Cambrai - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Etixx - Quick Step) - Tony Martin (Team Etixx - Quick Step) pictured during  le Tour de France 2015 - stage 4 - from Seraing to Cambrai  on tuesday 07-07-2015 - 223.5 KM - photo NV/VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2015
  • Daniel

    What’s going on with Porte? Illness, injury, or just complete lack of form?

    • Michael Sproul

      More like a lack of TV time I reckon, he’s been working but he’s not been visible, he’ll be there next week!

      • Daniel

        Yeah but he lost 15min last night on a flat stage. Porte usually saves that sort of implosion until much tougher stages. Even factoring in the cobbles, that’s a huge chunk of time. Did he cop a mechanical and miss the second group?

        • Sean

          He’s been doing a hell of a lot of work.

          • De Mac

            Yep, wait for the high mountains….

        • Steel

          I’m sensing a real undercurrent of Porte dissatisfaction in a lot of these comments.

          It’s pretty tough considering he’s had a pretty amazing year when you look at all the first places he’s had. Then he’s on track for podio in the Giro and save for some bad luck doesn’t get there. Now he’s doing the duties for the Froome dog on the front of the Sky train and he’s still copping it when he loses an absolutely meaningless 15 minutes as a domestique.

          There was a similar level of sneering at Cadel during his tough years between 2008 TDF and the mighty victory in 2011. These guys are both champions – well Richie still has a bit to prove. But I don’t quite understand it.

          • Luke Meers

            I agree steel. Well said. Porte has demonstrated his ability to climb and stage race with the best during the early part of this year. He is now doing a selfless job as a domestique for Froome. His condition is likely not great anyway, after peaking earlier in the h year then leaving the Giro injured. Somehow people will find a way to criticise him during this tour anyway.

            Fingers crossed he gets ample opportunities to prove himself with BMC next year. If he goes there, it will be interesting to see the priorities between him and TJ, particularly if TJ continues going as well as he has thus far this Tour.

          • Daniel

            To be clear, I’m a fan of Porte and think he gets a bit of a bum rap in some quarters. His dominance early in the year should be applauded, as well as the fact that he did everything right in the Giro until everything went utterly wrong.

            It just seems a bit odd that he would lose 15min on a flat stage. The Tour is only four days old. I would have though that Sky would have wanted to have him up there, even if it meant that he doesn’t do as much work earlier in the stage. If Froome crashes out tomorrow, then Sky have no plan B now in respect of GC.

            • Dave

              Richie is a good domestique and will be a good support for the Gardener if he goes to BMC (or Uran if he goes to Etixx) but after last year’s Tour it’s probably safe to say that he’s not a genuine GC rider for the grand tours.

              Plan B for Sky is stage wins.

              • jules

                Richie got sick. he’s a contender – if he can stay healthy. it’s just beyond doubt that is a problem that is fixable. not being able to climb with the GC contenders – that’s a far more limiting factor. there would be no shortage of teams looking at Richie as an option for team leader.

                • Dave

                  But he won’t go to any of those teams like FDJ or Giant which would accept a rider of his level as their GC leader to go for a top ten result. He’ll go to BMC where he’ll get paid more than that to collect bottles for the Gardener, or to Etixx where he’d be paid reasonably well as the GC leader (assuming Uran doesn’t go back to Sky) but he’d have to collect his own bottles in the mountains.

                  If cycling at WorldTour level was properly professionalised with revenue sharing and a salary cap, then the offer of leadership at one of those other teams with the smaller sponsorship portfolios would become more attractive.

            • Ralph

              He’s not going for top 10 Gc so it just doesn’t matter. If that 5% less on the flats means 5% more on the slopes he’s (or the team) has made the right call. Remember this race really has only 4 GC riders.

              • Daniel

                Let’s be fair and call it five; I’m going to call Van Garderen as a serious player in this race.
                Froome, Quintana, Van Garderen. That’s your podium there, or my name isn’t Daniel/will cease to be Daniel for the purposes of posting bold predictions on this website.

          • jules

            + 1

            Richie was leading the peloton up one of the climbs yesterday.

          • MadBlack

            Not sure which Giro you were watching. Not what I saw!

        • donncha

          Porte was on the front for the early part of the stages, doing solid domestique work. SKY were saving the big guys for the later cobbles sections.

