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Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2017

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As many of you know, I write a monthly column for Cyclist Magazine where I answer Dear Abby-esque questions, and the most recent query pertained to whether I consider the Tour the best race of the year, or whether it’s an over-publicized circus. The question made me realize something about myself: I have a weariness around the Tour de France not unlike a romantic whose heart has been broken one too many times.

The fact is, as much as I prefer a race like Paris-Roubaix or the Giro d’Italia to the mid-summer shit show that is the Tour de France, nothing gets my anticipation going quite the way the Tour does, which is undeniably the pinnacle of the season; all the classifications and stages are prestigious enough that racers of all sorts are all arriving at the start in peak form. There is a promise of hard racing from day one, but the first week consists mostly of me worrying about the big favorites crashing out. As soon as we get through that mess, my heart is usually broken on the first day in the mountains, when the favorite takes a decisive lead and the rest of the race is most about stages than the GC.

At least, these are the dreads of a man who lived through the Indurain and Armstrong eras of racing.

Nevertheless, the Tour always manages to seduce me, and this year is no different. Maybe this year, she won’t be such a cruel lover. And, maybe this year, I won’t make horrible picks in the VSP. Just maybe, just maybe. You know the drill; get your picks in by the time the clock goes to zero, and you get some swap options on the rest day. Good luck!

Provisional Race Results
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// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. @wiscot

    @stooge

    @Randy

    Kittel could have a tour for the ages… 6,7, even 8 stages ??? And 2017 will still possibly be remembered not for his performance but instead remembered as Le Tour that Sagan was wrongly bounced from.

    Quite a prospect, isn’t it. He might go close to the record.The high number of pure sprinter’s finishes has certainly helped. Still, so very clearly the fastest. As you say, anything less than total dominance by the green jersey winner will have been remembered as ”… won the green the year Sagan was DQd”. Surely six plus wins would do much to counter that.

    I didn’t realise he’s 29 years old. At a guess, I’d had said he was younger than Viviani, who I know is 28 only because he shares a birthday with a friend. Must be that baby face..

    0

    Would Sagan beat Kittel in a pure drag race? I don’t think so. And the Slovak would have to rack up a shit load of points in the minor placings and intermediates to counter Kittel’s wins. Then add into the mix that Kittel would know Sagan was going for the intermediates and I think we’d have had a battle royale. I’d like to see Kittel win 7 or 8. My only beef is that I wish they’d declared a tie with Eddy BH.

    0

    I don’t think anyone said Sagan would beat Kittel in a pure sprint, did they?The sprint final points as they are, you’re right – Sagan would have to have a sit load of minor placings and intermediates to equal Kittel or better him. He’d already won a stage, though. And there are stages coming up in which Sagan would have a better chance of winning the final and the intermediate than Kittel would. Also, I stand by my main point – with Sagan and Cav still in the race (Demare, too), it’s altogether different – the trains, the composition, basically the sprint as a whole.

    You say Sagan would need a shitload of minor placings and intermediates to counter the wins, yet that if Kittel wa aware of this that we’d have a battle royal. It’s all a bit inconsistent…

    In any case, it is backward speculation, which is a worse kind of speculation than forward, both being not particularly constructive.




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  2. Good god, Landa might as well be reading a book, looks so damn calm and relaxed.

    And damn, that Aru jersey looks slick!




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  3. Well the last 2 minutes were exciting. Not too different from a sprint stage in that regard. But good on Aru for lighting it up, and Bardet, Uran and Martin to pile on. Froome may well take it, but will he win a stage?




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  4. Dang I’m working on site all this week till tonight and only got the ticker feed but I thought Froome was 18 secs up on Aru yesterday so 7 secs down today with 4 bonus secs for Aru ……. what did I miss for Aru to be 6 secs clear in Yellow…………..




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  5. Ahh he lost 22 secs the ticker I have is wrong…………




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  6. For those keeping score at home, Aru lost 40 seconds to Froome in the opening TT.




