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Tour de France - Stage Previews & Discussion - Week 2



Stage Type Date Start / Finish Distance
10      #flat      Tue. 07/06       Albertville > Valence      190.7 km
11      #mountain      Wed. 07/07       Sorgues > Malaucène      198.9 km
12      #flat      Thu. 07/08       Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Nîmes      159.4 km
13      #flat      Fri. 07/09       Nîmes > Carcassonne      219.9 km
14      #med      Sat. 07/10       Carcassonne > Quillan      183.7 km
15      #mountain      Sun. 07/11       Céret > Andorre-la-Vieille      191.3 km
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    Mellow Velo

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    Stage 10, Albertville > Valence 190.7 km
    6-7-2021
    Start 13-05pm


    Following the first rest day in this year’s Tour de France the racing recommences with a 190.7km stage. From Albertville the riders head in southwesterly direction, moves through the valleys of the Isère and Rhône to finish at Valence. There is always a threat of potential crosswinds in the area.
    It's worth remembering that in 2017 Chris Froome and Team Sky put time into Dan Martin and Alberto Contador.



    The only KOM points are available on the Col de Couz, which is an extended viaduct of 7.4 kilometres at 2.8%. The rest of the route is to all intents and purposes, flat, as the riders stick to the lower parts of the region such as the Rhône Valley.



    Valence hosted three Tour de France stage finishesO and on both occasions it came down to a sprinter showdown. Victory went to André Greipel (2015) and Peter Sagan (2018). So this could be a an important day in the battle for the Green jersey with a flat run into Valence perfectly suited to a bunch gallop.

    Favourites stage 10 Tour de France 2021

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




     The weather not looking good again tomorrow, as this depressing Summer literally rumbles on. Looks as if thing should improve from here on in though.
    Anyhow, the breakaway will face a stiff headwind for most of the route and with few bonuses to be won, it could mean it will be small and French. :D

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  • « Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 20:25 by Mellow Velo »
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    AG

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    The fight for Green is getting pretty interesting.

    Cav has gone from Not even close to being considered for the Tour team - so a red hot favourite for Green and winning on the Champs Elysee.

    BUT - can he make it to Paris?  and can he hold off the sprinter/climber types?


    Sagan - comes in as a contender for Green.  That changes to red hot favourite when Bennett pulls out.  That changes to not even in contention after a crash with Ewen in the early stages.

    Ewen was looking good as the only real in form sprinter - but early abandon after the crash ... and realistically, would he have made it to Paris?  Seems unlikely when many are being pushed OTL

    Then we have the new contenders - Matthews and Colbrelli.   Both are fairly handy on medium climbs (and Colbrelli just finished 3rd on a hotly contested mountain stage :o)    but in truth, there are not that many Intermediate sprints after climbs left ... certainly not enough if Cav wins a couple of the flat stages.

    I would still be putting my money on Cav at this point, and rely on DQS to get him through to Paris.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Mark Cavendish claimed his third victory of the 2021 Tour de France as he took full advantage of a text book lead-out from  #deceuninck, with Davide Ballerini and Michael Morkov in charge of proceedings right up until the final 150m when Cavendish went it alone.
    He was able to fend off the challenge of Wout van Aert  #jumbo and Jasper Philipsen  #alpecin to move to within one win of equalling Merckx's record.of a superb lead-out by his Deceuninck - Quick Step teammates on stage 10.

    Besides this, not a lot happened. A two man break, a two team tumble in which Richie Porte appeared to come off worse and minor crosswinds threatened to cause echelons, but ultimately did little.


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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 11, Sorgues > Malaucène 198.9 km
    7-7-2021
    Start 12-00


    Five years after a windy visit and some impromptu athletics , the Tour returns to the Giant of Provence. The race taking on the highly anticipated doubled ascent of Mont Ventoux will be all about the climbers and perhaps, the descenders. The riders begin to turn the pedals in Sorgues and follow an anti-clockwise route, initially along the flat. Just after Sault, the race enters the Ventoux circuit, where hopefully at some point, the fireworks will begin.



