Once up Alpe-d’Huez is enough to wipeout any cyclist. Twice up it, as the Tour is doing today is nearly insane! This has never been done in the Tour de France before. Team Sky is looking good on the front on the first ascent of the Alpe. Tejay Van Garderen is off the front and with an 8 minute lead over the main group and has a chance to stay away for the stage win if he can hold this lead at the top. The downhill is very tricky and the peloton will not have an advantage on the descent before the second ascent. Thomas Voeckler is off the front of the main group and always looks like he is in pain when he rides; huffing and puffing. The French love Thomas for how hard he attacks on these climbs. Team Sky still has four riders at the front in support of the race leader, Chris Froome. Voeckler has cracked and if he slows down more he’ll fall over. Andy Schleck goes off the front but being down 23 minutes is no real threat to the leader. Sky keeps on ticking off a steady tempo. The descent on the back side of the Alpe is a real challenge. Riblon was fortunate on the descent to have a shoulder to ride onto after he misjudged a turn. This final climb is a real test. Tejay is trying to hold on for the stage win. Richie Ports has to be the best teammate every! He’s fighting hard to stay with Froome and help him. The crowds are crazy. In what other sport can a spectator get so close? Riblon passes Tejay. A French victory is in sight. Tejay gave it a good go and should get the compativity award for the day. A great win for Riblon. Froome has a good ride (not the best) but still holds on to the lead. Look out for Nario Quintana tomorrow.
The peloton let the breakaway dangle off the front within eyesight for the longest time only to catch them just under 6 km. Smart racing to keep other breakaways from happening. The longest breakaway in tour history was 315 km. In 1912 Eugene Christophe on an Alpine stage which covered Aravis, the Telegraphe and the Galibier soloed for 315 kilometers. That’s over 180 miles by yourself! That was when the tour was over 5300 km long.
It’s hard to believe no one else fell when when Cavendish brought the Argos rider down. I wonder if Cav will get penalized for the shoulder bump! Phil called it a “real thump on the shoulder.” It looked intentional to me. Kittel’s helmet looks way to small for that big egg head.
Sorry for not posting earlier, but I was busy riding and watching Le Tour. Chris Froome put his stamp on the race but looks far from a lock. His team disintegrated on yesterday’s stage. Some think it a ploy to put off any suspicion the team might be juicing, but I think they put in a hard effort the day before to give Froome the lead. The time-trials are ahead so we’ll see. I expect the Sky train to recover after the rest day and the next few flat stages and be ready for the Alps. Look for some stage hunters to grab the next few days. Look for Tejay to make a move one day. He’s so far behind as to not be a threat. I think Valverde may be holding back and I have Rui Da Costa on my fantasy team, so I’m hoping for him to break out. I think we’re in for some more great stages.
It looked like the peloton may have left it a little late to catch the breakaway, but now they look like they have it well in hand. My bet is on Cavendish today. Word is he had some bronchitis over the first days and after some antibiotics seems to be felling better. But Sagan is probably hungry after his second place. The breakaway is ahead by a bit more than the 1 minute per 10 km. They have an outside chance. It really stinks to be involved in a crash with less than 20 km left on a 230 km day! Christian Van de Velde may be out of the tour. Love the orange bike of Chavanel. It was made especially for him to match the orange Camero he owns. Omega is pegging it with 8 km left and 17 seconds behind. Cavendish gets number 24! And a crash on the finish line! Great stage today.
The team time trial has to be one of the most beautiful events in all of sports! The precision and speed is amazing. The Lampre team’s pink and blue looks impressive all lined up rolling along at over 60 kph. It’s hard to believe that over 25 km there is only a difference of 2 seconds between Omega and Sky. I think Sky will be happy to have another team defending the yellow until the Tour reaches the mountains. I love seeing Jens Voight lead out the RadioShack team. If one of my grandsons would race one day I would want Jens Voight to be their Director Sportif. Orica scorched the course beating Omega by a mere .75 seconds!! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie oy, oy, oy!! An average speed of 35.915 mph. That would put Simon Gerrans in yellow.