20 July 2015

Stage 16 TDF: Pure and amazing racing

G !!!!!!
Sagan !!!!
Spaniards !

Could we possibly want anything more than to see Peter Sagan racing on the top tube for another thrilling second place, and then hear that Geraint Thomas was back on his bike and racing after being pushed off the side of the mountain by another descender, only to hold his 6th place on GC. What a finish!

All this on a stage where I had turned off the sound and was watching only the footage of the race unfold. What a race it was in the final kilometers. By the time the cameras returned from the action of Molina, Sagan and Thomas to the GC group, they seemed so modest in comparison, except for Vincenzo Nibali who was showing some gutsy racing. We even got to see five seconds of Alberto Contador's mythical climbing style. Now that is TV coverage!

Gotta love this guy.

Stage 16 winner, Plaza Molina (LAM), averaged 23.8 km/h climbing speed up Col de Manse.
Stage 16 recap (12:31 English)nbcsports (via Steephill.TV) - watch it.
A good read for fans who want to know what it is like on Col de Mense: Pez Cycling.

Stage 16 Win

1Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida4:30:10
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:30
3Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling0:00:36
4Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:40
5Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
6Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:53
8Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:00

Peter Sagan (video) - Legend!

This was the second day in a row that Peter Sagan has been awarded the most combative rider award (red dossard). There is no one more deserving. What would this Tour have been without Peter Sagan and his demonstration of the love of racing a bike.

Peter Sagan's number of times in the Top 5 of a stage at the 2015 Tour de France:
Stage 2 - 2nd
Stage 4 - 3rd
Stage 5 - 2nd
Stage 6 - 2nd
Stage 7 - 3rd
Stage 8 - 4th
Stage 13 - 2nd
Stage 14 - 5th
Stage 15 - 4th
Stage 16 - 2nd

Chris Froome's number of times in the Top 5 of a stage at the 2015 Tour de France:
Stage 3 - 2nd
Stage 9 - 1st Team Time Trial
Stage 10 - 1st

Geraint Thomas (video of crash) - Legend!

"I head-butted the wooden pole thing."

"I was helped by a nice Frenchman," an interview reported. The NBC Sports interview recorded, "ya, ya, some French people like us." Matching the marvel of Geraint Thomas' fast recovery from the crash was the reaction time of the man from France along the side who helped G back up the embankment. He looked like a man of experience as he started his move to pull Geraint from the steep hillside while G's body was still in motion.

Remounting and responding to questions by the race doctor ("What is your name?" "Chris Froome," he answered). Thomas raced back with teammate Wouter Poels, making it to the finish line just 38 seconds (!) behind his team leader Chris Froome; preserving his 6th place overall GC standing. Unfortunately G did not have time to find his favorite sunglasses, now laying somewhere in the tangled bushes of a hillside near Gap, France. "I lost my glasses. They don't make them anymore." ~ Geraint Thomas

Speed, line, sketchy descent and a fan:

"Everyone knows it's a dodgy descent, I just got taken out. One hundred per cent it was a mistake," Geraint Thomas said after the stage. Mistakes happen, but mistakes are not without someone acting first. Racers know how to descend in a group, in a row, down unevenly graded switchbacks, and unless you already made your way to the front of the pack, it is generally understood to keep your line.

Warren Barquil made two mistakes: his speed into the turn was greater than the racers near him to his left (fault). His line was too far right leading into the turn (fault). Barguil took out Geraint Thomas and might have ended both of their Tour de France days. The final descent through two more mistakes toward Barguil: an inconsistent road surface and a fan crouched low in the inside corner of the turn.

Why was Barguil's speed so fast into the turn? Barguil explained to Cycling News:
I’m sorry, I’m really very sorry. I didn’t mean to bump Thomas,” Barguil said. “I wanted to brake but Tejay van Garderen had touched my shoulder before the corner. My hand slipped and I lost hold of my rear brake. You brake at the last minute on those corners and the second or two I lost when my hand slipped were fatal and caused me to ride into Thomas.”

Not all turns are created equal. Tejay Van Garderen stated Barguil was attempting to pass on the inside of the turn, which was obvious in the video. Barguil has also been involved in three other falls in this tour alone. It was his falt for trying to gain ground where it was unsafe.

It warmed my heart seeing Nairo Quintana (who reacted directly behind Thomas with excellent bike handling skills on the corner) warming down next to Chris Froome while recounting what happened on the road to Geraint Thomas. It was like watching any two bike racers reenact play by play action post race. Only these two men are now the top two competitors of the 2015 Tour de France. Ahh bike racing.

A massive roadside and ebay search is now taking place around the globe to find G another pair of glasses. Can Oakley step up? Photo via Team Sky website.
General Classification standings after Stage 16

1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky64:47:16
2Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:03:10
3Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:03:32
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:04:02
5Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:04:23
6Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:05:32
7Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:06:23
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:07:49
9Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing0:08:53

  • Yellow Jersey: Chris Froome
  • Green Jersey: Peter Sagan (89 points ahead of Andre Greipel)
  • Polka-dot Jersey: Chris Froome (Joaquim Rodriguez will wear it on Stage 17)
  • White Jersey: Nairo Quintana
  • Combative: Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo!
  • Best Team: Movistar Team
  • Lanterne Rouge: Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18, behind by 3:14:49
  • 169 riders remain of the original 198 (list of withdraws)
Two less riders:
DNS Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team (his wife is due to give birth)
DNF Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky

Current Best Team Classification:
1Movistar Team195:23:31
2MTN - Qhubeka0:20:50

REST DAY TOMORROW - Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Featuring a blog post with some recent photos I have taken of Peter Sagan.

PREVIEW STAGE 17 - Wednesday, July 22nd
Stage17 Preview - deep in the southern Alps
Digne-les-Bains / Pra Loup 161KM (Le Tour Stage 17 website)
It's another ski station.

Stage 17 Route Map 2015 Tour de France
Stage 17 Profile Map 2015 Tour de France
Mountain passes & hills, Digne-les-Bains / Pra Loup 161KM
  • Km 40.0 - Col des Lèques 6 kilometre-long climb at 5.3% - category 3
  • Km 67.0 - Col de Toutes Aures 6.1 kilometre-long climb at 3.1% - category 3
  • Km 96.0 - Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel (1 431 m) 11 kilometre-long climb at 5.2% - category 2
  • Km 139.0 - Col d'Allos ( 2 250 m) 14 kilometre-long climb at 5.5% - category 1
  • Km 161.0 - PRA LOUP (1 620 m) 6.2 kilometre-long climb at 6.5% - category 2
Mountain passes & hills 1
Profile of final two climbs of Stage 17.

The final kilometers of Stage 17 wind up and down.
Pa Loup, France

Pra Loup, France. Photo from www.praloup.com
Turning the ski resort of Pra Loup into a Tour de France Stage 17

12h55 : Caravan Départ de Digne-les-Bains
16h50 : Caravan Arrivée prévue des 1ers coureurs
17h15 : Arrivée des derniers coureurs
A partir de 15h20 : Passage de la caravane

Tour de France Race News and Tracking:
Follow the Tour de France's transformation journey(data)
Follow the action live on the road: Le Tour Live Tracking
Read the news live at: Cycling News
Library of post race news and video: Steephill.TVhttp://www.steephill.tv/tour-de-france/
Twitter List of Riders, Teams, Journalists and Photographers at the Tour
Podcast: The Cycling Podcast
Pedal Dancer: blog posts about the Tour de France

Read more 2015 Tour de France Coverage by Pedal Dancer®