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September 24, 2017
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  • Berne Shaw

    The organizers want excitement and are willing for extreme danger blood to build TV rights and money. Danger and risk is an element of all life sport and adventure. But this is just unnecessary. Make it be about good descending skills not luck to not hit greasy corners on a crazy narrow tree overhanging 22 per cent goat path.

    • Eric

      Especially since, that stretch of road was recently repaved, since the Dauphine. What – the race organizers never heard of oil floating up when it rains on a freshly paved road? Which idiots in the ASO are making these actual decisions?

      • zosim

        I’d imagine the teams/riders have said that the descent was poor previously and the regional government cleared funds to resurface some/all of it. Having ridden a lot of French rural mountain roads, it’s pretty common for them to be in poor shape and the reality is that all riders knew about the resurfacing. Chris Boardman, who rode it this morning when it was still pretty damp, said there was nothing particularly dangerous (in terms of the dangers pro riders face daily on mountain descents) about the descent but that the riders would need to choose how fast they wanted to descend. There’s no real evidence to suggest it was the surface rather than a mistake as, to my knowledge, the only person who would know (i.e. Porte) hasn’t commented.

        • DaveRides

          The riders make the race.

        • Berne Shaw

          Martin

          ““We take risks,” he said. “But for sure today the route didn’t help. It was very, very slippery with the rain. A lot of gravel on the road. Very fast, technical downhills.

          “It was just super-treacherous the whole day. I think the organisers got what they wanted.”

          • George Darroch

            Perhaps the organisers could equalize the times, as they do for the peloton, if they all arrive at the bottom near to each other.

    • Michele

      Not wanting to sound like a self-proclaimed prophet … but if I was asked to pick a GC favourite who would crash on that descent, in those conditions, I would have gone with Porte.

      Holm certainly thinks it was more rider error than anything else. I know you’ll find many others who disagree with Brian’s comments – from within the peloton.

      Riders have the power to neutralise stage if they feel things are too dangerous. But it’s likely you’ll ever find a more divided group of professional athletes on the planet when it comes to matters like these.

      Get well soon Richie.

      • DaveRides

        It’s not even an ‘if’ for me – I was watching with a mate who asked at the very start of the descent if there would be crashes and I said there probably would be if Porte (sketchy triathlon handling skills) or Martin (often looks like he’s up to his eyeballs in tramadol, remember his crashes in the Giro TTT and the Liege final) were in the group.

        I then unfortunately had to explain how Martin was not at fault this time around and was simply the unlucky one to get in the way of Porte’s crash.

        I note that Fuglsang had the courage to lay off a bit on the twisty part and put in a push on the lower slopes to regain contact.

        • jules

          Martin (often looks like he’s up to his eyeballs in tramadol)

          that’s wrong but funny too :)

    • Sunny Ape

      What, exactly, are you recommending that the race organizers do Berne? Are you saying that riders should only descend on smooth, wide, perfectly clean roads with no overhanging trees?

      • jules

        The road was newly paved. They can’t stop it being damp or trees overhanging it. Organisers have nothing to answer for.

  • Russell Jones-Davies

    I’m actually quite relieved they’re his ‘only’ injuries. Not that they’re not bad but it looked like it could have been so much worse!

    • Nick Clark

      Indeed, first thing I thought when I saw the footage and paramedic response was ‘spinal’…

      • jules

        he’s so lucky they’re undisplaced fractures, particularly the hip. a displaced hip can screw your cycling career

  • I am done with this year’s tour.

    • Eric

      Can’t blame you. This year’s Tour is actually more of a throwback to years of yore; more sprinter’s Stages, more lumpy parcours, less of a specialist’s course – and some old-fashioned chauvinism. I happen to think there’s still some fireworks in store – but agreed, it can be difficult to avoid bad impressions when it’s run like this.

      • Michele

        Apparently for 2018 Produmme is looking at bringing back multi-stage days.

        Next year sees the Vendee region kick things off with a pre-lunch 68 km pan-flat stage, followed by an afternoon 136 km sojourn – again, a parcours suited for the sprinters.

        • zosim

          Got a source for that because I can’t find any corroboration

          • Michele

            Was talking to Jean-François Naquet-Radiguet over the weekend. He told me.

        • jules

          they’ll get resistance from the riders to that idea. so I guess we can look forward to it happening

          • DaveRides

            And probably from the UCI, who will show their muscles by arbitrarily delaying the regulatory reforms needed to return half-stages to WorldTour races just like they did with the grand tour organisers’ request/threat* to reduce team sizes from 9 to 8.