    After 30kms of flat, there are two small, fourth category climbs, the Cote de Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and Côte de Gordes, followed by the first category Col de la Liguière.
    These small climbs hold some significance, given the intermediate sprint appears between the two.
    While the initial climb is short, it does have a 12% section towards it's top.



    It could be that Bike Exhange and Bahrain may try to put the green jersey into difficulty here; not just in terms of the IS, but also, they could look to force the pace until the Col de la Liguière, with the specific aim putting Cavendish OTL.

    The first time up Ventoux takes the easiest of three possible routes to the top but it’s also the longest, with 24.3 kilometres of climbing facing the riders. At the summit the riders drop down into Malaucène for the first time via one of the fastest descents. Another 12.5 kilometres on rolling roads later the riders reach Bédoin, which is where the Ventoux begins for real.



    Finally, the riders tackle the rapid descent into Malaucène once again. The 22 kilometres to the line all fly downhill.

    The Climbs.



    Ventoux 1st passage



    Ventoux second passage



    Final kilometres



    The full assent of the Mont Ventoux returns to the Tour de France route for the first time since 2013, when Chris Froome climbed to victory ahead of Nairo Quintana and Mikel Nieve. 3 years later, the stage was cut short at Chalet Reynard, due to strong winds. That time Chris Froome won................the foot race!
    With stage honours and bonification seconds at stake, GC riders will doubtless be motivated to go all out.

    Favourites stage 11 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Tadej Pogacar,
    :*:*:*:* Richard Carapaz, Michael Woods
    :*:*:* Wilco Kelderman, Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Urán, David Gaudu
    :*:* Simon Yates, Miguel Ángel López, Guillaume Martin,
    :* Vincenzo Nibali, Jakob Fuglsang, Wout Poels, Enric Mas, Sergio Higuita

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  • Drummer Boy

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    Tour de France - Stage Previews & Discussion - Week 2

    Could someone kindly update the stage profiles as they appear below the TdF race chat?  :angel
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  • « Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 02:37 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    What a stage win that was today. So glad that I opted to watch to the end. You can never repeat the drama and excitement when watching a replay, especially when so often a thumbnail or segment title completely spoils the result ahead to time.
     :angry

    Should anyone ever need to explain sprinting to another, I can't imagine a better finish to use as demonstration. Quick-Step was nothing less than masterful in their execution of the playbook. Even though all their rivals knew exactly what they'd want to do, they still pulled it off to perfection. And not only does Cavendish appear to have the speed and power back in his legs, his race acumen, positioning, and handling of the bike all seem to be on as high a level as he ever had at the peak of his powers. Truly impressive, and a real joy and privilege to watch. If he can make it to Paris, it really does appear that he'll have the best chance at taking home the ultimate prize.

    There's been a lot of speculation that if Cav were to win on the Champs-Élysées that he would retire on the spot, with the storybook ending of having reclaimed #green, taking victory on the biggest sprint stage, and matched (or maybe even beaten by then?) Eddie Merckx's record of 34 TdF stage wins. But those who know him claim otherwise, and you do have to wonder that if he does achieve those grand ambitions, wouldn't it be nice for him to race at least one more season with much of that pressure removed, and with the possibility of winning even another stage or two in 2022? With Bennett leaving the team anyway, that's another piece of drama that wouldn't have to complicate matters. I suppose the even bigger question would be: Is Cav capable of replicating this year's form for next season, and what would happen against a more deeply stacked field of competitors?

    For now though, I'm thoroughly enjoying all of this.  :cool


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  • Drummer Boy

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    Favourites stage 11 Tour de France 2021

    You left out Sonny Colbrelli.  *it  #bahrain :win  :D
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  • Leadbelly

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    And not only does Cavendish appear to have the speed and power back in his legs

    Annoyingly I can't remember where I saw it yesterday, so I can't link it, but Cavendish didn't achieve the fastest speed in the sprint. That's not too surprising as the guys further back have more drafting, but what is slightly surprising is that Morkov had a higher speed too.
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  • Servais Knavendish

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    I too am loving this - and as Brian Smith said yesterday Cav is the story of this tour - Pogacar's parade to Paris is nothing to this (although it is highly watchable too!)

