Tour de France 2018

I’m so out of it that I didn’t even realize it has started (there is usually a thread, did I miss it?).

6 stages have finished. If I’m reading it right it is a close race so far (#32 is 16 seconds behind)

Anyone following?

Brian

Expect the standings to be close in the first few stages because they are almost entirely flat, and the peloton finishes at the front, so quite a few riders are credited with the same time as the stage winner.

Things don’t tend to spread out until they get to the mountains.

Yes, we’ve been watching every day, although not the full stage replays at night.

No noise from Froome and Sky yet, but no need to make noise yet. Can’t wait for 10, 11, and 12. I ride a Greg Lemond Alp d’Huez and love when that climb is in the Tour.

I haven’t watched in several years–the whole Armstrong debacle turned me off entirely. This year I decided to give it another shot. Lucky for me Roku has a 30-day free trial of the FUBO channel, so I’m set to watch the whole tour. It’s good to spend the morning with Phil, Paul, Bobke and the gang, watching the beautiful French countryside go by. The race itself is almost an afterthought.

That’s true, but stage 3 this year was a team time trial. That had the potential to introduce some time gaps. The TTT itself was very close, with the top 5 teams separated by only 11 seconds, and 6th place only 35 seconds back. Riders from those 5 teams still make up the top 6 riders in the general classification.

Not entirely true. Froome was in an accident on stage 1 and lost nearly a minute. Some of his GC rivals lost as much or more, but Sky can’t just sit back and wait for others to attack them as they seem to have done in the past.

Brutal day on the cobblestones today.

That was an awesome spectacle but excessive IMHO - bit of a roman circus seeing riders getting skittled left right and centre. I’m all for seeing some Classics bike racing in a GT but that was chaotic - 25 years since there’s been that much pave on a TdF stage and probably good reason for that.

Great to see the stage winner, though, obv meant everything to him with what he’s been through in getting back to to this level.

That was fascinating TV viewing, but the crashes are just too random and frequent. The Tour winner shouldn’t be determined by an accident on sandy cobbles.

Dumoulin was saying there was a pretty big headwind that negated a lot of his advantage, which is a bit of a shame, I thought this stage was tailor made for him.

The next few stages should give us a pretty good indication as to whom Sky should back. Should be interesting.

I was trying to figure out how much of it was luck. I missed a few cobble sections, but did anything bad happen to Team Sky? I think one of their riders wiped out on a turn and forced Van Avermaet and Froome to run wide off the road, but I didn’t see anything more than that. Are they lucky, or are they good?

If, as some are saying, this stage of cobbles was too much, what would be the perfect Tour? It seems like the only time gaps between GC contenders happen in the mountains. I like to see the Tour balanced in such a way as to not just favor climbers. Instead of all the cobbles on one stage, maybe spread them out a bit, or even have a cobblestone section on one of the time trials.

There’s nothing wrong with a cobble stage. It was a mini Paris-Roubaix without any of the really hard sections. The most notable crashes yesterday didn’t even happen on the cobbles. Porte went down before they even reached the cobbles, and Landa caught a drain cover while taking a drink. It’s always nice when there are stages aside from mountains and ITT where gaps are possible, and where those gaps might favour a slightly different group of riders than the usual finish at the top of l’Alpe d’Huez. Coastal crosswind stages are also good for excitement. Get echelons forming and you get some real tension. Gaps can be just as large as in the mountains, but they’ll favour those with teams that include the big engine rouleur-types rather than skinny mountain goats.

You might be a bit disappointed, there’s a big cloud hanging over Froome, back in 2017 he tested positive for too much salbutamol, he was allowed to continue racing while the enquiry dragged on forever, many lawyers later he got cleared just before the TdF. But many people are unhappy and feel he should’ve been sanctioned. The commentators have mentioned a few times that he gets booed during the pre-start presentations. Is he clean and simply much better than the others, is he so much better because Team Sky is best organized and well funded, or is he another Armstrong?

My advice, watch and enjoy the show, but don’t get too invested in the superhuman who’se winning all the races.

Have less mountains? Get rid of the HC and Cat 1 climbs? The stages with a bunch of Cat 2-4 mountains are exciting enough and well-balanced, but then again no matter what you do some type of cyclist will be favoured over the others and the teams will select riders to optimize that. The cobblestones are bit too much of a lottery though, look at Bardet, he got three punctures through no fault of his, and only a huge effort kept him in contention (well done to him).

