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Tour de France - Stage Previews & Discussion - Week 1



Stage Type Date Start / Finish Distance
1      #flat      Sat. 06/26       Brest > Landerneau      197.8 km
2      #flat      Sun. 06/27       Perros-Guirec > Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan      183.5 km
3      #flat      Mon. 06/28       Lorient > Pontivy      182.9 km
4      #flat      Tue. 06/29       Redon > Fougères      150.4 km
5      #tt      Wed. 06/30       Changé > Laval Espace Mayenne      27.2 km
6      #flat      Thu. 07/01       Tours > Châteauroux      160.6 km
7      #med      Fri. 07/02       Vierzon > Le Creusot      249.1 km
8      #mountain      Sat. 07/03       Oyonnax > Le Grand-Bornand      150.8 km
9      #mountain      Sun. 07/04       Cluses > Tignes      144.9 km
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    Mellow Velo

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    Stage 1, Brest › Landerneau 197.8km
    26-6-2021
    Start 11-10am


    The Tour de France 2021 gets underway in France's North-Western corner. It will be the first time since 2008 that the Tour has started in Brest. This year's route begins with a difficult stage that could suit a multitude of riders. The stage travels from Brest, through Locronan and Quimper, to Landerneau. Start and finish are only 20 kilometres away by road.



    Frequent changes of direction and undulation will see the peloton riding in "Flanders mode". Also as the route runs close to the coast, the wind could be a major factor, adding to the general nervousness that is always present during the first week of the Tour. Although the route is constantly going either up or down, brutal climbs are not to be expected, as the highest points rises just 385 metres above sea level.



    However, there are no fewer than six, minor category climbs, spread along the route.

    The (main) Climbs.



    With no yellow jersey or pecking order established, tensions will run high. Without a doubt, the breakaway will be reeled in by the time the peloton reaches the final 3kms. Most of the pure sprinters will have been distanced by that point. First, the road goes up at 9.4% for 500 metres before the following 500 metres still rise 8.2%. The route levels out a bit to 6.2%, after which the next kilometre rises at 4%. The last 500 metres are a false flat. So it should be a puncheur who comes out on top to take the stage and the first maillot jaune of this year’s race.

    Favourites 1st stage 2021 Tour de France

    :*:*:*:*:* Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe
    :*:*:*:* Peter Sagan, Wout van Aert
    :*:*:* Michael Matthews, Marc Hirschi, Christophe Laporte
    :*:* Alejandro Valverde, Greg Van Avermaet, Sonny Colbrelli, Alex Aranburu
    :* Omar Fraille, Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Benoît Cosnefroy, Magnus Cort

    Brest

    30 previous stages
    Population: 140,000.

    Visited 23 times between 1906 and 1939 (Gustave Garrigou and Henri Pélissier each winning three times), Brest has been back on the map of the Grande Boucle since 2008 after a long 34-year hiatus. In 1952, it was the starting point of the first stage to Rennes, won by Rik Van Steenbergen. In 1974, it was Eddy Merckx who won the prologue of his last Tour victory. Finally in 2008, Alejandro Valverde won the first stage in Plumélec, starting from Brest.
    Valentin Madouas and Olivier Le Gac, both riding for the Groupama-FDJ team, were born in Brest.


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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    Mellow Velo

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     Well, there a certainly a few teams who will be left to pick up the pieces after another Tour early stage double disaster.
    I read elsewhere that somebody thought Ineos were the biggest loser as their 4 leaders became just two, but I think it actually makes them big winners: no more confusion, jobs already defined.
    Team Lotto Jumbo on the other hand, had Tony Martin, Mike Teunissen and above all, Sepp Kuss straggling home.
    Steven Kruijswijk was left to get home on a bike that looked like this:

    https://twitter.com/thijszonneveld/status/1408807349649874946

    UAE have Hirschi struggling and I am guessing that Brandon McNulty was one of their riders who went flying into the ditch as he also trailed home.
    Although Lopez only lost 90 seconds or so, the Movistar team was left all over the Breton roads.

