Tadej Pogacar reminds us all that he needs to be feared, executing a flawless UAE tour en route to victory. Ineos shows us how they will (or will not) be racing differently this year. And Deceuninck Quickstep puts on a masterclass in leadouts, both in the sand at UAE where Sam Bennett won two stages and just missed a third on the same day that the wolfpack leads Davide Ballerini to a win on the cobbles at Omloop, adding to his two victories from Provence.
Will Barta nearly upended the stage 13 ITT at the 2020 Vuelta, finishing 2nd and just one second behind Primoz Roglic. This success was in part what led him to sign with EF Education-NIPPO for the 2021 season. Will talks about life in France, his recovery from an offseason injury, and most importantly…what to eat after a grand tour.
Davide Ballerini takes two in Tour de la Provence and nearly makes it a third. Sosa runs away with the title atop Mont Ventoux and Phil Bauhaus is victorious for Bahrain Victorious (and we were not sure how many times we’d say that this season). Alaphilippe was all over the roads and one of the winners of the week, finishing 2nd overall. I break down the winners and losers of Provence. Then moving to Almeria where Giacomo Nizzolo takes the win, the first of the season for the Qhubeka-Assos squad.
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Four days we have waited for all winter as we see the debut of world champion Julian Alaphilippe alongside a stacked Deceuninck Quickstep team and long list of strong sprinters and GC contenders. The four stages will bring opportunities for everyone with punchy stages, a trip to Ventoux and a straight sprint into Provence on the final day. We break down each stage and who to look for. This includes notables like Etoile de Besseges winner Tim Wellens, Egan Bernal, Enric Mas, Remi Cavagna, Arnaud Demare, Mateo Trentin, Alexander Kristoff, Aleksandr Vlasov and others.
Tim Wellens wins the Étoile de Bessèges thanks to his decisive win from the breakaway on stage 3 and solid stage 5 ITT. A review of each stage and notable takeaways about Wellens, Christoph Laporte, Egan Bernal, Filippo Ganna and Greg Van Avermaet. The supertuck is cancelled! Outlawed by the UCI, a summary of your and the riders reactions. And lastly, COVID-19 strikes the peloton at the Bora Hansgrohe camp where Peter Sagan, his brother, and atleast one other rider have tested positive.
The podium at this years Étoile de Bessèges will look quite a bit different from last year as the typically quiet French opener gets an influx of world class talent following the cancellation of races in Spain and Portugal. Ineos leads the charge with a team including Thomas, Bernal, Kwiatkowski, and Ganna while other headliners include Nibali, Van Avermaet, Wellens, Pedersen, Gilbert, and Degenkolb amongst others. A review of all five stages and prediction of who will win the GC!
An orange crush in Belgium as the Dutch sweep all 4 cyclocross championship races in Ostend this weekend. Mathieu van der Poel wins his 4th title, outlasting Wout Van Aert who finished 2nd. Wout looked a bit frustrated heading into the finish and its no surprise as he finished a frustrating 2nd in the world championships road race, ITT, and cyclocross!
A brief look at the GP in Marseille and a few moments for Tom Dumoulin.
Bad signs for racing as the Volta ao Algarve is canceled ahead of the Feb 17th start, a bad omen for the race calendar in neighboring Spain which is meant to start in Valencia the first week of Feb. Looking further ahead, teams are stacking up for the TDF with more firepower in the peloton than we’ve seen in a long time, buckle up for that!
We have heard a lot about races NOT going off, Tour down under, San Juan, Tour of Colombia…so which ones can we expect to mark the start of the 2021 road season? I outline what you can expect for the first two months of 2021 racing. We also review rider news coming from camps and a quick preview of the cyclocross world championships AKA the Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van Der Poel showdown.
We have heard a lot about races NOT going off, Tour down under, San Juan, Tour of Colombia…so which ones can we expect to mark the start of the 2021 road season? I outline what you can expect for the first two months of 2021 racing. We also review rider news coming from camps and a quick preview of the cyclocross world championships AKA the Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van Der Poel showdown.
I analyze the a few countries that underperformed in 2020 including Colombia, Spain and the Netherlands. I explain why Colombia will be the comeback country of the year in 2021 and why Spain shouldn’t have the same optimism.
Also, will Marc Hirschi see even more success in 2021 with UAE than he did in 2020? 74% say yes he will, but team Sunwebs history has precedence for why that may not be the final outcome.
A continuation of riders to watch in 2021 and a preview of the olympic road race and the potential inability of Tour de France riders to compete in Tokyo. Riders to watch covered include Benoit Cosnefroy, Peter Sagan, Daniel Martinez, Wout Van Aert, Nairo Quintana, Hugh Carthy, and Greg Van Avermaet.
In 2020 we saw riders fly beyond what we thought possible, fall flat, and break onto the scene. In this episode I breakdown the following riders and why we should keep an eye on them and what we can expect: Marc Hirschi, David Gaudu, Miguel Angel Lopez, Tom Dumoulin, Remco Evenopoel, Mark Cavendish, Arnaud Demare, Romain Bardet, Jai Hindley, Filippo Ganna, Michael Woods, Chris Froome, Elia Viviani, Egan Bernal, Tom Pidcock, Joao Almeida
The offseason is the greatest opportunity to improve your team. While teams like Ineos, and Israel Startup Nation have taken full advantage we’ve seen teams like Ag2r try a whole new look for their team, while many others seem asleep at the switch! I breakdown the winners, and losers of the transfer market.
A breakdown of the top 6 teams of 2020. A lot goes into being a great team, including the types of races you compete for and how you deliver different results. Here are the rankings, I breakdown why each team earned the spot they have:
- Deceuninck – Quick Step
- UAE – Team Emirates
- Team Jumbo-Visma
- INEOS Grenadiers
- EF Pro Cycling
- BORA – hansgrohe
We break down the top 10 unforgettable moments of the 2020 racing season.
We countdown the top 10 riders of 2020. Do you agree with this list? Post your thoughts on the instagram page. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate the podcast!
Look ahead to stage 12 and the rest of the Vuelta.
Looking back, stage 8 reminded us that we don’t need to be worried about Roglic, it was just a bad day and what it proved was that teams need a jacket tutorial, jacket training camp, like for Jai Hindely in the giro, jackets have been a disaster. Stage 8 had everyone on the limit, a true battle and we loved it, Roglic showed he is the man. Brought it to 13 seconds. Odd tactics from Movistar made an early attack but lost it all, bit of a head scratcher.