    I have been wondering though is Cav tearing up the TdF on basic minimum wage?  I doubt if either he or DQS put in any speculative green jersey / stage record clauses; so the equally lowest paid member of the peloton is lording it!

    So to your point DB - would a 1 year extension on a real cav-esque contract help him decide to ride on?
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    Could someone kindly update the stage profiles as they appear below the TdF race chat?  :angel

    yep, someone just did ;)
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  • Drummer Boy

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    ...Cavendish didn't achieve the fastest speed in the sprint.

    One thing I meant to point out:
    If you watch a replay of the finish, Jasper Philipsen clearly had more closing speed than anyone around him. He was absolutely flying towards the line, but ran out of road.

    However, sprinting is as much about timing as it is about acceleration. We often see such things, where a rider is closing at ridiculous speed, but just doesn't get there in time. Cavendish is also a master of timing, and, when at his best,  is super-aware of his surroundings. Even if his rivals are faster, he knows how to get to the line first. It's a strange dichotomy, but one that lends even more intrigue to the death-defying art of the elite sprinter.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    I too am loving this - and as Brian Smith said yesterday Cav is the story of this tour - Pogacar's parade to Paris is nothing to this (although it is highly watchable too!)
    With the race for Yellow all but a done deal, this really is the best year for Cavendish to steal the spotlight. It adds a crucial narrative to what otherwise might become a very predictable  and ho-hum Grand Tour.

    Quote
    I have been wondering though is Cav tearing up the TdF on basic minimum wage?  I doubt if either he or DQS put in any speculative green jersey / stage record clauses; so the equally lowest paid member of the peloton is lording it!
    It's my understanding that Cavendish came to the team with his personal sponsors already paying much of his salary. So it might be with those same sponsors that he has additional Green Jersey/stage-win clauses. It would be interesting to know about any bonuses that Cavendish was promised from Quick-Step though. It's been speculated that if Cav or his agent (I'm assuming he has one?) had put Green Jersey/stage-win bonuses on the table at the time of signing, Lefevere would've eagerly accepted, as it would've appeared to be a pipe dream at that time, and as safe a bet as one might ever encounter. Although even if there are generous bonuses now due Cavendish, I doubt the team sponsors would mind, as they're receiving more attention now than they ever could've hoped for.

    There was also speculation that one of the reasons Lefevere was threatening to bench Sam Bennett and not pay him his full wages was so that he'd have the extra funds available to pay his newest/oldest star.
     :D

    However, if Cav does continue for another season, I would have to imagine that a generous and rewarding contract would be part of that.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    As expected, there was a huge fight for the breakaway. Eventually, ajust under 100km remaining the leading two groups came together to make 16 riders ahead of the first ascent of the Ventoux from Sault. That break split up on the early slopes of Ventoux, with seven riders getting away.
    Bauke Mollema rejoined them towards the top of the first ascent. Elissonde attacked at the foot of Ventoux from the Bédoin side. Van Aert then put in a powerful attack to drop Mollema and Alaphilippe with 14km to the top of the climb, powering away in pursuit of Elissonde. With 11km to the top of the climb, Van Aert decided it was time to attack, instantly dropping Elissonde and getting into time trialling mode as he went in search of the stage win.
    In the peloton around five minutes back, second overall Ben O’Connor saw his GC hopes begin to drift as he was dropped from the other contenders as Ineos continued to set the pace and thin out the main group. It was Jonas Vingegaard who made the evental attack with 23.5km to go and just over a kilometre from the summit. Pogačar managed to follow initially but couldn’t hold the speed of the Danish rider, dropping back to Uran and Carapaz.
    As Van Aert soloed to victory, his team mate Vingegaard was struggling to hold off Pogačar, Uràn, and Carapaz on the descent, eventually getting caught before the line, with the race leader taking the sprint for fourth place.

