Ride London 2016 Goes to Tom Boonen(Comments Off on Ride London 2016 Goes to Tom Boonen)
The worst thing about going to the Tour? Coming back. ‘Cold turkey’ is tough – Dave and I used to go to a kermis on the Monday after the Tour finished to ease our ‘crash.’ And last year Callum and I went to the post Tour crit in Aalst.
Not this year however because we flew home from Geneva. But our man Callum found another solution; he got himself down to the ‘Ride London’ race; whilst we had to watch it on TV – with no coverage of the crucial last few K. But Callum let us have some pictures – we hope you like them.Full Story»
Le Tour de France 2016 – Les Chiffres (the Numbers)(Comments Off)
I know, I said I’d penned my last Tour piece for the year but I was in the area, there was a parking space and I thought; ‘I’ll have a quick look’ – and to my joy there it was, Monday’s L’Équipe in pride of place outside the International Newsagents.
A sad 40 minutes in the City Cafe ensued as I distilled les chiffres (that’s numbers) you need to make you the font of all knowledge on the club run.
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 21; Chantilly – Paris Champs-Élysées. Greipel Wins, We Reflect(Comments Off)
I braved the tourists and human statues up on Edinburgh’s High Street to see if I could get Monday’s L’Equipe in the International Newsagents – it’s the one for all the good Tour stats. But alas, no dice – I had to settle for Sunday’s Observer and Monday’s Guardian where it’s wall to wall Christopher and Sky.
Chris Froome rode well, no doubt, and showed panache when he won that stage off the descent and when he joined up with World Champion Peter Sagan – surely the ‘Man Of The Tour’? – and ‘Bison’ Bodnar to ambush the sprinters, his time trialling was top drawer and no one could out climb him. So we can’t criticise the man – but style, soul, personality, colour are all missing.
I thought I’d go back to my pre-Tour predictions and see how I fared as my final words on The Big Loop.
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 20; Megève – Morzine-Avoriaz. Izagirre Descends To Victory(Comments Off)
We’d hoped for a big GC dog fight on the Joux Plane but what we got was a dour struggle to the line whilst those crazy baroudeurs battled for the stage win.
It was a nice morning to start with but as we parked up on the Joux Plane the clouds scudded in, thunder roared down the valley and the lightning flashed brighter than a million photog’s flash guns.
Callum and I stared glumly through the windscreen, we HAD to go out in it shortly.
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 19; Albertville – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. Bardet Saves the Tour for France(Comments Off)
We chose the wrong mountain – but little did we know there’d be a big rain storm on the last climb to give the race the jolt it’s been requiring for three weeks. A great day for Bardet and AG2R.
A good day for Quintana, Mentjies and Martin. A bad day for Mollema, Yates, Dumoulin, Rolland and Navarro – the latter three all crash victims.
And Froome and Porte have had better days. . .
If anyone harboured any doubts about the fact that Froome was going to win this Tour it took him just 30 minutes to straighten things out. He destroyed everyone in including the man who’s probably the world’s number one ‘chronoman’ – Tom Dumoulin. Whilst the mountains may be beautiful, a time trial up one is a daunting prospect.
But riders like Keisse and Hayman just have to ‘get on with it’ riding stages way outside their comfort zones. We got ourselves set up to follow big Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas in the time test and duly lined up behind the Cannondale car. The course was beautiful – but savage with varying gradients, fast bits, some real killer ramps and a descent to close.
How are the mighty fallen? We had to double check the number – but ‘yes’ it was Tejay, way off the back and just ‘riding in’ on the Col de la Forclaz – well, we got that one right, we said he do nothing in this race.
But we did also say that Nairo Quintana would win it – but that was more out of hope than anything else but it would be tall, skinny Russian Ilnur Zakarin who would take the day, eventually.
‘Rest day’ – it’s a misnomer if you’re a fanatic; but you could do one interview then hang out, I guess?
But if you’re like us, confirmed saddos, then it’s a great opportunity to get a lot of talking and snapping done.
Albeit on rest days you can linger a bit longer over breakfast – which is nice in a week of always having to be somewhere/do something right now or in five minutes.