Stage 9 we get our sprint stage and it went as planned, slow day in the peloton and the strongest sprinter Sam Bennett got the win. But then it was taken away and given to Pascal Ackermann, that’s his first vuelta win so now he just needs one in the TDF to complete the trifecta. Bennett regulated.
Stage 10 was another day for the sprinters, until it wasn’t. categorized as a flat stage just 1 cat 3 climb in the middle, but a real brutish finish for the heavy sprinters, which are who we have here, 100m vertical up the last 2km and they just couldn’t hang, neither Ackerman nor Bennet could turn in a result and Roglic took the win.
Now today stage 11 massive stage and it was a bust in terms of tactics for Jumbo Visma. They will need to make the most out of stage 12 and the TT Tuesday if they want to lock in a win for Roglic.
Michael Woods won no friends as he sat on for the last several KM of stage 7 at the Vuelta joined by Valverde, Guilliame Martin, Omar Fraile, and Nans Peters.
An interview on the rest day with Sepp Kuss paints a more optimistic picture for Primoz Roglic who showed signs of cracks on stage 6 and fell 30 seconds back from Richard Carapaz on the GC. It wasn’t just the mechanical that tied up Jumbo Visma but also time wasted trying to sort out their jackets to keep them warm before the descent.
Closing up on the Giro, Dave Brailsford has some revisionist history to claim his strategy is to have a team of racers not robots, and the Giro Director calls for sanctions on Jumbo Visma and EF.
Tao Geoghegan Hart enters British cycling lore riding himself into the Maglia Rosa at the conclusion of the Giro in Milan. An incredible Giro for Ineos who won 7 stages and took the overall win. Sunweb flanked Tao taking 2nd and 3rd places overall as Kelderman gets his first grand tour podium finish of his career. Arnaud Demare quietly took home the Maglia Ciclamina in after the sprint free final week sewed up the jersey for him and his 4 stage wins.
The Vuelta has been blown apart after a rainy day in the mountains. Ion Izagirre writes himself into the record books with his stage 6 win which puts him on the list of riders who have won a stage in all three grand tours. The stage win of the Vuelta was the one that escaped the him in his home country. Todays attacks left Primoz Roglic unresponsive, allowing Richard Carapaz to move into the red jersey and Roglic dropping to 4th. We’ll see a new look on the roads Tuesday when the race returns as Ineos will have to defend and Jumbo Visma will need to be on the offensive, looking for opportunities to claw back Roglics 40 second defecit.
The Maglia Rosa competition is tied heading into the final stage for the first time in history. Geoghegan Hart and Hindley go into the final days time trial with a head to head battle for the jersey after going blow for blow on stage 20. It’s like deja vu all over again with these two riders finishing over each others shoulders three times in the past week.
Over at the Vuelta a crash involving Dan Martin inside 3km, fortunately did not result in time gaps as the GC stays put on a hilly stage before heading back to the mountains in stage 6. The riders will not climb the Tourmalet as planned in France and instead will stay in Spain for a longer, albeit less steep climb that should keep Roglic in a strong position to maintain the overall lead.
The Maglia Rosa changes hands to Wilko Kelderman on the Stelvio as the
podium sorts itself out. Sunweb sit 1-2 with Kelderman leading and Hindley just
12 seconds behind. Just another 3 seconds back, however, if Ineos Tao Geoghegan
Hart who is hungry for more than just the third step on the podium. Some
questionable race tactics as Sunweb took a gamble to leave Kelderman to fend
for himself on the final climb as Hindley sat on Tao and only overtook him on
the last sprint to the finish. It will be a battle between these three on stage
20’s climb and then the decisive TT finale on Sunday in Milan.
At the Vuelta Roglic continues to show his strength with a win and two 2nd place finishes on the opening three stages but it is only enough for a 5 second lead over Dan Martin who took stage honors today with Carapaz just a dozen seconds back. Froome showed signs of life pulling at the front inside 6km to go. Dumoulin fell back even further, raising questions of what is going on with his health and Thibaut Pinot abandoned before the start of the stage dealing with his ailing back injury from the opening stage of the Tour de France.
La Vuelta a Espana kicks off and it was a stage of far bigger consequence than anyone predicted. There were some non suprising things like Jumbo Visma controlling the group up the final climb and Primoz Roglic taking the stage win and red jersey. But there were some big suprises with Thibaut Pinot and Chris Froome both losing more than 10 minutes, ending their vuelta before it really starts. Guillame Martin, Aleksander Vlasov Wout Poels and Tom Dumoulin also lost big chunks of time.
Meanwhile at the Giro Fernando Gaviria tests positive for COVID-19 for a second time. Let’s keep an eye on this to verify this is not a false positive like Michael Matthews but he has been removed from the tour and is isolating. Slovenian rider Jan Tratnik took the stage for Bahrain Mclaren, their biggest stage win of the year and 9 overall this season. This must be the first time in history that two Slovenian riders won a grand tour stage on the same day.
Race preview of the 18 grueling stages of the 2020 vuelta a espana. We breakdown the favorites for the GC, the best teams and who’s out for the points jersey. Eyes are mostly on two teams, Jumbo Visma with returning champion Primoz Roglic as well as win hungry Tom Dumoulin who are coming with a stacked team including Sepp Kuss, Robert Gesink and George Bennett. Eyes are also on the Ineos Grenadiers and Chris Froome’s last race on the team, he will be flanked by Richard Carapaz who is looking to redeem his season after not having the opportunity to defend his Giro title.
Alaphilippe crashes out at Flanders as Wout Van Aert and Matheiu van der Poel spend a lovely afternoon enjoying each others company, with MVDP taking the sprint victory.
Huge time gaps at the giro and a big shakeup in the GC as Almeida clings onto the Maglia Rosa in front of a charging Kelderman. Tao Geoghegan Hart makes it 5 wins for Ineos already in the Giro.
The Giro rolls on to the stage 14 ITT in Conegliano. Joao Almeida will look to extend his lead for the Maglia Rosa and even content for stage honors against the likes of favorite Filippo “Top” Ganna and Rohan Dennis. If one of the Ineos riders wins it will be 4 stage wins for Ineos at this years Giro. We evaluate some of the near historic results that have already happened at this years Giro.
