24 July 2015

Stage 19 TDF: Haven't we seen this before?

Vincenzo won
  • Yes, we are going in circles on Stage 18, 19, and 20.
  • Yes, we have heard the "I didn't see it" excuse before.
  • Yes, we have seen Chris Froome screaming at Vincenzo Nibali before.
Today was the first day I was not thrilled with the winner. The first day I recognized that my TDF Twitter list was not filled with words of congratulations to the stage victor, who was Vincenzo Nibali. It might be my tourquoise fever, although I am a fan of Vincenzo Nibali, my brother even named his dog after Vincenzo. But remember how everyone was so happy for Romain Bardet yesterday, and Simon Greschke the day before?

So what happened? Was it knowing TV cameras caught Vincenzo looking back and attacking with intent; we knew he saw Chris Froome in a vulnerable mechanical moment, he had been riding side by side with Froome up to that point. What it realizing Nibali made the audacious decision to "go now and say sorry later." Then there was the incident of the very sticky bottle held too long as he gained on Pierre Rolland at a corner.

Sure it was Vincenzo Nibali's work to continue his attack to the line, increasing the distance back to Froome to 2'23 at one point - that is tough riding (could he have feared the anger raging behind him on the road?). I was expecting to hear from Nibali the usual lines in post race interviews about not knowing Froome had a mechanical, how his legs felt good, etc., and he delivered. His reasoning (excuses) worked, he is now in 4th place.

Read: Nibali vs. Froome: Misunderstanding or breach of etiquette? By Gregor Brown for Velo News

This is the somebody who won the stage today (he is named after my brother's dog):

I chose the photo above of Nibali winning from Peloton Magazine because it shows the time board moto driver and the time board holder Claire Pedrono. They are both totally cool (and not smiling either).

Read more about Time Gap Claire – A Summer Dream Job, By the mighty Cycling Tips. This is my photo of Claire - she is a delightful stud (who else can you describe like that?)

Claire Pedrono - l'Ardoisière du Tour de France. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

What I did not expect as today's stage began at a rapid pace, was to find Chris Froome again giving the Italian Nibali a piece of his mind after crossing the finish line.
News of Chris Froome's beef with Vincenzo Nibali over his "unsportsmanlike" behavior filled the airways after the race, together with a vigilante group attempting to track down a spectator proven via TV coverage to have spit of Froome during the race. One man can only take so much doubting, spitting, and attacking - Chris Froome needed to vent that anger somehow.

Vent and reboot is Chris Froome's apparent motto. While fans and press were whipped into a tizzy after Stage 19 - Chris Froome was talking about stuffed lions. Chris Froome's recovery process: get a good yell in and hug a lion.

Meanwhile media tried to hype the outcome of the stage in a final attempt to build (find) readership. Headlines must be written; paper boys must sell papers. The Tour de France is not over yet!

Stage 19 Win (Full Results via Cycling News)

1Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team4:22:53
2Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:00:44
3Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:01:14
4Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr0:02:26
5Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
8Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
9Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
10Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
11Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:02:35

General Classification after Stage 19

1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky78:37:34
2Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:02:38
3Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:05:25
4Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:06:44
5Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:07:56
6Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:08:55

  • Yellow Jersey: Chris Froome
  • Green Jersey: Peter Sagan (104 points ahead of Andre Greipel)
  • Polka-dot Jersey: Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale (ahead by 3 points)
  • White Jersey: Nairo Quintana
  • Combative: Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar !
  • Best Team: Movistar Team !
  • Stage 18 Winner: Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
  • Lanterne Rouge: Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ.fr, behind by 4:34:40
  • 160 riders remain of the original 198 (list of withdraws)


Nairo Quintana is proving daily that he is a phenomenal bike racer and gentleman. I would say Quintana, Peter Sagan and Romain Bardet are my favorites of this year's Tour de France. Nairo Quintana rode a very impressive last 5K today, maintaining his 2nd place overall and showing he should do very well on Stage 20 tomorrow. Quintana races every day with pure class and talent and his entourage of Colombian fans are a welcome sight daily.

So happy to see Romain Bardet in the polka-dot jersey. I look forward to seeing him try to stretch his 3 point lead over Chris Froome for the mountains classification.


