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Flo

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Stage 6 - Brest > Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan
« on: July 11, 2018, 17:08 »
Stage 6: Brest > Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan

We're 6 days into the race and we should finally see some indications of which GC contenders will be the ones to watch. 181 km from Brest to Mûr-de-Bretagne are on the menu, with a hilly final in which the riders will have to crest the Mûr-de-Bretagne climb not once but twice. An opportunity for the puncheurs to fight it out for the stage and for the GC contenders to snatch some seconds. Will we see a different yellow jersey wearer after the finish?







There are two categorized climbs in the first part of the stage, those points will surely go to the breakaway. It should get interesting with about 20 km to go. The riders will cross the finish for the first time and only two km later, there is an uphill bonus point where 3-2-1 bonus seconds will be awarded to the top-3. This will especially be interesting for those eyeing a couple days in yellow. Then, the peloton loops around to the base of the climb again. There should be a huge fight for position so be wary of crashes. If you start outside the top-30, you'll have a hard time getting back to the front.



The Mûr-de-Bretagne is 2 km long at 6.9%, but it starts horribly steep and flattens out in the final km. For this reason, to create proper differences attacks should start already in the first half of the climb. The flat final part favours the better sprinters to finish it off, unless they are dropped in the first part.

That brings me to the favorites for the stage. To accurately assess which riders we can expect to fight it out, let's look at the last two times this finish was used in the Tour de France: in 2011 and 2015.

In 2011, we saw Alberto Contador raise his arms in victory, but a review of the finish photo revealed that Cadel Evans was actually the winner. Here he layed the groundwork for his Tour de France victory that year.




In 2015, just like in 2011, some GC contenders were prominently involved in the battle, but in the end it was the little guppy Alexis Vuillermoz who took the win by quite some margin.
https://youtu.be/2FTN4CLx4cY?t=1m1s

The top-10 in 2011 contained, besides Evans and Contador, the following names: Vinokourov, Uran, Gilbert, Hushovd, F. Schleck, S. Sanchez, Van den Broeck and Klöden.
In 2015, Vuillermoz, Daniel Martin and Valverde were on the podium, with Sagan, Gallopin, Van Avermaet, A. Yates, Froome, Mollema and Van Garderen the other names in the top 10.

So, this finish is right at the crosspoint of various disciplines. In both top-10s, we see a mix of punchy climbers, puncheurs and climby sprinters.

:* :* :* :* Julian Alaphilippe *fr #quickstep
The new Valverde. He's punchy like no other and is hungry for a victory. The top favorite for me and he'll be eyeing those bonus seconds to take yellow from Van Avermaet.

:* :* :*  Alejandro Valverde *es #movistar | Philippe Gilbert *be #quickstep
Both Valverde and Gilbert finished top-10 here in the past and both featured prominently on stage 5's finish. Just like Alaphilippe Gilbert could take yellow here.

:* :*  Daniel Martin *ie #uae | Peter Sagan *sk #bora | Greg Van Avermaet *be #bmc
Martin is another very punchy rider but probably lacks true sprint skills to snatch the win here. On the other hand we have Sagan and Van Avermaet who if they are still at the front with 500m to go should be the favorites, but the first part might be too hard for them. Especially Sagan looks quite 'heavy' which may cost him on the double digit gradients.

:* Adam Yates *uk #mitchelton | Romain Bardet *fr #ag2r | Alexis Vuillermoz *fr #ag2r | Jelle Vanendert *be #lotto
Yates and Bardet are two GC names with a history of performing well on these punchy finishes. They didn't feature on stage 5's finish but perhaps this wasn't hard enough for them. Vanendert is one of the best riders on these finishes in April but what he can do in July remains to be seen. And of course I have to mention the last winner: Vuillermoz.

Some other names to watch: Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Vincenzo Nibali and Rigoberto Uran will be looking to gain precious seconds on their rivals. They aren't the best puncheurs but history has shown GC contenders can perform well here even if they are not terribly punchy, and of course for these guys the win won't be on their mind.
Gorka Izagirre, Pierre Latour, Wout Poels, Michal Kwiatkowski could also perform well here but will probably be looking after their leaders.

Jersey wearers after stage 5:
#yellow Greg Van Avermaet *be #bmc
#green Peter Sagan *sk #bora
#kom Toms Skujins *lv #trek
#white Søren Kragh Andersen *dk #sunweb


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  • M Gee

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    Marvelous! That yellow title though - ow -  :snooty got my shades.
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  • Eeyore sez . . .