The Tour of Flanders will surely be fireworks as we watch the continuation of the battles between Alaphilippe, Van Aert, MVDP, Kwiato and Mads Pedersen…it’s anyone’s guess who will take this one on the line.
The Giro gets to rest day 1 and we collectively hold our breathe to see if the race will continue. Assuming it does we take a look at the racing for the week ahead as the peloton rolls north up the eastern coast of Abruzzo and Emilia-Romagna before reaching Veneto on Friday.
In other racing it is a great day to be a Pedersen with Casper Pedersen winning Paris-Tours and Mads Pedersen winning Belgian Classic Gent-Wevelgem after everyone got distracted focusing on WVA and MVDP.
Week 1 at the Giro had a surprise at every stage. Demare already has 3 wins and a 50 piont lead in the points jersey and we will now see what chaos unfolds as we head into the second week.
Paris-Roubaix is cancelled as COVID cases surge in northern France and a number of riders call it quits on the 2020 season including Pogacar and Bernal.
Six and a half hours of racing ends with embarrassment for Julian Alaphilippe as celebreates too early, losing the race to Primoz Roglic and ultimately being relegated to 5th place for his improper sprint line.
The Giro opened this weekend with big time dents into major GC contenders, with Nibali, Fuglsang, and Kruijswijk losing over a minute to Geraint Thomas. Bad news stuck for Astana who lost Miguel Angel Lopez on stage 1 and Aleksander Vlasov on stage 2.
A preview of the race favorites for the Giro d’Italia. Why history tells us that Marc Hirschi’s win at La Fleche Wallonne makes him the favorite for next years UCI world championship road race. We also look in awe at the ugly bikes and kits rolled out this week by EF Education, Ineos and Julian Alaphilippe’s rainbow SL7!
Julian Alaphilippe is the 2020 UCI World Champion! He’s won 5 stages of the Tour de France, Strade Bianche, Milan-Sanremo, La Fleche Wallonne, San Sebastian, been 17 days in yellow and now will wear rainbow as the World Champion. The French have a world champion for the first time in 23 years, first since Laurent Brochard. France has only had 2 podiums in the last 20 years, Anthony Geslin in 2005 and Romain Bardet 2nd in 2018.
This year’s UCI Men’s World Championship course is a circuit of 9 laps adding to a total of 258.2km. There are two climbs that break this race apart that they hit 9 times each – the Mazzolano (2.8km at an average gradient of 5.9%, max 13%) and the Cima Gallisterna (2.7km at 6.4%, max 14%).
How it unfolded
There was of course a breakaway for the first 185km, which would be the distance in most races, but today that meant when caught there was still 70km to go and it was the French said ok we’ll take this from here led by Quentin Pacher and Nans Peters over the top of the climb and France just went to their limit in support of Julian Alaphilippe. Issue was after all that work 144 riders were still in the peloton with all the contenders still in there. Pogacar did a bike change on the flats and Belgium took over control of the race with Australia, Spain and Denmark all moving up, and Italy riding right behind.
Medzec pulled Pogacar up to the front on the climb and that meant he had to be ready for an attack because Medzec can’t go long for Pogacar and he did exactly that. The exact point where Anna van der Breggen went yesterday to make her decisive attack and took it the distance. The Belgians couldn’t match Pogacars attack, so they just stayed within themselves and tried to reel it back. Pogacar kept the lead to 15 seconds but he looked quite challenged back down on the circuit preparing for the final lap. He did continue to extend it slightly but there was good organization behind him.
On the final lap the race dynamic allowed for several teams to stay completely intact including Spain, Italy and Colombia all strong heading into he final climbs. It was such good racing you could easily forget to pause and look at the amazing scenery. Truly beautiful land the riders went through with vineyards and olive groves across these large estates and what will certainly be one of the greatest photo opportunities we’ve seen as they run across a single lane road with dropped land on either side, giving the image of an action movie.
On the first of two climbs Dumoulin, who looked bad the other day and earlier in the race bridged the gap and got to Pogacar, no love loss there after Pogacar ruined he and Jumbo Visma’s Tour de France. Then other attacks followed which would bring the race back together once again.
At that point there was still a number of teams with matches to burn, Carapaz, Van Aert, Caruso, Alaphilippe, Nibali, Hirschi, Uran, Landa. And it became a real race from there with relentless attacking. For a moment there was a 4 man break with Landa, Nibali, Uran and Van Aert as that was probably the best chance for those three but Van Aert would not do the work, figuring best odds is to defend all attacks and leave it to the sprint.
Final climb, Hirschi makes a move to win, Van Aert over him, Alaphilippe, Nibali, Roglic, Schachmann, Kwiato & Fuglsang all followed. Exactly who we expected to be there.
Alaphilippe launches an attack over the top of the final climb and makes a gap, chased by Fuglsang but he put the space on it and broke up the select group. Fuglsang, Kwiato and Van Aert chasing behind him.
5k to go it was 10 seconds gap and Alaphilippe was just full gas ahead of the chase. The gave 110% and everyone looked at each other like it was a local crit and not the rainbow jersey on the line.
Van Aert finished 2nd, the biggest favorite of the day and Belgium executed for him perfectly. Marc Hirschi continued his Tour de France momentum out leaning Michal Kwiatkowski for the final spot on the podium with, Fuglsang and Roglic just behind.
Alaphilippe will debut the rainbow band Wednesday at La Fleche Wallone where he has competed 4 times with two wins and two second places, expect fireworks.
|1||Julian Alaphilppe (France)||6:38:34|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Belgium)||0:00:24|
|3||Marc Hirschi (Switzerland)|
|4||Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)|
|5||Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)|
|6||Primoz Roglic (Slovenia)|
|7||Michael Matthews (Australia)||0:00:53|
|8||Alejandro Valverde (Spain)|
|9||Max Schachmann (Germany)|
|10||Damiano Caruso (Italy)|
The men’s UCI World Championship Individual Time Trail went relatively as expected with Italian fast man Filippo Ganna unseating two time reigning champion, and teammate, Rohan Dennis.
