Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2017

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!
[vsp_results id=”104413″/]

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596 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2017”

  1. According to Cycling News Sagan docked 30 seconds:

    18:06:08 CEST

    Here is the revised top 10 on the stage after Sagan’s demotion.

    1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ 04:53:54
    2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin 00:00:00
    3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 00:00:00
    4 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:00:00
    5 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie 00:00:00
    6 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:00
    7 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:00:00
    8 Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:00
    9 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:00
    10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:00

  2. @ChrisO

    Cav was actually in front of Sagan so no way he didn’t know he was there. It wasn’t Sagan’s space.

    But the other thing to look at in that finish is Demare. He comes three metres to his left in the last 10-20 and nearly takes Bouhanni out as well, who just manages to check and avoid Demare’s rear wheel.

    But of course they aren’t going to DQ the first French sprint winner in more than 10 years.

    Funny that French TV hasn’t shown the usual overhead shots.

    0

    It must be a first for Brouhaha not to have cause a sprint finish controversy?

     

  3. @chris

    @ChrisO

    Cav was actually in front of Sagan so no way he didn’t know he was there. It wasn’t Sagan’s space.

    But the other thing to look at in that finish is Demare. He comes three metres to his left in the last 10-20 and nearly takes Bouhanni out as well, who just manages to check and avoid Demare’s rear wheel.

    But of course they aren’t going to DQ the first French sprint winner in more than 10 years.

    Funny that French TV hasn’t shown the usual overhead shots.

    0

    It must be a first for Brouhaha not to have cause a sprint finish controversy?

    0

    Rest assured, he nearly took out Greipel but that was prior to the Sagan incident. Greipel’s rear wheel flailing all over the shop as he struggles to get back on his line.

  4. Demare says that Sagan is being penalised 80 points.  Not sure if that is official or not?

  5. @Buck Rogers

    Demare says that Sagan is being penalised 80 points. Not sure if that is official or not?

    0

    My understanding is that Sagan is penalized 30 seconds so he forgoes the 30 points from today’s stage. In addition he is penalized 50 points for a total of 80 points penalty.

  6. Link: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/peter-sagan-disqualified-from-tour-de-france/

  7. Wow!  Kicked out?  Really?

    I agree with relegation to last, fining him, taking away a shit load of points but DQ’ing him?

    I don’t agree with that.  A bit BS if you ask me.

    Those dudes are crazy with elbows and fighting for position, whatnot in the sprints.  Not saying what he did was at all okay, but to throw him out … too much in my opinion.

  8. I think Sagan was at fault but DQ is too harsh… relegation and loss of points would have been enough.

    And I still want to see an overhead to look at Demare’s move.

     

  9. They were both in the wrong, it seems to me. Sagan veered off his line, and Cav was going for something that wasn’t there. He was going down either way, I reckon. DQ is too harsh.

  10. Make of it what you will.
    https://streamable.com/t/j7gqb

    The whole bunch had veered to the right. It seems to me that Sagan feels Cav up on him, sticks the elbow out to protect himself / keep balance (Cav already going down).

    Was he DQd for the elbow? That didn’t cause the crash. Was it for the line? He was riding his line parallel with the rest of the bunch, more or less, who had all been veered right behind Demare. Whatever the reason or reasons, a DQ is BS.

    Hope Cav isn’t as banged up as he seems to be, and that tomorrow’s drama is confined to an eventful GC battle.

  11. @stooge

    That’s an interesting video analysis.

    The jury should have looked at Demare’s line, too. He had a clear path to the finish line ahead of him and instead veered abruptly to his left.

  12. @stooge

    Make of it what you will.
    https://streamable.com/t/j7gqb

    The whole bunch had veered to the right. It seems to me that Sagan feels Cav up on him, sticks the elbow out to protect himself / keep balance (Cav already going down).

    Was he DQd for the elbow? That didn’t cause the crash. Was it for the line? He was riding his line parallel with the rest of the bunch, more or less, who had all been veered right behind Demare. Whatever the reason or reasons, a DQ is BS.

    Hope Cav isn’t as banged up as he seems to be, and that tomorrow’s drama is confined to an eventful GC battle.

    0

    It starts too late.

    I agree it wasn’t the elbow that sent him down but the video needs to start while they are under the shadow of the tree – that’s when Cavendish is next to Sagan, who then moves across on him.

    And Chris Boardman also made the point about Demare. How can you DQ Sagan and do nothing to Demare?

