Julian A and Tony M off the front. photo credit AFP

Julian A and Tony M off the front. photo credit AFP

Tough Boys

by / / 49 posts

Forget the skinny climbers for a moment. Let’s talk about these two on Stage 16 and appreciate just why they are the professionals and we are not. Young Alaphilippe has already proven himself to be a monster in his Tour debut. If not for a jammed chain on the final descent of stage 15 he might have won his first Tour stage. The dude can climb and descend, like a bastard. And how is he even still in the Tour after this?

Really?
Really?

So he shakes that off, nearly wins an incredibly hard stage 15 then rides off the front with teammate Tony Martin early in stage 16. Normally a two person break will be held at four or five minutes, the peloton will break out the picnic baskets and the sprinters will nap until the finale. But no, Tony Martin can ride at over 48 kph for hours, by himself, on a road bike. Alaphilippe did the occasional pull on the front, to save face, but this was the Tony Show.

I dare any civilian to get their bikes up to that speed, grab a handful of ghost spinaci bars, settle in and do that for two minutes. I’m much more impressed by this than Froome’s climbing ability, but I tend toward the rouleurs anyway.

Was it another pointless breakaway? By the time the peloton finally sped by Alaphilippe then Martin it seemed like it but maybe that doesn’t matter. Maybe getting off the front and putting everyone else in the hurt locker for a few hours is reason enough.

// Awesome French Guys // Awesome German Guys

  1. Kid’s an animal, no doubt. I’ve been a big fan of his since watching him in the Tour of California last year. Looks the business in a Cap too.

  2. They put the entire field in the hurt locker. The times on this stage were absurd. 200km at an average of nearly 44kmh for 4 and 1/2 hours. Mere mortals cannot accomplish this.

  3. “Hey kid, fancy going hell for fucking leather for hours to no real end?”

    “Sure?”

    “Oh, you can pace me up climbs if you want. I see you brought your climbing bike. And a vented helmet. Cute. Tuck in”

    Race organisers were quite right to award joint combativity. Tony’s a ridiculous machine, you’ve got to be crazy to go with him on a day like that. Most of the peloton would not be able to hold his wheel all day when he’s in that mood. Though I’m sort of glad they were caught well before the finale. Couldn’t handle him being caught 7m from the line again

  4. but I tend toward the roulers”

    Roulers is a nice little flemish town, but i think you meant rouleurs, no? ;)

    And yes, i prefer the big boys too…but il prefer classics over tours anyway. Damn this tour de france is boring.

  5. I did wonder why. I guess the answer is ‘just because’.

  6. You know it’s not a great Tour when Froome is the only gc guy doing anything memorable and the best stages have been the flat bunch sprint ones.

    some thoughts:

    Bauke Mollema: hiding behind froome and waiting for him to get run over by a moto before you ride away is not a legit strategy, my man.

    Nairo Quintana: Blaming Tour organizers for wind makes you look like an idiot. So does holding on to a Mavic neutral service moto for a tow up a climb when you’re supposed to be a team leader…and then having a fan post video of the offense on youtube…..double idiot.

    When does the Vuelta start?

  7. JA and TM wear white socks. Mystery solved.

  8. @litvi

    JA and TM wear white socks. Mystery solved.

    Fucking genius,

  9. @LeBelge

    “but I tend toward the roulers”

    Roulers is a nice little flemish town, but i think you meant rouleurs, no? ;)

    And yes, i prefer the big boys too…but il prefer classics over tours anyway. Damn this tour de france is boring.

    @&%!?*&!! FFS! Is my spell check worth anything? No! How many f’ing times have I typed that word correctly versus incorrectly. I prefer one day races too. There is a lot of riding going on in these Tours. Damned if I don’t watch it too,

  10. @Al__S

    “Hey kid, fancy going hell for fucking leather for hours to no real end?”

    “Sure?”

    “Oh, you can pace me up climbs if you want. I see you brought your climbing bike. And a vented helmet. Cute. Tuck in”

    Race organisers were quite right to award joint combativity. Tony’s a ridiculous machine, you’ve got to be crazy to go with him on a day like that. Most of the peloton would not be able to hold his wheel all day when he’s in that mood. Though I’m sort of glad they were caught well before the finale. Couldn’t handle him being caught 7m from the line again

    Christian VDV was saying Julien was getting a free ride…I don’t think so. Staying on Tony’s wheel is work, draft or no draft. Maybe sitting in on the peloton at the back is a free ride but not one guy, especially him. They must have had some laughs back at the bus.

