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Mellow Velo

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 Look, just too much went on today to precis and tbh, I'm starting to flag. Next week will just be stage descriptions as things for me are going to get busy, Covid bureaucracy being incredibly complex here. (more so than England)
 So, I am just going to say that Mollema was clearly not happy with the work of the group and went on the attack on the long descent with 42km to go. Once he was gone, he never looked back, and there was no immediate response from his former breakaway companions.


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

    Mellow Velo

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    Stage 15, Céret > Andorre-La-Vieille 191.3km
    11-7-2021
    Start 12-20am


    Stage 15 from Ceret to Andorre-La-Vieille is one of the hardest in this year’s race, with four categorised climbs along the 191.3 kilometre route. Travelling West from Céret to Andorra la Vella, capital of the Pyrenean microstate of Andorra. To get there the race ascends Port d’Envalira, which carries the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, for the first rider to reach the Tour’s highest point, topping out at over 2,400 metres.
    In recent years, Andorra la Vella has hosted a number of stages of La Vuelta and Andorra has also been used to host a rest day of the Spanish Grand Tour, as it will be, for this year's Tour.



    The stage starts with 20kms of gradual drag out of Ceret, which probably means hard work in the battle for the breakaway that may ultimately prove unfruitful. It could very well last until the first proper climb, which is the Montée de Mont-Louis which would mean almost two hours of attack and counter attack.
    Three of the climbs are first category ascents. The final climb of the day, the Col de Beixalis, a staple of the Vuelta in recent years, has the potentially to blow the entire race apart.



    The Climbs:


    Stage 15 is yet another mountainous test with a downhill finale, so favours good climbers who are also good descenders. Just how much leeway the attackers are allowed by the teams with yellow ambitions, we won't know until it happens. The breakaway could battle it out for the stage win, or the GC contenders could go head to head on the Col de Beixalis, before sprinting for victory in the streets of Andorra-la-Vieille.



    Favourites stage 15 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Tadej Pogacar, Julian Alaphilippe
    :*:*:* Jakob Fuglsang, Vincenzo Nibali, Ion Izagirre
    :*:*:* Michael Woods, Richard Carapaz , Alejandro Valverde, Dylan Teuns, David Gaudu
    :*:* Rigoberto Urán, Esteban Chaves, Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard, Omar Fraile
    :* Dan Martin, Wilco Kelderman, Matteo Cattaneo
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  • « Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 11:58 by Mellow Velo »

    Drummer Boy

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    Look, just too much went on today to precis and tbh, I'm starting to flag. Next week will just be stage descriptions as things for me are going to get busy, Covid bureaucracy being incredibly complex here. (more so than England)

    So, I am just going to say that Mollema was clearly not happy with the work of the group and went on the attack on the long descent with 42km to go. Once he was gone, he never looked back, and there was no immediate response from his former breakaway companions.

    I think that summation suffices.  :D

    That gorge that they passed through certainly was a sight to behold, though!  :cool
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Favourites stage 15 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Tadej Pogacar, Julian Alaphilippe
    :*:*:* Jakob Fuglsang, Vincenzo Nibali, Ion Izagirre
    :*:*:* Michael Woods, Richard Carapaz , Alejandro Valverde, Dylan Teuns, David Gaudu
    :*:* Rigoberto Urán, Esteban Chaves, Wout van Aert, Omar Fraile
    :* Dan Martin, Wilco Kelderman, Matteo Cattaneo

    No mention, whatsoever, of Jonas Vingegaard? *dk #jumbo   Did I miss something? :slow

    I would think that he'd have a better chance of at least making himself known than half the riders in that list.

    Rumor has it that during the last altitude camp leading up to the Tour,  Vingegaard was actually putting up better numbers than Roglič.

    Also, he placed 3rd in the previous iTT, so I would think that he'd want to reassasert himself in the overall GC sooner rather than later.

    Anything could happen on Sunday's stage, and I wouldn't want to bet even a dollar as to what that might be. But I do hope that the young Jonas, who placed second at this years Tour of the Basque Country ahead of Tadej Pogačar (and less than a minute behind Primož Roglič) will reclaim his previous standing in this Tour's GC, as he is currently only 14 seconds behind a virtual podium position (and only one second ahead of Richard Carapaz).
     :)
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  • AG

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    Thank you MV.  I have really appreciated all your efforts.


    The stage was kinda fun - was expecting a bit of a fight to get in the break, and then a slow and steady rolling rest day.

    The break took over 80km to estqablish - not untilt he cat 2 climb did anyone get away.  When it finally formed (more out of exhaustion than anything) it was climbing types so was a bit interesting.

    The rest of the peleton went a reasonable speed for another 500km before eventually slowing to give the break a good gap.   

    Mollema decided that he was bnot going to wait to fight it out on a climb, so went on the descent of the Cat 3 Cote de Galingues and stayed away as those behind him rode against each other instead of together.

    As for tonight - I do hope that Vingegaard can put in a good showing.  Would be nice to put Pogacar to a bit of effort ... but it is his 1st Tour and he is very young.  (I know that Pogacar won his first Tour, and is younger ... but he is a freak and we cant genuinely expect 2 freaks at once :D)
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Jonas Vingegaard just an omission on my part.
    So, my question is: How many stars?
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    hard to say. His descending didn't look too great on Ventoux, high altitude is a questionmark, and so is the heat. So I'd say two to three.