Some think Ganna taking the win comes out of the blue, however, that’s because most of Ganna’s damange is done inside the velodrome where he already has 4 World Title’s against his name. Having just won the ITT at Tirreno-Adriatico over Rohan Dennis and Geraint Thomas, he jumped up the board as favorite and he delivered the goods today. A monster performance from start to finish, he had the fatest time at the only time-check and held onto it through the finish line. It was actually teammate Geraint Thomas who held the hot seat for most of the day despite racing the ITT circuit without the aid of his bike computer, ultimately finishing 4th overall. It was the Belgian Wout Van Aert who showed us that the Tour de France is no match for his legs, seemingly unbothered by the 3,366Km’s the tour put into his legs riding to 2nd place today and reinforcing him as a favorite for Sundays road race.
Rounding out the podium was Stefan Kung, a deserving medalist who is 4 time reigning ITT champion of switzerland and 4 time medalist in the world championships at the TTT. Stefan won two combativity awards at this years Tour de France (stages 10,14) before withdrawing to focus on todays race. Rohan Dennis, two time defending champion had the 2nd fastest time at the time check but could not hold on for the victory, or even the podium, finishing 5th. It’s unclear what’s next for Dennis.
The disapointment of the day was definitely Tom Dumoulin who finished 10th at 1:14 back from Ganna. The course did not suit him perfectly but he was still outperformed by those who beat head to head in the stage 20 TT at the tour and not a great result for the former world champion.
Overall a great result and great omen for Ineos and in Geraint Thomas in particular as he eyes the start of the Giro D’Italia next weekend. This years Giro features three ITT’s where Thomas will look to put a dent into his foes. The Giro both starts, and ends, with an ITT.
Welcome to the FEEDZONE, a break from normal racing coverage. We are heading into one of the most exciting weekends of the year for professional cycling, the UCI world championships where we will learn who gets to wear the coveted rainbow jersey in their respective discipline next year on their sleeves forever. BUT, let’s not be so quick to forget all the drama and frustrations caused by the UCI in general, and most recently at this years Tour de France. So let’s have some fun and roast the UCI!
Here are some of the key stats of the penalties levied at the tour by the UCI:
86 total penalties worth over $32,000, two minutes of time, 62 points, 3 KOM points, 1 relegation to the back of the peloton and the ejection of one sports director.
The most popular fines were litering (28 times), stick bitons (28 times), improper fueling (8 times).
Jumbo Visma topped the list with 10 penalties for a total of 8,500 Swiss Francs.
Stage 18 accumulated the most penalties with 10, 8 of which were sticky bitons (no suprise on the hardest climbing day of the tour).
Only 3 stages (1, 14, 21) were without penalty and just two teams escaped without penalty, Lotto Soudal and Trek Segafredo.
Listen as we break down the most egregious and impactful penalties from this years Tour de France!
It’s time for the 2020 UCI world championships! Odd to be just one week after the tour and before either the Giro or Veulta but its 2020 and here we are. The championships take place in Imola, Italy after Switzerland announced their cancellation of the event due to Coronavirus restrictions.
We are looking at two unique courses for the Men’s races this year. First the TT course for its utter simplicity 32km of flat road; and on the flip side a brutal 258km road race course with 5000m of climbing.
The TT course is straight forward. My picks for top 5 include Ghanna, Dennis, Cavagna, Van Aert and Dumoulin. This leaves Kung and Thomas on the outside looking in, but there can only be 5 in the top 5.
The road course has brutal climbs in its 9 laps of the circuit. There are two notable climbs on each lap the first with 1km at 9.6%, followed by 1.3km at 10.9%….9 times each! It will still require some punch to get this done so it won’t be a true climber that takes it. I like Van Aert for the win. Both Pogacar and Roglic need to be considered favorites but its an open question as to how their tour ‘hangovers’ are, both literally and figuratively…knowing them mostly figuratively. I also pick Fuglsang for a podium position.
Today we wrap up the tour, the weapons were put down. They took down the finish line on the Planche de Belle Fille, FDJ visiting Pinots goats. Sagan conceded green. Roglic slept on his defeat. It was all smiles and pageantry on the roads to Paris. Familiar scenes of the Yellow jersey team with teammates arm and arm wide across the road. Classy sportsmanship by Roglic who comes up the road during the neutralized section and had a minute with Pogacar arms over each other saying who knows what in Slovenian, but can’t overstate the sportsmanship of Roglic. Stand-up guy, not doubt. Of course we feel for him. All sorts of noise overnight about Pogacar and his “unbelievable” performance. Well believe it, internet trolls go home!
Marc Hirschi was the super combative most subjective award, but his wounds were wrapped up like a mummy and if that’s the case you are probably, atleast arguable quite combative. Good for that great oung rider who won a stage and also had a 2nd and 3rd.
Sam Bennett puts a stamp, period exclamation point on his green. Big sprint, decisive win, set up perfectly by his team. Good representation in his final stage in rainbow by Mads Pedersen who took 2nd and Sagan 3rd. Ewan was in bad position the whole time and couldn’t have a go at it. First green for Ireland since Sean Kelly in ’89, Sean Kelly won it 4 times, so some rich history for Ireland. Sam Bennett delighted and well deserved. We also need to go back to 2014 was the last time that Quickstep didn’t win a sprint stage. Bennett, Viviani, Gaviria, Kittel, Cavendish. Peidgree of great riders. Finished with 380 vs. Sagan 284. He won he earned it.
Tour de France by the numbers and were not just talking 21 stages and 3,366KM covered.
10: Times that Richie Porte has ridden the Tour de France before finally achieving the podium this year.
9: The number of riders in the top 10 of the GC who finished stage 20 in a different place than they started it. Only Rigoberto Uran did not change places.
8: Stage podium finishes in this years tour for team Sunweb, an incredible result for a supposedly leaderless team.
7: Number of Tour de France wins among active professional riders. 0 which rode into Paris (Froome, Bernal, Thomas, Nibali) active tour champions, only 1, Bernal started.
6: Teams winning multiple stages UAE Emirates (4), Deceuninck- Quickstep, Astana, Sunweb, Jumbo visma, Lotto Soudal. That meant that 12 of the 22 teams did not turn in a win.