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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 12, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Nîmes 159.4 km
    9-7-2021
    Start 13-30am


    After the double ascent of Mont Ventoux on stage 11 the race returns to less testing terrain with a 159.4 kilometre stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Nîmes. Along the way, the Tour peloton moves through the stunning Gorges de l’Ardèche. Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux has been a regular host to Tour starts over the past decade. Although there is only one short climb positioned mid-way through the stage there’s another chance that echelons a
    nd crosswinds. Much of the stage heads south, following the broad valley of the lower Rhône and enters the Gard department.



    The race to Nîmes is predominantly played out on flat to rolling roads. The exposed roads at this point could be a key if the wind picks up before the peloton hits the third cat climb of the Côte du Belvédère de Tharaux.
    The last decade saw two Tour de France stage finishes in Nîmes. Most memorably in 2014, when in pouring rain, breakaway rider Jack Bauer was caught in the dying metres of the race before Alexander Kristoff sprinted to victory.



    The Climb.



    Final Kilometres





    The area around Nîmes is known for weather phenomena such as the the Mistral, Tramontana and Sirocco. In short, strong winds are not uncommon. So, this could be either a relatively quiet day in the Tour or one of the most intense battles of the race so far.
    All eyes will be on the the weather forecast......

    Favourites stage 12 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Mark Cavendish
    :*:*:*:* Wout van Aert,, Jasper Philpsen
    :*:*:* Cees Bol, Nacer Bouhanni
    :*:* Christophe Laporte, Danny van Poppel, Peter Sagan
    :* André Greipel, Niccolò Bonifazio, Max Walscheid, Michael Matthews, Sonny Colbrelli

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  • Leadbelly

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    :* André Greipel

    This was the quickest man the other day according to that article I read. Not much good though when you start your sprint from 14th or wherever.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    As Van Aert soloed to victory...
    Apparently WVA is not entirely unfamiliar with the Ventoux. Legend has it that his first successful climbing of  the iconic mountain took place at the tender age of...ten-years-old!
     :cool

    He has also ridden it on more than one occasion as part of a Belgian charity ride. So even he hasn't raced it previously (has he?), he is not unfamiliar with the specific terrain. Having already established himself as a legitimate sprinter and top-tier time-trialist, whoever thought he'd add Mountain King to his CV? It was clearly an emotional win for him today, and what a spectacular show he put on!

    ...his team mate Vingegaard was struggling to hold off Pogačar, Uràn, and Carapaz on the descent, eventually getting caught before the line, with the race leader taking the sprint for fourth place.

    About that... :-x

    Has there been much chatter about Pogacar's final burst? Was that him just asserting his Alpha role, or did he possibly think there were bonus seconds to be had? It seemed a bit...unnecessary.
    :slow
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  • Drummer Boy

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    And on a lighter note:

    Just to add to that, should anyone be curious, I left a brief recap of some of the stragglers in the race chat.
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  • « Last Edit: July 08, 2021, 17:08 by Drummer Boy »

    t-72

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    The race to Nîmes is predominantly played out on flat to rolling roads. The exposed roads at this point could be a key if the wind picks up before the peloton hits the third cat climb of the Côte du Belvédère de Tharaux.
    The last decade saw two Tour de France stage finishes in Nîmes. Most memorably in 2014, when in pouring rain, breakaway rider Jack Bauer was caught in the dying metres of the race before Alexander Kristoff sprinted to victory.



    The area around Nîmes is known for weather phenomena such as the the Mistral, Tramontana and Sirocco. In short, strong winds are not uncommon. So, this could be either a relatively quiet day in the Tour or one of the most intense battles of the race so far.
    All eyes will be on the the weather forecast......


