09 July 2013

Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 10

Stage 10 Results and Stage 11 Race Day Planning

This is after all a team sport

Sprint!

The art of the lead out block seems as important as the placement of the sprinter these days. Lead out men used to peel off to the side and slow, but in nearly every one of the sprint stages in this year's Tour we have watched as the lead out men seemingly sit up in the center of the pack to intentionally block the riders behind their teammate sprinting for the line. The practice seems like good positional tactics but poor sportsmanship.

When Tom Veelers crashed today in the final meters of the sprint, my first reaction was, well he deserved that.

To me it looked like he slowed, looked behind him to find Cavendish, rode on the left then right side of the white line on the road, at a minimum to interfere with Cav who was directly behind moving to pass Veelers. Cav's only focus was diving left to stay on the wheel of Greipel (screen shots); a left corner was coming up. When Cavendish instinctively challenged Veelers by clearly over-shouldering him (and was not later relegated or disqualified), Cav who was still at full speed forward met Veeler's backward slowing speed and the result was insufficient support as their elbows met awkwardly, tumbling Veelers onto the hard ground.

Cavendish knew what was coming at him, Veelers feeling his leadout effort, did not judge the collision as well or Cavendish's forward momentum. Shouldering might work for riders heading in the same directions. But opposing directions can only result in a take down. The point is - one rider going forward, meeting the other rider going backwards, in the center of a fast pack will not end well.

The miniscule reactions in a sprint happen so quickly that there is no thinking before reacting. The bump definitely slowed Cav. He looked back momentarily at the falling rider, and continued on, but never again regained his speed as he watched the interfering Veeler's teammate, Marcel Kittel, take the win completely clueless of the carnage and controversy in his wake.

The problem is - these lead out blocks work. This is after all a team sport. But they are terribly unsafe, as the lead out man done with his job becomes a major obstacle in the road. Shouldering is common in high-speed reactive sprints but penalties can be handed down if the shoulder block is seen as intentional or causing harm to another rider. I say sitting up in a pack of sprinters can also cause harm.

I understand a lead out man fries himself and cannot himself maintain a sprint pace to the line, but the lead out blocks recently orchestrated, and now seemingly common practice, are sort of sketchy to watch. They may phase the viewers more than the sprinters in the field. Still, I think Veelers put himself at risk and every man behind him (some claim this was Cav's responsibility). The peloton was very fortunate to have stayed upright.

That goes on the books as a lousy sprint today, yet amazingly fast. It is hard to feel excited for Marcel Kittel, although he is happy enough for everyone, as now has his second stage win of the race. He did everything right in the sprint.

Tomorrow we will have a distraction from the sprinting controversy and focus on the bikes and effort of the Individual Time Trial to Mont-Saint-Michel - perfect timing.
Did Mark Cavendish get disqualified or punished for today's crash in Stage 10 of the Tour de France? No, he did not. The only penalty fine given today was to Andrew Talansky (Garmin) for "eating in a way that damages the image of cycling." Wow, he must have been messy.

Quote 

"Gee, when God made you I think he decided to make one big one instead of two little ones!" ~ Jens Voigt, the first time he spoke with Marcel Kittel. 

RESULTS
Stage 10 Results
GER  1  KITTEL, Marcel (ARGOS-SHIMANO)                4:53:25
GER  2  GREIPEL, André (LOTTO BELISOL)                
GBR  3  CAVENDISH, Mark (OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP)   
SVK  4  SAGAN, Peter (CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING)    
General Classification after Stage 10 - NO CHANGE
GBR  1  FROOME, Christopher (SKY PROCYCLING)          41:52:43
ESP  2  VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR TEAM)  + 1:25
NED  3  MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN PRO CYCLING)           + 1:44
NED  4  TEN DAM, Laurens (BELKIN PRO CYCLING)         + 1:50
CZE  5  KREUZIGER, Roman (SAXO-TINKOFF)               + 1:51
ESP  6  CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (SAXO-TINKOFF)          
COL  7  QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR TEAM)+ 2:02
IRL  8  MARTIN, Daniel (GARMIN SHARP)                  + 2:28
ESP  9  RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA)            + 2:31
POR  10 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (MOVISTAR TEAM)    + 2:45
Classification Jerseys - after Stage 10
YELLOW - Christopher Froome (SKY)
GREEN - Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
POLKA DOT - Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
WHITE - Nairo Alexander Quintano Rojas (Movistar)
COMBATIVE - Jerome Cousin (Europcar)
TEAM - Movistar
LANTERNE ROUGE - MURAVYEV Dmitriy (Astana) + 02h 01' 03"
Full list of overall GC standings here: General Classification standings 2013 Tour de France