    Also, Marcel Kittel went by T. Martin towards the finale, I wonder if Marcel cursed him for ruining his day.

  11. The Panzwerwagon is a prime example of why it’s a good thing that Germany never starts a land was in Europe again…

  12. Anyone else noticed TM has his TT kit on … he had this planned one way or another

  13. Shane Archbold – Chapeau!!

    70kms, 2 Cat Climbs, Broken Pelvis

    Fuck!!! I stand in awe. One of the truly Hard Men

  14. @Gianni

    @Al__S

    “Hey kid, fancy going hell for fucking leather for hours to no real end?”

    “Sure?”

    “Oh, you can pace me up climbs if you want. I see you brought your climbing bike. And a vented helmet. Cute. Tuck in”

    Race organisers were quite right to award joint combativity. Tony’s a ridiculous machine, you’ve got to be crazy to go with him on a day like that. Most of the peloton would not be able to hold his wheel all day when he’s in that mood. Though I’m sort of glad they were caught well before the finale. Couldn’t handle him being caught 7m from the line again

    Christian VDV was saying Julien was getting a free ride…I don’t think so. Staying on Tony’s wheel is work, draft or no draft. Maybe sitting in on the peloton at the back is a free ride but not one guy, especially him. They must have had some laughs back at the bus.

    Exactly. There was no way that was a “free ride”. Yes Alaphillipe was taking shorter turns, but he was taking turns, and taking them where it mattered- kept the pace high up the little hills. Almost as if they were working to each others strengths. Fully deserved to both be wearing the red numbers the next stage.

    Also, Marcel Kittel went by T. Martin towards the finale, I wonder if Marcel cursed him for ruining his day.

    The team had written off the chances of Kittel winning the stage in the team bus that morning. That finale was tough

  15. @David van Dijk

    Anyone else noticed TM has his TT kit on … he had this planned one way or another

    Road skin suit, road aero helmet. Unless it’s a mountain it’s what he always wears. Especially for sprint lead out. Hell, most of the peloton wear skinsuits day in day out.

  16. @fignons barber

    Bauke Mollema: hiding behind froome and waiting for him to get run over by a moto before you ride away is not a legit strategy, my man.

    Bauke was not able to crush Froome so this was the best he could do yesterday. Even lost a bit of time on him.

  17. @Nicholas Collins

    Shane Archbold – Chapeau!!

    70kms, 2 Cat Climbs, Broken Pelvis

    Fuck!!! I stand in awe. One of the truly Hard Men

    Ouch,I bet that smarted. Wasn’t it a broken pelvis that G had back in 2013 (and carried on riding the Tour)?

  18. Has anyone tried out those new Rudys they’re wearing? I love my Noyz (and all the retro ones I have…when will they pull an Oakley and re-release some of their classics?) and they’re good, but the nose piece/fit is just not as top notch as Oakley Radars, at least for my face.

    Radars sit snugly and close to my face in insanely hot weather and don’t move at all in the span of a few hours in the saddle.

  19. Apparently Martin and Alaphastphilippe stayed together when they were caught by the pack … and then stayed together when they were dropped by the pack, finishing last and second last, two-up to the end. Very cool.

  20. @LeBelge

    Yup. I have to watch the tours as a series of races instead of as one big one. Notwithstanding getting run over and then running, we knew the overall winner within the first couple days. Race radios and UK Postal have made tours boring as hell.

  21. @blackpooltower

    Apparently Martin and Alaphastphilippe stayed together when they were caught by the pack … and then stayed together when they were dropped by the pack, finishing last and second last, two-up to the end. Very cool.

    They finished together but Alaphillipe was caught TM carried on and took his lead ou to about 20 seconds before the inevitable.

    Fancy a beer or two?

  22. @Owen

    @LeBelge

    Yup. I have to watch the tours as a series of races instead of as one big one. Notwithstanding getting run over and then running, we knew the overall winner within the first couple days. Race radios and UK Postal have made tours boring as hell.

    Race radios may not help but blaming Sky for being too strong is on par with blaming girls for wearing short skirts.

  23. @LeBeige – LOL…I love the “UK Postal” moniker… Not since a certain team in blue and white kits have we seen an entire team completely own the peleton on climbing days with nobody having “bad” days.