    I have checked in on the weather services and it appears that there will only be light winds a few m/s and predominantly tailwind on the final 30 kilometers which is going quite straight southwards from Uzés. All strong regional winds seem to be called off for the day. However, there is a chance of showers (but mostly before the race) and a local cloudburst could come with some stronger winds.
    I have not been very impressed with the weather forecast so far in the last week and I suggest that looking for dark clouds is a good idea. The landscape is very open so winds are likely to find the peloton if they sweep the area.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    It was a very fast start as there were strong crosswinds from the flag drop after the race start was delayed by 10 minutes due to the gusts of wind. There were a couple of echelons formed but it didn’t last as a 13 man break quickly got a gap with some very powerful riders in there.
    André Greipel, Julian Alaphilippe, Edward Theuns, Stefan Küng, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Stefan Bissegger, Brent Van Moer, Harry Sweeny, Imanol Erviti, Nils Politt, Luka Mezgec, and Sergio Henao were the riders who made it into the break.
    The peloton allowed it to get away with the gap soaring to almost 15 minutes to the breakaway as they battled it out for the stage win.
    The attacks started early and eventually a four-man group got away, leaving Sweeny, Küng, Politt, and Erviti to contest the win as the tailwind made the chase impossible.
    Sweeny attacked on the final climb and dropped Küng. Politt was the next to kick with an explosive attack with 11km to go as Sweeny and Erviti looked at each other. Politt quickly built a very big gap and so he was riding to victory.

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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 13, Nîmes > Carcassonne 219.9 km
    9-10-2021
    Start 12-05pm


    After an overnight stop in Nimes, the riders will leave the same city in the Occitanie region of southern France and head in a South Westerly direction towards the historical city of Carcassonne: From the Roman arena that is considered as the most well preserved in the world to the medieval city that is part of the UNESCO world heritage. This looks like a relatively straightforward transition stage as the race heads towards the Pyrenees but once more the threat of crosswinds loom large.



    At 220 kilometres, the race is tailor-made for a successful breakaway, as Carcassone has never seen a sprint a bunch sprint. Magnus Cort Nielsen winning from the break, the last time the race visited in 2018. KOM contenders have only one chance to add points to their tally. The Côte du Pic-Saint Loup – 5.5 kilometres at 3.6% – is crested after 51.5 kilometres before the rest of the day traverses flat to undulating roads.



    Final Kilometres



    To judge from earlier Tour de France stage finishes in Carcassonne, the breakaway is likely to be successful. To judge from the route, a sprint finish is the most likely outcome. In 2018, a group of 29 riders formed a successful breakaway, 26 of whom made the finish in Carcassone before the peloton. However that stage was considerably more hilly, with a large climb topping out 40kms from the finish.
    Plus now we have the added Cavendish factor. After today's stage, he surely has to go for the win in Carcassone...................unless the wind blows all plans to pieces.

    Favourites stage 13 Tour de France 2021

    :*:*:*:*:* Mark Cavendish
    :*:*:*:* Someone from the breakaway (Iván García Cortina, Jasper Stuyven, Michael Valgren, Anthony Turgis, Lukas Pöstlberger)
    :*:*:* Wout van Aert, Nacer Bouhanni, Jasper Philipsen
    :*:* Michael Matthews, Sonny Colbrelli Christophe Laporte, Danny van Poppel, Cees Bol
    :* André Greipel, Niccolò Bonifazio, Max Walscheid, Mads Pedersen
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  • t-72

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    So here is the weather service  :D
    For the afternoon this Friday, expect the usual warm and sunny, hotter temperatures than today, around 30 degrees. Regarding the wind, onshore winds can be expected throughout the day. In other words, crosswinds, but generally not strong enough. However, once the race closes in on the finale: Easterly wind in the Carcassonne area. That sounds like a hint of L´Autan, one of the well known strong regional winds here. Strength around 8 m/s with gusts up to 12 m/s. The direction is generally oblique tailwind as they approach Carcassone, of course depending on details of the course.



    With a bit of luck, this could become an interesting stage for the GC 2nd-5th results…  :slow
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  • Drummer Boy

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    To judge from earlier Tour de France stage finishes in Carcassonne, the breakaway is likely to be successful. To judge from the route, a sprint finish is the most likely outcome.
    ------
    Plus now we have the added Cavendish factor. After today's stage, he surely has to go for the win in Carcassone...................unless the wind blows all plans to pieces.