Videos to watch:
Last Km of Stage 10 w/ crash NBC Sports
Screen Shots of Veelers and Cavendish, By Tour de Jose
Cavendish Post Stage 10 Eurosport
Stage 10 Highlights at the 2013 Tour de France Bicycling
Tour Talk with James Startt and Frankie Andreu Bicycling
Inside Line on Sprint Tactics GCN

Read:
Kittel wins stage 10 of the Tour de France, By VeloNews
Para-cyclist to kick off Tour de France individual time trial, By CyclingNews
Opinion: Should we just stop asking about doping? By VeloNews
Renshaw to ride for Omega Pharma-Quick-Step in 2014 By CyclingNews
Gilbert extends contract with BMC Racing Team By CyclingNews

Photos of the Day:
Screenshots by Tour de Jose
Veelers and Cavendish collide in a lead out block gone bad.
Now we are talking fans! They love cycling in this region of France.   Photo from A.S.O. B.Bade
And they start cycling very young.  Photo from A.S.O. B.Bade
Tour de France on the west coast of France.  Photo from Presse Sports
INTEREST STORIES FOR THE DAY

OLD BIKES

Recommended Read:  Velo Vintage collection - 100ème Tour de France, 100 vélos, 100 champions...

The west coast of France appears so old and traditional to me, it is the perfect day to recommend viewing the work at Velo Vintage blog, who has amassed an impressive collection of photos of old bikes, including the man who rode each bike and the team jersey belonging to each bike and man. I am amazed that someone has taken the time to compile and organize this collection of art and history.

For lovers of old bikes (which look like we could ride them today) you will truly enjoy this piece. Wonderful.

100 pairings of bikes, men, and jerseys

TIME TRIALS

Recommended Read:  Le Equipe - Clock Hunters

A very nice piece about the men who make time trials their specialty.  "... the race “against the clock” has become an essential discipline and has proved, with very few exceptions, to be the best way of conquering the yellow jersey."

And, of course, one by Pedal Dancer® - photos of legs!:  Time Trial legs

RACE DAY PLANS - STAGE 11

Stage 11
Wednesday, July 10thAvranches to Mont-Saint-Michel - ITT, classic TDF!

Tomorrow we will surely see more changes in the overall GC standings with the Individual Time Trial to Mont-Saint-Michel.

Start time, Start list, and map of Individual Time Trial - 33km

Video: Tour De France Stage 11 Fly Through GCN
Startlist order of riders for Stage 11, ITT, 2013 Tour de France. 182 riders total.
CET   08h40 Carvan | 10h00 first rider | 16h54 last rider starts | 17h34 last rider to finish  (9:34 a.m. MDT)
See exact rider times and current standings during the stage at NBC tracking.

contre la montre individuel = Individual Time Trial
 
TRAVEL

Most Popular Tourist Sites in France  By Pedal Dancer®

Mont Saint Michel is always accessible, the causeway is never recovered by the water.  But high-tide tomorrow will be at 9:11 a.m.

The tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel
Related posts by Pedal Dancer:
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 9
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 8
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 7
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 6
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 5
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 4
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 3
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 2
Tour Travel - Tour de France after Stage 1
Tour Travel - Tour de France Stage 1, 2, 3
2013 World and National Champions in the Tour de France
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Preview of the centenary edition of 'La Grande Boucle', By Team SKY