Tour de France Stage 17: Superman Lopez takes the win, Bernal abandons and Roglic steps closer to Paris

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.

Tour de France Stage 16: Bora gets its win and Pogacar shows he will always attack

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, 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?

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?

Tour de France Stage 15: Bernal cracks and the GC is shaken up

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.

Tour de France Stage 14: Peter Sagan closes, Sunweb wins, attention turns to Colombia

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.

Tour de France Stage 13: Dani Martinez saves his tour, Roglic extends his lead

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.

Tour de France Stage 12: Hirschi gets his and the Tour gets a (COVID) reset

  • 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!

Tour de France Stage 11: Green stays in Ireland, Ewan wins his 2nd

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.

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Tour de France Stage 10: A win for Ireland and Sam Bennett takes green

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.  

Sights, sounds and stories of the first 9 stages of the Tour de France

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 day of flying: Stage 7 Recap

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!