    It was interesting to hear the various takes on Quick-Step's tactics during Stage 12.

    Chris Horner was adamant that QS had made a big mistake by not going for the sprint finish, as the opportunities are obviously dwindling with each passing day, and  #deceuninck are tailor-made for just such a stage as this.
    (And boy does Vande Velde get bitchy when Horner directly contradicts him on-air.)  :D

    Simon Gerrans, on the other hand, was convinced that Quick-Step had made the conscious decision not pursue a sprint victory before the stage had even begun. Part of his assessment was based on Cavendish not wearing an aero kit, and his overall positioning in the peloton early on. It also seems reasonably fair to suggest that the preceding double route up the Ventoux may have temporarily sapped some crucial energy from both Cav and his team mates. However...

    In the post-race interview with Cavendish himself, he seemed to indicate that the decision was made on the road as the breakaway developed, and didn't appear to have strong feelings one way or another about it. (Part of the interview was indecipherable to me though because of the damn face mask.)

    But then his team mate, Michael Mørkøv, seemed to offer a slightly different take. He claimed that, "We were hoping to go for a sprint today; we were prepared for a sprint." But once Alaphillipe was in the break, they were satisfied with his chances for a win. But he did also add that he would've been, "happy to come in [to the finish] and sprint," and that he was personally motivated for just that, while also acknowledging the importance of saving the team a little bit, and specifically citing all the hard work that Tim Declercq has put in during previous sprint stages.

    It was interesting to me that none of the  #deceuninck riders expressed any regrets or disappointment with the outcome. They all remain upbeat, and clearly feel confident about future opportunities—which leads me to believe that they'll have their sights on Stage 13 as yet another one for Cavendish. I certainly hope so, as this is an extremely rare opportunity for all involved, and one which might never present itself again—cycling being cycling.

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  • « Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 02:22 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    That being said, I think that Quick-Step are displaying an impressive level of maturity by not getting too caught up in the drama of the record-breaking narrative. Of course it would be sensational for them to make history, but I never like it when sports narratives are pre-written. I'm often reminded of 2008, when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were on the cusp of an undefeated season, and how the final script was already being presented and celebrated before it even happened. And then it didn't. They ended up losing the Super Bowl that year in stunning fashion to the New York Giants in what was considered one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time.

    The current situation with Cavendish is quite different though, in that he really has nothing to "lose" at this point, except maybe the Green Jersey, but even then, this Tour has been a remarkable success for both him and his team. Would I like to see him break Merkcx's recored, in Green, in Paris? OF COURSE! But the fairy tale doesn't always play out the way we'd like. There is still that chance, though, and that's what makes this all the more exciting.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    So here is the weather service  :D
    For the afternoon this Friday, expect the usual warm and sunny, hotter temperatures than today, around 30 degrees. Regarding the wind, onshore winds can be expected throughout the day. In other words, crosswinds, but generally not strong enough. However, once the race closes in on the finale: Easterly wind in the Carcassonne area. That sounds like a hint of L´Autan, one of the well known strong regional winds here. Strength around 8 m/s with gusts up to 12 m/s. The direction is generally oblique tailwind as they approach Carcassone, of course depending on details of the course.



    With a bit of luck, this could become an interesting stage for the GC 2nd-5th results…  :slow

    LOL. The French weather forecast is a blast.
    I checked Meteofrance all along the route and it has the wind direction exactly in reverse: North Westerly all the way until the Carcassone turn, then more of a Westerly.
    Time for me to check again...

    .........and here we go.

    Half way point.



    Promising with the final SW turn towards Carcassone.