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  7. Surely there could not be a double standard favoring the French. Demare clearly deviated from his line in Stage 4. While Sagan was booted, Demare escaped punishment and took the stage. Bouhanni punches a Quickstep rider and gets a laughable punishment. Now, three riders take water bottles and two get 20-second penalties. Bardet clearly accepts a bottle but receives no sanction.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vaughters-tour-shouldnt-come-down-to-water-bottles-and-incompetence/




    1
  8. @Rick

    Surely there could not be a double standard favoring the French. Demare clearly deviated from his line in Stage 4. While Sagan was booted, Demare escaped punishment and took the stage. Bouhanni punches a Quickstep rider and gets a laughable punishment. Now, three riders take water bottles and two get 20-second penalties. Bardet clearly accepts a bottle but receives no sanction.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vaughters-tour-shouldnt-come-down-to-water-bottles-and-incompetence/

    0

    Alas, the home team (riders) tend to get passes on some things. A little light reading on the Giro and Vuelta will show the same thing. C’est la vie du Tour!




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  9. @wiscot

    @Rick

    Surely there could not be a double standard favoring the French. Demare clearly deviated from his line in Stage 4. While Sagan was booted, Demare escaped punishment and took the stage. Bouhanni punches a Quickstep rider and gets a laughable punishment. Now, three riders take water bottles and two get 20-second penalties. Bardet clearly accepts a bottle but receives no sanction.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vaughters-tour-shouldnt-come-down-to-water-bottles-and-incompetence/

    0

    Alas, the home team (riders) tend to get passes on some things. A little light reading on the Giro and Vuelta will show the same thing. C’est la vie du Tour!

    0

    They’re still pissed that the Italian’s stole Fignon’s Giro in ’84 and gave it to Moser (Talk about a Grand Tour favouring one of their own–probably the worst abuse in this sort in my lifetime).




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  10. Well the end of that stage has really put the shit amongst the pigeons.

    Race on. Bardet for the stage win today.




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  11. @RobSandy

    Well the end of that stage has really put the shit amongst the pigeons.

    Race on. Bardet for the stage win today.

    0

    Certainly could have livened things up.




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  12. @Rick

    Surely there could not be a double standard favoring the French. Demare clearly deviated from his line in Stage 4. While Sagan was booted, Demare escaped punishment and took the stage. Bouhanni punches a Quickstep rider and gets a laughable punishment. Now, three riders take water bottles and two get 20-second penalties. Bardet clearly accepts a bottle but receives no sanction.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vaughters-tour-shouldnt-come-down-to-water-bottles-and-incompetence/

    0

    Seems they have given this back

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-reverses-time-penalties-for-uran-and-bennett-1/




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  13. Just noticed that the stage today follows a route I rode when on holiday last May – the bit from near the Col d’Agnes down to Massat, then they climb up part of the Col de Porte but turn off up a super-steep bit of road.

    Looking forwards to seeing it on tellybox!




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  14. I’m jumping the gun here, and I’m not able to get the video feed so I just have a ticker, but CN is convinced that Landa is currently riding to take yellow. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass for Sky? What would they do then?

    1986 remains my favorite year. I was 12. I had started riding for real. I had a 6 cassette in the back and felt unstoppable climbing the hills in Connecticut. LeMan took on the Badger. I had Sunday New York Times pieces to check and then the wait for Winning magazine.

    If Landa takes yellow, we have a very interesting race indeed.




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  15. Aru – cool as a cucumber today.




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  16. @stooge

    Aru – cool as a cucumber today.

    0

    Ging to be tough when he becomes isolated so easily. Getting to be a lot of people he can’t ignore. Landa coming into the frame sets things up interestingly. Could be a good 3rd week for a change.




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  17. @Ron

    Good god, Landa might as well be reading a book, looks so damn calm and relaxed.

    And damn, that Aru jersey looks slick!

    0

    I was thinking the same thing. While everyone else was humping light bulbs and inhaling wasps, Landa was putting on a master class how to pedal with a magnificent stroke.




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  18. Oh man… just watched the stage and what a great last 10k or so. And up till then was Sunweb, BMC, Sunweb, BMC… all for obvious reason and then wha la… the Sky Train up front and Astana / Aru ??? Oooops… Great teamwork by Sky Train.

    So, we have a brutal, brutal uphill sprint finish with Bling, GVA, EBH and Gilbert ! Could it get better ??? Yes of course, there coulda been the World Champ in the mix. But just watching those dudes come around the corner and start their sprint from so far back you just know they had to be feeling much pain near the top to mash it up the hill from so far back.

    That was fun to watch for sure. Cheers all




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  19. C’mon the Whale Shark! All the way!

    Another mechanical for Froome? Sounds like Sky need some new mechanics. I don’t know of anyone else who has so many mechanicals – and at such critical times . . .




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  20. @wiscot

    C’mon the Whale Shark! All the way!

