Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2016

A lot has happened in the last ten years of le Tour, and a lot of it stemmed from the race that took place in 2006. At the time it seemed like yet another “Tour of Redemption” as the organisers liked to claim every few years after something had happened to tarnish the race’s image, yet again. In 06, we were coming off the back of a seven year reign of very little in the way of competition, with most of those races decided in the Prologue and followed by a three week procession. 06 was anticipated as the start of a new era, we just didn’t know at the time how significant it would become many years further down the track.

The pre-Tour build-up had fans frothing with anticipation of an Ullrich vs Basso battle, but that was scuppered at the 11th hour by Operacion Puerto, just what incoming Director Christian Prudhomme didn’t need. Also ditched were Fransisco Mancebo, a young Alberto Contador (yet to be considered a GC contender), and one Alexandre Vinokourov (while not one of the Puerto accused, still unable to start as most of his Astana teammates were pulled, leaving him without a sufficient team). With the two favourites out, the race was anyone’s for the taking. Of course, there was more drama to come.

A crazy break was let go and produced a surprise leader in Oscar Pereiro, who then conceded the yellow to Floyd Landis, who then blew to bits and handed it back to Pereiro, before making the biggest comeback since Lazarus the next day and riding away from the race in a solo effort that still ranks as one of the best ever, no matter how juiced he was. I remember watching the stage live and talking to a mate on the phone, and his incredulity at what we were witnessing. As Landis drank with the fervour of an alcoholic and manically poured water over his head during his escapade, my friend (an ex-road racer at a high level himself) professed that Landis was “cooking” from some sort of drug cocktail and was doing his best to dilute whatever concoction he’d taken, and not blow a positive or do a Tommy Simpson on live tv. How prophetic his words proved.

Of course, that was just the beginning, and the resulting fallout became one of the biggest sporting stories of all time. Landis just about brought down the entire sport with his revelations, and no Tour since has been without some form of scuttlebutt, yet not on that scale. The last few years, while tame by comparison to those preceding them, have been pretty well dominated by each winner and not offering too much in the way of exciting competition; although last year’s end result was closer on paper than the actual race was… which once again leaves us in the same state of anticipation that grips us every year in the month leading up to the start, and then promptly lets us down about two weeks after that, and wondering when the Vuelta starts.

This Tour has all the hallmarks of potentially being a great one, with three guys who have to be considered genuine contenders, yet just one who is most likely to win. We really do need a positive test to liven this one up, or someone to juice themselves so comprehensively that the motor in their seat-tube can’t handle the power from their legs and melts the carbon around the bottom bracket and drops onto the road at the summit of Mont Ventoux. Maybe try and blame it on a chimera twin that drank too many whiskeys the night before and left their bike in the team truck with a bag of someone else’s piss strapped to it. That would bring the crowds back. But seriously, if each of the contenders is on form, we could have one of the best races of the last ten years with some real proper drama played out on the roads, not in the labs or courts and not two, three or seven years from now.

We’re giving you plenty of time to ponder the possibilities, and maybe come up with your own hare-brained scenarios as to what may unfold, or what will most likely bring you those precious VSP points and the honour of wearing the Maillot Jaune for the next year. Will you be daring and go out on a limb that doesn’t resemble that of an anorexic spider? Will you take short odds on a short-ass? Will you stake your claims on claims of a steak? Or will you tear yourself apart with internal conflict like a couple of bitchy Italians?

Whatever you do, there is absolutely no excuse to Delgado this one, we’re giving you plenty of time and it’s not like you can claim you didn’t realise that the race was this week… and don’t whinge if this Start List changes before the racing gets underway, it is provisional after all. Good luck and may the best, or second best, man win.

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585 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2016”

  1. Some sense seems to have prevailed & they’ve decided to give Porte & Froome the same time as Mollema.

    Meanwhile, here’s a shot from Veloimages showing what that climb looked like for those 3, that’s 4 press/TV motos directly ahead of them, there’s half a chance it wasn’t even the fault of the one they hit!

  2. @Mikael Liddy

    That’s such a clusterfuck.

    There’s a very simple way to solve it which is to enforce a Pool rule in situations like that where there is one bike ahead taking images available to all the press agencies.

    It’s what they do for Royal visits and that sort of thing so the Queen doesn’t have 20 cameras walking backwards in front of her.

  3. @Mikael Liddy

    that image is insane. Ignoring what actually happened, if Froome had wanted to attack he could’t have as there was no road for him.

