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