    Another mechanical for Froome? Sounds like Sky need some new mechanics. I don’t know of anyone else who has so many mechanicals – and at such critical times . . .

    0

    Puncture seemingly – tough to name on the mechanics.




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  21. newfound respect for Dan Martin




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  22. @BaltoSteve

    newfound respect for Dan Martin

    0

    Pure fucking Class Act! He is my new favorite rider hands down.

    Here’s his quote at the finish today: Reporter says–You would be in yellow if not for that stage 9 crash. Martin replies: It’s all ‘What if’, you know? I might have been in yellow and then lost five minutes because everyone attacks the hell out of me. The situation is the situation, and we’re always going to wonder ‘What if?’ but this is the hand we’ve been dealt. Maybe all these seconds I’ve been picking up, they would never have let me go.”

    No excuses. Racing day to day. Man I hope that he can make the podium but not too sure how he time trials compared to the others (I know he is no Froomie but not sure about compared to Aru, Bardet and Uran).




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  23. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    C’mon the Whale Shark! All the way!

    Another mechanical for Froome? Sounds like Sky need some new mechanics. I don’t know of anyone else who has so many mechanicals – and at such critical times . . .

    0

    Puncture seemingly – tough to name on the mechanics.

    0

    Comment was posted in haste when I heard he had a “wheel problem.” Apologies.




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  24. @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    C’mon the Whale Shark! All the way!

    Another mechanical for Froome? Sounds like Sky need some new mechanics. I don’t know of anyone else who has so many mechanicals – and at such critical times . . .

    0

    Puncture seemingly – tough to name on the mechanics.

    0

    Comment was posted in haste when I heard he had a “wheel problem.” Apologies.

    0

    On the highlights Froome did say he had a wheel problem – so you were not wrong.




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  25. @Buck Rogers

    @BaltoSteve

    newfound respect for Dan Martin

    0

    Pure fucking Class Act! He is my new favorite rider hands down.

    Here’s his quote at the finish today: Reporter says–You would be in yellow if not for that stage 9 crash. Martin replies: It’s all ‘What if’, you know? I might have been in yellow and then lost five minutes because everyone attacks the hell out of me. The situation is the situation, and we’re always going to wonder ‘What if?’ but this is the hand we’ve been dealt. Maybe all these seconds I’ve been picking up, they would never have let me go.”

    No excuses. Racing day to day. Man I hope that he can make the podium but not too sure how he time trials compared to the others (I know he is no Froomie but not sure about compared to Aru, Bardet and Uran).

    0

    Love Martin’s pluck. He can hardly stand up straight and is taking it to the best riders on the planet.

    However, I can’t figure out why no one is talking about Uran.




    0
  26. Movistar is not having a good Tour. Valverde out early, and for all practical purposes, Quintana out now, too.




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  27. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    C’mon the Whale Shark! All the way!

    Another mechanical for Froome? Sounds like Sky need some new mechanics. I don’t know of anyone else who has so many mechanicals – and at such critical times . . .

    0

    Puncture seemingly – tough to name on the mechanics.

    0

    Comment was posted in haste when I heard he had a “wheel problem.” Apologies.

    0

    On the highlights Froome did say he had a wheel problem – so you were not wrong.

    0

    Yeah, to me “wheel problem” and puncture are two different things!

    BTW, did Bauke not look completely awesome today? I like the clean look of the Trek kit and the red shoes were a fantastic choice. 100% rooting for Dan Martin, but style-wise, it’s just not there, is it?




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  28. Even though red is not my color, Bauke looked awesome yesterday! What a win!!




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  29. @Cary

    @stooge

    Cool or a tool.. Just kidding of course..




    0
  30. @wiscot

    Yeah, to me “wheel problem” and puncture are two different things!

    Broken spoke

    BTW, did Bauke not look completely awesome today? I like the clean look of the Trek kit and the red shoes were a fantastic choice. 100% rooting for Dan Martin, but style-wise, it’s just not there, is it?

    Looked great, totally happy for the guy to take a stage win (apparently he’s one of the nicest guys in the pro peloton too), but his style is awkward and choppy. But, seems to be the way these days, so many super strong guys who look like they are fighting the bike (Froome, Mollema, D Martin).




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  31. @sthilzy

    How much more crappier my picks can get?! http://www.velonews.com/2017/07/tour-de-france/quintana-on-dismal-tour-this-is-a-big-blow-for-everyone_443899

    Rest day swaps?

