Friday Group Ride #272

Friday Group Ride #272

You get used to the first week of the Tour being full of crashes and chaos, but I don’t recall a week that saw two yellow jerseys crash out and many, many more of the top names abandon. At this point, Cancellara and Martin are out, but so are Alex Dowsett, Simon Gerrans, William Bonnet, Tom Dumoulin, Daryl Impey, Michael Albasini, Nacer Bouhanni, Jack Bauer, Greg Henderson, Ivan Basso, Danielle Bennati, Johan Vansummeren, Rui Costa, Rein Taaramae and a handful of others. I won’t mention Luca Paolini’s cocaine positive (oops!), and technically, though he did hit the ground, Basso actually has testicular cancer.

Team Sky is doing that thing where they strangle the race from the front, with Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas ever present in the GC group with Chris Froome, the maillot jaune. Despite attacks from Contador, Quintana, Nibali and even Alejandro Valverde, Sky hasn’t budged. It means less for me to say it, because he’s my Welsh favorite, but I’ve been most impressed with Thomas’ work. It can’t be ignored that Froome himself covered several of the attacks on Stage 12 to Plateau de Beille.

Meanwhile, Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan have swapped the Green Jersey a few times. Sagan hasn’t won a stage, but he’s finished second three times and third twice. Greipel has looked fastest for top end speed.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what for you is the story of the Tour so far? Is it the failing challenges of Nibali and Contador? Is it the surprising form of Tejay Vangarderen? Is it Daniel Teklehaimanot’s short turn in polka-dots? Is it Mark Cavendish’s failure to be there or thereabouts when the finish is flat? Is it the media’s obsession with the possibility that Froome is doping?

Image: Wikimedia – Pymouss

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  1. Michael

    Purito! I love watching that guy explode up the hills, like at Mur de Huy, but he also has great tenacity and can keep going at impressive rates up long hills. He doesn’t need to win a grand tour to be great. And he is Catalan and doesn’t get mad that they spell (and mis-pronounce) his name Joaquin instead of Joaquim. That and having my wife and daughter come around to watch Teklehaimanot put on the polka dots that first evening. That transcends cycling-the-sport and becomes the-world-of-cycling.

  2. Pat O'Brien

    It is the tactical game being played by Quintana and Movistar. Don’t crash, don’t expend too much energy, maintain a team of 9, do just enough in the TTT and almost win it, and wait for the Alps. I think the tour will be decided in the Alps, and I think Quintana will show them why growing up at altitude, and training there before the tour, matters.

  3. Jay

    I don’t think that Froome and Sky have this one in the bag. I believe that the real action will come in the Alps. Quintana seems to be only testing Froome at this point. He is probably waiting to deliver a decisive attack.

    1. Michael

      Hey Jay, I am not sure I can believe that any rider, no matter how good, would be toying with Froome. I can see that he would be planning some attacks in the Alps, but I don’t think he has been holding back in the Pyrenees or the transition stages. I certainly agree that Froome does not have this in the bag, though. Looking forward to the Alps. Alpe d’Huez will be a great stage. Would love to see a South American win!

  4. Fearless Kevin

    Live in CA. Root for home state San Luis Obispo registered Highroad Project since 2008. My Tour stories:
    Grand Tour Adam “Eat Pain for
    Breakfast” Hanson quest for 12th consecutive Grand Tour finish- Separated shoulder ? So What.
    Green Jersey John Degenkolb-The Man for Giant absent Kittel. Sagan response “So What”.
    GC Podium TJ van Garderen-Looked a possibility after Dauphine. GO TJ !
    Sprints-Little dude pops out from the giants, butt high, head low. Cav Love !
    GO TJ, Tyler Farrar Top 10 Sprint finish, Andrew Talansky promise.
    Laurens Ten Dam crashes, separates shoulder, reported Abandon. Dam finds someone to pop shoulder back in, rides to finish. Still riding. Surprise ? No. Crashed on his face in 2011 Tour, busted his beak, blood all over bike, kit, face and gauze wrapped around his face. Finished stage and Tour. Check on my 2015 Shoulder Boys Hanson and Ten Dam daily. Broken nose, separated shoulders “So What”

  5. Fearless Kevin

    Stories of the Tour
    PANZERWAGON-Classic Tragedy. Favorite Tony Martin finishes 2nd in opening ITT, stays 2nd because of Finish Time Bonuses day after day. Wins Cobbles Stage on ill fitting teammates bike for First Yellow in career. Crashes out next day as teammate wins stage. Agony !
    QUEBEKA-Fantasy ! Wildcard Continental Team invite rides into Polka Dots same day Martin crashes out followed by an outright Stage Win on Mandela Day. Sponsor provides bikes for African poor. On 2nd Rest Day only Moviestar is ahead in Team Competition ! Ecstasy !
    SAGANATOR-Action ! “Unchain these Pedals and set me Freeeee” ! Transition Stages Alberto, I’m outa here. Initiates breakaway 3 straight stages, piles up enough points to end Green Jersey Competition. Combative!
    Yup ! Been following Tour. Thanks for asking. Super exciting, great daily stories, best Tour in years ! Bring on the Alps, may the best rider win with more exciting action. PODIUM TJ !

  6. Scott Hembree

    The story of the first week for me (writing this after the Tour has ended) was that Daniel T was in the climber’s jersey waiving the Eritrea flag and not one said a word about what is going on in Eritrea where people who disagree disappear or are tortured and the general climate in fear. It’s like black lives matter only when white people are oppressing them but we turn a blind eye when it’s a black regime doing the oppressing.

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