Friday Group Ride #318

Friday Group Ride #318

There is only one topic today. It is French and three weeks long. The main contenders are not French. They are Kenyan, Spanish and Colombian. I won’t be in France this month, because I am neither fast enough to be invited, nor wealthy enough to invite myself.

First, Chris Froome, the Kenyan/Brit. As the leader of Team Sky and defending champ, he is the favorite. He knows how to win this race, what it takes (having done it twice), and has Geraint Thomas to protect him everywhere the road isn’t steep, the Mikels,, Landa and Nieve, as well as Sergio Henao to pull him up the steeps. If Sky execute their plan, Froome will win his third Tour.

Of course, the Spaniard, Alberto Contador, has won the Tour thrice twice, also, BUT he only really has Roman Kreuziger to help him when the going gets UP, and he has the problem of the team working for Peter Sagan at least some of the time. Sagan has the challenge of trying to repeat his Green Jersey heroics in possibly the deepest sprint field (minus Nacer Bouhanni) in a long time. Mark Cavendish might not be what he was, but he has Bernie Eisel, Mark Renshaw, and Edvald Boasson-Hagen delivering him to the final 200m, so it’s hard to bet against him.

The Colombian, Nairo Quintana, is the wild card in the deck. He has the ever-strong Alejandro Valverde as a capable lieutenant, but the rest of the team probably doesn’t stack up to Team Sky. Quintana will be forced to follow wheels and look for his opportunities. Having said that, he’s an immensely strong climber and likeably stone-faced feature at the front of peloton. I’m rooting for him.

On the outside looking in you have BMC’s Tejay van Garderen with wingman Richie Porte, Astana with Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali, and Pierre Rolland, the top French prospect. I would love to see one of these guys turn over the apple cart and ride away with the maillot jaune, but experience tells us it’s unlikely.

This week’s Group Ride, perhaps too predictably, asks, who will win the 2016 Tour de France? Let’s try who AND why actually. I say Froome will win because he has the experience and the strongest team. I say Cav will take the Green Jersey, because putting a middle finger up to those who doubt him is a supreme motivator for a guy some think can’t dominate at the top anymore. Finally, I’ll ask, how will you watch this Tour? Live Update Guy? Television? Internet? I’m curious how many of us have moved to non-televised outlets for our July entertainment.

Image: Heidas (Wikimedia)

 

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9 comments

  1. Scott Gilbert

    Quintana because he’ll get a late attack in on the last few days in the mountains and catch Froome out. I’ll be watching via Internet. I’d rather listen to Eurosport commentary.

  2. Scott G.

    Watching dvr-ed NBC, otherwise I’ll go mad from the commercial repetition.
    Rooting for Nairo, hoping for a non-boring Tour*
    *Meaning something happens other than small attacks in the last 5k of
    mountain top finish stages.

  3. miles archer

    ditto Scott G on all points. Also rooting for Sagan to steal some stages (I haven’t studied the program, so maybe this is foolish). I don’t think he can take Cav if there’s a well organized lead out.

    I can’t stand Contador and his tainted meat.

  4. Jay

    I think Quntana will take the top podium step, he’s matured and is capable of beating Froome on the climbs and the ITTs are not a liability for him. Additionally, his Movistar team is much stronger than you give them credit for.
    I will mostly watch the Tour on NBC, but will also watch Eurosport video on Steephill.tv.

  5. Lyford

    Rooting for Quintana, would love to see Rolland steal a stage, but Froome is the rational choice.

    Will follow with Tour Tracker app, Cycling News live text, and the official TDF page. Video after the fact on Steephill.

  6. Pat O'Brien

    Also rooting for Quintana. Never bet against the man born and raised 9000 feet above sea level when the racing course turns uphill into the mountains.

  7. Fausto

    1. Someone will not make it out of the first week ok, someone will crash or get sick.
    2. TJ and Porte, love them both but always have bad days, top 10.
    3. Still don’t trust Nibali and Valverde to really support. Nibali will find himself in the top 10 very close to his “leader” and it will be a draw. Valverde will be up there too freelancing a bit.
    4. Sagan will take a stage but not a sprint and like last year get a bunch of top 3’s to take the green.
    5. Froome vs. Quintana, the Colombian will take the lead late but Froome and team will crack him. Will be close.
    6. One positive doping result, no motors found but the news will come up with evidence at some point, 3 French stage wins, no Zika issues.

  8. Paul Guyot

    Watching via NBC Sports awful coverage. When will the World tour events do away with helicopters and use drones??? Better coverage, safer and cheaper. But I digress.

    I’m pulling for Quintana. The little guy in more ways than one.

  9. Tom in Albany

    Froome for the same reasons. Rooting for any Frenchman. It’s too soon for Alaphillipe but I’m hoping… Quintana is also fine with me.

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