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The team time trial is arguably the most beautiful event in pro cycling. Eight-riders all in-sync, riding the most hi-tech bikes the sport has to offer, and churning massive 58-tooth chainrings. When everything goes to plan it is breathtaking. However, the event is also the hardest pro cycling has to offer. Every rider is on the limit for the duration of the effort. The team time trial requires an incredible amount of suffering and sometimes the body just says “no.”
Quote of the day:
“…You have to respect that he’s allowed to race, and race within a safe environment because at the moment he’s getting all kinds of abuse.” – Bradley Wiggins speaking about Chris Froome on his Eurosport show.
Story of the day: Peter Sagan is not invincible
World champion and maillot jaune wearer Peter Sagan demonstrated the team time trial can make even the strongest riders look human. He was dropped with 10 kilometres remaining in Bora-Hangrohe’s effort.
“I’m a little bit tired,” Sagan said. “It was a hard day for me, a little bit of a bad day. I’m sorry for my teammates … It was nice to have the yellow jersey for one day, but it’s not Sunday every day. I tried my best. There’ll be more days. It’s still a long way to Paris. I’m looking forward to the next stages.”
At times, Sagan has looked invincible during his professional career. His bike handling skills are second-to-none, and nearly any terrain, except for the high mountains, seems to suit him. The hectic first week of the Tour with the one-day classics style stages is sometimes referred to as “Sagan Week.” The Slovakian has the ability to contend for victory on every stage.
On Monday, the Tour and its brutal team time trial showed Sagan is indeed not invincible. Sagan is one of the most powerful riders in the peloton, but he is not superhuman. The Tour has been incredibly hot and Sagan was clearly suffering, unable to hold the pace of his team in the final kilometres.
It won’t be too much of surprise to see the three-time world champion back contending for the win on stage four, but, for at least a day, we were able to see he is indeed like the rest of us and gets dropped on occasion.
Dispatches from the Tour de France
Van Avermaet grabs Tour de France yellow as BMC Racing best in team time trial
The American WorldTour squad, BMC Racing, was best in the 35.5-kilometre team time trial test around Cholet on Sunday, propelling Greg Van Avermaet into the yellow jersey.
Chris Froome’s Team Sky was next best of the squads, giving up four seconds en route to second on the day. QuickStep Floors, who at times seemed greatly disorganized during the TTT, finished third, seven seconds back.
Richie Porte gained back vital time against a few of the other GC contenders and was beaming after the performance. “It is a fantastic day. To win the stage with the team like that, it is fantastic. Especially with the passing of [team owner] Andy Rihs – to be able to do that in the Tour is a special feeling,” Porte said.
“It is a long way to Paris – it is just nice to be able to win a stage in the Tour with the team.”
Click through to read our full report from stage 4 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Tomorrow’s Tour stage
Start: La Baule
The 2018 Tour heads to France’s northwestern most region, Brittany, for the fourth stage. The stage profile is flat, but the route goes along the coast, which means there is a chance for crosswinds.
D’hoor wins again, Kirchmann keeps pink
Mitchelton-Scott’s Jolien D’hoore made it a second victory in a row in Piacenza, as former world champion Marta Bastianelli (Ale Cipollini) finished second, and Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo Bigla) rounded out the podium. Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb) retained the pink jersey, and tomorrow she will be the first rider of this year’s race to wear the leader’s jersey for multiple days.
— UCI_WWT (@UCI_WWT) July 9, 2018
The peloton split on a cat. 3 climb halfway through the stage, but ultimately the group came into the last 10 kilometres altogether. Again, a crash on the run in broke up the field with the incident occurring at about 6 kilometres to go.
The Giro Rosa’s jaunt toward the high mountains continues tomorrow as the stages get tougher and tougher. There’s a cat. 2 climb with about 30 kilometres to go in the 123-kilometre stage, which could be the perfect launching point for a breakaway.
Orbea announces disc version of its Orca Aero
Last month, David Rome picked through the latest update for UCI’s approved bike list to make some predictions about new bikes to expect for 2019, and one of those was a disc version of Orbea’s Orca Aero. Dave was right on the money because the company has just unveiled the Orca Aero Disc.
The bike retains all of the features that defined the Orca Aero that James Huang reviewed last year, including a custom paint option via Orbea’s MyO program. Pricing for the Orca Aero Disc starts at US$3,699/€3,299/£2,999 for M30 Team-D, which features the new Shimano 105 R7000 groupset, and tops out at US$8,999/€7,999/£7,199 for the flagship M10i Team-D that wears Shimano’s Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 groupset.
The History of “The Hell Ride”
Australian Football League (AFL) Hall of Fame legend Bernie Quinlan started riding his bike with three mates in Black Rock, Victoria (Australia) in 1984. That weekly Saturday morning ride – which Bernie originally started in order to manage an Achilles injury – became known as The Hell Ride. It is Australia’s biggest, fastest, and most widely known group ride. Bernie explains the history of The Hell Ride in this video. How it started; how it grew; and how it prolonged his “Aussie Rules” career.
2018 Tour de France stage 3 highlights
Stage 3 on-board highlights