            Small men seek small victories.

            * how much value would the WorldTour project have without the grand tours and other ASO/RCS races?

      • Matilda Raynolds

        My entire Velogames team will be lucky to make it to Paris!

  • Hans Anton Nygaard

    Come on – they are professionals – if you think it goes to fast then go slower. Fuglsang who is an extremely skillful descender did that on the last couple of kilometers and still managed to get to the front group. Richie should have let the others go. He would probably been able to reconnect. He knew he was the least skillful descender. And poor Dan Martin – Richies mistake could also have finished his tour.

    • Michele

      You touch on something my wife made mention of last night whilst watching the stage unfold.

      A sprinter can be relegated, even disqualified, if they are deemed to have sprinted too dangerously.

      My wife asked me [and neither she or I are suggesting this specifically in regards to Porte], but …

      Should a rider face disqualification if they took huge risks when descending a mountain, became reckless, and ended up taking out a fellow competitor?

      • Josh

        That’s a very good question

      • DaveRides

        If they bumped off another rider but carried on themselves, there would be a case for it.

        The UCI is allergic to penalising riders who have been caught up in the crash they caused themselves, but some might say that disqualifying (and fining) a rider who has already abandoned would be a good way to send a strong message.

    • jules

      that’s my view. no one forces them to take excessive risks. if you look at what costs most genuine Tour competitors, it’s incidents – falls and mechanicals, not losing 30 seconds on a descent. that’s recoverable if you have the legs, and Richie had the legs. I say error of judgment.

  • Webbovich

    So much negativity about the course is sad, as it takes away from the beauty of the sport. Climbing is hard. Riding in crosswinds is hard. Descending when the race is in the balance is hard. All have risks (some clearly less than others). I wonder what the ratio of sprint crash injuries to mountain stage crashes is, and the corresponding severity of injury.

    Let’s all come up with a way that it was always going to be Richie who crashed, ASO is in the wrong and endangering lives, road surface mixes are always the same the world over and one persons experiences translates to every surface, that disc brakes would have been better for the descent (but luckily Richie wasn’t on them as he would have cut Martins leg off) etc… I’m keen to see the replay in slow-mo to know if Sagans elbow was on the entry of that corner.

    Good reporting CT. It can be so easy to preach to the converted, which most of us are here, when it comes to cycling. Known unknowns etc….

  • Cam

    Such a shame for Richie, he looked super strong on the climb, but that’s cycling.

    I’m sure he will live to fight another day, this year he has looked stronger than ever.

    • jules

      hopefully he can target the Vuelta

      • slartiblartfast

        That’s highly unlikely. Any racing he can get in before the end of the year would be a bonus.

  • Stuart

    So I’ve read that Porte came together with Aru before he crashed. I can’t comfirm that from the vision I’ve got here in Aus as you only see the crash, not the moments before. Anyone? Martin wouldn’t know what happened, he was in front of Porte. Get well soon Richie.

    • jules

      monday morning so time for some quarterbacking, but I don’t understand why they bunch up so close on treacherous, slippery descents. I suppose they don’t want to be gapped after another rider in front drops the wheel, but I would be leaving a healthy distance to the rider in front.

      • De Mac

        A most unfortunate incident, I’m just glad the injuries are not worse – it was a horrible looking fall. I did wonder why they were daisy-chained so close to one another on the descent though – clearly, all of them were worried that Froome may ride away and didn’t want to lose his wheel….

      • DaveRides

        There was a fight for position this time around too, with Bardet and Uran stuck at the back and trying to make up places to avoid being stuck behind a guy with a triathlete’s sketchy bike handling skills.

        • jules

          he needs to work on his descending skills. it’s an integral part of racecraft.

          • DaveRides

            100% agree.

            Look at how well Froome has performed since his poor handling skills were exposed at the 2014 Tour and he went away to work on them.

            Occasionally a race can be won by a pedalling machine, but not often.

            • jules

              exactly. I’m not a great descender but I’ll have a crack. if there’s an opportunity in a club race, I’ll try and turn the screws.

              I don’t know how Richie approaches descending but I know some racers convince themselves “descending is not my strength, I’ll just wait until the bottom and start racing again”.

            • Anthony McCulloch

              Richie was still part of Team Sky until end of 2016, wouldn’t he and other team members benefit from the same training. I can imagine that he and others Sky members would have been part of the same training camp, so they would have practice descending along side Froome. I don’t think descending was the problem, he been down this HC more then once an knew the risk like the others, we can only speculate about what went wrong, which can lead to misconceptions. Disregarding all the speculation, if we take it on face value all we really know is he departed the road and his TDF has come to an end. What we should be concerned with is a speedy recovery for Richie and maybe he can have a crack next years edition.

