10 July 2015

Stage 7 TDF: The Hotbed of French Cycling

Restoring order in the peloton

Some big things happened out on the road today:
  • The 3rd all time biggest winner of the Tour de France won again, bravo Mark Cavindish on your 26th stage victory!
  • The local boy from Brittany won the Combative jersey by hanging in the breakaway the longest. Congratulations to local hero Anthony Delaplace.
  • African Daniel Teklehaimanot kept the polka-dot jersey, and German André Greipel battled at the end for bonus points to retain the green jersey. 
  • Peter Sagan is in 2nd place on GC!
  • We have returned to Badger Country - the land of Bernard Hinault, the tough man just to the right on the podium who wears the same khaki pants and blue dress shirt at every stage and every TDF, year after year.
  • Even the cows wear jerseys in this "hotbed of cycling" country as cows were spotted in local pastures donning classification jerseys.
  • Fans were happy with the free swag - lots of yellow of green caps could be seen on the heads of spectators at the finish line. 
  • @LeTourData reports the average fans waits 6-hours out on the road to see the Tour come by, they deserve at least a free cap. 
  • @inrng reports 460000 packets of Cochonou saucisson will be thrown from the caravan to the crowds from the Tour's publicity caravan; 1 sausage toss every 7 meters along the entire route. 
  • @EuroHoody reports the media were also eating sausages and crepes inside the press tent.
  • We saw a peek of Mont Saint Michel - the planned location of the Grand Depart of the 2016 Tour de France.
  • And it is not France without a Citroën 2CV car sighting.
What a better combination than sausages and a (modernized) Citroën 2CV. Only at le Tour!  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of PedalDancer.com
Big Win for Cav

About twenty-five minutes before the finish of the stage today, I texted my brother Michael, "I forgot Mark Cav often rises when he has a purpose to win, I wonder if he will just go all out today to win." Sure enough he did. If there is one golden rule of the Tour de France, it is to never listen to who the media says will win a stage; never read all that filler verbiage needed for print volume. The true glory and story of the Tour de France is the unknown, the suffering, and the indomitable human will. This is the truth at the center of why the French love their Tour (that and the free swag).

He didn't have to win, but he did. No one can argue Mark Cavendish had not already contributed substantially to his team at this year's Tour de France. His name is on the team roster for the first week and the final stage, but he wanted this stage win so much. His tears during post race interviews show the release of emotion when he spoke of a certain knowing calm that came over him the night before the stage. There is a place deep within where wins are pulled from in true champions like Cavendish.

Yes!!!  Mark Cavendish wins his 26th stage of the Tour de France today in Fougères. Photo via BBC Sport on Twitter by Getty Images
The roar of the crowd

Who else broke out in a huge scream of "YES!" when Mark Cavendish earned his victory today? I am a huge fan of Cav, but even this guy cheered from his distant hospital room in Germany.

"A dream came true during this Tour and now I'm already looking forward to coming back one day again and living the great emotions of this race." ~ Tony Martin.  Photo via Tony Martin Twitter
Most stage wins at the Tour de France (The Badger is sweating as Cav moves in for the kill)

1 Eddy Merckx  Belgium 34
2 Bernard Hinault  France 28
3 Mark Cavendish  United Kingdom 26
Not all roundabouts are created equal

I chuckled at Johan Vansummeren's expression when his teammates, in fine position, decided to go left around a roundabout when he went right and ended up way in front of them when they all came out the other end. I entertain myself with roundabout results when things get dull. It was not dull however in the final stretch when a rider from Cannondale definitely messed up the flow of the leadouts in a total amateur move, fracturing team Giant-Alpecin and stringing out the run-in to the line. The best man won in the end, regardless of roundabout results.

Who is in France?

I have made it seven stages without stating how much I miss Tour Talk. I miss hearing from James Startt and Frankie Andreau out on the road as they dragged us along on their journey stage after stage. They made me feel as if I was there with them. Who combines humor, travel and race talk like they did? No one. I fell asleep to The Cycling Podcast again last night. Global Cycling Network has some fun on the bike, but their prepared videos and rest in between don't show the exhaustion of chasing the tour.

I do have two friends chasing the Tour: Kim and Greg Hull are there as photographers on course, making up the husband and wife duo at Chasing Light Media. They are seriously good photographers and equally good fun. Facebook, Twitter and at Cycling Perspective.

Kim and Greg Hull stay (and drink) in style. Follow along as they chase the Tour de France, waking up at 5:00am to do laundry and locating beer and wine along the route.
Stage 7 Results 

Stage Win

1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step4:27:25
2André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo

General Classification after Stage 7 (Nairo Quintana has dropped to 16th)

1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky26:40:51
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:11
3Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:13
4Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:00:26
5Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:28
6Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:34
7Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:36
8Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:52
9Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:01:03
10Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin

  • Yellow Jersey: Chris Froome
  • Green Jersey: André Greipel
  • Polka-dot Jersey: Daniel Teklehaimanot
  • White Jersey: Peter Sagan
  • Combative: Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
  • Best Team: BMC
  • Lanterne Rouge: Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge (behind by 1:02:14)
  • 186 riders remain of 198 starters on Stage 1

Preview Stage 8 - Rennes / Mûr-de-Bretagne, 181.5KM through Brittany

Now we have a General Classification! Sagan jumped the ranks to second and Tejay is in third. Nairo dropped to 16th but the big long climbs arrive next Tuesday. Between tomorrow's short climb and next week's big climbs in the Pyrenees, we have Sunday's team time trial, which will greatly change the GC order.

There is a false flat at the end of tomorrow's stage likely to cause a mad battle for placement before Froome, Sagan, Tejay, Alberto, Vincenzo, Nairo, Valverde, Rui, Rigo and a few other men bury themselves for a brief 2.2 kilometers of pain. The Mûr de Bretagne has an average gradient of 6.8% with sections of 10%. It's a test. Look for the GC contenders at the top of the hill. It'll be crowded up there. 

Stage 8 Route Map

Tour de France Stage 8 Route Map in Brittany  (map link)
 Stage 8 Route Profile

Tour de France Stage 8 Route Profile
Tour de France Stage 8 final 1 km

Approximate finish of Stage 8 atop Mûr-de-Bretagne: 17:19 CET (7:17 AM EDT, 9:19AM MDT)

Other posts from 2015 TDF by Pedal Dancer®: