TdF 2016

Great finish for Cavendish in stage 1. Perhaps this will be his best year yet what with finally getting the maillot jeune, world championship and potential for gold in the Olympics.

Stage 2 is looking nasty with the weather and crashes. Peter Segan is the favourite but I have my fingers crossed for Spartacus (Fabian Cancellara) for the win today. It’s his last year and I’d like to see him go out on a high note.

I think Chris Froome is still the overall best bet to win the tour, but with Richie Porte now working for BMC, I think Froome will have his work cut out for him.

Always rooting for Valverde to cross the line with a stage win or two.

Perhaps this will be the year that Contador finally learns to ride a bike. Not looking good for him so far. He’s fallen off twice now.

In with a shout. That guy (avoiding spoilers) deserves his own classification.

Sagan’s interview was hilarious. “I thought I finished third.” And then he almost seems not to want to wear yellow over his WC rainbow stripes.

One of the time trials has a few elevation changes. The pure climbers will still lose a little time, it won’t be the huge swaths of time it has been in the past. The second time trial is a climb.

I’m not quite sure they have the game to win, but I think the course leaves guys like Rolland, Bardet, Aru, Mollema, and especially Quintana in the game more so than normal. Froome is probably still the favourite (and rightfully so). I think it’s still pretty wide open. With Contador still going down twice, I’m betting against him. We will see, though. Nibali will be climbing for Aru by the end, I reckon.

The green Jersey comp is pretty much over at this point, no?

That hurt to watch; a guy leads for the whole stage only to be caught within sight of the finish.

In the UK, prior to Stage 1, Cav was interviewed and asked whether he could go for the Green Jersey and he basically laughed in the interviewer’s face. He knows he can’t do what Sagan can do and can’t possibly win enough sprint stages to make up the point differential for when Sagan goes off down the road - and doesn’t expect anyone else can do it either.

I think the green jersey is Sagan’s to lose. He picks up sprint points in both the mid stage and finish sprints. And he doesn’t lose his legs in the rollers like some other fast men.

I think this will be Sagan’s stage and he’ll hang on to the yellow for a little longer.

Bad luck flatting out for Richie Porte. I think he’s a better rider than his teammate Tejay van Garderen. Unfortunately, with the time loss, Porte may end up working for van Garderen this tour.

Contador looks like he is racing not to be the first to drop out of the race.

If any of you are on time delay or watching when you get home: wait until you see the end of Stage 3.

Ikr! :slight_smile:

Thomas Voeckler must get some sort of prize for the most animated rider in professional cycling.

Meh, I’m not a fan of Cavendish.

I’m not a fan of Cavendish either. He seems like a poor sport. That said he’s now tied (& passed) Hinault in winning stages in the tour.

Situation normal, really.

Long ago the authorities gave Voeckler that prize on a permanent basis and closed down the competition. No one else could compete.

My problem with Cavendish is that he has a history of - let’s be charitable and say - taking chances that are not really there in bunch sprints. Almost all sprinters will wind up causing an accident at some point in their career by getting something wrong at that pace in a tight bunch (it’s almost inevitable, I’d wager), but he’s been responsible for quite a few incidents over the course of his career, which suggests he’s more combative than the usual (though this could be my confirmation bias talking, I can only really remember incidents involving him - not the other times when he done things to avoid one or where other sprinters have caused a problem).

That’s immaterial for me to the end of yesterday’s stage though. It’s not often that you see a finish where neither rider is really sure who won. Yesterday would have been exciting if Armstrong and Vinokourov - two of my pet hates - had been the riders involved.

Blimey - another close one today.

This has been a pretty good opening 4 days of the tour to be honest.

If you thought the stage three finish was close…

Bravo to Kittel for the win!

That was close. And they showed the official photo of the finish this time, I didn’t see it at all for stage 3 (wasn’t glued to the set, may have missed it).

I hear so much about how the teams form such well choreographed lead-out trains for their sprinters, but it doesn’t seem to me to make a huge difference. I think I saw one or two of Kittel’s teammates who were still near the front at the end, and none of Coquard’s.

For those who have followed the sport more than I have, does the lead-out matter, and how long is it supposed to last? Kinda seems like the trains break down at about 2km from the finish, then there’s about 1,500 meters of jockeying (still quite fast, of course), and then the all-out sprint with a couple hundred meters left. Is that how it’s supposed to work; the team gets their man to that last 2km and he’s on his own from there? And can a good rider get into that final sprint even without a team dedicated to getting him there?

Ideally you’ll have a train of six or so with 10 k to go controlling the front and keeping the pace high enough to discourage breaks. Then one by one each teammate pulls as hard as possible until he blows and drops off. They repeat this until ideally their sprinter as one last leadout man to get them to 300 meters or so. Then he drops and the sprinter jumps for the line.

Some sprinters seem to really rely on this train. Peta was s good example. Some riders like McEwen were really really good at finding their way to the line with minimal team help.

A properly executed lead out train is a thing of beauty. I recall with fondness those wonderful ONCE trains in the nineties.

What Laggard said about the sprint dynamics. Sagan is another guy who doesn’t need a lead-out to punch for the finish line. Some guys are just better at improvising in the last 2km. Others need to have a plan and a team around them.

I don’t recall seeing a finish with riders that close on the line. Exciting.

Today, the real work starts. Let’s see who’s got the legs.

I’m rooting for Valverde to have a good day. Dare I hope a stage win?

Out of respect for us working stiffs in the colonies who can’t watch the race live, please don’t share any spoilers today. :slight_smile:

A little surprising the lead riders were given such a long leash yesterday; 15 minutes at one point. Then they dragged them back but only half way. I guess Movistar and Sky are saving their legs for the bigger stages.

Still, job well done for Van Avermaet.

Sprinters back to work today.