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July 2, 2012
Today’s first stage was a predictable start to the Tour de France. The obligatory break was made by the smaller teams and were then reeled in by the likes of Lotto-Belisol and Orica-GreenEDGE with 8km remaining. Once the bunch reached the steep incline we nearly got to see Cancellara repeat what he did at the 2007 Tour and win on his own. But Sagan was right on him…
It was Chavanel who sparked the flurry of action and reaction which forced Cancellara to surge. GreenEDGE chased down Chavanel but Cancellara countered on the steepest part of the climb and only Segan followed along with Boasson Hagen bridging just a little too late to recover for the final sprint.
How good is Sagan!? He can win on all sorts of terrain and doesn’t seem to be phased by the pressure. Once again Cancellara made a gutsy move a couple kilometers from the finish and was used as Sagan’s leadout man. He’d damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be the strongest rider in the peloton. Then again, Cancellara is in yellow, and Sagan is not.
Tonight is the day in Liege where the riders and the traveling circus have been staying. One thing about the Tour that’s wonderful, but at the same time makes it difficult, is the constant moving around France. Nearly every morning you pack your bags, chase the stage, then check-in to another hotel. It’s been a treat staying a few days in Leige but there are around 1800km of transfers in-between stages coming up throughout the Tour.
The ASO (the organisation who owns and runs the TdF) is responsible for booking and paying all hotels the teams stay in. You might think that some of the smaller teams might get shafted with hotels while others big budget teams like SKY get the 5 star treatment. Actually, this isn’t the case (anymore). What happens is the ASO book all the hotels and visit each. They give all hotels a rating from 1-5. Then they allocate each team with a hotel so that they each get equal nights at 1’s, 2’s, 3’s etc. This way there is no favortism and equal number of nights in dodgy hotel rooms. Exept for us where most nights are in dodgy hotel rooms…
Q. The Prologue in 2004 was won by a current Tour rider, on the Fassa Bortolo team. Who was he?
Hint – page 40 of the RIDE Official Tour de France Guide.
Q. In the 1971 Tour, Spaniard Louis Ocana won the 11th stage and took the yellow jersey, taking a lead in the GC of 8 minutes 42 seconds over Eddy Merckx. L’Equipe front page headline said, “The Emperor shot to pieces”. Who won the Tour that year?
Hint – page 98 of the RIDE Official Tour de France Guide
Q. Who is the oldest rider in this year’s Tour?
Hint – page 112 RIDE Official Tour de France Guide