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Brussels sprouts a new winner? Tour de France 2019

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  • Brussels sprouts a new winner? Tour de France 2019

    So here we go with the big loop once again. The defending champion will start the Tour with the strongest squad dedicated to getting him safely round until he can launch his attacks, and surely that can only mean that Chris Froome and Team Sky will once again take the overall victory in .... er, pardon?

    Oh yes, that's right. Froome didn't win it last year, Geraint Thomas did. And Team Sky don't exist any more either.

    So this feel a bit weird, doesn't it? The goings on at Team INEOS (new name and kit - the energy/fracking company has taken over the sponsorship of what was Team Sky) have been dominating the build-up to this year's race. Initially, despite Thomas being the stronger rider at last year's race and winning the Tour, he was unlikely to be the outright leader this time - that's what they pay Chris Froome for. But Froome's horror crash that nearly killed him (he was 'lucky' to get away with multiple injuries) has meant that the team are going with 'joint leaders' in the experienced defending champion and the young Colombian star, Egan Bernal.

    This has probably made more difference for Bernal than it has for Thomas. Thomas would have been a protected rider even if Froome was riding, and would have been the last one to pull on the front on the mountain stages. Bernal, on the other hand, would have been a match to burn. One of those very long matches that burns nicely for ages, but a match nonetheless. It's not unknown for the second rider in the team to win a Grand Tour. Heck, that's how Thomas did it last year, and we saw the trick repeat in May as Richard Carapaz proved stronger than Mikel Landa and went on to win the Giro d'Italia. But the third guy would never have that chance. Froome's injury has promoted Bernal from a probable yellow flame to a potential yellow jersey.

    And we'd been expecting to see dominance of the time trial giants - Roglic and, especially, Dumoulin. Roglic went for the Giro and finished a creditable third. Dumoulin went for it and retired through injury. He came back in the Dauphiné, aiming for the Tour, but his knee is still not right and he misses this race.

    So where does that leave us?

    Well, we've got a couple of former winners - the only two, other than Froome, who are still riding - in Geraint Thomas and Vincenzo Nibali. The last time Froome failed to finish the Tour, Nibali won it handsomely. But this time he's got a Giro in his legs.

    We've got loads of experienced riders who have never managed to topple Sky and Froome here: like Valverde, Quintana, Fuglsang, Porte, Bardet, Dan Martin, Pinot, Landa, Uran, Zakarin, Mollema, Kruijswijk and van Garderen. Apologies for any I missed!

    Then we've got the Yateses. Both of them. Adam is the one who came fourth here a few years ago. Simon is the one who won La Vuelta last year. Runner up to him was Enric Mas, a young Spaniard of Deceuninck - Quick-Step, He's coming too.

    So it's quite hard to call. But one thing we know is that INEOS will be strong and dedicated to the cause, which is going to make Thomas - at least initially - the man to beat.
    Last edited by Kevin S; 01-07-2019, 13:36.

  • Kevin S
    replied
    Yeah, that certainly made things a bit different, didn't it? I think the logic when the route was set up would have run, "There's no chance that Pinot can beat Froome, Dumoulin or Thomas - the top three from 2018 - when there are a lot of TT kilometres, so let's minimise them this year." Of course two of those riders ended up not starting and while the plan did allow the race's best climby GC rider to beat the race's best TTist GC rider, that meant Bernal ahead of Thomas.

    But that's fine, Grand Tour organisers always try to throw encouragement to one type of rider over another. As long as they mix it up year on year.

    Overcoming the variety of obstacles between editions to win four Tours is also one of the things that marks Froome out as an all-time great in my eyes.

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  • Mumpo
    replied
    A few mentions upthread that the curtailed stages might have cast a 'shadow' over Bernal's victory. I don't agree, but I'm surprised no-one's brought up the fact there was only one ITT this year, in which Thomas took over a minute off his co-leader.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Do we know who the gentleman in the wheelchair was who Alaphilippe went to after receiving his award and sobbed on the shoulder of? I've seen a tweet saying it was his father but he looked very much older, though it could be of course.

    I've loved this year's race, even if it didn't have last year's winner and I didn't get out there. I really want to see a few stages again next year.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    The true pinnacle of the sport.

    Alaphilippe tells French television that De Ronde will be his primary goal for 2020.

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  • longeared
    replied
    Oh and seeing as ITV didn't show it, here's Movistar on the podium with their much sought after win in the team classification.

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  • longeared
    replied
    That was an excellent edition of the Tour. Ideally it would have finished with a huge battle up Val Thorens and a French winner, but the route revisions probably kept it tighter on Friday and I don't think the extra climbs would have changed any of the racing yesterday.