  4. @marcovelo

    @ChrisO

    I’m not in favor of enforcing such a rule. I’m just pointing out that such a rule (likely) exists, and might turn out to be part of the deliberations here. Independently of the cause of the event and its relative justice/injustice, Froome (may have) violated such a rule, which could have an effect on the outcome. No?

    I have to say I thought the same thing. Can you finish without a bike? Thankfully there was some common sense in the commissaire’s lounge today. What a debacle.

  5. Yates seemed fairly relaxed about the crowds

    I wouldn’t really want to take the yellow jersey like that, so I’m happy with the decision,” he said. “If I was in Froome’s position and I’d lost the jersey like that, I’d have wanted the same decision as him. It was pretty dangerous in the last kilometre, but the fans make the sport and there’s not many sports where fans can get so close to the athletes. It is what it is. I wouldn’t have wanted to take the jersey like that. Froome is the rightful owner of the yellow jersey.

    Whilst Valverde rued the lost opportunity to attach, conveniently forgetting that he’d already tried without any great success

    They made a really big problem. I really don’t know what’s going on with this Tour. Personally, I don’t think it is under control at all. There were a lot of difficulties in the last couple of kilometres because of the position of people. I was feeling good, but it is disappointing.

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) crashes on Mont Ventoux

  6. @Harminator

    @marcovelo

    @ChrisO

    I’m not in favor of enforcing such a rule. I’m just pointing out that such a rule (likely) exists, and might turn out to be part of the deliberations here. Independently of the cause of the event and its relative justice/injustice, Froome (may have) violated such a rule, which could have an effect on the outcome. No?

    I have to say I thought the same thing. Can you finish without a bike? Thankfully there was some common sense in the commissaire’s lounge today. What a debacle.

    There are rules that take precedence over even the UCI’s and the ASO’s. I’d say he also gets an exemption on the basis that he was being chased at the time.

    Rule #42//

    A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.

    If it’s preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run, it is not called a bike race, it is called duathlon or a triathlon. Neither of which is a bike race. Also keep in mind that one should only swim in order to prevent drowning, and should only run if being chased. And even then, one should only run fast enough to prevent capture.

  7. @Harminator

    @marcovelo

    @ChrisO

    I’m not in favor of enforcing such a rule. I’m just pointing out that such a rule (likely) exists, and might turn out to be part of the deliberations here. Independently of the cause of the event and its relative justice/injustice, Froome (may have) violated such a rule, which could have an effect on the outcome. No?

    I have to say I thought the same thing. Can you finish without a bike? Thankfully there was some common sense in the commissaire’s lounge today. What a debacle.

    In skiing as long as you cross the line with one ski on your are fine (whether upright or not) so maybe as long as you still have one wheel with you?

  8. I don’t know what the solution is. I’ve already seen many calls for additional rules and regulations. Less motos, less press, more barriers, banning errant spectators et al. Also, continual pleas from riders of all nationalities and teams for fans to show restraint and respect the racers seem to have no effect.

    The three road routes to Ventoux were closed to cars at 1pm Wednesday, On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning there were already hundreds of camper vans and tents lining the route all the way from Bedoin. I struggled to find a place to put my car. The campers and barriers were totally set and organized from Chalet Reynard upwards.

    Then the wind…and that ‘rider safety’ call from Prudhomme. Maybe a lesson for him. There’s no room in the forest to watch but on the upper slopes of Ventoux there’s acres of spectator space. Take that space away and then push those 5000 people already up ther down into the forest and yo get major crushing.

    Regulation can only do so much. You can’t barrier the whole route. Self control is the answe but the people here seem to have gone crazy. Walking all over the road when there’s riders going up & down. Crossing without looking. Stop to for a rest in the middle of the road…And that’s before the race arrives…

  9. What if they combined the Running of the Bulls and mountain stages? That might thin out the crowd.

  10. @Harminator

    What if they combined the Running of the Bulls and mountain stages? That might thin out the crowd.

    I was just about to post Da Vinci’s Scythe Chariot to lead the riders but then thought it might be in poor taste.  Then again……..

    Anyway look it up.  That would sure dissuade folk from getting too close.

