Tour de France
Cycling Tour Blog
My Tour de France started in the Pyrenees. The bustle of the Le tour, the bad weather, drama and scandal are heading in our direction but in the meantime we are getting in some great rides while we wait. Keeping up to date in a fairly relaxed manner I still have some thoughts on all matter Tour de France.
The crashes continue with riders abandoning at a rate I have not seen in awhile. There is no real explanation for Tony Martin’s crash in stage 6.
It was was difficult to see exactly what caused the 10 man pile up but it is a worrisome trend that has entered the pro-peloton since the late nineties. Due I suspect to the changing focus of minor teams on securing stage wins while leaving Le Tour itself to bigger fish. Many teams just don’t have GC riders so they put all their eggs into the sprinters pot, line honors an imperative.
Winning a stage at le Tour was always important but times have changed and the pressure for the win has intensified as teams shrink, budgets increase and the demand for sponsor returns expected.
We love the speed and adrenalin of a sprint finish. I loved being in one and love watching but as the riders sit up and pull off, job done in the middle of a train your heart is in your mouth. The inevitable occurs as risky maneuvers cascade down through the bunch. Etixx Quick-Step is no different than any other team, it is the modern way of racing but in my view this is amateurish. Great for TV but a real blow to cycle sport and totally un-sportsman like
The usual politics are unlikely to see changes but the UCI should consider a series of rule changes for the last 5-10km.
Nice that Froome apologised to Nibali for having a hissy fit at the end of the stage. In the heat of the moment Froome had been brought to a halt in the Tony Martin incident and thought it was all caused by other race favorite Nibali and hurled a water bottle at him.
Hah, my whole career Hinualt blamed me for breaking his nose in a crash much the same. Another rider went down in front, took me out then Hinault. Much better publicitie to cry foul.
Froome promptly went over to the Astana Bus, climbed aboard and apologised to the the Shark of Messina once he realised the error of his thoughts. Froomes antics, the crashes, the scandal and now Luca Paolini the suavest of the hipsters in the peloton has been messing in the coke pot. The Pave can be rough and ruffle a beard but the advantages!
We have conquered Port de Bales the glorious weather at the bottom of the valley turned into an enveloping mountain mist more reminiscent of the Giro than the Tour de France. Not unlike the Pro tour event ours has had its share of dramas but with some good wine, ale and the wonderful food of Spain the perspective changes and it becomes a story about the ride. By the time the tour de France reaches us the embattled peloton will have so few in the ranks I may even be able to line and join them.
Written by Phil Anderson
Photography: Graham Watson