          • Dave

            Same way that the big guys will work for Froome early during mountain stages and soft pedal to the end once Porte and König take over.

    • Andy B

      He looked to be on the front quite a bit early on? maybe a bit too much too soon
      he is working as a domestique after all

    • Gavin Adkins

      I’d give him the benefit of the doubt at this stage. His role is to be a super domestique in the mountains. Stannard and Thomas were looking after Froome at the end, better off trying to conserve some energy. Basso was in the same group.

    • JBS

      He’s there to support Froome. Sky have likely said to him put in some work early then soft pedal to the finish. Froome will want him in the mountains, not the flat stages.

    • Ralph

      Patience young Daniel.

      • Daniel

        “Young” Daniel. I like the sounds of that…
        Hopefully it was just a strategic decision and we get to see Porte blast his was to a summit win on stage 10.

        • Dave

          The intent will surely be that we will get to see Porte pace Froome up the hill and shut down Quintana/Nibbles/Pistolero attacks on stage 10, not take the stage win.

    • Froome said in a post-race interview that Porte had done a lot of work for him early in the stage. Maybe before the TV coverage started?

  • Luke Meers

    Love the etixx video. Trentin: “hey man, with my bike!”

    • Michele

      Brilliant stuff. Love how Holm plays it all so cool.

  • Michele

    Brilliant News Digest.

    Happy for Martin. So deserves a stint in yellow. He’s one of the most selfless riders in the peloton.

  • Dave

    Great stage last night with so many highlights:
    – The job done by the Etixx domestiques, and Martin repaying them with the winning move.
    – A cobbled stage dominated by great racing rather than crashes. Let’s have one every year!
    – The GC teams racing at the front instead of just marking each other.
    – Quintana getting through it in the front group.

    But above all:
    – Tibaut Pinot’s hilarious meltdown where he was so consumed with rage he couldn’t even manage a half-decent bike toss. I’ve heard that the Tour de France won’t be on his schedule for next year as he’ll be playing with the drama queens (of either gender) at Wimbledon instead.

    • Whippet

      Yes. The cobbles are not nearly the obstacle they are made out to be (when dry anyway). It appears that rain is the main danger to the riders. Last year in stage 5 the rain slowed some riders on the cobbles, but at every bend in the road and roundabout before the cobbles there were heaps of riders going down.

      Perhaps Pinot should take some tranquilo lessons from Quintana.

  • TimHally

    Too soon to add Panzer’s attack last night to the Maap Jersey…?

  • BRK

    Sagan is Mr Cool

  • Neuron1

    Sir Dave should do his homework. During the Giro Landa was doped to the gills, according to commenters here, everyone on Astana is/was. I guess then by next season he will have become pure as the driven snow. Amazing what a new contract will do for a rider.

    • jules

      I do not recall any commentators accusing Astana riders of being doped at the Giro. Quite the opposite, Paul Sherwen described Astana’s performance there as ‘unbelievable’. High praise indeed from the Shermeister..

      • Neuron1

        Commenters on this site. A significant percentage of comments were to this effect. The usual one’s were: How can so many of their guys be at the front all day, how did Aru recover for the final stages, Landa was a nobody until this season, two guys on the podium, etc. Different point but, Phil Liggett commented last year during the Tour that Nibali was climbing so fast he almost overcooked a hairpin. He hadn’t seen that since Lance. The implication was pretty obvious. Paul is much more neutral, I actually like his commentary.

        • Daniel

          If anybody anywhere is taking anything Phil Liggett says seriously, they are a dope.

        • Dave

          Are you implying Nibali has cured cancer like Lance did?

          • Neuron1

            That was hilarious. I don’t even have a worthy reply.

        • jules

          I almost wet myself when he called Astana ‘unbelievable’. He didn’t break stride either, just slipped it in there..

          Landa is not a nobody. I must admit I haven’t followed him but I noted others (DS’s) sticking up for him – saying he has ridden strongly for a while now. Sure, he’s probably had a helping hand, but Sky may legitimately be interested in him for his natural talent (I’m being serious here – back in the day, Vaughters took a job with Cofidis(?) after being clear with them that he was done with Postal-style ‘preparation’).