  11. @chris

    Yates seemed fairly relaxed about the crowds

    I wouldn’t really want to take the yellow jersey like that, so I’m happy with the decision,” he said. “If I was in Froome’s position and I’d lost the jersey like that, I’d have wanted the same decision as him. It was pretty dangerous in the last kilometre, but the fans make the sport and there’s not many sports where fans can get so close to the athletes. It is what it is. I wouldn’t have wanted to take the jersey like that. Froome is the rightful owner of the yellow jersey.

    Whilst Valverde rued the lost opportunity to attach, conveniently forgetting that he’d already tried without any great success

    They made a really big problem. I really don’t know what’s going on with this Tour. Personally, I don’t think it is under control at all. There were a lot of difficulties in the last couple of kilometres because of the position of people. I was feeling good, but it is disappointing.

    That’s a real dick-head comment from Valverde, typically revisionist in line with his recollections of Puerto. Fair play to Adam Yates though, really got his head screwed on; if only we could stop him punctuating his sentences so frequently with “yeah” ?

  12. @Harminator

    What if they combined the Running of the Bulls and mountain stages? That might thin out the crowd.

    I was just about to post Da Vinci’s Scythe Chariot to lead the riders but then thought it might be in poor taste. Then again……..

    Anyway look it up. That would sure dissuade folk from getting too close.

    I think I saw a US TV show make that thing. Perfect. And natural selection too.

  13. @Steve Trice

    @chris

    Yates seemed fairly relaxed about the crowds

    I wouldn’t really want to take the yellow jersey like that, so I’m happy with the decision,” he said. “If I was in Froome’s position and I’d lost the jersey like that, I’d have wanted the same decision as him. It was pretty dangerous in the last kilometre, but the fans make the sport and there’s not many sports where fans can get so close to the athletes. It is what it is. I wouldn’t have wanted to take the jersey like that. Froome is the rightful owner of the yellow jersey.

    Whilst Valverde rued the lost opportunity to attach, conveniently forgetting that he’d already tried without any great success

    They made a really big problem. I really don’t know what’s going on with this Tour. Personally, I don’t think it is under control at all. There were a lot of difficulties in the last couple of kilometres because of the position of people. I was feeling good, but it is disappointing.

    That’s a real dick-head comment from Valverde, typically revisionist in line with his recollections of Puerto. Fair play to Adam Yates though, really got his head screwed on; if only we could stop him punctuating his sentences so frequently with “yeah” ?

    Add to that not employing that horrible cliche “it is what it is.” I thought that shite was just for brain-damaged American football players to utter, not for Brits as well. “I can think of anything to say here, so I’ll insert this meaningless set of words.” Ugh, makes me want to bang my head against the wall. It’s get the 2nd podium step, losing out only to “at the end of the day.” Just typing those makes me cringe.

  14. @Teocalli

    @Harminator

    @marcovelo

    @ChrisO

    I’m not in favor of enforcing such a rule. I’m just pointing out that such a rule (likely) exists, and might turn out to be part of the deliberations here. Independently of the cause of the event and its relative justice/injustice, Froome (may have) violated such a rule, which could have an effect on the outcome. No?

    I have to say I thought the same thing. Can you finish without a bike? Thankfully there was some common sense in the commissaire’s lounge today. What a debacle.

    In skiing as long as you cross the line with one ski on your are fine (whether upright or not) so maybe as long as you still have one wheel with you?

    My son raced at a MTB event earlier this year where so much mud stuck to the tyres that riders were stopping every hundred meters or less to scrap it away with makeshift tools or sticks. One of the coaches told our lads that if it got too bad they should ditch the wheels and run with the frame.

  15. In the midst of all the excitement I forgot to say that David Millar has been a fantastic commentator. I feel so sorry for those of you still stuck with Phil and Paul.

    Millar’s knowledge of what is actually going on is of course spot on but he isn’t afraid to call it either and will correct Ned Boulting if he thinks something different.

    When Gerrans wiped out today he just said he was going too fast and after the effort he’d made going up the climb had just over-cooked it.

    And on Ventoux he was spotting the way riders were moving around and explaining why. He saw Bardet moving up and said they probably sensed Froome was ready to attack and were trying to get on his wheel, literally two seconds before Froome attacked.

    He was excellent yesterday too with the echelons. The best part is that he isn’t pitching it to people who’ve got no idea what’s going on – he leaves that to Boulting to ask a question if something needs explanation.

  16. @ChrisO

    Millar’s knowledge of what is actually going on is of course spot on but he isn’t afraid to call it either and will correct Ned Boulting if he thinks something different.