5: Times that the tour has climbed the Planche de Belle Fille and the number of times that the yellow jersey changed shoulders on those days. 5 is also the number of positive COVID-19 tests of the over 1,300 tests done during the tour, zero riders testing positive. This is the anxiety of the world this year and we were blessed to put it aside to enjoy 23 days of the Tour de France.
4: Stage wins by UAE in this year’s tour, the most of any team.
3: Countries with 2 riders in the top 10 of the General Classification. 3 is also the number of Jerseys that Tadej Pogacar won (yellow, white, polka dots), the first rider since Eddie Merckx in 1969 when he won green instead of white as white didn’t exist.
2: Times since 2011 that a team other than SKY/Ineos has won the Tour de France. Nibali in 2014, the year Chris Froome crashed and broke his wrist; and now in 2020 with Tadej Pogacar.
1: Black rider in the peloton at the Tour de France. Its pretty obvious that cycling has not been an equal opportunity sport for a number of reasons. Kevin Reza from B&B hotels is the only black rider in this year’s TDF and in a year where we’ve seen most professional sports pause in some way shape or form to recognize and show solidarity for racial equality we have not seen that in cycling. UCI has done nothing proactively and they should. We’ve seen some riders take responsibility into their own hands, Kwiato Roglic I saw with say no to racism written on their masks, love to see that, UCI needs to be better. And I encourage you to listen to the interview that Bradley Wiggins did with Reza on his Eurosport podcast.
Vive the 107th edition of the tour. It was a dream. But we’ve got a lot to look forward to, world championships a week away and on October 3rd we get the Giro; but when you want to talk about going over the Stelivio and attacking the alps/dolomites of Italy in October, the snow is already falling. IT was the riders who threw everything at the tour, it will be the world throwing everything at the Giro and we’ll see you there, so buckle up its going to be a wild ride.
He is the white jersey, polka dot jersey, yellow jersey, the maillot jaune, he is the youngest winner of a stage of the Tour de France (and he has three of them) and the youngest ever champion of the Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar has turned the race upside down today.
Full breakdown of the stage including the movement across the top 10, with Richie Porte riding himself to his first ever TDF podium while Miguel Angel Lopez drops all the way to sixth.
Team Jumbo represented well on the stage with Tom Dumoulin taking 2nd and Wout Van Aert 4th. It was also meant to be a stage for Richard Carapaz who looked to retain the polka dot jersey but his efforts fell short, but that’s mostly credit to the unbelievable performance of Tadej Pogacar.
Stage 19 of the Tour de France was the final chance for Peter Sagan and his Bora Hansgrohe team to reel in Sam Bennett to give Peter at shot at his 8th green jersey. Some bad luck for the team with a bee sting to the mouth of Lukas Postlberger caused him to abandon.
Just after the sprint point the men in front decided to have a go at a breakaway and a 12 man field which included the likes of Sagan, Bennett, Kragh Andersen, Trentin, Van Avermaet and some Deceuninck-Quickstep support made it and put several minutes into the peloton. It was a move by Kagh Andersen, which went unresponded to, that allowed him to run up a nearly 1-minute advantage to his second stage victory of the tour.
Turning to tomorrow we have a battle for the TT podium, the yellow jersey, and the polka dot jersey. There are a number of scenarios that we break down which could leave the jersey on the shoulders of Roglic, Pogacar, or the current leader, Carapaz. It could even be a podium sweep for Jumbo Visma tomorrow with current yellow jersey holder Primoz Roglic, former TT world champion Tom Dumoulin and the ever strong Wout Van Aert.
Tour de France stage 18 was one for Ineos. After several days of attacking by Richard Carapaz, today he and Michal Kwiatkowski got away and won the stage. It was a special moment for them as they entered the final kilometers knowing that nobody could challenge them. They even seemed unsure of what to do, but it was hugs and high fives as they came to the line. Kwiato was awarded the win, which is well deserved for the former world champion, winner of Milan SanRemo, Strade Bianche, Polish national champion (amongst others) who has been in a support role in his 7 tours of France and never had an opportunity to win a stage.
In the GC it was a day for the guys outsdie the podium to make a final stand and a great move was made by Bahrain Mcclaren in support of Mikel Landa. He had two riders up the road, enabling him to launch an attack and have support later in the race. He was able to move up two spots in the standings jumping ahead of Adam Yates and Rigoberto Uran.
Egan Bernal was down, now he’s out, the decision to abandon made by his team director and in his best interest. Surely many of us wanted him to stay in out of respect for his teammates and the race itself, but his injuries are starting to impact him. “I was suffering all day with back pain, and it was increasing. On the last climb, it switched to my knee. I’m screwed up on all sides,” he said. So now the team will continue to focus on individual stages where they can, we have seen Carapaz make the best of his chances, including today where he survived the 5 man break the longest and wasn’t caught until around 2km to go. Look for other Ineos riders to get into tomorrows break away and Kwiatkowski to take his shot at stage 19.
It wasn’t just Carapaz who had a shot in the breakaway we saw Julian Alaphilippe and lennard Kamna, yesterdays winner, back at it again, followed alongside by Dan Martin and Gorka Izzaguirre. While Carapaz survived the longest and had the best results of the breakaway on the day, Alaphilippe was awarded the combativity award on the day. It is no doubt this was because President Macron was on site today following in the tour directors car the whole race.
Bahrain Mcclaren did their best for Mikel Landa but it was for naught as Mikel cracked almost immediately after his teammates dropped off, but the damange to leading group was done and the entire race blown open with more than 3km still to race. Kuss took control at the front and rode Roglic off his wheel without even realizing. This created the opportunity for Miguel superman lopez to launch what would be the decisive attack. Roglic batted and won out over Tadej Pogacar, extending his lead to 57 seconds and taking him one firm step closer to yellow in Paris.
Coming into today we knew that the individual to pass the highest point in the tour first was not the man to win, so it was not a surprise that someone other than Roglic and Pogacar took the win. Similarly, after a long drought in KOM points ,the polkadot jersey finally changed hands from Benoit Cosnefroy to Tadej Pogacar. Despite rumblings on social media, the climbers jersey does end up in the right hands by the end of the tour with the last 10 winners being: Sammy Sanchez, Thomas Voeckler, Nairo Quinana, Rafal Majka, Chris Froome, Rafal Majka, Warren Barguil, Julian Alaphilippe, and Romain Bardet.
