stage leader Rafal Majka (POL/Tinkoff-Saxo) up the Col du Tourmalet (HC/2115m/17km/7.3%)

st11: Pau - Cauterets (188km)
2015 Tour de France
  • Rob

    Any thoughts on Sagans situation? Do you stay with the well-paid job but a boss that hates you, or try to find somewhere that gives the team support that you know you deserve?

    Hats off to him – Tinkov bagged him out all year after a shakey start. Sagan comes out firing and takes the TOC Overall and looks to be in a good position for the TDF green jersey. All without a ‘dedicated team’. Stick that in your Russian pipe and smoke it!

    Maybe we’ll see Oleg sporting green hair by the end of July :)

    • Michele

      Preface … I have no idea of the inner workings of Sagan… but:

      I’ve often wondered why he moved to Tinkoff. Was it for the money – I think that’s a contributing factor. But I feel the primary reason was to ride on a team that has a bit more tactical nous. It’s been Sagan’s Achilles’s Heel, and I think working with, and learning from Riis, was an enticing proposition.

      Because it’s bye-bye Bjarne, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move to another team at his earliest convenience. There would have to be several other teams willing to pay a pretty penny for Sagan. Granted, maybe not as much as Oleg.

      So I guess Sagan’s next move will show us where his true motives his true motives lay … money or monument wins.

      • Dave

        Word is he’ll end up at greenedge in 2017

        • Michele

          So money it is then Dave :)

          • Dave

            Well no, he will be taking a big pay cut. Its a case of them paying the most for him. Now they have dumped a heap of the legacy aussie ‘mostly crap’ riders, they have room in their budget.

            • Dave

              His worth isn’t very much these days.

        • Sunny

          Only because the weather’s better here than Slovenia

      • jules

        they’re pros. they’re making money. same reason people become lawyers. it’s not usually to help keep pedos and murderers on the streets (sorry, low blow..) :)

    • velocite

      As an ignorant fan I love Oleg. He’s cycling mad, colourful and throws heaps of money at the sport – a lot of it to Sagan. I’ve seen E4m pa mentioned. Maybe having digs at Sagan is not the best way to get him to perform, but maybe it is, who knows? Tinkov is Sagan’s employer and is paying him a squillion – I would say how he talks to him is his idea of management, and nothing to do with loving or hating. The distinctive thing about Oleg is that he makes his remarks to the world – which from my perspective adds entertainment value to the sport.

    • Dave

      Sagan would be a perfect fit as a replacement for Mark Cavendish (in a contract year) at Etixx. Not only would Etixx get a better performing rider who still has his peak ahead of him, they would not need such an absurdly long leadout train.

      • Whippet

        EQ would be a good fit for Sagan. But as a “replacement” for Cavendish though? Sagan is more of a classics rider who can sprint; Cavendish is more of a sprinter who can ride classics. It would seem a bit of a waste of talent to attempt to turn Sagan into a sprinter.

        • Dave

          The slight problem with that logic is that Sagan’s “can also sprint” is right up there in the top echelon with Kittel, Greipel and Cavendish. Think how good he could be if he can nail some of the tactical aspects (still plenty of time for that, he’s only 25) and get a couple of leadout riders to blame when he loses.

          Just to lower Cav’s stocks further, remember that Fernando Gaviria (who beat him twice earlier this year) has signed with Etixx to start next year. Sagan+Gaviria is a better result than just Cav, but if Oleg changes his mind and won’t let go of Sagan then it would make sense for Etixx to offer Cav a one year deal (paid mainly in performance incentives) to keep them going until Sagan’s contract finishes.

  • Gavin Adkins

    I suppose it is ‘news’, but it is more than a bit annoying that when Armstrong farts, the cycling world still leans in to make sure it stinks. Couldn’t the headline for all Armstrong related stories just be: “Lance Armstrong: Still a Jerk” ?

    • De Mac

      Honestly, he cannot stay away – despite his outwardly non-plussed persona – and he will take any opportunity to jump into the spotlight. Naturally, the media lap it all up and voila, more Armstrong headlines……

    • Daniel

      “Lance Armstrong: Still Struggling to Recover from Relevance Deprivation Syndrome”

    • Max

      More to the point, why do we have to read this non-news CT? Can we please keep this site far away from tabloid style reporting. You’ve always been good at that, but something seems to be changing.

