As promised, back again this week! We come up with a new format for deciding the world champ (hint, it involves ALL the bike skills, not just one), Anna does a dramatic reading, and we come up with a fictional show where Peter Sagan and Tony Martin are besties.
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The most exciting part of the day was waiting to see if any crosswinds would split the peloton! Sadly (from the viewers perspective, anyway!), the crosswinds weren’t strong enough to bother anyone except those dangling off the back.
- The Invisible Man was visible today! Andre Griepel has been mostly MIA recently- but today the Gorilla was back! It was good to see him mug again. Although, I’ll admit I was rooting for Renshaw!
- There were a fair number of crashes but the most serious seemed to be a crash involving Jesus Hernandez- it looks like he had to abandon because of a concussion. This is a bit of a blow to Contador, because Hernandez was a big climbing asset.
- Sky also didn’t have a great day- Zandio abandoned as well.
- The way Giant Shimano was controlling the head of the race, I wonder if it’s the new HTC! However, by 5km to go, Giant was nowhere to be seen. Instead it was the former couple all over the front- Lotto and Omega Pharma. I couldn’t believe Giant had let the lead go, but it seems while the crosswinds weren’t quite enough to tear the peloton apart, they were enough to tear Kittel apart!
- For half a second, I thought Kwiatkwoski was going to make it! Although I’m a little confused why he went- weren’t they riding for Renshaw? I’m still don’t always understand tactics! Perhaps it was to draw out the other teams to chasing him down?
- My favorite part of the stage was everyone talking about how awesome Nibali was yesterday 😀 Welcome to the fan club!
As much as we would like to, we can’t not talk about Lance this week. Marianne and Anna decide Jeff’s plan is to be “travelling” whenever there might be a Lance episode. We dissect the #Doprah interview, ponder how rider’s personality reflect their culture, Anna rants about 1 week races, and we also find time to talk about actual bike racing going on now!
- Poll: Interview didn’t help Lance! [VeloNation]
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Today wasn’t as boring as yesterday, but, as another transition stage, it didn’t hot up until the last 30km or so. First it was a Classic style climb- short and steep. And totally awesome to see. Watching the guys climb up that hill made my legs BURN!
- Today was Cadel’s day to try and break away. Mainly I was just excited to see that his legs weren’t as dead as we thought. It looks like stage 11 was just an off day. Or least I hope so. That was awesome thing #1.
- Awesome thing #2: Markov’s breakaway
- Awesome thing #3: Vino’s sadly unsuccessful breakaway attempt.
- Awesome thing #4: Bradley’s leadout of EBH
- Awesome thing that didn’t happen: Sagan’s new victory salute. He was beaten fair and square by Greipel and the Lotto train.
Before we get started, we talk about why we skipped a week and why were not doing daily Tour podcasts (you can stop crying now). But then we plug some podcasts that are doing daily updates, namely ITV Cycling (with Ned Boulting and Matt Rendall of Real Peloton fame) and Velocast. Inner Ring offers some other options, as well.
- Fuglsang might go back to SaxoBank (link) which leads Bruyneel to say fine, no more WorldTour races for you (link). We discuss why Bruyneel shouldn’t be seen as the bad guy, the UCI should.
- Alex Rasmussen is given an 18 month ban by CAS for whereabouts violations (link) and we talk about why, as much as we hate it, it makes sense.
- USADA officially charges Lance, others (link) and witnesses are supposedly leaked (link)
- After I complain about how boring this first week has been, Jeff lectures on me why that isn’t a bad thing and tells me to get over myself. Inner Ring seems to agree with him. We talk about Sagan and his salutes, how Cav beat Griepel and doesn’t seem to have any lead out, and how Lotto might be the new HTC train.
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Between having some serious live stream issues and, frankly, being flat-staged out, I stopped watching with about 20km to go, right after the big crash.
- Most of the same today- flat, but with a one categorized climb to spice things up. Plus a massive crash. Although I’m sure that wasn’t in the race book.
- Again, the bunch waited until the last minute to catch the break. Dave Zabraskie and his #69 was the last holdout.
- The crash that happened at 18km to go was strange- from the back it look exactly like crashes that had happened on previous stages. Robbie Hunter in his national championship kit was even there. It felt like Groundhog Day for crashes.
- It also seemed like no one was in a great hurry to get up and going- I didn’t feel any sense of urgency. It was strange.
- However, despite that impression, it was a game changing crash. Lots of big riders were back there, with lots of questions being asked as to why they were back there. And apparently, Frank Schleck, who was caught up, had no teammates come back and help him. That’s what happens when you declare yourself a non-leader and when you’re on a team that doesn’t know its ass from its elbow.
- Should Garmin have been so grouped together so far back? Maybe not. But, not everyone can be off the front. And Garmin really didn’t have much reason to be at the front, what with Dave in the break- it wasn’t up to them to chase it down. I’d say they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- I saw some talk about this year being overly dangerous and crash-ridden. I would disagree. I think last year had way more crashes, and lot more top riders going out all over the place. Not to be cavalier about it, but the crashes this year feel mostly par for the course for a grand tour. That said, no crash is a good crash, and I’d rather see a race without them.
- But let’s talk about that finish! Again, Lotto was up their with the train! To no avail, however, as Sagan latched on the end of the train and was able to shoot around Griepel at the finish. His salute of choice was the Hulk. Appropriate, since he’s wearing all green.
- Let the climbing commence! (even though I don’t really think tomorrow will be anything explosive. Still too early)
- Word of the day: SNORE. I wonder, are the riders as bored as we are? Or do they like these types of stages?
- It got so bad, the Eurosport commentators were reduced to talking about church bombings during wars, book recommendations, and national championship kits. At about 20km to go, they finally got back to commenting on what was happening on the road.
- I think Harmon and Kirby are just as bad as Phil and Paul. I find Harmon to be super condescending. I don’t know if it’s just the way he talks or his actual attitude, but he drives me crazy.
- Is Lotto becoming the new HTC lead out train?? It sure seems that way .
- DAMNIT I wanted Goss to get it!
- I found it a bit ironic that the only elevation in the stage seemed to happen right before the finish line, thus making it less of a pure sprinter finish.
- And ohmigod I can’t wait for Saturday. A GC with no mix ups is a boring GC.