    Not only Ned either, he’s not afraid to correct Chris Boardman too (on the ITV Tour podcast). Ned’s commentary is becoming more natural, but he’s also calling and reading the race really well I think. I can happily watch ITV or Eurosport now, which i couldn’t when Ligget and Sherwen were behind the mic.

  17. @Ron

    And reading those two typos of mine makes me cringe as well. Shitdamnit!

    Ha ha, I’ve pressed “SUBMIT POST” too quickly before now, and then spent the next few minutes cursing the lack of an “edit” facility. Never mind, got your drift and agree wholeheartedly. If I had a pound (or a dollar or Euro) for every “yeah” and cliché by young Yates I’d be looking forward to retiring after the Tour.

  18. @brett

    What the fuck is this? May as well stop the race now, as it seems if you are in yellow then nothing that happens can affect your position.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/froomes-abuse-of-yellow-was-movistars-missed-opportunity_414736

    Nonsense.  Don’t be so daft ya prick.  The correct decision was taken. Let the race be decided by the racers involved not a chaotic throng of fucks determined to get their ugly mugs on television. This nonsense cannot continue.  Something has to change.

     

  19. @Harminator

    @marcovelo

    @ChrisO

    I’m not in favor of enforcing such a rule. I’m just pointing out that such a rule (likely) exists, and might turn out to be part of the deliberations here. Independently of the cause of the event and its relative justice/injustice, Froome (may have) violated such a rule, which could have an effect on the outcome. No?

    I have to say I thought the same thing. Can you finish without a bike? Thankfully there was some common sense in the commissaire’s lounge today. What a debacle.

    If the Lightbulb Rooter had finished that run and started looking for a pool to go for a swim I was going to lose my shit, thankfully, the Swim Bike Run didnt happen.

  20. @kixsand

    @brett

    What the fuck is this? May as well stop the race now, as it seems if you are in yellow then nothing that happens can affect your position.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/froomes-abuse-of-yellow-was-movistars-missed-opportunity_414736

    Nonsense. Don’t be so daft ya prick. The correct decision was taken. Let the race be decided by the racers involved not a chaotic throng of fucks determined to get their ugly mugs on television. This nonsense cannot continue. Something has to change.

    Fuck you, I was referring to him slowing the race after his teammates crashed, so they could get back on.

  21. @brett

    @kixsand

    @brett

    What the fuck is this? May as well stop the race now, as it seems if you are in yellow then nothing that happens can affect your position.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/froomes-abuse-of-yellow-was-movistars-missed-opportunity_414736

    Nonsense. Don’t be so daft ya prick. The correct decision was taken. Let the race be decided by the racers involved not a chaotic throng of fucks determined to get their ugly mugs on television. This nonsense cannot continue. Something has to change.

    Fuck you, I was referring to him slowing the race after his teammates crashed, so they could get back on.

    Correct, hence my previous post.

  22. Froome tried it on and they bought – they didn’t have to so it’s their fault, not his. Good on him, I reckon.

  23. Surviving-without-looking-at-stem-class

    or

    The elbows from a different angle

  24. @Ron

    I’m going to go with…NOPE I didn’t just see that. Wonder what the hell happened to Froome’s bike at that low speed. All I can imagine is snapped off RD

    Is there not a rule about covering the course on foot? I guess not, as no one would want to. So fucking bizarre to see Froome jogging up a mountain!! Also a shame for De Gendt, as this will overshadow his big win.

    Account from the neutral service moto: “Froome’s right seat stay was broken in half. The bike was unrideable”

    Apparently you have to cross the line with a bike. On foot with bike in hand is ok.

  25. I wonder whether Cancellara’s involvement really swung that incident. He has clout and plenty of previous form for this sort of behaviour, and maybe Froome alone doesn’t. Either way I disagree with with them stopping for that incident.

    <Devil’s advocate> If Trek are complaining about the race jury’s decision re Froome etc, should we be accusing them of attacking the yellow jersey when he’s gone down in a not self-inflicted incident?

  26. Is Stannard ok? He looked pretty sure at the side of the road.

    I’ve been watching Stannard and have decided he rides a bike like he’s trying to crush it into a small cube with his legs and arms.