Finish your day with a bit of humor with Tour de France unwritten rules by Global Cycling Network: Top 10 Rules Of The Tour De France

Picks of the day from Steephill.TV - did you see, hear and listen to?

Are we going around in circles? Yes, sort of. 

Le Tour has laid the route in slight variation over the same climbs for three stages in a row in this year's Tour de France, proving that the Tour de France can indeed do a variation of the Tour Down Under, allowing the teams to stay in the same place for three days. In fact teams could stay in the same hotel for six days by including the nearby Col de Madeleine, or Col de Telegraphe, Val d' Isere, Les Duex Alpes, Col du Lautaret, and Col du Galibeier (if it were opened, which it is not).

If you feel that you have heard about the climbs of Glandon and Croix de Fer a lot, it is because you have. Tomorrow we go back over the Col de la Croix de Fer and the Col du Glandon in the opposite direction. If you are a cyclist wanting to ride in the Alps, you are getting a great view on how to do it yourself, and which direction is best to climb to the top of each Col.

As a cyclist who loved small road big mountain climbing, I would recommend visiting this area to ride, only be aware accommodations can be tricky. You will either be riding a long distance or driving to ride from different starting points (which is all fine and totally worth it).  This year's Tour attests to the fact that people are staying all over the place and sometimes driving 1 to 3 hours to/from a stage.

The Grandest Loop of the Grand Tour 
Keep your eye on the highlighted square loop on the maps below. Stages 18, 19, 20 are variations on the same roads. Maps via LeTour.



Stages 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 have been all about the Alpes in 2015. I miss the Col du Galibier!

Which side would you rather ride (hint: red is scary steep)? 
Thanks to Climb by Bike  2015 Tour de France climbs collection for these climbs profiles.

Col de la Croix de Fer - East Side (Stage 19)

The view looking down from the top of the climb - north/east side.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
East side Croix de Fer
Col de la Croix de Fer - southwest Side (Stage 20)

The view looking down from the top - southwest side . Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Col du Glandon - Would your rather go Up (Stage 18), or Down (Stage 20)?

Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Down, definitely, I would choose the fast downhill!

STAGE 20 PREVIEW - Alpe d'Huez baby! Stage 20 of 21.

Saturday, July 25th - Stage 20110.5km Modane Valfréjus / Alpe d'Huez
Winner gets their name on a plaque - on signpost #14 next to Bret Breu the 8th ever winner in 1982. 

*For much more about the final climb, please read my blog post: All things Alpe d'Huez By Pedal Dancer®

Who will win? - Nairo Quintana!

Alpe d' Huez - what a magical historical place for cyclists. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer. 
All roads lead to the A43 - see you tomorrow morning in Modane, France

The climbs

Km 56.0 - Col de la Croix de Fer (2 067 m) 29 kilometre-long climb at 5.2% - category H
Km 110.5 - ALPE D'HUEZ 13.8 kilometre-long climb at 8.1% - category H
Approximate finish of tomorrow's Stage 20 to Alpe d'Huez: 16:32 CET (early morning at 9:32 on the west coast, 8:32 along the Rocky Mountains, and 10:32 in New York City!)

The caravan will pass through Alpe d'Huez 2 hours before the breakaway / peloton:


Carrefour D1091 B-D21114.596.013h5815h4315h5215h58

La Ferrière14.096.513h5915h4415h5315h59

LA GARDE-EN-OISANS11.599.014h0615h5116h0016h06

Ribot d'en Bas10.0100.514h1115h5416h0416h11

Le Ribot9.5101.014h1315h5616h0616h13

HUEZ Village6.0104.514h2416h0516h1516h24

ALPE D'HUEZ (D211-VC) (entrée)3.0107.514h3316h1316h2416h33

ALPE D'HUEZ0.0110.514h4216h2016h3216h42

ALPE D'HUEZ0.0110.514h4216h2016h3216h42

The Tour is coming!
A crowded day at the Tour de France om 2003 on Alpe d'Huez at the 4km marker.  ©Photo by Karen Rakestraw of PedalDancer®

And it's my birthday!

Read more Tour de France Coverage by Pedal Dancer®