Now looking ahead to tomorrow. Today was the queen stage, but tomorrows 18th stage actually features an additional 1,000 meters of climbing, distributed across more categorized climbs. Expect there to be breaks and attacks, but, the finale is following a descent so time gaps do have the chance to be mitigated. The ride with the best shot to break up this current podium standing is Richie Porte, who was 5th today and continues to ride great, he is also the best TT rider of the induvials in places 3-7th.
The Peloton passes its COVID test and the tour continues. A day for the breakaway a strong 23 man group got outfront and it was a day for the best of them. Lennard Kaemna took the win over Ineos’ Richard Carapaz, his first grand tour win which follows his 2nd place on stage 13 and his win on stage 4 of the Dauphine.
Behind the break was a slow day for the GC guys, up until Pogacar decided to test everyones legs and attack in the final KM’s. No damage done to the top 7 but Nairo Quintana lost 35 seconds and dropped to 10th oerall, swapping spots with Tom Dumoulin.
Tomorrow the Tour de France hits the queen stage, with the most climbing and highest ascent of this years tour. In 9 of the last 10 tours the winner of the stage with the highest ascent was not the overall winner, so will we see a mix up in who wins tomorrow and who remains in podium contention?
Joined by special guest Andy Craze. Stage 15 was of massive impact to this years Tour de France. Egan Bernal cracked at the start of the Grand Colombier and is yellow jersey hopes are lost. Tadej Pogacar wins another stage with Primoz Roglic right on his heels. Richie Porte shows that he is here with intention of a podium, and at a minimum his 2nd top 10 finish before transferring back to Ineos.
Early in the stage we lost Sergio Higuita, the Colombian national champion after a collision resulting from Bob Jungels. A huge loss for the EF team. Sam Bennett gained 2 points in his green jersey lead moving to 45 point advantage.
The troubles for France continued as Guillame Martin had a mechanical at the base of the Grand Colombier, ultimately losing 3:25 and continuing to ride outside the top 10. Nairo Quintana lost big time today dropping down to 9th, cracking before Bernal but paring his losses. Here is how the GC looks now:
- 1) Roglic
- 2) Pogacar +40
- 3) Uran +1:34
- 4) Lopez +1:45
- 5) Yates + 2:03
- 6) Porte +2:13
- 7) Landa + 2:16
- 8) Mas + 3:15
- 9) Quintana + 5:08
- 10) Dumoulin + 5:12
Covid testing resumes tomorrow with all teams starting again from a clean slate on the second rest day bofore we continue the journey in the mountains. Look out for the queen stage 17 at Meribel where we will have two HC climbs, both are either longer or steeper than the Grand Colombier.
Disaster for France Continues, Peter Sagan closes the gap, Sunweb wins again, and the Colombian climbers eye tomorrows stage on the Grand Colombier.
Romain Bardet got bad news overnight following his crash with an MRI revealing small hemhorraging requiring him to withdraw from the tour, he will be on rest for as long as needed. Sad to see this be the end of his Tour de France and we wish him a swift recovery to racing.
If Peter Sagan was to have any chance at winning his 8th green jersey at the Tour de France it would require Bora Hansgrohe to do a ton of work today, and they did. Another blistering stage that dropped the sprinters early, giving Peter the opportunity to cut down Sam Bennett’s points lead. Peter gained 5 points on Bennett at the intermediate sprint and 18 points at the finish with his 4th place finish on the stage.
Sunweb won the stage with a 3 pronged attack of Tiesj Benoot, Marc Hirschi and Soren Kragh Andersen. It was Soren Kragh Andersen’s second and final attack with 3km to go that gave him the gap he needed to win the days stage, putting a size able 15 second gap into the field.
Stage 15 brings focus back to the yellow jersey and general classification with 3 cols including steep climbs of 11km and 7km both over 8% incline and finishing on the Grand Colombier with 17km’s over 7% incline. This will definitely be a day for the GC and another great opportunity for the Colombian riders to improve on their current GC standings where they hold 3-6th places.
Stage 13 of the Tour de France – Dani Martinez got into the very strong breakaway and was able to pull off the victory despite being outnumbered battling again Schachmann and Kamna of Bora-Hansgrohe. It was far behind that the drama really unfolded with a complete undoing of our French hopefuls Romain Bardet and Guillame Martin who have now dropped outside the top 10. The slovenian onslaught continued with Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar clearly showing as the top two riders today. They put a dent into Egan Bernal who was isolated after Ineos worked for him and then fell off the pace, he lost nearly 40 seconds to Roglic and Pogacar moves into 2nd and takes the white jersey.
- Hirschi got his!! Just two weeks after his 22nd birthday Marc Hirschi has his first professional victory, and its at the Tour de France! Incredible tour for Hirschi who has three podium finishes in the tour already.
- The tour gets a COVID-19 reset – When the teams get tested during the second rest day any new positives will not be counted cumulatively against those four already found, which is certainly a big relief to the four teams with one marked off against them.
- The Peter Sagan relegation was a hot topic yesterday. Let’s review what Peter and Wout had to say about it!
A photo finish with 4 riders! 1) Ewan 2) Sagan 3) Bennett 4) Van Aert.
A less nervous day in the peloton but we see many GC teams losing key supporters as we head into the mountains over the next few days, which will surely impact the racers. But today was a battle for green. Bennett extended his lead to 25 points over Sagan at the intermediate sprint but gave it back and then some on the finishing line by the width of a tire. With 238 points Sam Bennett leads the Tour de France points competitions over Peter Sagan by 15 points. It’s anyone guess where this one lands; in 2015 Andre Greipel scored 366 points and was 2nd to Sagan, yet last year Sagan won green with 316 points
What we do know is that both Bora Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quickstep are all in for green with no GC hopes for either team. It will be a battle that is likely decided in Paris.
The rest day proved to be one of the most stressful days as everyone waited with angst to see if any positive COIVD tests would return. Miraculously – No riders tested positive. 4 staff members, 1 each from Ineos, Mitchelton-Scott, Cofidis, and AG2R) as well as race director Christian Prudhomme.
The race itself was flying, again. Schar (CCC) and Kung (FDJ),who is an excellent TT rider were off the front, but never extended the gap beyond 2 minutes.