  27. Has anyone seen the video where Quintana is clearly pulled by motorcycle? Around 10th second in this tweet:

     

    http://<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/NairoQuinCo”>@NairoQuinCo</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/Movistar_Team”>@Movistar_Team</a> holding the neutral motorbike. No penalty but even time bonus<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TDF2016?src=hash”>#TDF2016</a> <a href=”https://t.co/QrAFEOkABx”>pic.twitter.com/QrAFEOkABx</a></p>&mdash; Stephan van der Zwan (@StephanvdZwan) <a href=”https://twitter.com/StephanvdZwan/status/753877147312238592″>July 15, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

  28. @Pali65

    Ooops, didn’t work as expected. Can’t edit either or what?

    Here: https://twitter.com/StephanvdZwan

    Not cool Nairo!  I was rooting for the little guy at the beginning of the tour, but no longer.

    I like how Yates has been riding.  Wonder if he will still be in contention after todays TT?

  29. I’ve also just thought – Porte, Froome and Mollema going so fast they crash into the back of a Moto.  Quintana towed by Moto.

    (Never let the facts get in the way of a good story line)

  30. @Teocalli

    That was blatent.

    Does anyone know…how far ahead of the Yates/Bardet/Quintana group did Mollema finish on the road?

    Because unless I’m mistaken, all that group got the same time as Mollema. So the losers yesterday were Mollema and Porte who lost all the time they’d gained on Yates, Quintana et al.

  31. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    That was blatent.

    Does anyone know…how far ahead of the Yates/Bardet/Quintana group did Mollema finish on the road?

    Because unless I’m mistaken, all that group got the same time as Mollema. So the losers yesterday were Mollema and Porte who lost all the time they’d gained on Yates, Quintana et al.

    Not sure of the times but Quintana was a clear beneficiary as I believe Yates had dropped him and he was given the same time asYates and from a report I read Mollema was more upset about that than Froome/Porte.  So if he sees that I’d imaging he’d be steaming.

  32. @brett

    @kixsand

    @brett

    What the fuck is this? May as well stop the race now, as it seems if you are in yellow then nothing that happens can affect your position.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/froomes-abuse-of-yellow-was-movistars-missed-opportunity_414736

    Nonsense. Don’t be so daft ya prick. The correct decision was taken. Let the race be decided by the racers involved not a chaotic throng of fucks determined to get their ugly mugs on television. This nonsense cannot continue. Something has to change.

    Fuck you, I was referring to him slowing the race after his teammates crashed, so they could get back on.

    Oh – I suppose I did miss the point of the conversation.  Brett, you have my sincerest apologies.

    I suppose that makes me the daft prick – fair enough.  On the actual point of the conversation….Froome abusing the Yellow Jersey….I am in full accord with your comments.

    Carry on gentlemen.  I have some hill repeats to attend to…

     

     

  33. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    That was blatent.

    Does anyone know…how far ahead of the Yates/Bardet/Quintana group did Mollema finish on the road?

    Because unless I’m mistaken, all that group got the same time as Mollema. So the losers yesterday were Mollema and Porte who lost all the time they’d gained on Yates, Quintana et al.

    Not sure of the times but Quintana was a clear beneficiary as I believe Yates had dropped him and he was given the same time asYates and from a report I read Mollema was more upset about that than Froome/Porte. So if he sees that I’d imaging he’d be steaming.

    Mollema is listed as being 19 seconds ahead of the Yates group which included Qunintana and the other who’d been riding with him.

    Dave Millar rightly pointed out that the adjustment was a pretty fair result for Froome and Porte it didn’t do Mollema or Yates any favours; Mollema probably losing 15 seconds to Yates as a result of the crash and Yates losing the gap he’d opened up on Qunitana and Bardet.

    @Pali65

    Ooops, didn’t work as expected. Can’t edit either or what?

    Here: https://twitter.com/StephanvdZwan

    Jesus wept. Attacking the yellow jersey in that situation is bad enough but using a moto to do it is beyond the pale.

    I was a fan of Qunitana’s after his near collapse after his previous chase up Ventoux but he’s been disappointing this year and this gets my nomination for Anti-V Moment of the Year.

  34. @chris

     

    I was a fan of Qunitana’s after his near collapse after his previous chase up Ventoux but he’s been disappointing this year and this gets my nomination for Anti-V Moment of the Year.

    Well it’s going to take quite something to beat that nomination.

  35. I’ve heard two versions of the event (tongue in cheek):

    1) Trying to hold back the moto by hand and shouting – “Stop, stop! Froomie is in trouble, we need to help him!”

    2) Moto stood in his way thus he was pushing it not to lose a second.

    :D

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