    Eddy Merckx

    Bernard Hinault

    Miguel Indurain

    Philippe Thys

    Greg LeMond




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  32. @sthilzy

    No swaps!

    I’m quite happy for the standings to say exactly as they are, maybe with Bardet moving up to 2nd. Wouldn’t mind Contador sneaking into the top 5 either…




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  33. @sthilzy

    @sthilzy

    How much more crappier my picks can get?! http://www.velonews.com/2017/07/tour-de-france/quintana-on-dismal-tour-this-is-a-big-blow-for-everyone_443899

    Rest day swaps?

    Eddy Merckx

    Bernard Hinault

    Miguel Indurain

    Philippe Thys

    Greg LeMond

    0

    I think even substituting those names, you’d still score more points than me!




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  34. The green jersey competition is great – looks like it could be decided in Paris. But I fear it may bode ill for Dan Martin’s podium chances. The team can’t work for Kittel and him.




    0
  35. @John Irvine

    The green jersey competition is great – looks like it could be decided in Paris. But I fear it may bode ill for Dan Martin’s podium chances. The team can’t work for Kittel and him.

    0

    Dan may have doomed his own podium chances today by being caught out.




    0
  36. @Rick

    @John Irvine

    The green jersey competition is great – looks like it could be decided in Paris. But I fear it may bode ill for Dan Martin’s podium chances. The team can’t work for Kittel and him.

    0

    Dan may have doomed his own podium chances today by being caught out.

    0

    True, but I think he may see himself in a position to do something over the next few days. From what I’ve read, 6th or 7th mean as much to Dan as 60th or 70th. I think he wants on that podium.




    0
  37. @wiscot

    @Rick

    @John Irvine

    The green jersey competition is great – looks like it could be decided in Paris. But I fear it may bode ill for Dan Martin’s podium chances. The team can’t work for Kittel and him.

    0

    Dan may have doomed his own podium chances today by being caught out.

    0

    True, but I think he may see himself in a position to do something over the next few days. From what I’ve read, 6th or 7th mean as much to Dan as 60th or 70th. I think he wants on that podium.

    0

    I hope you are right, I am really rooting for him. I thought that I read that he felt ill on the rest day. Something seems to be going through the Quickstep team. I don’t think Kittel was feeling well today either.




    0
  38. @Rick

    @wiscot

    @Rick

    @John Irvine

    The green jersey competition is great – looks like it could be decided in Paris. But I fear it may bode ill for Dan Martin’s podium chances. The team can’t work for Kittel and him.

    0

    Dan may have doomed his own podium chances today by being caught out.

    0

    True, but I think he may see himself in a position to do something over the next few days. From what I’ve read, 6th or 7th mean as much to Dan as 60th or 70th. I think he wants on that podium.

    0

    I hope you are right, I am really rooting for him. I thought that I read that he felt ill on the rest day. Something seems to be going through the Quickstep team. I don’t think Kittel was feeling well today either.

    0

    Agreed. Today should have been a good day for EQS, but something wasn’t right. Hopefully they got their “bad” day out of the way . . .




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  39. @RobSandy

    @sthilzy

    No swaps!

    I’m quite happy for the standings to say exactly as they are, maybe with Bardet moving up to 2nd. Wouldn’t mind Contador sneaking into the top 5 either…

    0

    Hmm…I love it when a plan comes together!




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  40. @wiscot

    @Rick

    @wiscot

    @Rick

    @John Irvine

    The green jersey competition is great – looks like it could be decided in Paris. But I fear it may bode ill for Dan Martin’s podium chances. The team can’t work for Kittel and him.

    0

    Dan may have doomed his own podium chances today by being caught out.

    0

    True, but I think he may see himself in a position to do something over the next few days. From what I’ve read, 6th or 7th mean as much to Dan as 60th or 70th. I think he wants on that podium.

    0

    I hope you are right, I am really rooting for him. I thought that I read that he felt ill on the rest day. Something seems to be going through the Quickstep team. I don’t think Kittel was feeling well today either.

    0

    Agreed. Today should have been a good day for EQS, but something wasn’t right. Hopefully they got their “bad” day out of the way . . .

    0

    Danny Boy is in great form but he is tactically challenged.




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  41. Oooh. How hungry is Duran Duran? As hungry as a wolf? Go for it wee man! Bardet too.

    Bummed for Kittel. I’m sure Matthews wanted green, but not this way – it was shaping up nicely for a showdown in Paris.




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  42. If only the Lotto Jumbo kit was as cool as the Bianchi bikes they ride . . . awful looking kit.

