Friday Group Ride #271

Friday Group Ride #271

Are you watching this Tour? That really, in essence, is this week’s Group Ride. I’ve talked to so many throughout my bike business day who are not watching, who are no longer interested, but wow, the Tour.

Fabian Cancellara in yellow. Fabian Cancellara with a broken back. Tony Martin in yellow. Tony Martin with a broken collarbone. Beware Chris Froome, the French pavement eats pro bones and spits out maillots jaunes.

Peter Sagan in second place, seemingly in every stage and now also in the GC, with Tejay van Garderen in third, even after I said last week on this very site that I didn’t think Tejay had any chance at all. He’s not the first to make me look dumb, and he won’t be the last.

Daniel Teklehaimanot, of Eritrea, became the first African rider to wear the polka-dotted jersey.

Andre Greipel won a couple of stages, narrowly edging Sagan for the green jersey, but then, just today, Mark Cavendish came around the German to prove he’s not out of the game just yet.

We have Contador, Gesink, Mollema, Nibali, Kreuziger, Valverde, Quintana, Rodriguez, Peraud and Bardet all within two minutes of the lead, with the road yet to turn upward in earnest. A lot of these GC boys have been on the ground in a typically nervous first week, too, nursing the kinds of body pain that can cost a podium finish as it accumulates over three weeks.

Are you watching this Tour? Do you think Froome is already home and dry? Will Sagan overtake Greipel for green? Is Cav still in with a shout? If you’ve been watching, what has been the story of the race for you so far? With the TTT coming up, which team is best positioned to gain time going into week two, especially now that Cancellara and Martin are out?

Image: Jérémy-Günther-Heinz Jähnick / Cambrai – Tour de France, étape 4, 7 juillet 2015, arrivée (B14) / Wikimédia France & Wikimedia Commons

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  1. cash

    I am, but not obsessively (like I do the Broncos … get to training camp DT!). Awesome, dramatic, fun racing so far. The stages seem a little shorter which I think has made the racing more interesting. And I love the addition of the cobbles. Yes, please; more, more, more. My fantasy Tdf has taken a hit. After first feeling smug with Cancellara in yellow (he was a sentimental addition) he goes down, broken and done. Then, another fanboy pick, Luca Paolini, out for a positive for – of all things – cocaine. I love this stuff.

    I’m with you on Teejay, although he too is on my fantasy team. But for personal reasons. He went to high school in my city. And, years ago, I was riding the local MUT when I come upon a skinny kid in full kit just noodling down the path. This was before he was particularly well known and I didn’t immediately recognize him. We chatted for a bit; I told him he was living the dream (little did I know) and he politely demurred, as if to say, “yeah, I know.” Anyway, brief encounter. Seemed like a nice kid. I actually rode away from him because I needed to get home (responsibilities and all, far from living the dream). So, I’m a fan. Maybe in a few years he will be a clear contender. He’s still young.

  2. Paul

    Yes, I’m definitely watching the Tour. I catch a little of the show in the morning, walk the dog to ‘The Cycling Podcast’ and catch the race mainly through live ticker and twitter. I’ll watch a little of the recorded show in the evening too.

    Rooting for Tejay van Garderen too though I wouldn’t bet on him. I’m not a betting person anyway, but just don’t get the troll-ish mocking that other fans should only root for guaranteed winners.

    Definitely the biggest story so far has been Tony Martin. Race has been going well for Froome, and Alberto Contador has been quiet (and Contador’s probably happy about that, ready to ambush.)

  3. Ron

    Of course I’m watching! Why wouldn’t I? Maybe not as much as during the Disco/USPS days, but I watch. I’ve noticed that after the Lance thing went down it became kind of uncool to pay attention to pro cycling. I watch to see if the new generation of sprinters have passed Cav by. I watch to see if Sagan can shove green or even yellow (if only for a couple of days) up Oleg’s ass. I watch to see if Tejay can dictate instead of just follow. However, the Jens babble is tough to take on a nightly basis. But it’s your sport…WATCH!

