Whoever said this was a boring tour needs to take a good look at themselves, because they have no clue what they are talking about. Four riders within 30 seconds of each other on GC, with another 2 with 80 seconds. Riders prepared to have a crack at Chris Froome, and some new tactics not out of the race book. This weekends racing has been brilliant. Barguil continued to impress in his hunt for spotty points, although I think Blings charge for green is now over as the 1st Cat climb last night was his undoing. Bauke Mollema seized on Sky’s willingness for the break to succeed and broke away after the 1st cat climb and held of the pursuers to take a maiden win in the Tour. He has threatened for many years and has been consistent in his GC aspirations, but finally he has landed a Nobel winning move.
The move of the day has to go to the AG2R team. The whole team went to the front and then proceeded to pile the pressure on on the rolling foothills before the 1st cat climb. This had the whole peloton strung out in a line, with a gap to the Sky led train. Belgian champ, Oliver Naesen, lit it up which caused some panic in the Sky led train. Eventually they made contact and got back up, and just when Froome thought he was safe he had a mechanical issue with his rear wheel. Why they continue to use Shimano wheels after Tirreno-Adriatico and the exploding wheel incident I will never know. ShamaNO! Anyway, he took Michal Kwiatkowski’s wheel and set off in chase of the AG2R led freight train. It took a long time for him to catch back on using various teammates along the way, but hook on he did. Just at that time Dan Martin took off and managed to sneak away for 14 seconds, which moved him over Mikel Landa in the GC. Martin should be either in Yellow or at least on the podium if he had not cynically been taken out by Richie Porte… Froome will be glad of the rest day to recover from the efforts of today I imagine.
While the Tour may not be boring, the Tipping Comp has a certain level of inevitability to it. No change in the top 3 as we dish out the rest day prizes. Heartthrobs04 gets $30, Mrs Spunker $20 and Hearththrobs01 the $10. A late change by tipping comp stalwart Albany Postal saw him fall short by 100+ points. Today’s big mover mention goes to Dicky Knees, up 88 places from just inside the top 200 to just outside the top 100. No change in the bottom 3 with Dai the Kilt holding off Pussy to take the Lantern Rouge into the rest day.
So tonight there will be a rest day redraw which I am sure you are all excited about. A chance to get rid of Sagan and the useless Cavendish from your teams and replace them with some new blood. But can anyone catch the top 3 who have been solid since the competition began. The final week will tell.