + 05′ 32”
4 KREUZIGER Roman TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF + 05′ 44”
5 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin KATUSHA TEAM + 05′ 58”
6 MOLLEMA Bauke BELKIN PRO CYCLING + 08′ 58”
7 FUGLSANG Jakob ASTANA PRO TEAM + 09′ 33”

In the Green Jersey competition nothing much changed except that Peter Sagan is now firmly over 100 points ahead.

Points

Rank Name Team Points
1 SAGAN Peter CANNONDALE 380
2 CAVENDISH Mark OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 278
3 GREIPEL André LOTTO-BELISOL 227
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

For King of the Mountains (Polka Dot) Nairo Alexander Quitana Rojas gained 2 points on Chris Froome with yesterday’s performance and Riblon and Van Garderen moved into contention.

King of the Moutains

Rank Name Team Points
1 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING 104
2 QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander MOVISTAR TEAM 97
3 RIBLON Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE 77
4 IEVE ITURRALDE Mikel EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 63
5 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC RACING TEAM 62
6 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin KATUSHA TEAM 59
7 MOSER Moreno CANNONDALE 58
8 ROLLAND Pierre TEAM EUROPCAR 51
9 PORTE Richie SKY PROCYCLING 48

In Team Competition Radioshack had a terrible day, dropping about 11 minutes.  On the strength of Riblon’s victory (and of course his team mates performances) the French team AG2R moved into 2nd place and Katusha of Russia, while still under 1 hour behind overall, moved back toward the pack.

Team

Rank Team Time
1 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 212h 29′ 26”
2 AG2R LA MONDIALE + 06′ 05”
3 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD + 12′ 29”
4 MOVISTAR TEAM + 24′ 33”
5 BELKIN PRO CYCLING + 28′ 37”
6 KATUSHA TEAM + 48′ 06”

I must say that given the strength of Quitana Rojas I have newfound respect for the performance of the other young riders in contention for the White Jersey.

Young Rider

Rank Name Team Time
1 QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander MOVISTAR TEAM 71h 07′ 51”
2 KWIATKOWSKI Michal OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP + 09′ 06”
3 TALANSKY Andrew GARMIN – SHARP + 10′ 52”
4 BARDET Romain AG2R LA MONDIALE + 25′ 13”

Today’s Stage 19, Bourg-d’Oisans to Le Grand-Bornand, may actually be the toughest of the Alpine Stages especially considering the effort expended yesterday.  It has 2 Beyond Category climbs, 2 Category 1s and a Category 2.

It is raining on and off and there is water on track which might make for some tricky descents.

Today and tomorrow are the only racing days left so if riders are going to make a move, now is the time.  Given Froome’s difficulty on Alpe Huez it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he could break down and give back a chunk of time though I’ll not kid you, 5 minutes is a lot.

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