Many are the times that VeloVeritas answer to Nostradamus, the Legend that is Viktor, has discussed Warren Barguil with me; two beautiful stage wins in the Vuelta in 2013 – and since then?
Two wins, one a criterium – Vik’s making assessment that; ‘he’s milking it’ hard to argue with.
Forgive us, Warren – today makes up for those fallow years.
Bike racing at it’s very best.
Here are our awards for Stage Nine of the 2017 Tour de France:
Man of the day
Warren Barguil (Sunweb & France) with a performance that whilst not quite Chiappucci to Sestriere was a true epic.
It would have been the perfect fairy tale ending if he’d won but like we keep saying, this is pro bike racing not Hans Christian Andersen.
But I guess if he’d won we wouldn’t have had the tears of disappointment when he discovered Uran had won – they made it so much more splendidly emotional.
A marvellous ride, Monsieur – but please don’t keep us waiting so long for the next one. 9.5/10
Mentioned in Despatches
Romain Bardet (AG2R & France) he has what it takes, no respecter of Sky’s mask of invulnerability he takes the racing to them – his day will come. 9/10
Dan Martin (QuickStep & Ireland) Jeez ! that crash must have hurt bad – but he got up and away and chased hard to the line to limit his loses. 8.5/10
Chris Froome (Sky & GB) I can hardly look at him, he looks so bad on a bicycle but he defends that maillot jaune like a tiger. 8/10
Team of the Day
AG2R – OK, the black and white is that they didn’t win – but boy, did they try hard and gave the public what they want to see, daring, excitement, grabbing the race with both hands and ‘never say die.’ 8.5/10
The ‘Lazarus’ Award
Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale & Colombia) walks out of the cave – where he was merely slumbering – and onto the top step of the Stage Nine podium.
The Cannondale press release reads like this:
“It’s unbelievable,” said Uran.
“I didn’t think it was true. I was actually leaving for anti-doping control when they told me I had won. It’s a huge surprise for me.
“When there was the crash of Richie Porte and Dan Martin, Martin hit my gear and broke it,” Uran added.
“I did the whole descent with a broken gear, and I was thinking that I had to find a way to save the day.”
Save the day he did.
The descent off Mont du Chat concluded with around 14-kilometers still to race.
Uran’s derailleur hanger was bent, and his shifting was broken when he paid a visit to the Mavic neutral support car where Mavic mechanic Max Ruphy put the chain in the biggest gear, the 11. Uran was left with two gear options: 53/11 and 39/11.
“When we knew we had the problem with the rear derailleur, first we made the decision to go to the line with the bike like that,” said head sport director Charly Wegelius.
“He could have stopped within the last three kilometres and changed his bike and gotten the same time, but we wanted to win.
“Without the ability to change gears, he needed a long sprint,” Wegelius added.
“We told him to go for a long one. We gave him the information about where to be. He did great.”
And he now sits fourth on GC – ‘chapeau!’ 8.5/10
Chute of the Day
It gives us no pleasure to recount what we said in our ‘Tour 2017 predictions’ piece regarding Richie Porte (BMC & Tasmania);
“He always contrives to fall off/miss the move/puncture at the wrong time – the podium? maybe; the win? No.”
BMC told us;
“BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa explained the nature of Porte’s injuries.
“Richie was transferred to the Centre Hopitalier Metropole Savoie in Chambery where he was evaluated by Dr. Zerr. He underwent X-rays to determine the extent of his injuries.
“His condition was stable from the beginning, he was responsive and he remembered everything that happened before and after the crash,” Dr. Testa explained.
“X-rays confirmed a non-displaced right clavicle fracture and a non-displaced right acetabulum fracture.
“Richie also suffered extensive superficial abrasions involving the right side of his body.
“At this stage, the injuries will not require surgery.
“The plan is to re-evaluate Richie tomorrow morning and confirm that he is stable enough to be transferred home.”
Dr. Testa confirmed that Porte will require a minimum of four weeks off the bike;
“Normally, a fractured clavicle and pelvis would require four to six weeks’ recovery, providing there are no complications. If everything goes to plan, Richie could be back on the bike at the beginning of August and slowly build his fitness up from there.
“Based on Richie’s recovery, we will re-evaluate his program for the rest of the season in consultation with BMC Racing Team management.”
VeloVeritas wishes Richie Porte a speedy recovery but think that Porte is in the same category as team mate Tejay van Garderen; capable of fine performances in shorter stage races and stage wins in Grand Tours but incapable of coping with the pressure of trying to win the latter overall.
We also wish Geraint Thomas (Sky & GB) a speedy recovery from the broken collar bone which ended his Tour.
Missing in Action
Outside the time limit:
- Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
- Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
- Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data
- Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ
- Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ
- Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ
- Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
Did Not Finish
- Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
- Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
- Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
- Richie Porte (Aus) BMC
- Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
Most notable casualty after Porte and Thomas was green jersey, Arnaud Demare (France) who’s illness saw him struggle early in the stage; unfortunately FDJ also lost three of his team mates sent back to chaperone him with all four failing to beat the time cut.
The Pleasant Surprise trophy
Lotto Jumbo’s Tour of California winner, Kiwi George Bennett rides into the top 10. 8/10
The Dreaded ‘One Season Too Many’ Award
With heavy hearts we must hand this to that man who’s lit up and won so many great races, Alberto Contador (Trek & Spain), enough said, we shan’t dwell.
What a day, it restores one’s faith in the sport and just about makes up for the tedium of those sprinter stages…
Rest day tomorrow and VeloVeritas will be in La Belle France to bring you our take and pictures on the world’s greatest bike race.
… What’s that Vik?
No pictures of wheat fields, sunflowers or the QuickStep mussel party – and we’ve to run Didi the Devil down?
Did you take your pills today, Vik?