Jul 27, 2015

I thought I was too far back, Champs Champs & the lighter side

The Gorilla... by half a bike length.

The final stage down the 'Champs' was anything but usual for Le Tour. To start, hours before, a car crashed into the barricades and fired upon by the cops before it managed to drive away. News today is that the driver have tuned himself in to police and the second occupant is in hospital. Rain soaked conditions especially on the cobbles of the Champs Elysees led officials to neutralize the final 10 laps. The final times were taken at the crossing of the finish line at km 41. And, finally, 2.2km to go a misfit protester stood in the middle of the road, amazing no one was injured. And like a sign from the heavens, the sun shone on the final gallop for the Gorilla, with a remarkable turn of speed holding off Bryan Coquard by half a bike length for his fourth stage win...

'The moment of my career. I thought I was too far back.'

- Andre Greipel

The protester


Anna van der Breggen wins la course female cycling race
photo Peter de Jong

Our Canadians: Ryder Hesjedal 40th, Svein Tuft 159th ('losing' the Laterne rouge to Sebastien Chavanel).

I'm going to miss watching Le Tour, if not for the intense racing but for the quirky side of it all...

What it takes for the Gorilla to win.

Laurens Ten Dam has a last shave before Paris.

Adam Hansen is always welcome to Dutch corner.

Jul 25, 2015

Epic l'Alpe: So it has to be next year. We'll see tomorrow, nothing is impossible.

Adding to the today's epic stage.
photo James Starrt

What a stage! Cannondale Garmin or more exactly Ryder Hesjedal almost pulled of a miracle on the l'Alpe d'Huez, and it was very close to happening. The 21 hairpins provide the most dramatic backdrop and I was literally screaming for Hesjedal to pull it off. Third was an amazing feat to a podium finish and personally, it was as emotional as watching him win the 2012 Giro. Ryder seems to be the type of rider to get better in the last week of a grand tour. His 5th in this year's Giro is proof. 

'I think we finished if off in our style, and really pushed the race right until the end. You cannot ask for much more than that, almost winning on Alpe d'Huez.'

- Ryder Hesjedal

Way to go Ryder!
Third place @ 41".

Second place @ 18"

Trying to dethroned King Froome wasn't an easy task. It was left in the mighty legs of Quintana as he tried and repeatedly tried with wild accelerations putting Froome on the ropes. I was hoping he would and win like Lucho Herrera did back in 1984. One day he'll win the Tour, that's for sure. 

'Sad not the win one stage. I lost the Tour on the second stage in Holland. I have a great team. So it has to be next year.'

- Nairo Quintana

'Winning on l'Alpe d'Huez, for a French rider, is fantastic!'

- Thibaut Pinot

Zany and Epic!


Inside Lotto Jumbo's musette bag...

Classic Cool...

Lucho Herrera, first Colombian rider to win l'Alpe d'Huez 1984.

Paris beckons...

'We'll see tomorrow... nothing is impossible.'

- Peter Sagan

Jul 24, 2015

Friday File: Let's see how strong he is then. The cheapest ice bath & the Badger knows.

Pierre Rolland put in a brave performance. 
Don't count him out for tomorrow.

Chris Froome came into today's stage looking to secure his yellow jersey, but his rivals had something else to say. An epic day with a shark attack atop La Toussuire then soloed to victory. This stage win is the Nibali's safe of face in his Tour. At the moment of the attack Froome had a mechanical (a stone in his brake pad) and that's when Nibali left him. Froome complained it was unsportsmanlike for Nibali to attack given the minor mechanical. I disagree. I think it's game on and the race is go. Fair and square. Froome should be more concern of the bonehead idiot fan that spat at him. The closest challenger was Quintana attacking on the final slopes excitingly taking 37s. Tomorrow is the make or break it stage and it will be a visual feast... Croix de Fer (again) and the iconic Alpe d'Huez is on the menu.

'I'll try again tomorrow from further out. Let's see how strong he is then.'

- Nairo Quintana

'Up the Col du Glandon, a bit of tar or small stone in my brake caliper in my rear wheel. Nibali decided to make his move. He did see what he was doing. I'm pretty sure he look around and saw I was in trouble. You do not do that to the race leader... it's not sportsmanlike. Tomorrow will be epic, but I got to keep up to the little Colombian first.'

- Chris Froome

The Shark!

with Panache!


This guy is 3 pts ahead in the KoMs...

It's all suffering to me...

Relief after stage 16...

IAM rider using the cheapest ice bath in Le Tour.

Downhill kamikaze...

I admire his style.

Classic Cool...

The Badger doing his cheshire cat grin, 1984 Tour.

and this looks ominous on the drive to Alpe d'Huez...

Hoping no rain tomorrow.

Jul 23, 2015

Bravo Bardet a class act!

Solo win, a classy performance.

Exceptional, amazing, wonderfully ridden especially his descending skills (for a climber) to Romain Bardet winning stage 18 that included the monster Col du Glandon and the spectacular Lacets de Montvernier.

“We took it on in the Dauphiné so we knew the route. It was amazing at the end of the route knowing it was downhill. It was like being in a football stadium, there was that much noise. I felt really well supported today.”

- Romain Bardet

Climbers do it differently...

Unorthodox smooth style, but it worked!

After today's stage; A tie for KoMs points between Purito and Bardet.
Who wears the class jersey? Purito does - due to winning more HC category climbs.

The most spectacular climb?

I think so, love the 17 shoestrings.

Classic Cool...

Mr. LeMond, 1986.

Jul 22, 2015

I knew I had to go through the pain

The Fab Five is down by one, Tejay Van Garderen abandoned on today's first day in the Alps. A real shame that we won't see him compete for a podium finish... he'll be back next year. The situation changes in the Alps as Quintana finally attacks on the first Cat 3 then again on the final ramps to Pra Loup and made it hard everyone else. I like how Movistar isolates and puts some pressure on Froome. Valverde is third now and the Movistar duo surely will have a one-two advantage to try to bring down Froome. Meanwhile, Froome is too strong (for now) and neutralized any attacks. Three stages to go for Quintana and his Movistars.

'We still have three hard days to try something.'

- Alejandro Valverde 

'First stage victory for our team. I thought I give it a try on the climb. I had cramps on the last climb and knew I had to go through the pain. Fifth stage for German riders.'

- Simon Geschke

Top three stage 17: 1. S. Geschke 4h 12' 17" 2. A. Talansky 32s 3. Uran 1'01"

A Simon Geschke day...

I'm not giving up on Nairo!

Another tough day for all the riders especially to...

Sit back and enjoy the cinematography and Buffalo Springfield...

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