      • velocite

        The big bust is not that long ago yet, but already it’s a huge thing in the history of cycling. There was before Lance and after Lance. Before Lance there was a wide variety of doping, but no big deal. I got a feeling for how widespread it was in Italy at all levels from Matt Rendell’s book ‘The Death of Marco Pantani’. But this was before Lance, and Pantani still manages to be a hero. Before the big bust the finger pointers were ostracized, whether they were Lemond, Kimmage or Walsh. Now, any hint of a transgression and there’s an avalanche of abuse directed at the rider. Finger pointing is in, even if there’s no evidence: all you have to do is generate 400 watts for 20′ and you’re a bastard. I’m not much in favour of that myself, though I’m in favour of maximal anti doping measures.

        But my point is that Lance casts a big shadow on the sport, and I for one am drawn to news about him.

      • Faz

        Until all dopers are out the sport including those who are DS’s on teams then Lance should be afforded the same opportunity as them all.

    • Holby City

      Hey come on people. We marveled at his feats on the bike at the time and although he’s a jerk off it I don’t like the constant bagging of the guy. He doped his way to 7 Tours de France but he still pushed on those pedals to win so I’d say he’s always going to be relevant.

      I don’t like the guy but I still admire his wins and can enjoy watching old tapes of him racing even though I know he doped.

      Lastly, mental health is a serious issue so let’s not be haters OK?

      • jules

        giving players jobs with your club sponsor to cheat the salary cap is also cheating, but I don’t see every single AFL club giving back their premiership cups. we are selective about the types of cheating we choose to tolerate.

    • Tim Ashton

      I honestly dont see the problem with him making some tweets and sharing his opinion. Obviously people were asking him. He is still a person despite his past indiscretions. And it was on his personal twitter page, my understanding of twitter is people go there to voice opinions. No matter what you’ve done in the past, you are still entitled to an opinion.

      Not to mention he actually said ‘I dont know if they are doping’, which is what most of us are saying anyway. Its a conversation most journo’s etc are having because Froome looks to be extraordinary. But where is the line between plain extraordinary performance/being a superior athlete and doping?

      • Gavin Adkins

        Armstrong can say whatever he likes. What annoys me is that whenever he says anything, regardless of the content, that in itself becomes a story that gets more traction and steals oxygen from other, in my view, better stories about bike racing. I’d much rather hear all about Zak Dempster finishing last on stage 11 than some old doper acting as an echo chamber for the peanut gallery.

  • beansorthefrank

    ZAK DEMPSTER….ouch! Anyone remember when Boonen wore a hole thru the coin purse and had to DNF? Every mans nightmare!

    Keep going Zak!

  • jules

    slight OT, but did anyone watch the appalling SBS The Feed segment on doping at the Tour last night? I settled in, hoping for a clever takedown on hypocrisy and doping. instead, they did a hatchet job on Froome, highlighting that he’d missed a doping test (of all the causes for suspicion of Froome, his missed test excuse was pretty plausible – and anyway the tests are easy to pass unless you have the IQ of Ricardo Ricco) and then showed his frank denial of doping next to Armstrong doing the same – apparently proving that anyone who denies doping is obviously doping.

    I found myself outraged, not because they were attacking ‘my’ sport but how badly they failed to hit such an easy target and how smug they were that they’d taken Froome down.

    • Holby City

      Team Sky’s dominance is eerily similar to US Postal.

      But maybe Froome isn’t doping at all and it’s just those Osymetric chain rings and scientific training.

      • jules

        how is it similar? Sky struggled in 2014. Richie has struggled a lot. where are the 80kg rouleurs riding the climbers off their wheel up high mountains? when has Froome turned up to the Tour with massive guns, weighing 75kg and dropped everyone in the hills?

        as far as I can tell, Sky has done it the hard way – with damned hard work and a team of very talented riders.

        are they doping anyway? who knows. but how are they like Postal?

        • Holby City

          I’m referring to the period since Wiggins, not just 2014/15.

          As far as we can tell we don’t really know much more than those Rapha videos tell us. Everyone works hard these days. Everyone is using power meters. Everyone watches their diet and takes recovery seriously. Can one rider be that much stronger?

          Don’t get me wrong, I want to believe they are clean.

          I suppose what the Tour is missing these days is a good rivalry. We had Armstrong/Ullrich, Contador/Schleck, Evans/everyone else. I’m very disappointed that Froome is that much better than the other 4 contenders (Quintana, Nibali, Contador, van Garderen). But chapeau to Froome.