    Worst of all could be ISN, with Woods losing close to 9 minutes and Froome a doubt for tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, there are 2 riders still on course, left unaccounted for....



    Edit:

    Ignatas Konovalovas  #groupama and Cyril Lemoine #bbhotels joined Jasha Sütterlin #dsm as DNFs

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  • Mellow Velo

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     Self explanatory but there is some doubt as to whether possible collarbone or dislocated shoulder

    https://twitter.com/DoCiclismo/status/1408843625560219650

    Meanwhile, back at crash numero uno, we have....

    https://twitter.com/inrng/status/1408845534123761669
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 2: Perros-Guirec > Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan 183.5 km
    27- 6 - 2021
    Start 13-10pm


    Stage 2 of the Tour de France is a day of two halves. A first part allowing to appreciate the wild and unique beauty of the Côte de Granit rose, the second crammed with most of the six categorised climbs, including two ascents of the Mur-de-Bretagne.



    That said, there’s relatively little in the way of flat roads between the start and the first climb at 72.8 kilometres. The riders then tackle a series of 4th category climbs: the Côte de Saint-Barbe (900 metres at 6.6%), Côte de Pordic (2.1 kilometres at 3.2%), Côte de Saint Brieuc (1 kilometre at 8%)
    The last three climbs of the day, including the double Mur ascent, are packed together inside the last 20 kilometres.



    Assuming the peloton starts the final climb in one piece, the gaps between the overall contenders should be relatively small. However, it is worth remembering that in 2018, this didn't happen, with both Tom Dumoulin and Romain Bardet having issues with their bikes and losing significant time as a result. That day, Daniel Martin attacked with around one kilometre to go and took the victory.





    Final Kilometres
    The Mûr-de-Bretagne climb is 2 kilometres long. The ascent kicks in hard with the first 500 metres at 10.1% before it ‘mellows out’ to 9.5% in the following 500 metres. The next 500 metres go up at 5.5%, after which the last section is a false flat at 2.4%.

    By now, we all know the hilltop finish in Mûr-de-Bretagne, as it has previously featured twice in the Tour de France.

    Favourites stage 2 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe
    :*:*:*:* Daniel Martin, Wout van Aert, Primož Roglič, Tadej Pogačar
    :*:*:* Michael Woods, Sergio Higuita, Wilco Kelderman
    :*:* Bauke Mollema, Alexey Lutsenko, Alejandro Valverde
    :* Jack Haig, Dylan Teuns, David Gaudu, Pierre Latour

    It was during its first appearance in the Tour, in 1947, that Côte de Mûr acquired its reputation: René Vietto suffered a terrible failure there during the longest time-trial in the history of the Grande Boucle between Vannes and Saint-Brieuc (139 km) and lost his Yellow Jersey as well as that edition, finally won by Jean Robic.
    During the 1934 Tour, he was poised to be race leader after his team leader Antonin Magne crashed during stage 16. Vietto was unaware of Magne's situation; his advantage gave him the virtual race lead. A marshal on a motorcycle caught Vietto to inform him his captain was on the side of the road, with team-mate Lapébie ahead, and the other team-mates behind the yellow jersey. Vietto turned and rode back up the mountain into the descending riders (at the time, reversing course was legal, but is no longer so), to give Magne his bike. A famous photograph shows Vietto sitting on a stone wall as the race passes.


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  • Leadbelly

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    Meanwhile, back at crash numero uno, we have....

    https://twitter.com/inrng/status/1408845534123761669

    I'm sure I've seen spectators do many worse things than that. Wasn't somebody waving a flare in Schelling's face literally a minute or two before this incident.

    Can't really see a need for any court stuff in this case. She's no doubt mortified and wants the earth to swallow her up. That's probably punishment enough.

    Anyway it's a dangerous can of worms for the ASO to open. What next? Riders filing complaints about race organizers? ;)
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  • Mellow Velo

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    AG

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    goodness.  that is not a good start.

    I am not a Froome fan, but I was super sad to see him go down so hard.   It's so hard for all of those guys - so much work and preparation for it to all fall in a heap (literally) half way through day 1
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Can't really see a need for any court stuff in this case.