    Bernal got the first Colombian win and the youngest winner since 1909 (assuming he is really 22, apparently the team think he could be anything up to 18 months older, it's amazing how many Colombian cyclists are born in January), there's been a couple of suggestions he might win as many as ten Tours. The team have got to be careful not to burn him out, there's a lot of riders who have had huge results in Grand Tours young, been expected to dominate for years and for various reasons haven't - Ullrich, Contador and Aschleck all spring to mind there. He's also not (yet) a great time triallist, the Tour organisers could give us an interesting contest next year if they could stick a pancake flat 50k time trial in the middle of the race and force Bernal to go and chase back the time he'd lose there. Who leads INEOS in France next summer is a fascinating question, they've now got three Tour winners, Carapaz (presumably) and Sivakov is developing nicely. Too early to seriously guess at it until we know about Froome's recovery and seen some race routes, but don't think it's completely impossible they'll send Bernal on the Giro / Vuelta programme and let Froome have a go at number five.

    Alaphilippe was the story of this race and I hope he doesn't start changing his approach and race programme in pursuit of winning the Tour. Apparently he's just been on French telly and said "I'd rather win two stages and fourteen days in yellow than finish third without doing anything". Good lad. Think we might get an Alaphilippe friendly route in a couple of years, something similar to this year, come down eastern France after they've started in Copenhagen, perhaps do Epernay again, avoid some of the really big climbs and epic mountain stages. They might need to give thought to how they work as a team if he is chasing GC, there were times when they didn't look coherent and more a bunch of blokes wearing the same jersey. Good that he got a trip to the podium for winning the Super Combativite prize.

    Anyway, it's been a great sporting summer what with this and the Cricket World Cup, now over to Wednesday to spoil it all next weekend.

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  • longeared
    replied
    He's always been fast, he just always seemed to start his sprint too early. He seems to have learned about patience now.

    After he'd taken the Tour de Yorkshire leaders jersey in Harrogate a couple of years back I said "well done Caleb" to him. He looked at me, smiled and said "thanks" so I decided on that basis he seemed a decent chap. I've not seen anything to change that view.

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  • Kevin S
    replied
    Really pleased for Ewan. He always looked set to be a big part of the post Cav, Greipel, Kittel landscape. After some shaky seasons since he got on the World Tour, this has put him right near the top of the pile.

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  • longeared
    replied
    Fine sprint from Caleb Ewan there, timed that perfectly.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    [URL]https://twitter.com/letour/status/1155536161357684737?s=21[/URL]

    Quintana spending the whole time trying to get someone on one of the motorbikes to whip out a phone to take a photo.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Fantastic all-Colombian quartet across the road leading the riders right now.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied

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  • longeared
    replied
    Yeah, it was sequins in the jersey, worn by Froome in 2013 as it was the 100th edition of the race and the first time they had the evening finish.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Didn't one of the recent winners (probably a Sky one, Froome's first time in 2013 would be my guess) wear a yellow jersey with little LED lights, or perhaps sequins that caught the light, in a late starting Paris stage?

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  • longeared
    replied
    Bardet's wearing polka dot shorts. Oh, Romain.

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  • longeared
    replied
    Le Parisien has managed to uncover an image of a five year old Bardet wearing the spotty jersey while watching the 1996 Tour.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    [URL="https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1155450554715443200?s=21"]https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1155450554715443200[/URL]

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  • Felicity, I guess so
    replied
    No it isn’t- frakk Ineos and all who sail in it.

    Backing up some earlier comments-given the consistency of Jumbo having numbers at the end of climbs, should Kruijswijk REALLY be happy with 3rd..?
    As Ms F asked- has Stayven K ever put his nose in the wind in the whole 3 weeks..?

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  • delicatemoth
    replied
    I think 'happiness for the great cycling nation of Colombia' is enough to trump any slight dissatisfaction at yesterday and also the 'not bloody Ineos' factor.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    Herrera recently revealed that he had been battling skin cancer for years, but seems to have beat it and is now a spokesperson for early detection and treatment.

    He still is a hero at home and does adverts and appearances for a local paint company around races.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied

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  • longeared
    replied
    I thought of Lucho Herrera today as well, one of the pioneers. As a child he kept a rat as a pet and it grew to half a metre long. We rarely hear from him since a kidnap many years ago, he was released safely but I hope he's alright.

    Also I remember a photo when he was Tour KoM and won his own weight in coffee from the sponsors, a Colombian cafe.
    ​​​​​​
    ​​​​

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  • San Bernardhinault
    replied
    I don't really know what Buchmann was doing, but I guess Kruijswijk didn't believe he could take out Thomas or Bernal, so his only goal for today was dropping Alaphilippe and getting on the podium. It seems like a bit of a feeble goal, but it would explain the Jumbo tactics.

    Anyway, seeing the first Colombian winner has had my brain dredge up old memories on the 80s and the Cafe de Colombia team of Luis Herrera. I mention this to say that the teenage me could never work out how a single cafe in Colombia could afford to sponsor an entire team, nor why it needed the publicity.

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  • delicatemoth
    replied
    Originally posted by longeared View Post
    What were Kruijswijk and Buchmann playing at?
    Judging by the finishing times they didn't have the reserves needed to attack, and they already had the time they needed on Alaphilippe. If Movistar had attacked earlier they might have got Landa in the top 5 though.

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