In Paris-Roubaix there’s just one race to win the day, in TdF there’s the race for the stage winner, plus the race to avoid gaps in GC. So the tension and pace is high everywhere, and all this after 8 days in a row on the saddle. It looked like a lot of the riders were slipping on dirt dragged out of the cobble sections by the support cars, mainly in the later sections, when everybody was getting tired. A few sections is good for the spectacle and excitement, but these guys are still human, you can’t expect them to pedal for a week then endure a long difficult dirt-packed stage and not lose concentration.

Overall it’s been great so far. 3 sprinters winning 2 stages each, beautiful scenery, lots of French, Belgian and Latin American riders. Looking forward to the rest.

I used to watch regularly every summer during the Indurain era. My friend and I would watch and then ride, me trying to emulate Indurain and him Bugno. I watched the first part of Armstrong era, but started getting turned off when he kept winning. When Lemond flat out called out Armstrong publicly, I quite following. Plus I started working, so that probably added to it. At this point, should I assume Indurain was probably also doping? Wasn’t everyone?

I just got into at tleast keepijg up with the TDF again a couple of years ago, and really wanted to believe that Froome was clean. I’ve got to stop being naive. In this sport, the saying “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying” really applies. By the way, after all this time since that that era, has there been any evidence that any of the various cheating techniques have any long term effects on the riders’ health?

Anyway, any longshots in the field that I should latch onto?

The overall victory takes such mental strength never to have a real bad day, and requires such a strong team, that it’s not really in play for a long shot these days. It’s arguably the year for a new face, though - Froome is trying to double up the Giro and the Tour, an epic achievement that has defeated legends of the sport, plus he’s just starting to get into the Autumn of his career where the next generation should be starting to take him on straight up in the mountains. The remaining TT is also quite hilly and short - he can’t rely on burying all the climbers like he usually does in the test.
Unfortunately for everyone else, the guy is a mental colossus - what he did in the Giro, with the salbutamol fiasco hanging over his head, just crushed souls. He’s got the entire peloton in his back pocket, psychologically speaking, which is why he’s evens at the bookies and the 2nd favourite (Nibali) is 8-1.

Primoz Roglic, Slovenian ex ski-jumper (!) is a good one to keep an eye on - he has the tools to contest the GC (excellent time trialler, climbs well), but has yet to take that step. He’s had a great year, and is quietly in contention (15 secs behind Froome currently), so is in a great spot to show the world what he can do with the mountains starting.
Dan Martin won earlier in the week with a savage closing effort that shows the form is there. Unfortunately he’s had a painful crash in the interim so we’ll have to see if he’s over that - he’s be a pick for another stage win if he is.
Most interesting thing for me is what will happen with Geraint Thomas - he’s a popular rider here in the UK, has a warm sort of personality that contrasts markedly with cyborg Froome. Absolute animal on the bike but has always suffered with concentration that makes him vulnerable to a crash or one horrific day. He seems in excellent shape right now so be interesting to see how that plays out.

What an epic stage on the cobbles. The Tour has arrived after a boring week of sprint stages.

Great stage today… to bad Thomas won like a fucking coward.

Aye, I didn’t like the cowardly way he dropped Bardet, Froome, Nibali, Roglic, Quintana and then Dumoulin on that final climb :smiley:

Didn’t expect him to take Nieve in the last K though - thought Nieve had it but must have been suffering. Great stage all round.

Well, we got the answer to that question today.

is that a serious comment? looked like a great ride to me.

Yeah, I didn’t really have a problem with what he did. I’m a Dumoulin fan, but he was in a tough spot tactically in the final few km.

Option 1: ride pace to try and stay away from Froome. Problem is Thomas has no incentive to work with him. He can sit up and wait.

Option 2: Try to get Thomas to go around and mark him. Problem is Froome and Martin definitely catch him. Froome did anyhow.

At that point in the stage he was kinda stuck but I loved the attempt. The benefit to an attack on the previous downhill was that he could ride pace to the summit finish, which is far easier than marking people all the way up. And if my math is right, he was 30s slower. The aero benefit you get while riding in a pack is reduced going uphill so that’s less of an issue. I could be wrong thought, he might lose 15 min tomorrow.