    I have to wonder, given the amount of damaged caused.

    There's serious physical injury to riders (and presumably other fans as well?).
    There's the immense financial impact this will have on certain riders, their teams, their sponsors.
    There's the very possible long-term detrimental effects on those victimized by the crash.

    I know there's no simple solution or answer, but I'm forced to ask myself: In what other walks of life can so much damaged be caused by the deliberate (if unintentional) act of a person, yet with zero accountability?

    If someone intentionally disrupted the race, or assaulted a rider, certainly their would be penalties or punishment attached, no?

    Or, from another litigious standpoint: What of those innocent bystanders who may have suffered serious injury in all this? Is the person responsible for causing the crash not in some way responsible to those around them?

    I'm not convinced that embarrassment and/or public humiliation is enough of a punishment. The implications of all this are quite serious for those directly affected by it. Would prosecutorial punishment serve as a deterrent to others in the future? I really don't know. But I would think that being a public nuisance, disrupting a national event, and putting people's well-being and even possibly their lives in danger should amount to something more than just ridicule.

    Unintentional harm, such as in car accidents, etc, occur everyday, and the person responsible is usually held to account. People are routinely faced with legal consequences for acts that are far, far less significant than what occurred this afternoon. I think the stupidity on display at all such races should at least carry the threat of legal punishment, and that everyone in attendance should be made exceedingly aware of such.

    Would it make a difference? Who knows, but some form of deterrent needs to be more fully explored. I know that if I were the cause of so much chaos and commotion somewhere in the world, I wouldn't expect to then be able to just quietly skulk away into the night.
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  • « Last Edit: June 27, 2021, 04:09 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Hello, everyone, btw.   :D

    Happy Tour 2021!  :cool

    I have coverage! :win
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    let's hope for a more "relaxed" stage today, but I guess it could be quite hectic again.

    Alaphilippe looks like the obvious favourite, but also crashed on his knee early on yesterday, which I guess could cause more or a problem today. Normally I'd have Woods as prime contender, but he also looked a bit banged up - although maybe not quite as but as his result makes you think

    https://www.flobikes.com/collections/6752078-all-access/video?playing=7094427

    (may be geo restricted?)

    Also from Dan Martin's Tour Diary it sounds more like he took it easy in the end

    "Our GC hope, Mike Woods, hit the deck in the incident. I offered him my bike but he just shrugged and said there was no point, which was fair enough. With the race in full flight, even if he got a new bike he'd end up losing three or four minutes to anyone who stayed upright."
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  • Drummer Boy

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    (may be geo restricted?

    Works for me.  :)

    I barely recognized him, though. I think that's the first time I've seen him without a full kit and helmet.

    However, in both crashes, it's very fortunate that no one collided directly with the light pole. You can see in that clip just how close one of the riders came to hitting their head. Very scary. The other crash was similar with frightening near-misses. 
    :wut
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Self explanatory but there is some doubt as to whether possible collarbone or dislocated shoulder

    https://twitter.com/DoCiclismo/status/1408843625560219650
    Oh my, that's quite the sobering photo.
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  • LukasCPH

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    the longest time-trial in the history of the Grande Boucle between Vannes and Saint-Brieuc (139 km)
    Mon Dieu! :o
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    Views presented are my own. RIP Keith & Sean

    Mellow Velo

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     Mathieu van der Poel spectacularly moved into the yellow jersey at the Tour de France after winning stage two. First, Van der Poel caught everyone by surprise with an early attack on the first ascent of the Mûr-de-Bretagne. He was unable to build a significant advantage and he was within sights just as the riders approached the summit of the Mûr-de-Bretagne.
    Van der Poel did take the eight bonus seconds on offer for the first rider across the summit, though, with Tadej Pogačar taking a crucial five bonus seconds, and Primoż Roglič two.
     The final ascent began with two kilometres to go. Ineos Grenadiers set a searing pace on the front in the first or the two kilometres, and with 1.3km to go Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) attacked from deep. That move ignited a response from Van der Poel. Sonny Colbrelli made his move with 900m between him and the line. This forced a second reaction from Van der Poel. Alaphilippe especially didn’t respond to the Dutch superstar, as Van der Poel rode to an emotional victory, taking the Maillot Jaune in the process, eight seconds ahead of Pogačar and Roglič, the Slovenians taking second and third and the bonus seconds on offer.