    As for Panzerwagen…he’s just a fvcking machine. A younger Jensie with his ability to go on the break and just give it hell??? After feeling a bit disappointed in the non-event the GC battle has become, this entry is exactly what I needed to remind me that the true bad-ass mothers are the one-day monsters.

  24. @fignons barber

    Most memorable stages pour moi have been GVA’s win on stage 5 and subsequent (brief) time in yellow and Sagger’s bare knuckle job on windy stage to Montpellier, alas with praying mantis in yellow in tow.

    Classics men rule.

  25. @litvi

    JA and TM wear white socks. Mystery solved.

    Agreed, but wtf was Dumoulin wearing for today’s time trial? Stripper socks?

  26. For me it was GVA’s defense of the yellow, 5th on the next stage, that was more impressive, over climbs he was never expected to hold onto. Ledge.

    The Martin and Alaphilippe stage, I was rooting for them and sweating on them to hold it to the line, also scratching my head wondering what the hell they were doing out there, but marvelling at the stupendousness of it all.

    I hate Sky as much as the next fan, but Lemond is questioning them now, and if The Humping Spider takes the win, there will be no end of ‘how boring’ it has been. Seriously, GTFO. Sport goes through phases where one team dominates. Anyone a fan of F1 when Schumacher won everything. Same diff.

    Were fans saying the same in the Mapei years? What about the Postal years? Americans loved that shit, it brought scores of new riders at the time.

    I have a feeling if it’s not your team, people just moan and complain. I also have a feeling if it was their favourite team, or a rider from their country or some such, they’d be beating their chests.

    I’ve admired the ancillary results and interesting events outside of the GC battle more than watching Sky this tour, for sure, but you have to recognise success even when it is smacking you in the face with boredom.

  27. @Al__S

    @David van Dijk

    Anyone else noticed TM has his TT kit on … he had this planned one way or another

    Road skin suit, road aero helmet. Unless it’s a mountain it’s what he always wears. Especially for sprint lead out. Hell, most of the peloton wear skinsuits day in day out.

    GCN did a profile of Hansen before the tour & he mentioned he’s always in his TT suit (e.g. no pockets) as even the “sprint suit” annoys him cos the pockets catch air.

  28. @Beers

    hell yeah, GVA even increased his lead in yellow.

  29. @chris

    @Owen

    @LeBelge

    Yup. I have to watch the tours as a series of races instead of as one big one. Notwithstanding getting run over and then running, we knew the overall winner within the first couple days. Race radios and UK Postal have made tours boring as hell.

    Race radios may not help but blaming Sky for being too strong is on par with blaming girls for wearing short skirts.

    The last time we saw a team this strong COTO ran it.

  30. Sorry that wasn’t mean to be bolded

  31. @chris

    Yupyup. Will email.

  32. @chris

    @Owen

    @LeBelge

    Yup. I have to watch the tours as a series of races instead of as one big one. Notwithstanding getting run over and then running, we knew the overall winner within the first couple days. Race radios and UK Postal have made tours boring as hell.

    Race radios may not help but blaming Sky for being too strong is on par with blaming girls for wearing short skirts.

    I think it’s pretty harsh to accuse Sky of being boring – what is a bit dull is that the rest seem to be content to settle for the other places on the podium and have said as much (Mr Yates, I’m looking at you, a bit of Rule #70 required please!).

    Movistar seem to be riding for the team GC – which no-one else is racing for. Now that’s boring.

  33. The Sky thing; they do set a high pace on the front but it’s no easier for Froome to hang on to the wheels of his own team than it is for anybody else. Sure, a high pace discourages early attacks, but we have seen riders have a go later in the climb, it’s just that Froome, or Poels, have been able to match them or reel them back in. In the end it simply comes down to Froome being (delete as appropriate) in better shape or being a better rider over the three weeks doesn’t it? This year in particular his important gains (even if only psychologically) have come as a result of innovative attacking, whilst the Sky Train has been employed as more of a defensive tactic. To me the current situation reflects the calibre of the rivals as much as anything. Top form Contador, and even a Tour-focussed Nibali, would have had a go somehow. We need a new, young swashbuckling hero to come along from somewhere and hijack the Sky Train.

  34. The main (only) reason folk were able to constantly attack in the past was that they were doped up to the gills and could turbo boost overnight. The fact that it is all more defensive now I take as a sign that it is all clean(er). That gains are more opportunistic now I take as the nature of a clean beast and that the main guys are much closer in the mountains and less able to launch huge attacks when they are all on the limit. I think Sky have just twigged this in the last 2 years better than anyone else has.