  13. Interesting tweet from Greipel:

    Sometimes I should watch images before I say something. Apologies to as I think that decision of the judge is too hard.

  14. does anybody else remember Sagan’s shoulder check on the Kemmelberg a few months ago?

    a DQ is maybe too harsh, today, but he’s gotten away with his share of unnecessary physicality in the past.  he’s wearing a world champion jersey.  people are going to notice him first.

  15. Cav officially out of Tour now according to team tweet:

     

    Unfortunately, @MarkCavendish has been forced to withdraw from #TDF2017.

  16. @ChrisO

    @stooge

    Make of it what you will.
    https://streamable.com/t/j7gqb

    The whole bunch had veered to the right. It seems to me that Sagan feels Cav up on him, sticks the elbow out to protect himself / keep balance (Cav already going down).

    Was he DQd for the elbow? That didn’t cause the crash. Was it for the line? He was riding his line parallel with the rest of the bunch, more or less, who had all been veered right behind Demare. Whatever the reason or reasons, a DQ is BS.

    Hope Cav isn’t as banged up as he seems to be, and that tomorrow’s drama is confined to an eventful GC battle.

    0

    It starts too late.

    I agree it wasn’t the elbow that sent him down but the video needs to start while they are under the shadow of the tree – that’s when Cavendish is next to Sagan, who then moves across on him.

    And Chris Boardman also made the point about Demare. How can you DQ Sagan and do nothing to Demare?

    0

    Having watched that a couple of times it seems that the point a which Cav starts to exit right, when his body really accelerates to the side is before the elbow. It happens as Sagan’s shoulder contacts his head. If Sagan didn’t hit him hard how did he suddenly go from upright to bouncing off the barrier. He didn’t fling himself off the bike.

  17. Sure seams to me like Cav was making a line where there wasn’t going to be one. And the only way he was gonna get thru was to put his head and shoulder in to Sagan (reminds me of stage 1 in UK). Sagan gets bumped to the left and his right elbow’s gonna swing out to counter.

    So, the tour so far:

    1) Stupid stage 1 leaves Movistar shortchanged and main GC contenders at 30 sec disadvantage cause they chose not to bomb around tight turns w/wet road paint on TT bikes.

    2) Cav and Sagan out.

    3) Barring misfortune the Sky Train could win with either Thomas or Froome.

    Too bad the women’s Giro isn’t being televised.

     

  18. The whole incedent might have taken 1.5 seconds. Should descisions made by instinct and body movements that are in reaction to very small forces be judged from poor camera angles by people who have no experience of those speeds and situations? The jury may have been too hasty. Not that they don’t have experience but they too are probably working with the same camera angles.

    I am of the opinion that Cav was too aggressive and got caught out. His leaning into Sags is the start of the chain of events. Why did that happen? Not because of Sags. The elbow may be physics at best or defensive at worst I do not think Sags did I it to get rid of the competition.

  19. An after thought, I like them both – a lot. They both have class and a sense of humor while being fucking pro both on and off the bike. They are friends and know that this is pro racing. My bet is that they will go on as usual. This is just unfortunate for both.

  20. @Rob

    An after thought, I like them both – a lot. They both have class and a sense of humor while being fucking pro both on and off the bike. They are friends and know that this is pro racing. My bet is that they will go on as usual. This is just unfortunate for both.

    terribly so.  some of these finishing stretches in grand tours lately are terribly technical.  racers are going to race.  sprint finishes look great on TV, and there are a LOT more top speed guys in the peloton now than ever before.  there are a dozen Abdujaparovs, Cippolinis, and McEwens contesting every finish now.  a certain amount of this carnage is inevitable, with things as they are.

  21. Give me a break!!!  Cavendish knows the issues with a stage at the end….  Sagan did not throw an elbow or take him out……  I have had more sever bumps in a social recovery ride at my local bike shop on a Saturday AM !!!!!!

    Saga has been disqualified…. geeeez….just move on……  If everyone on the tour had the same thing (punishment) dolled out to them for bumps..elbows here and there and several other “SO CALLED” unacceptable behaviors there would be about the riders left in the tour….

     

    FUCKING GROW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is racing NOT a FUCKING knitting circle!!!!!  If you can’t handle the bumps, and elbows, cut-offs etc etc …then get off the M—EFFING BIKE!!!!

