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July 22, 2017
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  • ken

    Now it gets fun!

  • Mark Blackwell

    Agree with the sentiment completely, but Froome still has a TT up his sleeve. Bardet and Aru (and particularly Uran) are going to need to be a minute up leading into that to be even competitive

    • Aaron Fineshriber

      exactly. what the TdF needs is for Froome to actually lose the GC race. this 6 second lead means very little in the grand scheme. Aru and Bardet are going to have to show some moxy and hit the remaining mtns to get time in the bag and then just hope.

    • Warwick

      Uran isn’t exactly a slouch in the TTs, he has won Grand Tour TTs in the past I’d put him above Aru and Bardet in that regard.

      • Damien P

        Maybe if he wasn’t on a Cannondale. He has not been so great since he moved.

        Still, we can hope!

        • George Darroch

          The new Slice isn’t a slow bike by any means. But Sky benefit from the knowledge gained in squeezing every second out of the hour run on a Pinarello and avoiding the loss of watts to drag – their team does TTs very well.

          • jules

            I suspect it’s not so much the bike as the work done by teams to make the rider slippery when sitting on it

            • DaveRides

              And in the case of a TT at the end of a grand tour, the rider’s ability to get into a good position and still have something left for the TT.

          • Matt Ghanivand

            Their illegal skinsuits help a tad too i’d say!

            • ffips

              Sky used those skinsuits before the TdF and it wasn’t illegal then….

  • James

    Great write up and it’s certainly going to be a very interesting next few days!

  • Observer

    Viewers can complain all they want about a boring tour, but when they send them down a rarely used descent – too dangerous they cry. Put them on the cobbles – that is what the classics are for they cry. Long stages to fatigue riders – too long and boring. The organisers are even meant to be in control of the weather. Can’t ride down those mountains in the rain.

    • jules

      well we lost Valverde, Sagan and Cav. although we still have Landa, who looks promising about causing some Sky drama!

    • Tim Rowe

      I’ve never quite understood why grand tours need to be made up of such long stages – can’t long races have their place in single, stand-alone events, with large stage races having shorter stages that might actually produce some excitement? It used to be that we in Australia didn’t even get the first couple of hours of each race shown to us – and it didn’t matter, because nothing really happened by that point anyway.

      • jules

        I think the idea is to tire out the competitors, so that we get fireworks at the end of a long stage. If the stage is shorter, the riders aren’t as fatigued and their levels more even. I’m unsure they’d be more aggressive on a short stage – sprinters compete over a shorter distance (the finish) but are just as likely to wait until the end to launch their sprint. If you’re in it to win it, you’re more likely to keep your powder dry – long or short stage.

        • mrp33p3rs

          the problem isnt necessarily that theyre long, its that theyre long and flat. why not throw more bumps and rollers in there… more intermediates to get the sub-races going. a 200km brevet/audax might as well be a 300….

  • Matt Ghanivand

    Lets be realistic here.. its easy to say in a news article that there needs to be more competitive riding in a 6 hour stage, but lets remeber its a “6 hour stage” so however and whenever they attack is always going to unpredictable and they surely aren’t going to do it just to appease the public watching them suffer. I think we forget that the slightly less than 6 hours leading up to that last 800m is still a huge effort for the race to just move as fast as it does… attack early when everyone is already riding so fast.. what for!?

  • Jimi

    I think that pro cycling shouldn’t have bunch times anymore. With tracking on every riders bikes, exact times can be calculated. It should make racing more interesting.

    • Do you think it would change anything? There are only a handful of people going for GC, and only a handful more going for a top 10 position. It’s an interesting thought but as I think it through I’m not sure it would have any consequence.

      • Phoebus

        it would be chaos in the bunch wouldn’t it? And if the grupetto came in that way, you could get half of a bunch eliminated by the cut-off while those they rode with for three hours sharing turns made it home.

        • jules

          the big problem is that it would be a huge punch up to get to the finish line. it’s bad enough with 3 sprinters flicking each other and being sent into the barriers.

          • I think all it would do is have the GC contenders mixing it up in the bunch sprinters, which nobody wants to see.

            • Michele

              Spot on. Remember last year … Froome vs. Sagan. I don’t want to see that again ????

    • Tim Rowe

      This isn’t a technology problem – we can very easily and accurately give you the gaps to every finisher – generally to 3/1000ths accuracy, but there are systems (for cycling) where we can make it higher. The change was made for safety reasons – it wasn’t in the best interests of safety to have everyone trying to finish as close as possible behind the first rider across the line. With a bunch taking anywhere between 5 and 20 seconds to completely pass the finish, and that adding up each day, a lot of GC time could be lost by finishing mid-way down a bunch.

    • toffee

      This would be interesting. But I dare say it would make it really dangerous, as all the GC guys would need to be at the front every stage, I don’t think the sprinters would like that

    • AltAltRight

      If we did this we’d make more use of the 3km rule than the more accurate time tracking.

  • Nitro

    Don’t tell Mr Keenan and Mr McEwan, but watching that last km of the stage without their commentary just doesn’t feel right.

    I was a long time Phil and Paul supporter, but have to say I’m more than impressed with how well Robbie and Matt have stepped up. Huge shoes to fill but they’re doing an awesome job of making them their own…

    • Mark Blackwell

      Agree, particularly Robbie. His experience really shows through. On one of the early stages there was a break up the road and someone tried to ride across the gap… as he attacked Robbie said something to the effect “I’m calling it, he’s not going to get across… his DS needs to roll up alongside and tell him to stop”. Lo and behold, 10 minutes later that’s exactly what happened. Phil & Paul would have been artificially pumping it up, suitcase of courage and all that crap. Robbie, deadpan, experienced and RIGHT.

  • Karen

    I’m only a casual cycling enthusiast but i have said this for every sport that gets dominated by one person, apart form it being boring to watch it has you wondering how awful the development and training of up coming contenders must be. If the development squads were worth their salt there really should be a bunch of equally good people elbowing each other for that top spot. Yes you get the odd genetic freak that outshines everyone but come on, they only occur ever few decades, not every 5 years. Watching the cycling it seems the rules are are completely lopsided to favour the top seed, just like the tennis- have you ever seen top players against each other at an early round?

    • d;

      Cycling (stage racing) doesn’t have to be the same as other sports. I love it for what it is, not the fastest/strongest wins.

    • Tim Rowe

      Uhhh… elimination brackets are *designed* to not have top seeds play each other early in a tournament. In a 64-man bracket, Seed #1 plays #64, #2 plays #63 and so on. The very deliberate idea is that if #2 is truly better than #3, and the same with #1 being better than others, the final will be #1v#2. In group tournaments it’s similar – ie, a 16-team tourney would have (1,8,9,16),(4,5,12,13),(3,6,11,14),(2,7,10,15). It isn’t by accident, it’s by design.

  • ColtInn

    It looked as thought Landa was berated by Portal in the vid above. Landa posted its conclusion.

    post-race meeting done @TeamSky pic.twitter.com/ty21z6KsM4— Landa Meana (@MikelLandaMeana) July 13, 2017

  • Coogs

    I think Landa did his job. Short of dropping a tow rope for Froomey, what else could he have done at that point?

  • will59

    Waiting for a race leader who can’t keep his bike on the road is ridiculous. Perhaps Aru should have waited for Froome on the final ascent as well. Don’t want to disrespect the yellow jersey by dropping it on a climb!

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