    Damn, wouldn’t it be fine to see Uran and Drapac-Cannondale win?




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  43. @wiscot

    If only the Lotto Jumbo kit was as cool as the Bianchi bikes they ride . . . awful looking kit.

    Damn, wouldn’t it be fine to see Uran and Drapac-Cannondale win?

    0

    I like these better than the yellow kits of years past. The only reason is the black jerseys make it easy to pick out the GC leader’s yellow jersey again.

    I think it would be great to see Uran and C-D win. For what it is worth, they have my favorite kit in the peloton.




    0
  44. @Rick

    @wiscot

    If only the Lotto Jumbo kit was as cool as the Bianchi bikes they ride . . . awful looking kit.

    Damn, wouldn’t it be fine to see Uran and Drapac-Cannondale win?

    0

    I like these better than the yellow kits of years past. The only reason is the black jerseys make it easy to pick out the GC leader’s yellow jersey again.

    I think it would be great to see Uran and C-D win. For what it is worth, they have my favorite kit in the peloton.

    0

    I don’t think Uran has done enough to deservingly win. Bardet accused him of sitting in the wheels yesterday, and I think he had a point. Uran certainly didn’t deny it.

    I’d personally be very pleased to see Bardet win. I think him and Dan Martin have been the most aggressive riders so far.

    I almost felt sorry for Aru yesterday, each time he bridged back up to the lead group Bardet or Martin had another pop off the front and dropped him again.




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  45. Anyone watching the La Course stage? Queen Lizzie looking regal on the front with 6km to go.




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  46. @LeoTea

    Anyone watching the La Course stage? Queen Lizzie looking regal on the front with 6km to go.

    0

    Following the live text. Lizzie and Van Vleuten smashing it.




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  47. Great result for AVV after the Olympics. Lizzie was looking good on tempo but just couldn’t make the acceleration.




    0
  48. @RobSandy

    @Rick

    @wiscot

    If only the Lotto Jumbo kit was as cool as the Bianchi bikes they ride . . . awful looking kit.

    Damn, wouldn’t it be fine to see Uran and Drapac-Cannondale win?

    0

    I like these better than the yellow kits of years past. The only reason is the black jerseys make it easy to pick out the GC leader’s yellow jersey again.

    I think it would be great to see Uran and C-D win. For what it is worth, they have my favorite kit in the peloton.

    0

    I don’t think Uran has done enough to deservingly win. Bardet accused him of sitting in the wheels yesterday, and I think he had a point. Uran certainly didn’t deny it.

    I’d personally be very pleased to see Bardet win. I think him and Dan Martin have been the most aggressive riders so far.

    I almost felt sorry for Aru yesterday, each time he bridged back up to the lead group Bardet or Martin had another pop off the front and dropped him again.

    0

    Contrast Froome’s race this year vs last ? What a difference. Talk about deserving a win man last year was a hoot to watch. Attacking with Sagan? Attacking over the top? This year is just such a different vibe. Uran may be playing his cards very well. Today’s gonna be fun.

    And Van Vleuten may just be the most animating bike racer today. She’s always up front and smashing it. Love to watch her race. At least would love to watch more of her race if could.

    Cheers




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  49. @Randy C

    Contrast Froome’s race this year vs last ? What a difference. Talk about deserving a win man last year was a hoot to watch. Attacking with Sagan? Attacking over the top? This year is just such a different vibe. Uran may be playing his cards very well. Today’s gonna be fun.

    Yeah, totally agree. He didn’t seem to have his mountain legs on in Week 1 – he just about hung on. He’s looking as strong as the rest of the GC group but not stronger. It’s partially why I’m rooting for Bardet.

    Far less dominance than before. I think he could be attacked and be put under a lot of pressure today.

    OR, he’s been saving it for this stage and is going to go for the win. I can’t see him being satisfied with doing ‘just enough’ to win via the TT on Saturday, I think he’d like to put the race to be today.

    We shall see very soon!




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  50. Boring versus not boring. Enough. Can I just give a shout out to Thomas de Gent an Tiesj Benoot? These guys have been working their asses of in break after break. Chapeau to both.

    Oh, and all the “Froome will win on Friday in the TT.” talk. Tony Martin might take exception to that as he’s not been doing nearly as much work at Froome the past few days. Of course, I’m well aware that it’s not about who wins the stage but the time gaps. Mind you, 24kms is pretty stingy . . .




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