          • Dave

            I didn’t think there was anything too unusual about Landa’s performance at the Giro, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone who has been tracking the up and coming future contenders for a few years. He’s still just as shit at the time trial as he used to be.

            There are good reasons to be far more suspicious of Chris Froome than Mikel Landa, his instantaneous rise from pack fodder to GC podium at the 2011 Vuelta was quite probably the most suspicious grand tour performance since Lance.

            • Luke Meers

              One word: COBO

          • Neuron1

            Funny thing is, when Froome is riding the crosswinds off the North Sea with the Belgian and Dutch powerhouses nobody thinks twice. But if Aru did it, the blogosphere would explode with disbelief. I am definitely not implying anything about Froome, but the measuring stick is definitely not applied equally.

            • jules

              the advent of micro-doping has leveled the playing field a lot. you can’t pick whether someone is doping anymore, just by whether they’re not the 1 or 2 riders in the peloton who look to be at death’s door, trying to hang on to everyone else doped to the eyeballs. nowadays, someone may be a very talented rider who is doping, or a genuine freak who is clean.

              • Michele

                Micro-doping is so old school Jules.

                I was watching the Bourne Legacy last night .. PEDs are so yesterday. It’s all about Blue and Green meds and messing with your genetic make-up.

                • jules

                  gone are the days when you could drop ‘micro dosing’ into cycling blog comments and impress people :(

            • Michele

              The TdF is 4 days old …

              Trust me, by the end of the second week, when Froome has this race already sown up, you’ll find the “blogoshere will have exploded”.

              Also bear in mind the way Astana rode the first week of the Giro added to a lot of the cynicism. If they are 4 SKY guys placing in the top 10 on the first Mountain Stage, I’m pretty sure you’ll find social media take off.

        • Dave

          “Commenters on this site. A significant percentage of comments were to this effect.”
          The Astana comments on this site during the Giro were ridiculous though, and should not be taken seriously.

          “Different point but, Phil Liggett commented last year during the Tour that Nibali was climbing so fast he almost overcooked a hairpin. He hadn’t seen that since Lance.”

          I heard that comment too and just took it to be a standard Liggett-ism, and it’s for that reason that nobody (apart from SomE VictoriANs who feel comforted by his voice) likes having his commentary any longer. More serious observers took into account the context of Nibali’s fast climbing, mainly being that without any serious rivals he could afford to go at race pace instead of marking rivals and keeping reserves to counter an attack.

          • Neuron1

            Good points. Just would like to see equal application of skepticism and awe at the performances of all the riders. Because a guy wears a certain jersey doesn’t automatically make him a doper. Just about every DS in the sport has a shady past, but it doesn’t mean they hopefully haven’t moved past it.

            • Dave

              Indeed.

              Look at all the love for Daryl Impey on this site, despite getting off a positive test last year thanks to the most ridiculous doping excuse since the days of Tyler Hamilton’s twin brother. But that’s okay, because he’s a great bloke and he rides for “our” team.

              • Neuron1

                I found it amazing that he just happened to have a anabolic steroid masking (Probenecid) agent in the pill machine at the local pharmacists and the guy had a receipt handy to prove the mistake. What a coincidence. Just imagine if the next unwitting customer had been allergic and had an anaphylactic reaction. Lucky thing for everyone it worked out just fine.

              • Sean

                I know a few great blokes who have run their own clandestine pill laboratory. Top blokes though.

          • Michele

            You listen to Phil?

            • Dave

              If you don’t pay attention you can’t succeed at TdF Bingo.

              The mentions of Jens Voigt’s age are a bit thin on the ground this year which is making things harder. This renaissance of TdF Bingo is causing treacherous conditions, so bingo players will have to get themselves organised, dig into their suitcase of courage and be attentive to all the moves of the main contenders – if they don’t the elastic band might snap and leave them working hard to rejoin the pack.

    • Dave

      Don’t worry about Sir Dave, remember that doping revelations only come out AFTER riders have left Sky.

  • Ralph

    Is it just me or is Sagan sort of unrecognisable in his new strip? Guess normal green service will resume shortly.

    Well done to the injured blokes for making it home too.

  • cipo

    I need the Alé Cipollini kit in mens sizing!!

    • Dave

      Do they have a maternity size line? Could work if you have moobs and a beer gut.

      • Sean

        Or a Sean beer but, it’s been a long winter.

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