     
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  • « Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 00:01 by LukasCPH »

    Mellow Velo

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    Stage 3: Lorient > Pontivy 182.9 km
    28-6-21
    Start 12-10pm


    After two days that catered for the puncheurs the sprinters of this year’s Tour de France will get their first opportunity. The stage departs Lorient, the hometown of former King of the Mountains winner Warren Barguil. Lorient hosted the start of the 5th stage of the 2018 Tour de France. The race went to Quimper, where Peter Sagan took the spoils.
    The riders travel from Lorient with the race hugging the coastline before heading inland, through the department of Morbihan, to Pontivy, where the finish lies near the enchanting Château des Rohan.



    While the route is not completely flat and does contain two, fourth category climbs, it is nowhere near as demanding as the weekend stages. So too is the finish, where a 3.5 kilometers downhill flies down to a flat finale, near the 15th century, Château des Rohan in Pontivy.





    The first of two consecutive days penciled in by the sprinters, so expect a small breakaway to comprise of the French wildcard teams. Only sprinters who have arrived with poor condition may struggle, but the peloton should arrive en masse.
    The finishing sprint takes place along Pontivy's high street, with the line below the castle walls.

    Favourites stage 3 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Caleb Ewan, Tim Merlier
    :*:*:*:* Arnaud Démare, Wout van Aert
    :*:*:* Mark Cavendish, Cees Bol, Mathieu van der Poel, Mads Pedersen
    :*:* Christophe Laporte, Nacer Bouhanni, Danny van Poppel, Peter Sagan
    :* André Greipel, Niccolò Bonifazio, Max Walscheid, Michael Matthews, Sonny Colbrelli
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  • Leadbelly

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    https://twitter.com/WielerFlits/status/1409226451635814406

    Van Aert says he won't be contesting the sprints until after the first TT. He thinks that if he saves himself for that stage, he might be able to grab yellow.

    Mmmmmm I think that if he got some bonuses he'd find getting yellow a bit easier.
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    van der Poel said the same - before Merlier crashed hard on stage 1, though. They still have Philipsen, but some more bonus for MvdP probably can't hurt either...
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  • AG

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    great result yesterday.  So happy for Van der Poel ..

    for today - the head says Ewen, but the heart says Cav  :D
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  • Mellow Velo

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     Today's weather forecast isn't great: thundery showers in the afternoon as a low pressure moves North.
    That doesn't bode well for the already tricky final kms.
    The downhill into town is fraught with disaster, as is the second, 180 degree change of direction, as the entrance an exit are quite narrow.
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  • Mellow Velo

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     Well, the downhill certainly was fraught with disaster, but I was a km off with the next point of contact.

    There were no mass crashes like stage one, but the small crashes that bookended the day were significant for who was involved.
    The most prominent occurred with 10km to go, when a well-placed Primoż Roglič spectacularly fell from his bike.
    Geraint Thomas is no stranger to hitting the ground, and at first it looked as if his race was over, when he was seen clutching his right collarbone.
    Fortunately he was able to remount and receive treatment from the car, with on the roads reports suggesting that he had suffered a dislocated shoulder.
    The Welshman, accompanied by three team-mates, re-joined the peloton within half-an-hour, and made it to the day’s finish in the same finishing group as Tadej Pogačar and amazingly, ahead of Primoz Roglic.
    Robert Gesink abandoned the race, the Dutchman caught up in the crash that also felled Thomas. Steven Kruijswijk also receiving treatment.
    Miguel Ángel López of Movistar was briefly on the floor, but to wrap up the nightmarish day for the GC contenders, with just four kilometres between the peloton and the finish line, another crash wiped out Jack Haig of Bahrain-Victorious.
    Haig was unable to finish the stage due to his injuries, joining his compatriot and final victim of the day, Caleb Ewan, in leaving the race.