    In other words SEE RULE NUMBER 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

  22. @chris

    @ChrisO

    @stooge

    Make of it what you will.
    https://streamable.com/t/j7gqb

    The whole bunch had veered to the right. It seems to me that Sagan feels Cav up on him, sticks the elbow out to protect himself / keep balance (Cav already going down).

    Was he DQd for the elbow? That didn’t cause the crash. Was it for the line? He was riding his line parallel with the rest of the bunch, more or less, who had all been veered right behind Demare. Whatever the reason or reasons, a DQ is BS.

    Hope Cav isn’t as banged up as he seems to be, and that tomorrow’s drama is confined to an eventful GC battle.

    0

    It starts too late.

    I agree it wasn’t the elbow that sent him down but the video needs to start while they are under the shadow of the tree – that’s when Cavendish is next to Sagan, who then moves across on him.

    And Chris Boardman also made the point about Demare. How can you DQ Sagan and do nothing to Demare?

    0

    Having watched that a couple of times it seems that the point a which Cav starts to exit right, when his body really accelerates to the side is before the elbow. It happens as Sagan’s shoulder contacts his head. If Sagan didn’t hit him hard how did he suddenly go from upright to bouncing off the barrier. He didn’t fling himself off the bike.

    0

    Yup most of the comments here and on the rest of the ‘net do not go far enough back.  The elbow was not the issue Sagan came straight across to where Cavendish already had the space and the wheel and rode into him.  Maybe a DQ was a bit much but it did put another rider out so on that context it could be called fair.  Another thought may be to have a points and time deduction plus a Yellow Card where another Yellow would result in a DQ.

  23. @Randy C

     

    1) Stupid stage 1 leaves Movistar shortchanged and main GC contenders at 30 sec disadvantage cause they chose not to bomb around tight turns w/wet road paint on TT bikes.

     

    0

    You still banging that drum?!

    No-one was disadvantaged – if you’re a bike racer and you choose to ride slower than other guys in the same race you’re not going to win!

    If anyone was stupid it was Valverde for overcooking it into a tight corner in the wet.

  24. I won’t bore you with my analysis of the sprint, I’ve got nothing to add not already said. I will say, as sad as it is to see Sagan and Cav out, incidents like that are part of what makes cycling and the TDF great. If I want no contact and clean speed in marked lanes I’ll watch athletics. I love the chaos, the confusion, the complexity of slightly technical finishes. Sprints have always been dirty and juries always inconsistent – I like having something to analyze and argue about. When wax the last time the first week was crash free? It’s part of what makes the tour amazing. I’d hate to see a tour with nothing but clean sprints that test nothing other than speed. I can’t wait to see how today’s stage pans out and to see how the battle for points takes shape over the next week.

  25. @Cary

    @Rob

    An after thought, I like them both – a lot. They both have class and a sense of humor while being fucking pro both on and off the bike. They are friends and know that this is pro racing. My bet is that they will go on as usual. This is just unfortunate for both.

    terribly so. some of these finishing stretches in grand tours lately are terribly technical. racers are going to race. sprint finishes look great on TV, and there are a LOT more top speed guys in the peloton now than ever before. there are a dozen Abdujaparovs, Cippolinis, and McEwens contesting every finish now. a certain amount of this carnage is inevitable, with things as they are.

    0

    There’s always been a bunch of quality sprinters and always been carnage. McEwen wrestling Cooke on the line in Paris for the green anyone? It’s not like those guys were winning every sprint by lengths or crashing on every sprint –  it just seems that way through the mists of time. I think you’re both right – they’ll be back and thru won’t change how they ride, and a certain amount of carnage is inevitable.

  26. @RobSandy

    @Randy C

    1) Stupid stage 1 leaves Movistar shortchanged and main GC contenders at 30 sec disadvantage cause they chose not to bomb around tight turns w/wet road paint on TT bikes.

    0

    You still banging that drum?!

    No-one was disadvantaged – if you’re a bike racer and you choose to ride slower than other guys in the same race you’re not going to win!

    If anyone was stupid it was Valverde for overcooking it into a tight corner in the wet.

    0

    You’re right. Go slower you don’t win. That is racing yes. And sure didn’t make for compelling racing watching bike racers crawl around a course full of tight turns on rain soaked road paint on TT bikes.