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    The top-10 in 2011 contained, besides Evans and Contador, the following names: Vinokourov, Uran, Gilbert, Hushovd, F. Schleck, S. Sanchez, Van den Broeck and Klöden.
    In 2015, Vuillermoz, Daniel Martin and Valverde were on the podium, with Sagan, Gallopin, Van Avermaet, A. Yates, Froome, Mollema and Van Garderen the other names in the top 10.

    today the finish is the same as in 2011 with the little downhill approach, while there was a false flat in 2015 and with a corner right before the mur. So the speed entering the climb will be significantly higher again, which could play into the hands of Sagan and so, I guess
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    Flo

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    today the finish is the same as in 2011 with the little downhill approach, while there was a false flat in 2015 and with a corner right before the mur. So the speed entering the climb will be significantly higher again, which could play into the hands of Sagan and so, I guess

    Interesting info :cool
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  • Flo

    • #1 Alberto Contador fangirl
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    Bugger.... Latour almost had that :angry
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  • M Gee

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    So, out of all the riders that had some advantage from day one, only Thomas, TJ, Alaphillipe, and Jungels have any remaining. TJ is a looie, and says he will follow orders - so this doesn't really mean anything.

    Thomas? The Crashing Welshman has stayed upright so far. How will stage 9 work out?

    Jungels will likely be riding for Alaphillipe.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Dumb panic, but Dumoulin has been slapped with a 20 second penalty for drafting his team car after the puncture.
    I saw that coming.
    1-23" down on GC and 21" behind Froome.

    That's a major chunk of time gone.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

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    Jungels will likely be riding for Alaphillipe.

    Jungels is Quickstep's GC guy. That's the plan at least
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  • M Gee

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    Jungels is Quickstep's GC guy. That's the plan at least

    Ok, thanks for that. So vicey versa then. Alaphillipe will likely ride for Jungels.

    Bad news for Tom.
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  • t-72

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    Dumb panic, but Dumoulin has been slapped with a 20 second penalty for drafting his team car after the puncture.
    I saw that coming.
    1-23" down on GC and 21" behind Froome.

    That's a major chunk of time gone.

    I am a bit late to the party cause I need to watch the stages recorded after work, but I wonder how our commentary could not see that? They said nothing and, like, in cycling blatant cheating is ok if you can get away with it, they're just not going to make a point out of it.
    I am not a huge football fan but at least the football commentaries will ask questions like "could that be a penalty" when someone takes the ball in their hand and carries it inside the 16 meter box. The only thing Dumoulin didn't do was to hold on to the car. That would have sent hors course  as was the case with Bardet in the Paris-Nice and Nibali in the Vuelta.
    Speaking of Bardet.... what happened really? Bike trouble or body trouble?

    #sky Thomas is (not surprisingly) the GC man of the hour, in contrast to Froome, who lost 8 seconds, I wonder if that was voluntary, or weak performance?  As Froome may have even less left in the tank comapred to earlier years, in this race he might save his high intensity efforts for stages where he can make them count more. However,  this did not look convincingly like "I don't care about this stage" and not at all like his Mur de Huy stage in 2015. It looked like struggling Froome, wobbling his way uphill.



    PS; I want more crosswinds, please! I love it!



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    Speaking of Bardet.... what happened really? Bike trouble or body trouble?

    haven't read anything about it yet, but I'd think so, yeah, switching to Gallopin's bike (and probably spending a bit of energy chasing on) wasn't ideal I guess
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    and talking about crosswind... that's a nice one :D

    https://twitter.com/quickstepteam/status/1017398717811437568
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  • t-72

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    .... I wonder how our commentary could not see that? They said nothing and, like, in cycling blatant cheating is ok if you can get away with it, they're just not going to make a point out of it.
    I am not a huge football fan but at least the football commentaries will ask questions like "could that be a penalty" when someone takes the ball in their hand and carries it inside the 16 meter box. The only thing Dumoulin didn't do was to hold on to the car. That would have sent hors course  as was the case with Bardet in the Paris-Nice and Nibali in the Vuelta.

    I sometimes wonder if they read this forum, today they had a small session where they explained why they did not protest on screen.  One of the main commentaries complained about a total lack of consistency in cycling (he's a former high level basket player actually). I guess most of us can agree to that, it is just too many times we see the rules waived for one reason or another.

    However, they made the point by showing #astana Jakob Fuglsang with a couple of teammates doing exactly the same maneuver earlier in the race - with the Astana team car - not penalized. Laconically, they commented, it seems like the referees didn't bother to rewind that long and watch what happened earlier in the race.

    Very unfair application of the rules, to the advantage of #astana Fuglsang and disadvantage of #sunweb Dumoulin.
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  • AG

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    He did draft a long time - but after a mechanical at that point in the race they perhaps could have just given him a warning.

    As for bardet - bike trouble. He had a front wheel puncture.
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  • t-72

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    I think the point wasn't that Dumoulin shouldn't get 20 seconds, but that Astana should get it too.
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