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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 4, Redon > Fougères 150.4 km
    29-6-2021
    Start 12-25pm


    This stage journeys through Argoat, the beautiful inland Brittany entirely set in the Gallo country and going from one side to the other of the Ille-et-Vilaine area. The last time the race ended in Fougeres was in 2015 with Mark Cavendish taking the stage. It’s an identical finish this time around.



    This is another opportunity for the sprinters, as the short route covers virtually flat terrain. There are no categorised climbs between the start in Redon and the finish in picturesque Fougères.



    A bunch sprint is the most likely outcome in the 4th stage of the Tour de France. The winner of the stage will also receive 50 points towards the green jersey competition, along with the now standard 10 second time bonus.

    Final kilometres




    Favourites stage 4 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Tim Merlier,
    :*:*:*:* Arnaud Démare, Mark Cavendish
    :*:*:* Wout van Aert, Cees Bol, Mathieu van der Poel, Mads Pedersen
    :*:* Christophe Laporte, Nacer Bouhanni, Danny van Poppel, Peter Sagan
    :* André Greipel, Niccolò Bonifazio, Max Walscheid, Michael Matthews, Sonny Colbrelli

    Fougères 2018

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  • Mellow Velo

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    Périchon and Van Moer had valiantly decided to form the BOTD on a day that should have been a simple, sprinter affair. They valiantly fought on into the final 20km too, holding out a gap of 40 seconds with 15km remaining.
    Finally Van Moer was able to shake Périchon with 13.9km to go, the breakaway winner of the opening stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné hoping for a repeat of that success on the big stage.
    Still there was no urgency to make the catch from the peloton.
    The Belgian was not giving up on this solo lead easily, his gap growing beyond a minute into the final 10km with still no one really pushing on from the peloton.
    Van Moer’s determination to win meant he held a minute with 6km to go, before Deceuninck-Quick-Step finally started chasing hard with just over 5km left to ride, pegging him back to 42 seconds into the last 4km.
    It was touch and go whether the sprinters would make their catch heading towards the final kilometre, but a slight rise ahead of the flamme rouge put Van Moer in difficulty. finally at 500m that the sprinters closed in on him.
    Within 250m to go he was swallowed up as the sprinters fought for the win, with Cavendish able to move around him and then Philipsen to power clear and take a hard-fought, emotional victory at the Tour de France.

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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 5,Changé > Laval Espace Mayenne 27.2 km
    30-6-2021
    First Rider 11-15am


    The Tour de France leaves Brittany on stage 5 and serves the first of two time trials. This one, at 27.2kms is the longest individual time trial the Tour de France has held in the opening week since the 2008 edition. It is a first for Changé. The finish in Laval is just 5 kilometer away.
    Laval last hosted a stage in 1999, when Tom Steels outsprinted Erik Zabel and Stuart O’Grady.



    The route is predominantly flat and is the first real test for the GC contenders. In 2008, the top 20 riders spread out over approximately a minute and a half, so this is a major opportunity for time trialists to shine.



    The route itself features an elevation gain of just 200 metres, so heavily favours the time trial specialists who have maintain a high power output. The only technical elements occur at the back end of the course.
    Final kilometres



    Favourites stage 5 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Wout van Aert, Stefan Küng, Stefan Bissegger
    :*:*:*:* Kasper Asgreen, Tadej Pogacar, Richie Porte
    :*:*:* Søren Kragh Andersen, Julian Alaphilippe, Victor Campenaerts, Primoz Roglic
    :*:* Brandon McNulty, Jonas Vingegaard, Rigoberto Urán, Geraint Thomas,
    :* Tony Martin, Alexey Lutsenko, Ion Izagirre, Mikkel Bjerg

    The prefecture of Mayenne has given birth to many riders who have participated in the Tour de France. At the top of the list is Jacky Durand, winner of three stages in 1994, 1995 - wearing the Yellow Jersey for two days - and 1998, and twice winner of the Most Aggressive Rider prize in 1998 and 1999, a year in which he finished last in the race.