    By the way, interestingly Kasper Asgreen just said to Danish TV "It will be a really hard day. I think the best options are… Or the only option is Mattia (Cattaneo). To see how he manages it again. The rest of us? We just have to go through." So where does this leave Alaphilippe? ;)
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    Mellow Velo

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    hard to say. His descending didn't look too great on Ventoux, high altitude is a questionmark, and so is the heat. So I'd say two to three.

    By the way, interestingly Kasper Asgreen just said to Danish TV "It will be a really hard day. I think the best options are… Or the only option is Mattia (Cattaneo). To see how he manages it again. The rest of us? We just have to go through." So where does this leave Alaphilippe? ;)

    Apparently it leaves him getting some Bennett style remarks from Pat Lefevere.
    Wastes too much energy he says. Wastes energy? Frankly, I am shocked. :D

    Re Vingegaard: You have highlighted the reason why I hesitated to rate him...............and then completely forgot. :fp
    It's that downhill finish again today.
    Think I'll go with 2, especially as it's beginning to look as if it's going to be a quality break.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    A huge break of 32 riders got away with some big names involved including the top five riders in the mountains standings as well as other big names aiming for stage wins. Nobody was a threat to GC, therefore there was a good chance that some would go all the way to the finish. With Groupama-FDJ working hard in the break and UAE Team Emirates controlling behind, the break gained a stage winning gap. Wout van Aert joined in with KoM points battle and by stage end had become a serious contender. Meanwhile, Wout Poels took over the Polka Dot jersey, finishing ahead of Michael Woods on every climb.
    Eventually Movistar and Ineos Grenadiers started drilling the race as it went over 2,000 metres above sea level with 50km to go. This forced the break to start attacking one another, with Nairo Quintana bursting clear to take the Souvenir Henri Desgrange. On the descent, several riders dropped back to help their team leaders. Souvenier Henri Desgrange. The peloton had closed the gap to 5-04 before hitting the final climb of the Col de Beixalis.
    Kuss and Valverde then managed to kick clear. Kuss then managed to drop the Spaniard as they hit the steepest gradients. Behind, Carapaz did try with only Pogačar and Vingegaard able to follow the first kick. All moves were brought back and Pogačar then decided to up the pace himself as he tested the other riders. They all went over the top together with Van Aert dropping back to guide them to the line.
    Kuss managed to keep away from Valverde and ride to the line on his own to win his first Tour de France stage.


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    Meanwhile, Wout Poels took over the Polka Dot jersey, finishing ahead of Michael Woods on every climb.

    this should continue be an interesting battle over the coming day
    1      #kom   WOUTER POELS       74 PTS
    2      #israel   MICHAEL WOODS       66 PTS
    3      #arkea   NAIRO QUINTANA       64 PTS
    4      #jumbo   WOUT VAN AERT       64 PTS
    5      #trek   BAUKE MOLLEMA       41 PTS
    6      #trek   KENNY ELISSONDE       27 PTS
    7      #uae   TADEJ POGACAR       26 PTS
    8      #ag2r   BEN O'CONNOR       24 PTS
    9      #ef   SERGIO HIGUITA       24 PTS
    10      #deceuninck   JULIAN ALAPHILIPPE       20 PTS
    11      #jumbo   JONAS VINGEGAARD      20 PTS

    tomorrow could be another day for the breakaway, while the following two look more like potential GC days, with 40pt available at the finish each:





    so if Pogacar and/or Vingegaard could move up to around ~100 points, while the current #kom contenders are more likely to fight for those ~60 points underway only - unless Woods or Quintana can make another step and keep up with the GC guys on the HC MTFs.

    Also the team classification is still at stake over the coming days, with #ef EF looking a bit stronger on the climbs than #bahrain Bahrain currently
    1      #bahrain   BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS       
    2      #ef   EF EDUCATION - NIPPO       + 00h 11' 37''
    3      #ag2r   AG2R CITROEN TEAM       + 00h 26' 21''
    4      #jumbo   JUMBO - VISMA       + 00h 32' 02''
    5      #ineos   INEOS GRENADIERS       + 00h 33' 24''
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  • Drummer Boy

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    I honestly had no idea that it had been ten years since a U.S. rider had won a TdF stage.
    The last one being in 2011, with a sprint finish on Stage 3, from Tyler Farrar.
    Before that? You have to go all the way back to Lance/Floyd era.
     :shh

    A great win for Sepp Kuss, though, made even more special by the fact that he lives in Andorra, and his girlfriend and parents were on the climb that day cheering him on. It was also really sweet to see Alejandro Valverde congratulating him soon after the finish. Who better, than the living legend himself, to add to an already incredibly special memory? Especially since the record books will forever show just who it was that Sepp beat to the line (by 23 seconds...and 15-years of age!). They spoke to each on other in Spanish (apparently commenting on the headwinds) with genuine smiles all around.




    Curiously, Sepp is supposedly one of thirty-two current members of the peloton who also live in Andorra. So, many would have been familiar with the day's challenges. Sepp himself has certainly ridden those roads before, but not often on the full climbs, as they are too daunting for any sort of regular training, according to his post-race remarks.

    I would think that taking such a victory prior to the final rest day is even more satisfying, as it allows one that much more time to reflect on the accomplishment, participate in upbeat interviews, and celebrate the victorious mood with team mates before the final, grueling week to Paris kicks off.
     :cool

    https://twitter.com/JumboVismaRoad/status/1414304101316374534
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