There were a number of crashes throughout the day, impacting riders including Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma), Neilson Powless (EF), Tom Skujins (Trek Segafredo). Later a crash brought down With Davide Formolo, Tadej Poogacar, Guillame Martin.
The fast pace had a number of riders yo-yo’ing off the back, including Sivakov, Van Baarle, Buchmann, Dan Martin, and Pinot. Fortunately for them there was a slowdown that brought everyone back together. No change in the GC, the only change in the GC was Egan Bernals head, shaved the sides bigtime he looks absurd.
Ultimately today was a day for the sprinters. Mateo Trentin took the sprint point ahead of Sagan and Bennett, giving Sagan a 9 point advantage heading into the finale.
Big wind up for the sprinters. Sunweb had a great lead-out, Deceuninck was there as well as Bora. Cees Bol really had the best lead-out. Bol was right on Sagan but he couldn’t find the final gear. It was Morkov leading out Bennett with Ewan on his wheel who was creeping up and when it go to the line it was nearly a photo finish Bennett winning over Ewan with Sagan right behind. Best sprint result for Sagan. But the first win for Bennett in his Tour de France career.
Green Jersey competition heating up
Sam Bennett now leads Sagan 196 to 175. During Sagan’s 7 years of victory he scored 422 points on average. Peter Sagan is currently in his longest drought, hasn’t had a stage win since stage 5 of 2019.
Tomorrow’s stage has an uphill before the sprint point. I’d look for Bora to be out front like on stage 7, Sagan needs to drop Bennett to have a chance and on the flat stage finish. He can’t afford to lose the big sprint points available. Stages 11, 19 and 21 are the flat stages that remain.
We’ve made it to the first rest day of the 2020 Tour de France. We breakdown all the sights, sounds, and stories that have defined the first 9 stages of the tour. Review who’s up and who’s down, how all the top GC contenders are stacking up, and look ahead to the stages the remain ahead!
A burner from start to finish, begining with Bora-Hansgrohe pulling the peloton in support of Peter Sagan, dropping top sprinters including Sam Bennett, and setting Peter up to regain the green Jersey. Then the GC favorites took over, breaking apart the race in the cross winds. Top 10 favorites such as Tadej Pogacar, Mikel Landa, Bauke Mollema, Richie Porte and Esteban Chavez all losing a minute. Fast aggressive racing resulting in the second stage win for Wout Van Aert. Into the mountains tomorrow!
The breakaway takes the day, a big win for Alexey Lutsenko, Greg Van Avermaet another podium finish and american Neilson Powless 4th on his 24th. Alaphilippe shows he would otherwise still wear yellow and we start to wonder when Sagan will wear green again.
Stage 5 went from zero to 100 real quick. The first stage without a breakaway since atleast 2008 saved all the drama for the final KM’s and after the conclusion of the race. Ineos attacked to try and break up the peloton, which ultimately cracked the likes of Ewan, Nizzolo and Viviani, setting up Wout Van Aert for the win. Sam Bennett bested Peter Sagan at the intermediate sprint and finishline to overtake the green jersey and Alaphilippe penalized 20 seconds for taking a water bottle inside 20km to the finish. Yates takes yellow into stage 6.
Julian Alaphilippe successfully defends the yellow jersey and while there are not big time gaps, some riders already are showing strength and cracks, we break down what we saw on stage 4. Then we look ahead to a sprinters day on stage 5, including the fight for the green jersey competition which is currently tied between Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett. Finally, we jump to stage 6, where we meet the second mountain top finish of the tour and a make or break day for Alaphilippe in yellow.
Caleb Ewan flies to a sprint win and Julian Alaphilippe brightens a rainy stage wearing the yellow Jersey once again.
Guest Andy Craze joins us to talk about what we’ve seen during the first two days of the tour, Alaphilippe in Yellow, dynamics in the peloton, and what we can look forward to for the rest of the Tour. Exciting and gripping cycling during the first two days with crashes impacting Ineos, Jumbo Visma and EF. Calls for calm and wild antics on the slippery roads of Nice.
A rundown of my predictions for who finishes in the top 10 positions in the General Classification in hopes of winning the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, as well as the next best 5 who are on the outside looking in. Here is my top 10 list, listen to hear why:
- Primoz Roglic
- Egan Bernal
- Thibaut Pinot
- Tadej Pogacar
- Guillame Martin
- Emanuel Buchmann
- Mikel Landa
- Tom Dumoulin
- Nairo Quintana
- Danny Martinez
A full spring of racing packed into two weeks. We cover the senseless crashes of Fabio Jakobsen, Remco Evenepoel, and Max Schachmann thanks to the UCI, crashes and injuries in the Peloton and then get onto the racing itself. Strade Bianchi, Milan Sanremo, Il Lombardia, Ventoux, Tour de l’ain, Volta a Burgos, Tour of Poland, and the Criterium du Dauphine.
Breaking down who’s up (Davide Formolo, Aleksandr Vlasov, Jakob Fuglsang, Team Jumbo Visma when healthy, Wout Van Aert) and who’s down (Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome) and what it will mean for the tour. Finally a recap of the big transfers and some fun! Sign of up for Fantasy Tour de France – Winner gets a yellow Jersey https://fantasy.letour.fr/#welcome/register/?parrain=xqo3ddo&ligue=12403
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UAE Tour canceled following the 5th stage after two Italian team staff members tested positive for the Coronavirus. What does this mean going forward and what did we learn from the stages that did transpire? Listen to find out!
We recap the big win for Remco Evenepoel. Give nods to Fernando Gaviria who appears to have found his form, take a look at American Brandon McNulty and start to, but not worry too much about the form of green machine Peter Sagan. In other occurrences, we pay homage to the fast start for Tadej Pogacar in Valencia and raise a glass for Phil Bauhaus and the Bahrain McLaren squad at the Saudi Tour.
2020 Santos Tour Down Under Rider Analysis
Listen to the podcast for a full race recap and analysis!