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  • t-72

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    It appears that the weather may become a factor, but Bisegger seems to be water-proof, right?

    Maybe if #ef EF  had their duck-beak helmets and matching quacketyquack jerseys?

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  • t-72

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    The rain did appear, and it did affect the race (actually #ef Bisegger was among the worst affected), but the GC favorites largely escaped it, starting later.
    The results can be considered-some kind of lightning strike anyway. Not the suddenly surprising one, the weather forecast had it coming a long time on the forecast and everyone knew it might happen, but it was kind of early for #uae Pogacar to start smashing his rivals. he is in an ideal position after this stage, not leading GC but still comfortably ahead of his GC rivals.



    (hit post to soon! sorry)

    Talking about his rivals, #jumbo are not dead yet with both Vingegaard and Roglic putting in good performances despite the laters mummification after all his stage 3 bruises. His position on the bike was clearly more aerodynamic than in last year's stage 20, his back is more flexible now, and his position is more parallell to the ground , pushing less air. Without all the crashes I think he would have given Pogi a more even competition.

    In practice, Pogi now has 1 min 30 secs + to all his GC rivals save (maybe) Alaphilippe.  If #jumbo set out to ride like the old #ineos skytrains, maybe they should reconsider and ride more like the current-day #ineos Ineos-squad. They have several riders that can go high in the GC with a well-timed attack in the mountains, and #ineos Ineos themselves must hope for something like that. Now it is #uae that is more or less forced to ride defensively, stop Carapaz, Vingeggard, Thomas, maybe Kruijswijk, and perhaps (the boos fight) the resurgent Roglic himself - and do UAE really have the team for that?

    It ain't over yet, and we will see, starting Saturday.

    PS: What has happened to Pello Bilbao?  The guy was racing excellently in pre-season and now .... nothing!

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  • « Last Edit: June 30, 2021, 17:40 by t-72, Reason: added more »

    Mellow Velo

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    Stage 6, Tours > Châteauroux 160.6 km
    1-7-2021
    Start 13-55pm


    The 160.6 kilometre stage leaves Tours and heads east. The race heads out of the cathedral city of Tours and ventures into picture-postcard châteaux and vineyard country. Marcel Kittel sprinted to triumph, the last time the Tour de France visited Tours, in 2013. Châteauroux has not seen the Tour de France since 2011. More on that, later.



    La Grande Boucle's 6th stage should be another one for the fast finishers, as the route is almost entirely played out on the flat. The only possible threat to this scenario could be if there is a threat of crosswinds. 2011 saw echelon action in this region, when the winds picked up.



    Final kilometres



    When reading the names of the last stage winners in Châteauroux, it is hard to imagine that a non-sprinter could win here: in 1998, it was Mario Cippolini who raised his arms. However, it was Mark Cavendish who won the last two finishes in town, in 2008 and 2011 and now he's back, searching for the illusive hat trick. It was also at Châteauroux, that The Manx Missile took his first ever stage of Le Grande Boucle.



    Favourites stage 6 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Mark Cavendish, Tim Merlier
    :*:*:*:* Arnaud Démare, Nacer Bouhanni
    :*:*:* Cees Bol, Jasper Philipsen
    :*:* Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel, Mads Pedersen
    :* Christophe Laporte, Peter Sagan, Sonny Colbrelli , Danny van Poppel
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  • Drummer Boy

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    The rain did appear, and it did affect the race (actually #ef Bisegger was among the worst affected), but the GC favorites largely escaped it, starting later.

    Van Aert & van der Poel -- separated  by only one second in the iTT. Forever trapped in the Holy Matrimony of cycling.  :angel

    Roglič seems to have performed better than many may have expected, which, hopefully, indicates that he's not out of this just yet.

    As for Pogačar's performance, the look on Küng's face as he was forced to vacate the hot seat said it all.


    As an aside:
    I just did a Google image search for "Stefan Küng in the past 24-hours."
    Nearly every photo that popped up was that of the victorious Tadej.

     :-x
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