16 July 2015

Stage 12 TDF: Attack!

A Spanish climber wins in a cool fresh rain

Joaquim Ridriquez. Photo via Twitter
Sin palabras!!! Ver tanta gente hoy chillando PURITO!! Espero que hayáis gozado como yo!! Sois la ... La leche!!  
Without words! See so many people today screaming CIGARILLO! I hope that you've enjoyed like me! You are the... The milk! 

Rodriguez's nickname in the professional peloton is Purito, Spanish for little cigar!. Purito is easier to shout than Joaquim Rodríguez Oliver. 

The Great Green Spread

Deep digs all the way to the top, as man after man in the very select general classification group showed they deserved to be in the top 20 (+ Porte). From the heat to the freezing rain, the win went to a resident of nearby Andorra. Great to see Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo attacking. Geraint Thomas is my hero.

If you were invited to this party, you should have been in a break or a chase today.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Stage 12 looked like a parade of riders wanting to secure a contract for next year.  Get out there and prove your worth, I could hear all the managers saying

As expected, it was a challenge to keep track of everyone up and down the green hills of Stage 12. I laughed when Phil Liggett announced at one point, the chase was "going back in the pack," The pack was 9'43" back Phil, if they were rejoining the pack, they'd have time to sit for an espresso on the side of the road before they rejoined.

I depend on Cycling News Live News.
The break was wide and the road was rough

This is the road surface they road over today. This is my least favorite road surface. I took this photo because I couldn't believe I was actually continuing to ride upon it. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
  <--- Port de Lers. Wild, narrow road. With more cows.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Stage 12 Results

The Lanterne Rouge, Michael Matthews, lost 30 minutes on today's stage alone. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha is now in second place for the mountain classification behind Froome and will be wearing red spots tomorrow. Nairo Quintana has all but secured his white jersey with another stellar day climbing. Movistar has moved ahead of Sky to lead the Best Team classification.

Stage Win
1Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha5:40:14
2Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:01:12
3Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:49
4Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team0:04:34
5Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:04:38
6Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 180:05:47
7Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar0:06:03
8Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:28
9Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:06:46
10Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:06:47
11Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
12Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
13Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
14Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
15Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
16Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
17Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky

GC Standings
1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky46:50:32
2Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:02:52
3Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:03:09
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:58
5Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:04:03
6Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:04:04
7Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:05:32
8Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:07:32
9Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:07:47

  • Yellow Jersey: Chris Froome
  • Green Jersey: Peter Sagan (2 points ahead of Greipel)
  • Polka-dot Jersey: Chris Froome (Joaquim Rodriguez will wear it on Stage 13)
  • White Jersey: Nairo Quintana
  • Combative: Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
  • Best Team: Movistar Team
  • Lanterne Rouge: Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge (behind by 2:34:21) 
  • 175 riders remain of the original 198

Withdraws on Stage 12
195DEMPSTER Zakkari BOAwithdrawal
54DOWSETT Alex MOVwithdrawal

All pain is not created equal

It amazes me how I can watch the peloton ride over the Col du Galibier or the Col du Tourmalet and think, how glorious and magnificent, and completely forget the deep pain I have experienced on those climbs. This morning I could barely watch Stage 12. I kept fidgeting ... maybe another cup of coffee, perhaps let the dog out. I finally realized - it was the flies.

The frickin' horseflies of the Ariege. Apparently I have post traumatic stress disorder from horse fly bites and it is affecting my ability to watch these poor men cycle through an area I know hosts a man-eating beast.

Man eating beast

These suckers are not your average fly, they bore holes in you the size of a punch biopsy that itches and heals for weeks. I once had a conversation estimating that a cyclist must average 9 mph to keep the flies from landing on you. Purito Rodriguez averaged 10.5 mph up the final climb today, I think the rain helped too. These were the things I thought of during the final climb.

Preview Stage 13  - Muret / Rodez 198.5KM

There is only a 260m difference between the altitude of the start village in Muret and the finish city in Rodez. The hills are short and steep, perfect for a puncheur.

Le Puncheur: 1. A rider who favors explosive power over short punchy climbs. 2. Peter Sagan.

Who will win?

There will be a breakaway. There will be a peloton leaving many behind as they chase. If the teams of Peter Sagan or John Degenkolb can get them to the line, Sagan has a chance, otherwise - it's a breakaway day.

Estimated finish time in Rodez: 17:17 CET (11:17 AM EDT, 9:17 AM MDT) coverage starts at 6:00am in Colorado!

Muret will host the towns first start of the TDF ever.

Climbs of Stage 13 tomorrow
  • Km 131.0 - Côte de Saint-Cirgue 3.8 kilometre-long climb at 5.8% - category 3
  • Km 156.5 - Côte de la Pomparie 2.8 kilometre-long climb at 5% - category 4
  • Km 167.0 - Côte de la Selve 3.9 kilometre-long climb at 3.7% - category 4
Stage 13 profile

Stage 13 profile map 2015 Tour de France
Stage 13 map
Stage 13 route map 2015 Tour de France
Tomorrow will be the day of sunflowers! Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
My prediction for Friday is Sunflowers and farms. Stage 13 is near the major cities of Toulouse and Albi, worth a visit as a tourist for street strolling, museums, shopping, and sitting at a cafe to people watch.

TDF 2015 southern half

An opinion

There are three kinds of encouragement

Praise  -  Doubt  -  Disapproval

It seems to me that a person could say, "Well done Chris Froome, you have planned and trained well. You have ridden in winter regardless of weather. You have spent time with your equipment and paid attention to nutrition. You encourage your teammates and lead through respect. No matter the pressure, you have excelled and exceeded expectations. You have earned that yellow jersey."

Instead media reports are splashed with accusations of doubt. Doping. Doper. Doubt is the weakest of responses to performance. But we have learned from past experience to respond with I doubt they could, because I could not; I doubt they could because I have learned that excellent performances in cycling signal cheating. This is the state of cycling. The sad thing is, doubt is always personal, it is a breath away from disapproval. Pedal a mile in Chris Froome's shoes and realize how shattering it must feel to experience disapproval for his many hours of hard work.

This is how to praise. And lead.

Journalists need copy. A story must be found. If it means bringing another person down through accusations and doubt, so be it. Remember many of the journalists covering the Tour de France have short memories and long histories. They have been spurned, shut out, or part of miss-managing the previous doping story of the decade. They will not be shown the fool again.

Yes, there is doping in cycling. Yes, medical science typically discovers and proves doping, not a podcast or Twitter. Every year we go through the same story: the competition has been decided half way through, let's talk about doping. Message to the media: give it a rest, you are killing spectator interest. We are not ignorant and in our own way, if we are still a fan, have accepted reality.

The race is decided  ...  The race is not over yet  ...  Doper  ...   I knew he would win all along. The Tour de France is tradition in so many ways .

Read more 2015 Tour de France Coverage by Pedal Dancer® 
I might take a break for a couple days before we hit the Alps, I will be repairing and staining my fence after damage from the big hail storms we had in June in Denver, Colorado, my home. Catch up soon.