Our Suisse digs were good, if expensive, but the lassies who ran it were friendly and late night “pieces” [sandwiches, to our non-Scottish readers!] and beer were no bother to them and a godsend to us.
We’d arranged to meet the up and coming Trek sprinter, Edward Theuns on the rest day but unfortunately he crashed out.
Never letting an opportunity go past however, we asked our Trek contact if we could get an interview with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner, Jasper Stuyven.
Peter Sagan, again! There’s little left to say about the man but as soon as we walked the last couple of kilometres we knew it was one for him – a sharp cobbled climb up from the river, across a cobbled bridge, past the bear pit then another nippy climb before the 1,000 metre, straight as a dye, pan flat finish straight.
We thought just maybe Cav could hang on but in the event they were going mad on to the climb up from the river and it was too much for the ‘pure’ fast men but ideal for those who come to the fore when it’s tough – Kristoff was well there and good to see Degenkolb riding back into form.
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 15; Bourg-en-Bresse – Culoz. Pantano Plays it Perfectly(Comments Off)
While Jarlinson Pantana was winning the stage today for IAM Cycling and Columbia (that’s his contract sorted for 2017 – IAM folds at the end of the season) Ed and Callum were race-bound, flying in to Geneva to get the car and get organised with race accreditation.
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 14; Montélimar – Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux. Cavendish’s Fourth Stage Win!(Comments Off)
Another criminally boring stage saved by a beautiful finale with Cav making it 30 stage wins – there are few superlatives left for the Manxman. Good to see Kristoff in second spot; the remarkable Sagan was right there in third spot and very nice to see John Degenkolb up there in fourth spot. Kittel got it wrong today and Greipel was again off the pace.
And, erm that’s about it…
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 13; Bourg-Saint-Andéol – La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc ITT. Tom Dumoulin in a class of his own(Comments Off)
The new crowned King of the Chrono is Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant). He put a minute into maillot jaune Froome in today’s technical and tough time test and set himself as the number one favourite for the Rio Olympic Time Trial.
And that’s after a brilliant mountain stage win last weekend in Andorra.
The stage was run with a muted characteristic, minutes silences at the beginning and end of the stage, no announcements or music played, in respect for the people killed in the atrocity in Nice last night.
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 12; Montpellier – Mont Ventoux. De Gendt Wins Amidst the Chaos(Comments Off)
First of all, a fantastic win by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), let’s say that first and foremost. The Belgian was away all day then won the sprint from another two survivors of the big break of the day. As a bonus, he takes the polka dot jersey, too. De Gendt He’s tamed the Stelvio and (most of) the Ventoux – he just needs to win on the Angleru now…
But now we have to look at the sheer insanity of what happened behind De Gendt; Froome (Sky) counters then distances Quintana (Movistar) high on the Ventoux, Porte (BMC) and Mollema (trek) impress by matching Froome, the Dutchman even attacks him; but then… Porte rides hard into the back of a TV camera motorbike which stops in front of him – apparently caused by the crowd spilling into the road – Froome and Mollema have no way of avoiding the pileup. Mollema manages to get mobile quickly but not Porte or Froome…
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 11; Carcassonne – Montpellier. Sagan and Froome Escape the Sprinters(Comments Off)
It COULD have been a ‘snooze-fest.’ It SHOULD have been a sprinters stage. Enter, stage left one superb Slovakian in green, Mr. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).
He attacks from the front in the cross winds inside 12 K to go with Polish TT champ team mate Bodnar aka ‘The Bison’ and spreads pure panic among the world’s best riders – but that skinny Sky man Froome is sharp again, as is team mate Thomas.
Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 10; Escaldes-Engordany – Revel. Bling When You’re Winning(Comments Off)
The sprinters are denied – but it’s a sprinter who wins. It was big smiled Aussie, Michael Matthews (Orica) kicking to glory from Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in third spot – a podium of real quality from the big day-long breakaway.
And whilst Sagan may not have taken the stage bouquet he took the stage by the scruff of the neck and thrust himself back into green – possible all the way to Paris, now.