Richie Porte – The Tasman was the odds on favorite to win the Ochre Jersey coming into the race. It was his second time winning the Tour Down Under, which he last won in 2017. It was Daryl Impey who took the title the past two years. Porte looked very strong with a dominant win on Stage 3’s steep hilltop finish where he made an aggressive move to ride the other GC contenders off his wheel. Heading into the final stage on Willunga Hill it was Porte’s race to lose, a stage win would mean a tour victory. A very deep breakaway which maintained a 2:30 lead until well under 10km left in the race was the only thing between Porte and his 7th consecutive win on Willunga Hill. Porte systematically rode the peloton off his wheel, outclassing the other GC riders and dropping what remained of the breakaway, except for Matt Holmes of Lotto Soudal. Holmes was able to catch Porte’s wheel as he passed him with 600 to go and pass him back over the crown of the hill to take the stage. Regardless of Holmes stage win, this is Porte’s stage, and it’s time to rename Willunga Hill, Richies Rock.
2020 is the first time Porte has won since 2017, that year he was among the favorites in the Tour de France and raced well early before crashing out in a nasty crash descending a mountain on stage 9, he was challenging for the overall lead at the time. 2020 could be the year that Porte cracks the top 10 in the Tour de France for what would, be just the 2nd time. He was 5th in the 2016 edition of the tour and 11th last year following consecutive crash outs on stage 9 of the 2017 and 2018 tours.
Porte has struggled in the grand tours and doesn’t seem to respond well to the pressure of being a favorite. At 34 with this great start to his season this may be do or die for Porte, but the Trek-Segafredo team is looking very strong this year, rostering World Champion Mads Pedersen, young Italian Giulio Ciccone who wore yellow for a stage in last year’s tour, and Vincenzo Nibali to transferred from Bahrain Merida in the offseason.
Porte will not have the pressure of podium expectations at the tour, and while Nibali won’t be riding in support of him, the team is strong enough to set both riders up to compete for top 10 positions at the tour. This will be the year that Richie Porte grabs his second top 10 position in the Tour de France, despite an incredibly deep field.
Daryl Impey – Now 35, Impey is still looking strong, fighting for bonus times on stage 5 to overtake the Ochre Jersey while battling World Champion Mads Pedersen. Impey is comes off a big 2019 campaign with Michelton-Scott where we won his first ever stage in the Tour de France. His legs, surely tired from his stage 5 efforts betrayed him on Willunga Hill, but I’d look for Impey to get away on some punchy stages of the Tour de France and try to outlast the riders for his second stage title this summer.
Rohan Dennis – The Adelaide local was the subject of a lot of scrutiny after his mysterious exit from the Tour de France last summer. He abandoned the race in the middle of stage 12 while in a breakaway. It later came out that he was upset about the equipment that the Bahrain Merida team had provided him. He of course went on to win his second consecutive world time trial championship last September in Yorkshire while riding an unmarked BMC bike, it was no surprise that two weeks later he and Bahrain Merida announced they were parting ways. It was suprising to see team Ineos pick him up. It will be interesting to see his journey with the team, he has stated his top goal is to win Olympic Gold in the Time Trial. With no TTT in this year’s Tour de France, it’s likely that he rides the Giro d’ Italia before focusing on the Olympics where he will win the Gold Medal in the Time Trial.
Romain Bardet – Bardet is starting his season earlier than ever before as he looks to make a big rebound in 2020. Bardet had a challenging 2019 campaign, falling out of GC contention in the Tour de France quite early and getting massively overshadowed by Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot. He pivoted his strategy and salvaged his tour, winning the KOM competition. Following 5 straight years of top 10 finishes from 2013-2017 including a 2nd in 2016 and 3rd in 2017 Bardet has been trending in the wrong direction. In an effort to reset he is starting his season early and will target the Giro d ’Italia for the first time.
I don’t think the Maglia Rosa will be on Bardet’s shoulders at the end of the Giro, and it will be a challenge for him to even reach the podium with the likes of Richard Carapaz, last year’s winner now riding for Ineos, the multiple threats that Jumbo-Vismo can send, amongst other teams top riders. Regardless, we do hope to see him close in contention and riding like the Bardet of 2016-17 once again.
Caleb Ewan – The big winner of the sprints and certainly a favorite sprinter for the Tour de France. Ewan appears to have gained even more form since last season which will serve him well in the more technical finishing sprints. His top end speed was the best at the Tour Down Under and it will be great to watch him head to head against Dylan Groenewegen in the Tour de France. This summer Caleb has the form to again win two stages of the Tour de France.
Elia Viviani – Former lead sprint man for Deceuninck-Quickstep the two years prior winning 4 stages of the Giro and 3 stages of the Vuelta a Espana in 2018 and in 2019 won his first stage in the Tour de France. Lots of questions emerged about why someone would leave the post of lead sprinter for Quickstep as their recent lead sprinters have enjoyed great successes (Fernando Gaviria, Marcel Kittel), followed by rapidly diminishing results after leaving the team.
Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under was a great opportunity for Viviani to go head to head vs. new Quickstep sprinter Sam Bennett and prove that the move to Cofidis would not be for naught, but it was Sam Bennett who took the day. It was downhill for Viviani after that, crashing on the second stage and never finishing in contention on the subsequent stage. It was a rough start for Viviani, but he does have a strong leadout train and he will win his 2nd stage of the Tour de France this summer.
Sam Bennett – A big win on the first stage and two other strong sprints show that Bennett is up to the task. The pressure it off and Bennett can focus on perfecting his teamwork with the Quickstep leadout. Bennett has 5 grand tour stage wins under his belt, but none at the Tour de France. That will change this summer.
Andre Greipel – Keeping the dream alive at 37 years of age and riding for a new team this year; Israel Start-up Nation, Greipel looks to find his form of old. He heads into the 2020 season as one of the most decorated sprinters in the peloton with 22 grand tour stage wins to his name, 11 of them at the Tour de France. Greipel has not taken a grand tour stage win since the 2017 Giro d ‘Italia where we won the 2nd stage, nevertheless, team Israel Start-up Nation is all-in for Greipel. While he never contended for a win he did have three finishes inside the top 6 at the Tour Down Under. Greipel’s grand tour stage wins are now behind him, but we love seeing him compete at a high level in the late stages of his legendary career.
- Richie Porte finishes Top-10 in the Tour De France
- Rohan Dennis wins Olympic Gold in the Time Trial
- Romain Bardet misses the podium in the Giro d ‘Italia
- Caleb Ewan wins two stages of the Tour de France
- Elia Viviani wins his second stage of the Tour de France
- Sam Bennett wins his first stage of the Tour de France
- Andre Greipel does not win another grand tour stage