          • jules

            i’m not saying they’re clean, but having read the ridiculous stories about Postal and how obvious it was they were juiced, the reasons – other than Sky’s success – don’t carry over much.

            • Michele

              The thing with Postal was once everyone decided to open their eyes, it was obvious they were juiced.

              Both LA Confidential and Lance to Landis provided evidence – and lots of it – that they were using PEDs. The media knew, [read Jeremy Whittle’s book ‘Bad Blood’], the peloton knew.

              This evidence built up over 7-8 years before LA finally confessed.

              Now SKY has only been around for 4 years as a force in the peloton. [I still think Wiggins would’ve won the 2011 TdF if he didn’t crash out.]

              Now, aside from being foolish enough to hire a very suss doctor who they got rid of pretty quick smart, and a couple of dodgy DS [which team doesn’t have one?], and Froome missing one test, where is the hard evidence.

              Where’s the empty syringes left on the side of the road? Where’s the messenger transcripts? The whispers coming from within the peloton? The claims made by disgruntled ex-staff?

              There’s nothing. And we’re living in a time where it’s harder than ever to keep a ‘secret’ as big as a team doping. SKY are under more scrutiny now than US Postal ever was.

              LA used to say extraordinary claims [of doping] required extraordinary evidence. [Oh, the bravado of the man]. I don’t think you can find any evidence against SKY – extraordinary or not.

              And this from a non-SKY fan.

              • jules

                that is how I see it too. the other point is that doping has basically moved away from organised team doping – which has the obvious limitation that team staff are involved and inevitably spill the beans – to individual riders doping. now the accusations against Froome are one thing, but against Sky – I just can’t see how Sky would try and engage in team doping, or how they could cover it up.

                maybe I’m missing something, but the Postal organisational model of doping seems dead today.

          • Whippet

            I don’t really care about “cleanliness”. But what bothered me about the Armstrong armada was that their gains appear to have come at the detriment of the sport as a whole.

      • Arfy

        I have another theory on why Sky’s dominating and others, especially Astana, are looking ordinary. It has to do with the French taking doping tests during the Tour seriously, and the teams are not going to be easily able to escape the net. Those who were doping are now being policed out of the Tour.

        • jules

          as far as I can tell, doping tests are a waste of time. they can micro-dose during the “no test” period overnight and not be caught. you could test the skilled-up dopers 100 times a day and still not catch them.

          • Arfy

            Except when you have night-time testing, as FDJ were complaining about. This would’ve scared anyone who was micro-dosing at this year’s Tour, and we know that Astana’s UCI license is hanging by a thread.

            • jules

              Yes, agreed. But they aren’t doing it, I don’t think.

              “How can we possibly solve this terrible scourge of doping, that’s been slowly killing pro cycling for decades?”
              “Night-time testing.”
              “OK yes that would work. But we’re not doing it.”

              committed to the fight…

              • Arfy

                They’ve had some issue with French law that they need changed, but I think at least ASO are committed to the fight. They’re interested in a clean Tour, as they saw too much damage to their brand from the LA fallout. It’s the same reason that RCS wanted the Astana issue cleared up before the Giro, they have too much riding on their brand commercially.

            • Dave

              The FDJ testing was before 2300, not in the 2300-0600 window where testing can only take place if there is serious suspicion that doping is taking place.

              Madiot was complaining because he’s never happy if he doesn’t have anything to complain about.

    • Wish I was on the bike…

      Yes, OT, and I agree. SBS did a shoddy job of this on The Feed. Maybe a different market segment but not very polite to cycling audience or respectful to riders.

    • Dave

      That’s nothing compared to the quality of the SBS post-race coverage last night.

      Tomo is the Shane Watson of cycling commentators at the best of times, but last night was an absolute shocker by even his low standards. Not only was he all over the place himself, but for some bizarre reason they decided to ignore the three expert analysts (Robbie, Macka and Henk) they spent thousands of dollars on flying over to Europe in favour of some magazine hack who was only interesting in taking cheap shots at the Europcar riders (did his rental break down?) at every sniff of an opportunity he got.

      If you were awarding the votes for best on ground with last night’s coverage, it unfortunately has to be three votes to TrollDJ, two to Paul Sherwen and one to Gabriel Gate. Robbie could have taken the three votes if he had used his microphone to clobber Tomo or the mag moron to death, but he chickened out of his responsibility.

      • Dave

        On second thoughts, that’s probably unfair to Watto.


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