Oh my, what a day! Highs and lows, crashes and recoveries and abandons.
- Biggest Low: Froome out 😦 For whatever reason, I’m no fan of Froome, but I felt a little teary when I saw him crash, then climb into the car. It always sucks to see a big contender pull the plug.
- And cue the chorus of people proclaiming “Where’s Wiggo now??” In my opinion, Sky still made the right choice by not bringing Wiggo. It never works to have 2 team leaders along- and if you think Wiggins wouldn’t have forced there to be two team leaders, then you’re delusional!
- And it looks like Sky already has a Plan B: Richie Porte. He stepped up today and is 8th overall!
- Let’s talk for a minute about what an awesome job Jakob Fuglsang did today! He worked hard at the front to make sure Nibali stayed out of trouble AND helped Nibali gain quite a bit of time!
- There was some chatter exclaiming how surprising it was that Nibali was doing well in the crap weather. I’m not sure where that was coming from, as I’ve always thought of Nibali as a poor weather rider- he doesn’t seem affected by any weather at all! And today was no exception.
- And the debate rages on: should stages like this be neutralized? Tejay said something interesting in an interview– when asked if stages like this should be included, he shrugged and said “That’s for the viewers to decide”, which to me seems like an odd comment- shouldn’t the RIDERS decide what’s safe to ride in? I’d like to see more collective action by the rider, like on the 4th stage of the Giro, where the riders protested racing in crap conditions, and neutralized the first 100km. I have no idea what should have been done, but I was happy they at least took out 2 sections of cobbles- even though it wasn’t the cobbles that caused most of the crashes!
- Speaking of Tejay and crashes- poor Tejay did crash 😦 Sad to see that happen and hopefully it won’t affect his overall performance!
- I was a bit surprised that Sagan and Cancellara weren’t up there to contest the final sprint. What happened there? I clearly wasn’t paying close enough attention. But it seemed to me that either a) they got caught out and missed the break or b) left it too late to chase the lead group back. Either way, would have been pretty cool to see those two duke it out! And actually, I think I really wanted Fabian to win today!
We recap Omloop Het Niewsblad and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. We AGAIN spend a lot of time talking about Sky, Bradley Wiggins and EBH. And we introduce our new segment: The Yankees Corner! This week we feature Tejay Van Garderen [VeloNews interview] and Andrew Talansky [CyclingNews interview].
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Well, another Tour has come and gone. I missed having any “deep thoughts” for the last few stages, but here are some thoughts as we mull over the race we just left and look forward to the races on the horizon.
There are some who have nothing good to say about this race. There are others who have only good things to say about this race. Myself, I have pretty mixed feelings about this race. As happy as I am to see Nibali on the podium, it’s all a bit bittersweet, what with how everything went down. I was simultaneously elated and frustrated by Nibali’s attempts to break Wiggins and Sky- I was happy to see him try, but frustrated by Sky’s strength that would never let him succeed. I was disappointed it wasn’t more of battle for yellow, but I’m happy to see Wiggins in yellow (despite how it may seem!).
Another part of my dissatisfaction was that on the surface, it was a pretty boring race. The same team controlled the yellow jersey for 2 weeks and even the battle for the other jerseys wasn’t much. However, there was still plenty of drama if you looked beyond the action on the road. But this drama wasn’t “fun” drama- it was stress inducing drama (at least for me!) There was perceived Wiggins/Froome tension on team Sky; doping dramas with Cofidis and Frank Schleck; tacks; debates about Tejay’s “abandonment” of Cadel; Rolland’s attack of the peloton; Twitter drama; overzealous Wiggins/Sky fans attacking anyone who dared speak ill words; Wiggin’s infamous use of the “c” word, etc. So, yes, the parcours was boring. Yes, Sky controlled the race with an iron fist. Yes, the podium was decided days and days before the final TT. But the Tour is so much more than just the race. As Jeff has said over and over, it’s more than just what’s going on the road. It’s also about what surrounds the race. And while what was happening on the road was pretty boring, what was happening off the course was anything but. And I’m not sure that drama really helped me enjoy the race any more.
As the Tour finished, I can’t say I had positive feelings overall. I was frustrated by Nibali’s brave, but ultimately unsuccessful, bids to displace Wiggins and Froome. I was worn out from defending my dislike of Sky/Wiggins to those on Twitter who thought I was wrong. I was shocked by all the vitriol and insanity I saw from normally sane people. I was disappointed by the lack of respect many people had on Twitter for others. While I will remember this Tour, I think I will remember it for all the wrong reasons.