TdF2020 - Allez!

Flobikes. It’s almost the only way to watch any cycle racing in Canada.

Actually had two windows open for much of the morning, with LBL in one and Stage 2 of the Giro in the other. Fun ending in that race as well.

Ah. Thanks!

He was relegated to last of the group, rightfully so.

Shout out for Mathieu vd Poel as well, winning the sprint for 6th. Especially since he only decided to be LBL yesterday, because the Binckbank tour was shortened by a day… yesterday he won that 5 day tour after a 75k attack (50 solo). It was always said the Ardennes classics would be too much clibing for him, but I guess they will be reconsidering now. Can;t wait for the cobbled classics the next few weeks.

Very clear that the Tour riders are currently still the ones in good shape, compared to riders aiming to peak in the coming weeks.

Drama at the Giro!

Jumbo Visma and Mitchelton Scott both out due to Covid positives in the rest day testing. Also Michael Matthews.

And then an absolutely chaotic stage, raced more like an Ardennes classic than a grand tour stage. After a series of Saganth place finishes, Peter Sagan wins a race for the first time in over a year and completes his collection of grand tour stage victories, winning from the break on a brutal day where at one point it looked like a team pursuit race between a 6-man break and the entirety of Groupama FDJ, who were trying to pin back the break before the intermediate sprint for Arnaud Demare’s sprint jersey. Truly, the action ran on just as long as that sentence. And fair play to Groupama, as Demare himself was taking big turns on the front which one rarely sees from the protected sprinter. Eventually they gave up, and as the race went over a series of nasty wall-like hills the break slowly dwindled until Sagan rode in alone.

Thank you for the regular updates, @Gorsnak.

Are there any stats out there for how many times Sagan has finished second in a GT stage? It seems to happen a lot. I think Sean Kelly used to do something similar.

There are somewhere. It’s a lot. There’s a reason I called it Saganth place. :slight_smile:

Okay, here we go, this should be fun, albeit a bit tedious:

2011
Vuelta
3 stage wins, 2 second place (one of the second places was a TTT, not sure if that should count)

2012
Tour
3 stage wins, 3 second place

2013
Tour
1 win, 4 second place

2014
Tour
0 wins, 4 second place
Vuelta
0 wins, 1 second place (TTT again), DNF stage 14

2015
Tour
0 wins, 5 second place - this was the peak “Saganth place”, he was in the top 5 eleven times in the 2015 Tour, including his famously ridiculous descent into Gap in Stage 16 trying to catch Ruben Plaza and coming up just short.
Vuelta
1 win, 2 second place (again a TTT) DNS Stage 9

2016
Tour
3 wins, 2 second place

2017
Tour
1 win, DSQ Stage 4

2018
Tour
3 wins, 3 second place
Vuelta
0 wins, 4 second place

2019
Tour
1 win, 1 second place

2020
Tour
0 wins, 0 second place (but 6 top 5)
Giro
1 win, 5 second place (as of Stage 11)

That is 17 stage wins and 36 second place finishes (including the TTT results), assuming my math is correct and I didn’t miss anything pulling the data (I make no guarantees). I can’t find much comparison data, except for a 2015 story about Sagan reaching 16 second places at the Tour, behind Erik Zabel at 22, Sean Kelly at 21, and Nicolas Franz and some guy named Eddy at 18. I make Sagan now tied with Zabel at 22. Searching for Sagan tying Zabel does bring up one tweet from 2019 about the number of second place finishes, but mostly stuff from 2017 and 2018 about Sagan tying Zabel’s record 6 green jersey wins.

Do you think he’s got a 7th Green jersey in him before he retires?

Don’t see why not. His form the last two years has been a bit off what it was the previous five or so, but he’s only 30 and he’s still remarkably consistent and versatile which are the keys to winning points jerseys.

Flanders was epic today - don’t know if you can catch highlights in the US but it was absolute top tier racing. Feels like one for the ages although with no fans, empty roadsides can you really say that? Not sure, but an immense rivalry on display (plus one very unfortunate mishap) made for a savagely contested race.

The only cycling I saw being televised this morning was the n’th showing of UCI World Championships in Imola back in September. I will look for Flanders highlight.

The curse of the rainbow jersey lives, apparently.

I didn’t mention it at the time, but if you want to see a man happy to win a bicycle race, check out the finale of Stage 8 of the Giro. Highlights and post-race interview should be on youtube.

It took a minute but I finally watched the highlights reel of Flanders. The finish could not have been closer. I remember the first time I took notice of these two guys was a few years ago in very early spring when they finished 1/2 in cyclocross event. It was brutal but nothing close like this.

The other story is of course Ala. Just a moment of inattention and disaster.

Yep. That must have been immensely rewarding for Dowsett. Seems like he deserved it more than most.

The look on Sagan’s face after winning Stage 10 was one of relief. As if a curse was lifted.

Man, this shortened edition of the Vuelta has started with a vengeance. Two big mountain stages to start things off, and another mountaintop finish tomorrow. Vicious.

Also, it’s just weird to watch two different grand tours at the same time.

What is Froome even doing in a grand tour right now? Well over 10 minutes behind after stage 1 and getting worse by the day. Is he even going to make it through to the end?

He took a little domestique turn at the beginning of the last climb today, but was out the back pretty quickly. I think he’s there because if your 7-grand tour-winning team member wants to go to a grand tour, he gets to go. Note that he’s at the least prestigious of the three.

Meanwhile in the Giro, an epic stage on the Stelvio today. Massive, massive ride by Rohan Dennis. He put a ridiculous amount of time into the chasers in the short flat section before the final climb. And the tactical situation for Sunweb when Kelderman started going backwards was very interesting indeed. I agreed with their call of have Hindley stay with Rohan and Tao at the time, but with Kelderman being the significant superior of the two in the ITT and the final stage being a flat ITT I can certainly see the argument for sending Hindley back for him as well. Hard to argue with pink and the stage win, though.

Tied general classification after 20 stages?!? Are you kidding me?

Also, Tao better be buying drinks for Rohan Dennis when this is over.

Miserable day at the Vuelta today. Nearly over.