14 July 2015

Stage 10 TDF: Selection!

Okay well, we know a lot now

Riders were being spit out the back in an alarming rate in an unpredictable pattern up a steep mountain in the Basque Country today. All the forethought and stage predictions in the world could not have predicted the time gaps after Stage 10. The outcome came down to individual training long before this day arrived. Every team had a plan, every rider had a hope, but it came down to a Brit born in Africa who was never told to keep those elbows in.

The slow-mo footage of Chris Froome crossing the line brings a smile to the face. He went for every pedal stroke, every second to the finish line and earned his enormous 2:52 lead. Just behind him were teammates Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas. By the looks of Froome's quick turning pedal stroke at the top of today's stage, we will see more of him on upcoming mountain tops. But who is not now rooting for "G" to be on the podium in Paris (no pressure there Geraint).

This was a decisive stage

I love the terminology of the Tour de France. We have left behind words like chicane (sharp turn in the road) for:
  • selection
  • debri in the back
  • caught out
  • going backwards
  • pacing
  • an indication
  • loosing ground
  • a total disaster
  • boom boom and out go the lights

I love bike racing in the mountains!

Winner!  Winner!

Let us hear no more of this "Fab 4"

We have a race for the podium. Regardless if Froome looks placed for first (I have not yet tired of his tears and good words for his team), there is a battle for 2nd and 3rd place in this year's Tour de France. It has just begun. We are talking about the effort of eight, and a contest between Sky and Movistar. Who do you pick as the final 3?

1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky35:56:09
2Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:02:52
3Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:03:09
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:04:01
5Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:04:03
6Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:04:04
7Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:04:33
8Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:04:35

In one stage Peter Sagan lost the green jersey to previous holder André Griepel (by 3 points), and fell from 1st in the Best Young Rider (white jersey) classification to 20th. Nairo Quintana is now looking fine in white.  In this one stage Vincenzo Nibali fell to 10th place, 6:57 behind. Within seconds of him crossing the finish line he was fired as G.C. leader by his Team Manager - the terrible awful - Alexandre Vinokourov. Who in a strong statement reinforced the importance of doping outcomes in his team.

The last man over the line today was Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) of FDJ.fr, who rolled in 29:15 minutes after Chris Froome. Never again feel bad about anyone waiting for you at the top of a climb - the pros do it all the time.

Fastest team up the climb today was Sky Pro Cycling, they beat the Movistar team by 6:32 and took over the lead in the Best Team classification from BMC. And a Belgian rider was awarded most combative rider on Bastille Day, quite unusual.

The finish Last Km of Stage 10 (02:58 English) — nbcsports (via Steephill.TV)

My favorite interview award goes to Geraint "G" Thomas: Geraint Thomas Post Stage 10 (02:04 English) — nbcsports (via Steephill.TV)

Get behind Tejay

Tejay Van Garderen has been part of this race since day one, yet it took eleven days for the press to open the welcome gates of "The Fab 4" to include him into the "Fab 5." He is here to stay, with his steady I have one speed to the line M.O.. I might not be a fan of his haircut, but I am a big fan of his preparation. Yes Richie Porte is moving to BMC (big budget!), and yes that might interfere with Tejay's pick of top races, but Richie Porte would not be making the move if his proven experience at the Tour de France had not already been discussed. Like many teams, BMC will pick their leader based on training numbers, schedule, health and preparation.

The view from the field just below the top of the climb to Col de la Pierre-St-Martin. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
The Col de la Pierre-St-Martin is located at the end of the big mountain chain where the Iberian and Eurasian plates meet. It is still steep on this mountain top!

Results Stage 10

1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky4:22:07
2Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky0:00:59
3Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:01:04
4Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:33
5Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:01
6Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
7Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge0:02:04
8Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
9Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:02:22
10Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:02:30
11Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:02:51
12Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida0:03:09
13Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
14Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka0:03:19
15Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
16Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team0:04:00
17Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing0:04:09
18Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
19Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché Environnement0:04:16
20Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:04:25
21Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
22Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
23Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling0:04:44
  • Yellow Jersey: Chris Froome
  • Green Jersey: André Greipel
  • Polka-dot Jersey: Chris Froome (Richie Porte will wear the jersey on Stage 11)
  • White Jersey: Nairo Quintana
  • Combative: Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
  • Best Team: BMC
  • Lanterne Rouge: Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge (behind by 1:42:47)
  • 183 riders remain: Ivan Basso (Cancer Dx) and Lars Boom (fever) did not start the stage today.

Organized Busing

Fans were reportedly bused to the top of the stage today, and so it appeared, littered along the road to the top. There was a noticeable lack of bicycles laying along the edge, these were real people" fans who came to see the racers trickle by (it was a trickle, a scattered trickle), and enjoy the atmosphere of the TDF. I liked the checkered hats today - love that free swag.  

Memories of this climb

It is a very special thing to have experienced climbing the routes included in the Tour de France. I rode this climb in 2010, long before it was included in the Tour (it was a rumor to be included that year, it was not). I rode the climb because a local I had met a couple days before on the Col d'Ichere, recommended it to me by pointing on a map. I wanted to experience this climb in the Basque Country and rode it alone on a warm day in early July. There was no flamme rouge to mark my arrival, no colorful fans along the route, no water. But I remember every turn, the trees, the view looking up and back along the road as I climbed slowly to the top.

What an interesting thing that I flew in a plane, to rent a car, to ride a bike up some obscure mountain because I thought it would be a nice bike ride. The things we do. The gift of blogging is going back and reading my experiences otherwise forgotten (Today I rode to the Frontiere of Spain). 

One thing is certain, if you are lucky enough to ride the climbs of the Tour de France you will forever feel as if you have jumped into the TV screen during coverage. It becomes a part of your fabric. The memory of effort on a particular corner blends with the feeling on the rider's face and agony in his body and you relive it in pain and glory. It is simply marvelous.

You gotta go do it.

Plus the aerials remind you of the great lunches you enjoyed in the different villages.

Just keep those elbows out and go for the line!

Let's wish Ivan Basso well

Get well soon Ivan Basso!

Stage 11 Preview coming later today ... it's a big one!

For now:

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