Kittel's Fourth

If you rode the Tour in the colours of Lampre you’ve got €9,830 coming your way – but don’t get too excited, that’s to be split between nine coureurs and the staff.

And if you then remember that’s for one month’s work – the shine comes of things a wee bit.

However, if you were one of Vincenzo’s hard working storm troops then you’d be splitting €539,330 with the Capo not taking his share.

That’s better!

L’Équipe is awash with stats, today:

  • Kittel on eight wins becomes Germany’s second most successful rider in terms of Tour stage wins on eight to Erik Zabel’s 12.
  • Nibali will ride seven criteriums after le Tour, Aalst, Stiphout, Lommel, Herentals, St. Niklaas, Ninove and Surhuisterveen.
  • At 37 years, two months and five days, Jean-Christophe Peraud is only second to Raymond Poulidor at 38 years, three months and six days in terms of the oldest podium finisher.

And on and on.

We had a three hour drive up to Evry and the start on Sunday.

Evry has a sterile, modern centre and struck us as being the wrong venue; the run into Paris was similarly uninspired but necessary, I guess.

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Nibali’s Last Day Machine. Photo©Ed Hood

It was good to see Specialized not going down the ‘everything yellow’ road – gloss black with yellow decals looked cool to us on Nibali’s machine.

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Sagan’s bike for today. Photo©Ed Hood

Sagan’s paint job was a touch OTT for us, the green a bit too reminiscent of the green Giant used to paint their frames.

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The Lotto bus. Photo©Ed Hood

But we did like the Lotto bus with it’s ‘fan pics’ graphics.

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The Tower. Photo©Ed Hood
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Statue. Photo©Ed Hood
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The ferris on the Rue. Photo©Ed Hood
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Le Metro. Photo©Ed Hood
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Le Seine. Photo©Ed Hood

The usual shots of Paris had to be taken on the way in – but it’s still no less striking when you see the city again after a year away.

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Vincenzo the winner. Photo©Ed Hood

We took a few race shots but without a big lens that’s never going to be ideal on the wide open spaces of the circuit.

The bus park is always a good source, though.

The last day is about the sprinters, so we tried to get a few shots of the men with the fast twitch muscles.

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Marcel Kittel. Photo©Ed Hood

Marcel Kittel produced a brilliant display of power to out drag Norway’s Alex Kristoff to the line – such a pity we were denied Cav v. Kittel shoot outs.

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Kristoff. Photo©Ed Hood

For a second or two it looked like Kristoff had it but the big German was just too strong.

Kristoff has moved up a level, this year with his Milan-Sanremo win and now two successes in the Tour

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Greipel. Photo©Ed Hood

These two left Greipel flat footed in the made purge up the Champs Elysees.

But the German had his stage win and whilst it’s one thing to talk about winning multiple Tour stages like Kittel or Cav. it’s another to actually do it

Most riders are delighted with one stage in a Grand Tour.

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Arnaud Démare. Photo©Ed Hood

French champion and ace sprinter Arnaud Demare will have come out of this race a faster, wiser man – which can only be a good thing for the 2015 Tour.

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Thibaut Pinot. Photo©Ed Hood

Meanwhile his podium star team mate, Thibaut Pinot slipped quietly away from the fuss.

He’ll be back wiser and better in 2015 – but we think Bardet is the better bet in the long term.

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Danny Pate. Photo©Ed Hood

Danny Pate’s face says it all about Sky’s Tour; ‘let me get home, as soon as possible.’

For the last two years they’ve been the dominant team in le Tour – at the start of the time trial on Saturday the air of negativity around their bus was palpable.

But to underestimate David Brailsford would be folly – he’ll be back.

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Tony Martin. Photo©Ed Hood
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Ale Jet. Photo©Ed Hood

Froome’s crash was tragic but if you look at what QuickStep achieved after they lost Cav.

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Mick Rogers. Photo©Ed Hood
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Nico Roche. Photo©Ed Hood

And what Tinkoff did without Contador, it tells it’s own story about the approach and morale of the different teams.

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Tom Veelers. Photo©Ed Hood

No morale problems at Giant; four stage wins for big Marcel surely means that 1664 is well deserved for Tom Veelers.

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Svein Tuft. Photo©Ed Hood

And last word – we tip Big Svein to be right there on Thursday and Sunday in Glasgow.

Ciao.