    A lot of things can happen over all these stages but one thing is for sure, unless misfortunate strikes Team Sky, either Thomas or Froome will win. They might can just take 1-2 ? Quintana and Porte can attack all they want but it won’t change the inevitable if Froome, Thomas and Sky Train can keep it all together.

    And it was a stupid stage 1 that set the stage for a potentially big yahhnner of a tour. Like I said, to me, it was disappointing.

    I’ll still watch every night though.

    I am digging the Giro Rosa highlights on Steephill. Annemiek is having a fantastic year and is a blast to watch race. Her, Anna Van de Breggen and Katarzyna and many others all are a blast to watch race.

  27. @dyalander

    I won’t bore you with my analysis of the sprint, I’ve got nothing to add not already said. I will say, as sad as it is to see Sagan and Cav out, incidents like that are part of what makes cycling and the TDF great. If I want no contact and clean speed in marked lanes I’ll watch athletics. I love the chaos, the confusion, the complexity of slightly technical finishes. Sprints have always been dirty and juries always inconsistent – I like having something to analyze and argue about. When wax the last time the first week was crash free? It’s part of what makes the tour amazing. I’d hate to see a tour with nothing but clean sprints that test nothing other than speed. I can’t wait to see how today’s stage pans out and to see how the battle for points takes shape over the next week.

    0

    bloodsport is fun until it surpasses its ability to pay for itself.   an individual like Sagan, Cavendish, or in days gone by, Cippolini or McEwen, is bigger than the arena in which they participate.  or Lance Armstrong was right about everything he’s currently villified for.

  28. @Cary

    It’s hardly a blood sport; I haven’t really expressed my point very well. Clearly the element of danger contributes to the spectacle. I’ve seen a lot of people posting that Sagan’s DQ has ruined the spectacle. My point is simply that it is the spectacle. Even the inconsistent jury decisions – it all adds interest. I wouldn’t want to make it more dangerous but nor would I want to sanitize it either.

  29. @dyalander

    @Cary

    @Rob

    An after thought, I like them both – a lot. They both have class and a sense of humor while being fucking pro both on and off the bike. They are friends and know that this is pro racing. My bet is that they will go on as usual. This is just unfortunate for both.

    terribly so. some of these finishing stretches in grand tours lately are terribly technical. racers are going to race. sprint finishes look great on TV, and there are a LOT more top speed guys in the peloton now than ever before. there are a dozen Abdujaparovs, Cippolinis, and McEwens contesting every finish now. a certain amount of this carnage is inevitable, with things as they are.

    0

    There’s always been a bunch of quality sprinters and always been carnage. McEwen wrestling Cooke on the line in Paris for the green anyone? It’s not like those guys were winning every sprint by lengths or crashing on every sprint – it just seems that way through the mists of time. I think you’re both right – they’ll be back and thru won’t change how they ride, and a certain amount of carnage is inevitable.

    0

    it is, and i agree.  as a fan, though, i’d rather have a Cavendish or Sagan, in one piece, contesting for the duration of the race, than to lose both in one throw.  i’d hate to see the Tour turn into a meat grinder that cannot differentiate between prime beef and horsemeat.

  30. @Randy C

    @RobSandy

    @Randy C

    1) Stupid stage 1 leaves Movistar shortchanged and main GC contenders at 30 sec disadvantage cause they chose not to bomb around tight turns w/wet road paint on TT bikes.

    0

    You still banging that drum?!

    No-one was disadvantaged – if you’re a bike racer and you choose to ride slower than other guys in the same race you’re not going to win!

    If anyone was stupid it was Valverde for overcooking it into a tight corner in the wet.

    0

    You’re right. Go slower you don’t win. That is racing yes. And sure didn’t make for compelling racing watching bike racers crawl around a course full of tight turns on rain soaked road paint on TT bikes.

    A lot of things can happen over all these stages but one thing is for sure, unless misfortunate strikes Team Sky, either Thomas or Froome will win. They might can just take 1-2 ? Quintana and Porte can attack all they want but it won’t change the inevitable if Froome, Thomas and Sky Train can keep it all together.

    And it was a stupid stage 1 that set the stage for a potentially big yahhnner of a tour. Like I said, to me, it was disappointing.

    I’ll still watch every night though.

    I am digging the Giro Rosa highlights on Steephill. Annemiek is having a fantastic year and is a blast to watch race. Her, Anna Van de Breggen and Katarzyna and many others all are a blast to watch race.

    0

    So what are you saying? There shouldn’t be TT’s in case Froome wins? Or they shouldn’t race in the rain?

