Nibali is sending a message. And that message is “Oh, you’re going to attack me? That’s cool, as long as you don’t mind me attacking you right back SO HARD your face will fall off and then I’ll go win the stage for fun. So, you know, go ahead and attack me!”
- However happy I am that Nibali won another stage, I do kind of wish he would have let either Majka or Koening get the win. I’m often of two minds about ‘giving away the win’, but for someone who’s already got two stages AND will most likely win the overall, the win might not mean as much as someone from a smaller team or someone who’s a domestique.
- Pretty sad to see Porte drop out the back I liked him and enjoyed watching him get some time in the spotlight.
- Tejay was pretty great today! Was impressed with his climbing and the way he stuck with Bardet. He’s now moved up to 5th!! Maybe he could move up into 3rd? But the French are strong right now- will be a battle to topple them, I think.
- I’ve seen a little chatter on my timeline about how some people think, after seeing Nibali perform, that Froome or Contador being there wouldn’t have made a difference. I disagree to a point- who knows what could’ve been. It’s all coulda, woulda, shoulda at this point. I think fitness-wise, he’s a good match to Bert and Froome. But he would have to pit his Astana team against the super strong Sky and Saxo teams. And I’m less sure his team would have been up to battling those teams.
My, oh my, oh my. What a game-changer today- and not in the way we all hoped 😦
- Leading with the big news: Contador is out. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation as to what happened. I’ve heard broken bike and that seem confirmed, as I saw a picture. But how it broke is another story- some say pebble/gravel, others said pothole. I heard Nicholas Roche’s bike feel off the car, causing Bert to crash…! Regardless of how it happened, Contador broke his femur in that crash. What is even MORE unbelievable is that he rode 18km or so on said broken leg!
- Who knows what is going to happen with the race now. Either a) Nibali racks up a huge lead and “cruises” to Paris or b) the other GC hopefuls will see this as their chance and attack! I’m hoping for the latter, just so the race is more exciting. Even though I want Nibali to win 😉
- Well, something has lit a fire under J-Rod’s ass! This was the most animated I’ve seen him in AGES. Perhaps his plan all along was to lose so much time that the GC guys would let him get away to collect KOM points. “mwhaha, my plan is working!!” Tommy Voeckler tried to give him a run for his money, but Rodriguez said “I don’t THINK so, amigo.”
- The Rodriguez decided KOM wasn’t enough (greedy bastard) and thought he’d take the stage. However, Nibali, smelling the yellow jersey in Paris was finally in his grasp, said “I don’t THINK so, amico!” He was leaving nothing to chance and rode Rodriguez down like a dog to make sure the jersey was firmly in his grasp. I had pretty mixed feelings about that, as I wanted Rodriguez to have the stage- mainly because I feel sorry for him. And you could tell Rodriguez was like, “Let’s work together and please can I have the stage?” but Nibali was all like “Ciao, bitches”.
- It was fascinating to watch Nibali’s tactics change as the situation changed. Clearly, yesterday he was preparing himself and his team for battle against Saxo and Contador by giving up the responsibility of the yellow jersey. But the minute Contador wasn’t a threat any more, Nibali was like “MINE! GIVE IT BACK!”
- So the race is either wide open or shut DOWN. The next few mountain stages will tell us if anyone can be a serious threat to Nibali!
- Oh and to end on a happy note, Tejay seemed in good form! He looked good on the last climb, hanging with the group.
Looks like there was a little testing going on today! Contador did a little attack to see where that got him and while Nibali was able to keep up, i think Contador was testing him…
- Some weird weather today. Decent weather, then they rode right into some nasty rain! Then cleared up again, then raining again- gross. I’ll admit i’ve never minded riding in the rain, but I’ve never had to ride 3 hours with wet shoes and chamois.
- Never did I guess this would happen in this Tour- torn between Contador and Nibali! It feels so weird to be rooting against Contador, but… I have to admit I am!
- So Contador attacks on the last climb. Nibali follows right with him and is on his wheel the whole way up. However, he faded in the last few meters and looked pretty wrecked once he crossed the line. I’m not sure he would have kept up on a longer climb. But, his climbing style is different than Contador’s- Contador is a bit more explosive. I don’t think this stage shows Contador for sure as the overall winner, but it will make the mountains interesting.
- It was so interesting to see those two climbing next to each other- Contador is a standing climbing and Nibali is a seated, grinding climber. Nibali’s style reminds me a bit of Cadel, but perhaps a little less grimace-y.
- Richie Porte was impressive! Stayed close to those two when most couldn’t! Maybe Team Sky’s plan b will work out..
- Talansky crashed again- things not looking good for him!
- Tejay was with the front group and even though he wasn’t able ot keep up with the front three, he was able to make up time and is now in the top 10.
- Right now I could see the podium being Contador, Nibali, Porte. But we’ve still got 2 weeks left and we’ve barely had a taste of the climbing to come!
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!
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!
[note: sorry the audio is a mess. My computer wasn’t cooperating!]
We have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for news this week, but we’re not really complaining- it’s nice to have no scandals to talk about!
- Tinkov buys Saxo Bank [CyclingNews]
- Nibali says Froome was stronger when he was riding for Wiggins [Cycling Weekly]
- Looks like Fuglsang will have to play second fiddle again next year [CyclingNews]
- A victim of the buyers market – Baden Cooke [Velo Nation]
- Bruyneel takes his toys and goes homes [VeloNation]
- WADA adopts bans up to 4 years [road.cc]
- Anna gives her thoughts on The Armstrong Lie
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We wrap up the Giro by talking about our picks for highs and lows of the race. We also speculate as to who has control of Lance Armstrong’s Twitter account, as he’s being too nice- Jeff is convinced it’s cheap labor from Asia now that he can’t afford PR staff.
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As the first week of the Giro is done and dusted, we take a look all the happenings in this week’s episdoe!
Some GIRO! highlights:
- Jeff details what it is about Cadel that bothers him, but we both agree if we had to choose between Cuddles and Wiggo, we’d chose Cuddles.
- Jeff is convinced Wiggins has something up his sleeve. Anna is not.
- We try not to get too excited by Cadel.
- Gesink replaces Denis Mechov as the new Silent Assassin.
- We want to talk to a fantasy cycling guru! We’re both amateurs at this, if you’re road.cc fantasy cycling wiz, let us know!
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