The First Weak

Three days in, and it’s already been a brutal opening week of the Tour. I’ve never heard of the Tour neutralizing part of the stage unless a Schleck was involved, but I was relieved to understand that the reason for the neutralization had more to do with how many doctors were available for the second crash than it did with the riders’ safety. That’s a load off; for a second there I thought the sport was going soggy on us.

Fabian broke his back for the second time this season, which makes me wonder what his plans are for the rest of the year. Appenzeller and blackouts seems like a good place to start; I don’t think he needs any more memories. Nibbles and Quintannaroo missed the split on Stage 2 and lost over a minute. Froome humped a lightbulb like a maniac up the Mur de Huy to take some more time on everyone but J-Rod. My Merckx, Chris can make a bike go batshit fast but fuck me if he doesn’t make it look absolutely horrendous. If everyone looked like him, I don’t believe I’d ever have gotten into the sport.

All this is to say that the opening week of the Tour de France sets it apart from every other Grand Tour; the large field, the level of competition, and the nature of the windy, mostly flat opening stages makes for chaos and chaos makes for crashes. How many riders have lost their chance at the Tour’s GC in a moment of inattention during the first 7 days on the bike? Even Hinault did a face-plant during the stage to Saint Etienne in 1985, although only he knows why he would be so reckless as to contest a bunch sprint in the first few days of the race.

Froomedog looks very good. On paper anyway, he looks horrible on the bike. I mean, look at him. He looks Nibbles in 2014 strong. Nibbles looks fit but seems a bit inattentive. Quintana looks overwhelmed. Contador looks fit tired. Everyone but Froome is looking for their peak; the only question on Froome is whether he’s peaking too soon. Remember that l’Alpe d’Huez comes on the Saturday before Paris.

The first signs of weakness are exposed in the first week of the Tour. And tomorrow we ride the cobbles. Fuck yeah cobbles.

Vive le Tour and Vive la Vie Velominatus.

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88 Replies to “The First Weak”

  1. @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

  2. @Oli

    @Beers

    Hey, if it was easy we’d all be doing it, am I right?

    Of course, it’s fucking hard, that’s why we love making it sound easy on the internets. Hereabouts generalisations, minimisations and inaccurate summations pass for logic. It’s something I aspire to. You of course are here to provide a beacon of truth within the maelstrom of madness.

  3. Can we get Spider Monkey properly added to the Lexicon?

    And/or Gollum.

    I’m constantly astonished just how bad he looks on a bike. Only rider I identify by his elbows.

  4. @Al__S

    @Ron

    I’ve been thinking about it since Sunday but not sure I’ve ever seen Cavendish beaten in such a fashion. I’ve seen him lose a sprint, but don’t recall seeing him have such a lead and simply get reeled back in. He’s normally gone with that much of a gap. And not sure at all why he sat up. He’s tempermental, but not a quitter. Martin can’t be too happy with that.

    EQS were in full on 2015 Spring fuck up mode.

    Martin drove the group far too hard. They wanted a gap to stop anyone else getting back, but a minute and a half was a luxury that only benefited the GC passengers of the group.

    This then led into Renshaw running a foolishly early leadout. The wind was no longer on the tail, they didn’t have that benefit. So he blew early, leaving Cavendish going from too far out. And he’s never been much cop at the first sprint of the tour. He went anyway, but blew. You can almost see him cursing himself as he looks across and sees Spartacus nip in for 3rd and the bonus seconds

    In all this, Lefervre was obviously fucking up too- to fuck up that well takes some special DS action.

    Cavendish was partly to blame. But so was Martin, so was Renshaw. No-one covered themselves in glory.

    But then again, boys did well today… Sky easing on the front, Giant-Alpecin expecting EQS to go for the Cavendish leadout (and I bet they were selling that as a plan for all it was worth with overly loud chat) and so not paying attention leaves the Panzerwagon to press the nitro button.

    More ugly but effective riding from Froome, making a bit of a point after Nibbles had had a dig. How on earth he stays upright is beyond physics, but it works?

    GC passengers? Like Uran?

  5. @Beers

    Yes I agree – Quintana is right on course by getting through the first 4 stages with no major catastrophes. He may have less legs than SpiderMonkey but he seems to just be sticking to his plan and not taking the bait IMO.