  35. @Teocalli

    . I think Sky have just twigged this in the last 2 years better than anyone else has.

    Sky have been using the same tactic in the mountain since 2012 – plenty of time for other teams to come up with strategies against it.

  36. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    . I think Sky have just twigged this in the last 2 years better than anyone else has.

    Sky have been using the same tactic in the mountain since 2012 – plenty of time for other teams to come up with strategies against it.

    True – I was more talking about Froome in the last 2 years not using the mountains as his main time gainer but rather getting time in the bank in more creative ways.

  37. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    . I think Sky have just twigged this in the last 2 years better than anyone else has.

    Sky have been using the same tactic in the mountain since 2012 – plenty of time for other teams to come up with strategies against it.

    True – I was more talking about Froome in the last 2 years not using the mountains as his main time gainer but rather getting time in the bank in more creative ways.

    Yup.

    I think Sky’s return to defensive form in the mountains has distracted from the fact that the main hammer blow Froome gave to his rivals were the two completely unexpected attacks early in the Tour. I think many of them gave up on the yellow jersey as soon as Froome put it on…

  38. Apparently poor little Nairo is allergic to the sight of Froome riding away from him on all manners of terrain.

  39. @chris

    Apparently poor little Nairo is allergic to the sight of Froome riding away from him on all manners of terrain.

    At least TJVG is manning up.

  40. @Teocalli

    @chris

    Apparently poor little Nairo is allergic to the sight of Froome riding away from him on all manners of terrain.

    At least TJVG is manning up.

    He’s not in the break is he?

  41. @chris

    @Teocalli

    @chris

    Apparently poor little Nairo is allergic to the sight of Froome riding away from him on all manners of terrain.

    At least TJVG is manning up.

    He’s not in the break is he?

    Or were you referring to the fact that he’s been shat out the back?

  42. @chris

    @chris

    @Teocalli

    @chris

    Apparently poor little Nairo is allergic to the sight of Froome riding away from him on all manners of terrain.

    At least TJVG is manning up.

    He’s not in the break is he?

    Or were you referring to the fact that he’s been shat out the back?

    No just that in his interview he said he had no excuses he just wasn’t up to it.

  43. Sky is doing what everyone else would like to do if they had the talent and budget. Who wouldn’t want to have this year’s winner of L-B-L as a worker bee? Also, Brits win half the stages of this year’s tour, or close to it. FFS, that is impressive. Let’s see, how did the American’s do? USA, USA, USA…Damn, we suck. I’m thinking Joe Dombrowski might be the next great US hope. Next year. TJVG might be best suited to the Paris-Nice stage races. No shame in that.

    On another note, look at the photo of Tony Martin at the top of this article. You can see his collarbone still wanting to poke through his lycra.

  44. @Ron

    Has anyone tried out those new Rudys they’re wearing? I love my Noyz (and all the retro ones I have…when will they pull an Oakley and re-release some of their classics?) and they’re good, but the nose piece/fit is just not as top notch as Oakley Radars, at least for my face.

    Radars sit snugly and close to my face in insanely hot weather and don’t move at all in the span of a few hours in the saddle.

    I haven’t tried the new Tralyx that I believe Etixx is wearing. However, your post mentions Rudy classics and I love my Rydon’s which are classic Rudy. I recently bought the polarized, photochromic replacement lenses which are incredible. Always the right amount of shade and the reduced glare makes it much easier to see potholes and other road shiggy. I do agree about the nose piece though, although a little pinch together on the espresso stop and all is good.

  45. @Steve Trice

    Don’t you mean “derail” the Sky Train? ;-)

  46. Tony knows how to relax too;

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BIDN6OlBHTT/

  47. Is there any story why Tony Martin decided to abandon on the last day? Was he injured? Seems odd.

  48. @Velodeluded

    @Steve Trice

    Don’t you mean “derail” the Sky Train? ;-)

    If they hijack it they can ride it, that was my thinking. :-)

  49. @RobSandy

    Is there any story why Tony Martin decided to abandon on the last day? Was he injured? Seems odd.

    He had severe pain in his knee. Apparently, he was last man to finish the stage on Saturday, and it wasn’t any better on Sunday, so he pulled out to avoid damaging his Olympic hopes.

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