  4. Quentin

    For me, it’s the same as it has been for a few years now: I think I’m too busy and I just don’t care enough to pay much attention, and then the race starts and I get sucked in all over again. The lack of a clear favorite does make this year’s race a bit more interesting. I think BMC will win the TTT. Whether it puts Tejay in yellow looks like a toss-up to me.

  5. Michael

    Living in Yurp this year so it is easier to watch than in previous years. My daughter comes to watch the last bit each day with me, and even my wife is interested. I like watching Cav get beat – never liked his petulance – but he IS an impressive sprinter. Still, I find sprint stage finishes the least interesting, so I loved Tony Martin’s and Zdenek Stybar’s wins. And of course the Mur de Huy. I DON’T like all the crashes even though I like the classics feel of several stages. Perhaps there is something to the idea of trimming the field a little bit so they can race the classics but without some of the random danger.

    But yes – the tour is still a great race to watch, and this year perhaps more than most.

  6. Paul Tober

    Watching right now. It’s an exiting race so far. If Peter Sagan will stop doing his Raymond Poulidor impersonation he’ll be in green or maybe yellow (I would hope that then Mr. Tinkoff would STFU).

    Too much crashing! Both Sparticus and Martin are out because of the stupidest of category IV moves. The peleton isn’t to big, rather the riders aren’t paying attention and are not showing consideration for their fellow competitors.

  7. Bruce Mackey

    I’m watching the Tour with great interest! I think it’s the best year ever for coverage and the action has been very dramatic. I am rooting for Tejay, a very nice young man who is coming into his own. I can hardly wait for the mountains to see which GC boys will prove their mettle and those battles should be fun. Our prayers are with those injured for their speedy recovery but it was great that Tony Martin at least got into the yellow before disaster struck. Overall an outstanding Tour so far.

  8. Don Jagoe

    Simply a great race this year. I don’t know how any cyclist could not be thoroughly sucked in to this each day.

    I am really pulling for TJ. I like his manner and I would not mind having an American rider in yellow at all. Great first week with the mountains to come. Yee-hah!

  9. Jay

    I follow the Tour daily. I haven’t watched as much on TV, but there are other outlets available such as Steephill.TV, etc. I think that BMC has the best chance to win the TTT as they seem to have the strongest team at this juncture. If they win Tejay will be in Yellow.

  10. mechaNICK

    Yes, I am watching. Froome doesn’t have the GC jersey in the bag yet, but Sky does have a way of running away with things. I hope that there’s a big shakeup when we hit the steeps, Sky’s brand of racing is rather boring to watch. BMC does a similar thing, but van Garderen seems a little more believable. Maybe I’m just being biased ‘cos he’s an American. It seemed like Froome could’ve done the whole TTT today faster if he didn’t have to wait for everyone else… that was weird.

    In the fight for green, Cav is licked; there aren’t enough sprinters’ stages left for him to make up the deficit. I’ll bet that Sagan will end up wearing green – Greipel isn’t quick enough uphill, so Peter will catch him. Degenkolb will place high on the list, but I don’t think he’ll end up on the middle step of that contest.

    As for the next week, I think that Sky is exactly where they want to be. BMC will work hard to keep Tejay in contention, let’s hope that Tejay doesn’t get caught behind any silliness – I don’t think he has the snap to make up any big losses should they arise. Movistar is likely to put on a show of heroics to bring Quintana back into contention, and I wouldn’t count Valverde out of a high-placement either. Nibali will probably go backwards in the first half of the week, considering his “dead legs” and recent fall, but he’ll probably launch a surprise on his rivals by the end of the week. He’s a pretty savvy racer and goes downhill like a falling stone.

    As far as the crashes this year, and I have no data to back this up, it all seems pretty standard. There are always a ton of crashes in the first week – this year’s just seem dumber. They all have happened on flat, boring, stretches of road. If I were Frrome, I may worry though, that jersey seems to be hexed.

  11. Tom in Albany

    Definitely watching. Froome hasn’t won anything, yet. Tejay hasn’t proven anything, yet. Sagan can win the Green but, he’ll have to do it in the mountains, and guys like Degenkolb will keep messing with him. And, as always, there’s the pavement. Hopefully, crashes don’t decide this thing but, it wouldn’t be a shock to see us lose someone else thanks to blacktop.

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