    Interesting to see Valverde trying to stay in the front yesterday without making protection of Quintana a priority.

    TTT could pull Nairo closer to Froome as well.

  6. Wonder if Tinkoff is going to spout off about Sagan not trying to stick with the Panzerwagon?

    He and Degs were having a good ol chin wag while Martin was steaming off at a rate of knots.

    Any sign of a Deutsche deal between Panzer and Degs?

  7. @sthilzy

    Talk about riding non-stop in the pain cave!

    From GH’s FB

    We can guess that rider’s contracts provide significant bonus provided completion of TdF or I’m guessing any major stage race. Little wonder they’d have to be peeled from their bikes. It’s a rough business and way to earn a buck that is for certain. Concussion, broken back, cracked ribs? I’d be on my sofa. Geraint Thomas fractures pelvis on stage 1 a few years back and races 2000+ miles to finish despite being lifted on to bike the next couple of stages? Didn’t Johnny Hoogerland finish the race after soaring in to barbed wire around stage 9 or so? Incredible.

    I’m in London with family and after all the good tourist time with the missus and kiddos the past week, today I’m intending to watch a stage in a pub! Just have to find the right one. This is gonna be a good day. Cheers all.

  8. @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre Greipel

  9. @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre Greipel

    Holy fuck. I am putting my house on the next stage win you pick, no pressure!

  10. @Gianni

    @1860

    Tony Martin is awesome, you guys should write an article about him

    Good idea, I’ll get on that shit.

    See also, http://www.velominati.com/technique/look-pro-the-whale-shark/

  11. @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre

    Two consecutive winners, who are you picking tomorrow?

  12. @Jay

    @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre

    Two consecutive winners, who are you picking tomorrow?

    Right, I’ve withdrawn all my pension savings and sold the house, who to back today?

  13. @markb

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre

    Two consecutive winners, who are you picking tomorrow?

    Right, I’ve withdrawn all my pension savings and sold the house, who to back today?

    The only reason I can pick ok now is that there is nothing riding on it. My VSP picks will show that if there is something on the line I fail miserably. That’s not to say that if there was a Draft Kings style site for daily Le Tour picks I wouldn’t be betting on it, I just wouldn’t be betting much at all. I will also probably get every mountain stage wrong. That said….

    I am rooting for Kristoff, but I think Degenkolb takes this one. Sagan could be a flyer, but I think he is burning too many matches having to work for Contador.

  14. @AJ


    The only reason I can pick ok now is that there is nothing riding on it. My VSP picks will show that if there is something on the line I fail miserably. That’s not to say that if there was a Draft Kings style site for daily Le Tour picks I wouldn’t be betting on it, I just wouldn’t be betting much at all. I will also probably get every mountain stage wrong. That said….

    I am rooting for Kristoff, but I think Degenkolb takes this one. Sagan could be a flyer, but I think he is burning too many matches having to work for Contador.

    I will add that if “Bling” Matthews wasn’t so banged up, I would have picked him without a doubt. I think he is more mentally tough than the others.

  15. Race interview with Nibali:
    Nibali added, “you always hurt yourself” in a crash, no matter how trivial it might appear. When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”
    :-)
  16. @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

  17. @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?

  18. @Teocalli

    @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?

    I am certainly going to believe that he was browsing the V-Mobile site and saw said post.

  19. @Mikael Liddy

    @AJ Well I figured the final was well set up for a Strade Bianche winner, just picked the wrong year!

    Is is just me or has there been a lot of just looking around during final sprints? When der Panzerwagen took off everyone just looked around and waited for someone else to chase, he opened a gap to big to close down and won the stage. Same thing today, Stybar takes off, everyone looks around and by the time Sagan decides to chase its too late. Is this going to be a trend? Sprints in these opening stages have just been a clusterfuck.

  20. @Matt

    @Teocalli

    @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?

    I am certainly going to believe that he was browsing the V-Mobile site and saw said post.

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale) tucks in

  21. @Matt

    @Teocalli

    @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?

    I am certainly going to believe that he was browsing the V-Mobile site and saw said post.

    What/where is said post?

  22. @brett see below

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    Nibali added, “you always hurt yourself” in a crash, no matter how trivial it might appear. When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”
    :-)

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