        • James

          Geez mate, he’s been a pro for 10 years or so now. You reckon he’s moved beyond being a triathlete with sketchy handling skills?? It’s not like he was a triathlete last year and has suddenly found himself at the Tour….

          • jules

            they’re all gun descenders. but it’s relative.

        • Nick Clark

          To be fair, the bloke with ‘a triathlete’s sketchy bike handling skills’ matched Froome and Fuglsang on the same descent at the Dauphine and went on to beat the former to the line. It might not be his greatest strength, but he’s plenty capable.

      • Luke Bartlett

        like what they all seemed to do so well in the dauphine! the dauphine possibly taking less risk on a bad road then. But Porte kept his rivals in eye sight and descended then on his own terms. disappointing to see so many descents to finishes, the giro got blasted for making it a separate comp yet the tour just makes it a part of the GC and its fine. Will be pissed to hear anything about Aru fucking up in front and causing it.

        • Marc

          Richie Porte lost the Dauphine because of his poor descending skills. The stage where he was behind the favorites, he started the descent in the wheel of Simon Clarke. At the bottom of the descent Clarke was back in the group of the favorites, with Porte still more than a minute behind.

          Porte’s weak spot are his bike handling skills. Descending is part of cycling and he’s just not good at it. There was no need to crash yesterday, they were all riding in line, it was a safe corner, nobody got into trouble except for Porte.

          • George Darroch

            To be fair, he’s probably very good at it. The difference is that the people he competes against are exceptional.

            • Cameron

              Agreed. He might have been the least proficient descender in that group, but I’d like to see the keyboard warriors beat Porte down that same road.

              • Marc

                What kind of an argument is this? What’s next? Blaming someone for stating that Kittel isn’t going to win a grand tour because he can’t climb well enough? This is a website where we discuss all things cycling related. Like discussing Porte’s bike handling skills, which aren’t good enough to win a grand tour. I have no problem stating that. Just as I can quite confidently say that Kittel has more top end speed than Luke Durbridge. And I know that Durbridge will outsprint me anytime.

                • Cameron

                  ‘He’s just not good at it’, ‘there was no need to crash’, ‘it was a safe corner’ are all different to ‘can’t [whatever] well enough to win a grand tour’.

                  In general I agree with you, both that Porte’s ability on descents is a weakness and that this is an appropriate place to discuss that. He had a hard time on the same descent at the Dauphine, add rain and the energy expended over the previous kms to that and I think plenty of folks were predicting a version of what happened Sunday.

                • Cameron

                  I don’t think the Kittel example is a fair equivalence of what you originally said, but we’re roughly agreed. My previous comment didn’t add anything to the discussion.

        • jules

          it’s always been a part of GC in any grand tour. it’s pro road cycling, not triathlon (not having a dig at Richie’s triathlon past). if you can’t handle your bike on hills and corners, you aren’t the best rider.

    • Stuart

      Replying to my own post; I’ve now seen footage showing that Martin WAS behind Porte and it looks like it unfolded exactly as he said; Porte went off the road all by himself, Aru was in front of him and I can’t see any contact of any kind. If it’s not geo blocked (Aus TV site) here it is >> http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/article/2017/07/10/portes-broken-bones-big-blow-bmc

      • DaveRides

        SBS reported after the stage that they had been passed information that Porte had braked to avoid another rider.

        I think this is code for “ran up the arse of Aru, grabbed a fistful of rear brake and fishtailed out of control.”

        • pinchflat

          Yes, this seems very plausible. Or it could have been that Aru was passing Porte causing Porte to break, but I doubt we’ll never really know. Like Jules has mentioned, there’s no need to be bunched-up on a descent like that, except that this is The Tour and no quarter is given. I’m glad Richie wasn’t hurt worse and wish him a full and speedy recovery.

  • George Darroch

    That was such a hard crash, and I’m glad it wasn’t more serious.

    As to the descent itself; Froome is a very good descender, and to go with him you have to push to your limits or beyond them. Anyone in GC contention who let him off the front risked losing at least 30 seconds.

  • gary

    Probably a bit optimistic on the recovery time. Acetabulum is more like 4 weeks immobile and another 4 on crutches.

  • Allez Rouleur

    Hard crash, tough was to go out, heal up.

    But, I think it’s kinda crazy to blame the race organizers. Sure, if there are potholes or lose gravel, that is one thing. But otherwise, it’s a race and there is risk.

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