TdF2021 - ALLEZ!

I heard Steve Porino tell a story about the French trying to re-introduce the brown bear into the French Pyrenees wildlife preserves. They currently have trouble with one particular bear that keeps harassing local farmers’ livestock and they cannot seem to find a way to frighten him using various percussive devices. He seems determined to establish his dominance. The bear was imported from Slovenia.

Well, perhaps the authorities can search the bear’s leavings for trace amounts of erythropoetin. Though the authorities seem to be more interested in looking at other wildlife in that regard.

(For those unaware, French police raided Team Bahrain Victorious last night, searching the team bus and taking training files.)

I wonder what training files are going to tell authorities about potential epo protocols. I mean, it’s the sort of thing you don’t write down.

My uncle lives in the pyrenees, quite surprised there are any of those bears left, the locals were all quite pissed off about their re-introduction the one time I visited.

So is Pogacar winning the Yellow/Polka dot//White a pretty forgone conclusion AGAIN? (barring crash/mechanical)
I thought maybe somebody else might grab the Polka dot, but not sure there enough points left for anyone else to take it.
Not sure if Cavendish has captured the Green or not

Brian

Pogacar is a cannibal with a poker face, just like Armstrong was. I really hope the similarities aren’t even closer…

There is just one 4C climb left, so not enough points to make any difference. I don’t think there are any sprint points in the TT, but I can’t find that written out definitively. There are two other stages remaining, and Cavandish will be working hard for at least one of them, so if he’s in the final group of either I don’t think he can be beaten out for the green jersey.

There are 140 sprint points left on offer, not counting the 20 points for Stage 20 that are irrelevant because the neither Cav nor Matthews are capable of getting those. Cav has a 38 point lead over Matthews, so Cav winning green is not a completely foregone conclusion. However, it’s hard to see how Matthews can pass Cav unless Cav misses out on a stage finale that Matthew wins or places very well. This is because Stage 19 and 21 offer 50/30/20 for the first three places, and Cav is likely to be in the top 3 in a group sprint and Matthews is more likely to be in the 5th-10th range. Gaining 5 points here and 10 there for Matthews doesn’t help much when Cav wins #35 and takes another 50 points.

Matthews could plausibly take max or close to max points in tomorrows intermediate sprint while Cav takes none. It’s at the top of a short but steepish climb (don’t know the stats, just looking at the stage profile.) That still leaves him with an 18 point deficit. But the stage finale is flat and the last notable uphill bit (not even categorized) looks to be about 35km out, so it’s really unlikely that Matthews takes any notable points on Cav there. That just leaves the intermediate sprint and the stage on the Champs d’Elysee, and Matthews probably needs Cav to crash or suffer a badly-timed mechanical to gain points on Cav there.

Verdict: If Cav doesn’t win green, it will likely be because of misfortune.

He really does make it look easy, doesn’t he.

I mean eventually Pogacar will age out and let someone else claim the White…

Brian

What a weird race for Team Jumbo Visma. Half the team crashes out of the race, including their GC superstar who was eliminated from contention almost from day one. On the other hand, 3 stage wins and 2nd place in the GC.

I guess the only thing that remains to be seen is whether Cavendish gets his #35 stage win.

While it’s absolutely true that you can only race against those who are left in the competition, it seems clear that Cavendish would not have had 4 stage wins in this tour if his main rivals hadn’t suffered tour ending crashes or eliminations.

Am I an awful person for thinking a tie with Eddie Merckx is accomplishment enough under the circumstances?

Cavendish would have beaten the record a long time ago if HE hadn’t suffered tour ending crashes and illnesses. And (without a fair bit of research) can we say Merckx didn’t benefit from the same things?

I do hope Cav gets the win tomorrow but I feel the record isn’t particularly significant. Merckx was in a different league.

I think that’s fair criticism of my previous comment.

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Manxville—mighty Cav has struck out.

The usual thanks to everyone who participated in this year TdF thread.

I’m sure Van Aert being from Belgium and having Merckx following him in the time trial yesterday gave him some extra motivation. I didn’t think Cav’s team set him up very well after the last turn, but he got boxed out near the end and Van Aert is very strong.

Fun tour, lots of great story lines.

Big thanks to all you guys. I don’t know enough to contribute meaningfully, but I enjoy the daily commentary from you all.

So how did Americans do? Pretty good IMHO
Sepp Kuss: A stage win, 32nd overall, 14th in KOM
Nielson Powless: 7th in youth category
Brandom McNulty: 11th in youth

I don’t dislike Pogacar, but it would be nice for someone else to get a jersey. Again eventually someone else WILL get the White.
I forget the stage, but it ended in a climb, and I think the winner got 40 (twice normal) points. I think that is when Pogacar got the Polka Dot. That setup hurts specialist climbers. Not that that is awful just a repeat of last year when there was a battle for KOM but Pogacar grabs it near the end tour.

Brian

I’m not sure I agree. Cav should have trusted Morkov to lead him out as he always has through this tour. Instead, Cav got on Van Aert’s wheel and got boxed in. Morkov was well to the right of the melee when he saw Cav take Van Aert’s wheel.

Sometimes. The experienced pro ultrarunners usually don’t, but they often puke at the finish line; an event so common that buckets are usually immediately available.

Amateur runners, on the other hand, often do come across the line and collapse, especially at 100-km and 100-mile races. One of the most dramatic finishes at this year’s Western States Endurance Run was a 53-year old runner named Sean Mullett, who was staggering and visibly leaning as he entered the track for the final 800 meters to the finish line. He was in the final minutes of the “Golden Hour”, the last hour before the end of the race, and the whole stadium was screaming for him to help him to the finish before time ran out. He actually ran into the side of the finishing line arch, before bouncing off and staggering across the line with 75 seconds to spare. He was immediately helped into a wheelchair and taken to a hospital for observation.