Friday Group Ride #174

Corsica Mountain Road

My takeaways from the first week of the 100th Tour de France are as follows: 1) Corsica is beautiful, and despite the narrow, nervous, crashy, not-altogether-organized nature of the opening stages there, I need to put it on my “Places I Need to Ride My Bike” list; 2) As always, there are some tough sons-a-bitches in that peloton, including three of my favorites, Ryder Hesjedal, Ted King and Geraint Thomas; and 3) the sprint competition is going to be more fun to watch than usual, with Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan, Simon Gerrans and Mark Cavendish all taking sprint wins (and intermediate points) through the first week.

When you toss in that Daryl Impey has just become the first African to wear the yellow jersey, it is hard to argue that this version of the Grande Boucle lacks for drama, grit and flair.

You will note that I have not yet even mentioned the GC competition (Impey is in yellow, but he is not in the GC mix). On that score, rather than attempting anything resembling expert prognostication, a task better left to the right honorable Pelkey and/or his Irish partner in crime, I will only say that Nicolas Roche, Roman Kreuziger, Alejandro Valverde and a whole gaggle of Garmins are still comfortably within touching distance of the top.

That means, to me, that weeks two and possibly three will have more real players involved in the struggle for the jaundiced shirt than past iterations of this race have allowed. So that’s cool.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what is the story of this Tour for you so far? What are the surprises? What magic is yet to come? Take this wherever you want, the Tour does not submit itself to easy reduction. We could, quite possibly, talk about this all day. So start now.

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  1. Sam

    My story? The Underdog. Ted King, Daryl Impey, Simon Gerrans, and Jan Bakelants were either completely unknown or on the fringe for a win, but earned deserved attention.

  2. Patrick O'Brien

    You want magic? Try climbing Alpe d Huez twice in one day. Stage 18 will sort thing out. Do you come from the land down under?

  3. Peter Kelley

    Corsica was my eye opener. I had no idea it was so big, mountainous, or beautiful. I’ve been checking out ever since…

  4. scaredskinnydog

    Insights into this years tour: (so far)
    1- Tony martin is one tough mofo.
    2- Andre Greipel would run his own mother over to win a sprint.
    3- If I was Johnny Hoogerland and there was a fence on one side of the road I would ride on the complete opposite side of the road.
    4- Aussie’s know how to have a good time.
    5- I’m really gonna miss Jensie!

  5. Patrick O'Brien

    Well, maybe not that down under but a little further to the West. Like about halfway to South America.

  6. Wisco

    In no particular order:

    1) Columbian cycling is back
    2) Movistar rocks
    3) Sagan again shows that he can win anywhere short of the big mountains
    4) Greipel is a nice guy. Watching him thank his teammates after they decided to shut down the chase was really a class act
    5) Andy Schleck is not going to be with Trek next year

    Enjoying the end of today’s stage as we speak

  7. rashadabd

    A few things that I have enjoyed thus far are seeing Schleck actually be competitive again, seeing Garmin go attack crazy for a stage (I really think that’s when they are at their best), and watching Movistar shine (they have been a ton of fun to follow in the mountains thus far).

  8. Souleur

    i’m still trying to figure out why Bianchi gave away the celeste to Trek..the cosmos is literally crumbling before our eyes

    nonetheless, never doubt little colombians on a mtn day
    never doubt someone whose name starts with Chris and ends in Froome

    its refreshing to see a Tour where most of the peloton appears human

  9. Fuzznsmoo

    It’s refreshing to see good days followed by bad days – regression to the mean. It makes me think the peleton is much cleaner. Back to the future after 100 years.

  10. MQ

    At the risk of being “that guy” I would think it pertinent to discuss Chris Froome’s ascent of AX 3 Domaines, third fastest in history which puts him in some suspicious company. Whether he’s on the juice or not, the fact remains its an incredible performance, its a shame that we just can’t tell if he’s clean because I really want to think nice things about that performance.

    My hat also has to go off to Richie Porte for absolutely burying himself for Froome. Some great sporting camaraderie this year with that and Simon Gerrans gifting Darryl Impey the yellow jersey (even though he fully deserved to wear it).

  11. Les Borean

    To my reasoning Froome is absolved. Had he been on the juice I think he’d have eased up and not put FIFTY-ONE seconds between himself and the next rider. Just to dispel suspicions.

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