    Inrng has this for their preview:

    Weather: 27°C and sunny, a WNW wind at 20km/h but it could gust to 40km/h.
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  • « Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 08:52 by Mellow Velo »

    t-72

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    I confirm, they have totally changed the prognosis.  :S
    As the hour is getting close, one way to check out actual conditions could be to use the map of  of amateur weather station measurements along the route. Right now there is almost no wind at all!

    https://weathermap.netatmo.com/?zoom=8&type=wind&param=wind&maplayer=Map&lat=43.46248393619558&lng=3.53052829254716&lang=undefined
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  • LukasCPH

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    I checked Meteofrance all along the route and it has the wind direction exactly in reverse: North Westerly all the way until the Carcassone turn, then more of a Westerly.
    Off-shore winds in the Languedoc? In the afternoon? Those meteorologists must have been drinking heavily. :P

    EDIT:
    Okay, Windfinder confirms the northwesterly forecast.
    But only 8-11 knots throughout the afternoon, with slightly stronger gusts.

    We'll sit at the edge of our seats the whole day waiting for echelons, and then none will come. :shh
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    Views presented are my own. RIP Keith & Sean

    Mellow Velo

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     A wind, a wind, my kingdom for some wind!
     Well, that was rather deflating. :D

    The stage opened with another lively battle for a breakaway to form, with a number of groups looking like they had made the escape, before Deceuninck - Quick-Step would inevitably close down the gap.
    After 30km, three riders, Omer Goldstein  #israel, Sean Bennett  #qhubeka and Pierre Latour  #total #total finally got a gap and were allowed to think about staying out for the day.
    The race was then calm until around 70km from the line, when Philippe Gilbert  #lotto lit things up in the bunch with a surprise attack, sparking another flurry of attacks in the bunch.
    But with the action came the chaos, as a group of riders fell on a narrow section of road.
    Tim Declerq  #deceuninck and Søren Kragh Andersen  #dsm were amongst those who went down in the fall, as Andersen was seen clambering back up the steep grass verge to return to road level, his bike lifted above his head.
    Simon Yates  #bikeexchange tried to rejoin the peloton, but eventually abandoned the 2021 Tour de France, as did the race's lantern rouge, Roger Kluge.

     Quentin Pacher  #bbhotels launched a solo attack and quickly pulling out a minute gap as the bunch slowed, but was caught 20km from home.
    Into the final 4.5km and  #deceuninck swept to the front of the bunch to take over from  #ineos.
    Ivan Garcia  #movistar launched an early sprint and looked like he might sneak the victory, but Mørkøv pulled hard to get Cavendish back into the fight, with Cavendish launching his sprint inside the final 75m, blasting past Philipsen, Garcia and Mørkøv to make history.

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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 14, Carcassonne > Quillan 183.7 km
    10-7-2021
    Start 12-15am


    Stage 14 of the Tour heads into the Pyrenees, but avoids all the major climbs, on a hilly, rather than mountainous course. Heading out from Carcassone in a South Westerly direction through the Ariège to the small town of Lavelanet. The race then changes direction towards the East, where the climbing begins. Finally the race turns back upon itself to arrive at the finishing town of Quillan.



    The first half of the 184 kilometres long race from Carcassonne to Quillan is predominantly flat. There are however five climbs peppered along the remainder of the route, all either second or third category. The final climb is a reasonable test, but tops out 17kms from the finish, most of it, downhill.



    Following an undulating opening of the race – with the Col de Bac standing out: 3.1 kilometres at 5.3% – the real uphill action begins after 85 kilometres.



    Final Kilometres



    The most likely scenario will see the sprinter team sits back after the last few days of hostilities while the GC riders opt for a calm day given what’s ahead of them in the coming days. A successful breakaway is on the cards, which could be decided by the final climb of the stage, as it will provide the perfect launch pad for the remnants of the break to attack each other before the final descent to the line.

    Favourites stage 14 Tour de France 2021
    (anybody whose still fit and healthy tbh)
    :*:*:*:*:* Ion Izagirre, Patrick Konrad
    :*:*:*:* Jakob Fuglsang, Matej Mohoric, Bauke Mollema
    :*:*:* Benoît Cosnefroy, Kasper Asgreen, Michael Woods, Vincenzo Nibali
    :*:* Søren Kragh Andersen, Michael Matthews, Rui Costa
    :* Valentin Madouas, Simon Clarke, Marc Hirschi, Warren Barguil
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