    Or they shouldn’t have corners in case people fall off?

    Shame there was no VSP for the Giro Rosa!

  31. the best thing that could happen from yesterday’s stupidity would be if Sagan were to take this as an opprortunity to reinvent himself, as Jalabert did after Armentieres in 1994.

    clearly, he’s going to struggle to win BIG races, just like Lemond did.  everyone in the peloton will knife each other in the liver to get his wheel in a classic.  he animated almost the entire spring season, and has nothing to show for it.  he’s the most talented all around rider of his generation.  what could he do if he weighed less, for example?  the sport is really his oyster.

  32. @Duntov

    Give me a break!!! Cavendish knows the issues with a stage at the end…. Sagan did not throw an elbow or take him out…… I have had more sever bumps in a social recovery ride at my local bike shop on a Saturday AM !!!!!!

    Saga has been disqualified…. geeeez….just move on…… If everyone on the tour had the same thing (punishment) dolled out to them for bumps..elbows here and there and several other “SO CALLED” unacceptable behaviors there would be about the riders left in the tour….

    FUCKING GROW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is racing NOT a FUCKING knitting circle!!!!! If you can’t handle the bumps, and elbows, cut-offs etc etc …then get off the M—EFFING BIKE!!!!

    In other words SEE RULE NUMBER 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0

    Easy there fella. No-one is suggesting that Tour sprinting is/should be a “knitting circle.” What might be expected is behavior that does not put a fellow professional’s (and I emphasize the word professional) livelihood/career on the line. IMHO Sagan did that to Cavendish yesterday. The latter’s Tour is over, his team suffers (both teams suffer in fact, through the loss of PR driven by their two star riders) and it could have ended Cavendish’s career. Not to mention the two riders who were also brought down at high speed.

    These riders personify Rule #5. Cavendish has 30 Tour stage wins. Does it take balls and moxie and taking chances to do that? Yes. But a thorough review of Cavendish’s entire career will show you that when he realizes it’s a lost cause, he opts out. I believe that yesterday he was following Demare’s wheel when the Frenchman veered to the right hand side of the road. Cavendish followed him and when Demare moved to the left, Cavendish saw an opening along the barrier. The issue was Sagan was still going to to the right and slammed into Cavendish who had no room to manouevre. I believe the technical term is Sagan “shut the door.”  Was it dangerous? Yes. Is Sagan the best bike handler in the peloton? Yes. Could the crash have been avoided/averted? IMHO yes.

    One more thing. I do like Sagan. He’s a star in every sense. I believe he’s a good ambassador for the sport. (Ok, I know I’ve called him “Pinchy” in the past) but I think he’s matured – as has Cavendish. Hopefully, this will encourage the sprinters to be a bit more careful in holding their lines. Yes, I know that this is the Tour and a stage win is highly covered for every reason imaginable, but there has to be rules and rules enforced. Do some homework on the Kelly/Vanderaerden tussles of the 1980s.

    That’s my more than two cents this morning.

  33. @wiscot

     

    @chris

    @chris

    @Duntov

    Did you read as far down as Rule #43?

    0

    That number of exclamation marks alone is a clear Rule #43 violation.

    0

    That and excessive use of Caps Lock.

    0

    I DON’T SEE THE PROBLEM

    0

    Oooh . . . you do like to stir things, don’t you? (You know what here!)

    0

    WHAT?

  34. Damn, Aru did the business and looked the business today. That Italian champ’s jersey looked very sweet with minimal graphics. Kinda old school and the bike and helmet were nicely done.

    Dan Martin looked good too. I think this will be a great Tour if riders like Aru and Martin adopt an aggressive approach to things. Noting ventured, nothing gained guys . . . and the Green Jersey competition might actually be exciting . . .

  35. @wiscot

    Damn, Aru did the business and looked the business today. That Italian champ’s jersey looked very sweet with minimal graphics. Kinda old school and the bike and helmet were nicely done.

    Dan Martin looked good too. I think this will be a great Tour if riders like Aru and Martin adopt an aggressive approach to things. Noting ventured, nothing gained guys . . . and the Green Jersey competition might actually be exciting . . .

    0

    Fucking love Dan Martin.  Old school rider.  Not very polished but I would rather drink with him than almost anyone in the pro peloton.  Really hope he manages to get a stage win or two.

    And yes, great stage today.  Aru did look really great.

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