22 July 2015

Stage 17 TDF: Stage of Tears

Joy and heartbreak on the road today

What a day of change it was at the 2015 Tour de France. I was thrilled for an exciting solo breakaway and a first stage win for Simon Geschke of Germany, but most of the race was happening well behind Simon's joyful tears at the finish line. A number of riders shed their own tears of disappointment as they abandoned le tour.

Abandon seems a nicer word than quit, but it looks like both words feel about the same. Can you imagine riding over 2700 km and then getting in a car three race days short of the finish in Paris. Ooohhhggh.

This is joy

“This is my third victory as a professional, to be at the Tour is… I was waiting for 15 years for this moment.” “It took me two or three minutes to figure out what I had done," Simon Geschke said in a interview after the stage.

This is heartbreak

Tejay's heartbroken abandon, the sad image we will all remember from his 2015 Tour de France.

This is the Tejay I know from the Tour de France.

Tejay in the white jersey in 2012 Tour de France. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
This is the attacking Tejay I know on climbs. Photo by Ron Long for Pedal Dancer®

Tejay is a local Colorado boy, seeing him get into the car mid-stage was like watching the kid you have seen practice on the soccer field for years experience one of the biggest disappointments in his life and there was nothing you could do to help. Ooohhhggh. I am so sorry for Tejay and the other four riders who abandoned today on Stage 17.

193BENNETT Sam BOAwithdrawal
185COPPEL Jérôme IAMwithdrawal
163HAAS Nathan TCGwithdrawal
111KWIATKOWSKI Michal EQSwithdrawal
61VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMCwithdrawal

Today's Data:
  • Sagan (TCS) recorded a maximum speed of 78.19km/h as he descended Col d'Allos.
  • Time between first and last rider today was 37:09 minutes.
  • The peloton has now ridden 2750 kilometers in this race.
  • We now know that beards can climb thanks to Greschke

If you like big mountain bike riding - watch today's on bike camera highlights from Velon CC. It's great: Tour de France Stage 17 - On Bike Highlights

This was a day when I wished the TV cameras (or commentary) would have followed the major happenings affecting the overall race, which was Contador crashing, Sagan there to give him his bike, Tejay and Kwiatkowski plus three other riders withdrawing, most of the Etixx team and Greipel hanging in the back reserving energy for the final stage, the decision of individual riders to go or stay to be with their #1, and the desperate race of teams cars to service their riders along the narrow roads. There was a lot going on today in this stage among the other 155 riders.

Alberto Contador is most likely off the podium after today, Tejay Van Garderen is out of the race. Kwiatkowski is gone. If six men withdrew today, how many will go tomorrow on a HUGE climbing stage?

After all the confusion it was an emotional release for all to see Simon Geschke's tears of joy and surprise at the end. So great to see his happiness at 15.66 km/h on an 8% finish to the line. Also lots of fun to watch Bernard Thévenet and Bernard Hinault catching riders as they crossed the line on the steep slope.

Geschke interview post Stage 17: Winner's Interview from Stage 17 (00:29 English) — nbcsports (via Steeephill.TV), and in German Interview mit dem zu Tränen gerührten Simon Geschke | Sportschau (via YouTube)

Stage 17 Win (Full Results at CyclingNews.com)
1Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin4:12:17
2Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:00:32
3Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:01
4Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr0:01:36
5Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling0:01:40
6Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:02:27
7Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky0:03:02
8Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:04
9Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka0:03:05
10Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge0:03:21

General Classification after Stage 17
1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky69:06:49
2Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:03:10
3Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:04:09
4Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:06:34
5Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:06:40
6Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:07:39
7Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:08:04
8Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling0:08:47
  • 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 18)
  • White Jersey: Nairo Quintana
  • Combative: Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
  • Best Team: Movistar Team !
  • Stage 17 Winner: Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
  • Lanterne Rouge: Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ.fr, behind by 3:33:49
  • 163 riders remain of the original 198 (list of withdraws)

Chris Froome stares at his stem while warming down.
Did you know there is a Chris Froome looking at his stem tumblr? Because ... he always looks at his stem of his handlebars: chrisfroomelookingatstems.tumblr.com


Thursday, July 23rd - Stage 18, 186.5km Gap / Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Preview by Pedal Dancer®: TDF Stage 18 Preview: It's not all about the Glandon

Col du Glandon (1924 m) 21.7 kilometre-long climb at 5.1% - category H. 
West side of Col du Glandon. The long climb goes through that pass in the center, and then down to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer
 see more at the stage preview