I feel like I have ridden this tour, such was my exhaustion last night. I knew what to expect, and that was technically a rest day for the riders and myself. Long stage, generally flat except for a 4th cat climb in the last hour. Breakaway goes, peloton keeps it on a leash, pulls it back, sprint. As such I decided to kick back, watch a movie, and rejoin for the final 35km. The odd flick back told me I was not missing much except 5 big blokes yo-yoing between 1 and 2 minutes off the front. Sky had a day off as the sprint teams of FDJ and UAE controlled the race. They had the 2 favourites in Demare and Kristoff, with Colbrelli, Laporte and Degankold sitting in the wings, especially with a broken Sagan after his high speed crash the day before. And so it was as predicted, a sprint and a perfect lead out for Demare who looked the strongest considering how hard he had to fight to avoid elimination the previous day. One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards, so I don’t know why he moved a bit to his left to close the door on Laporte (see what I did there…). It wasn’t enough to get penalized, but maybe Demare just can’t help himself. I still blame him for the Sagan-Cavendish incident in last years tour, and have already watched him chop Cav up once on this years tour.
Special mention to Peter Perfect. Big crash the previous day and one could forgive him for keeping Lawson Craddock company in the pelotons sick bay at the back. But he sent his team to the front and had a crack, managing 8th. I always find it is the 2nd day after a crash that hurts the most, so today’s stage will be tough. But to use his own words “I’m not afraid of anything. I’m going to suffer a little bit, that’s all.” Obviously he won’t suffer like those poor football players in the world cup…
The big news of the day was Greipel tweeting that the only way Demare could have avoided elimination the previous day was by holding on to a car, and using the hash tag #notforthefirsttime. Demare sent Greipel his GPS data, and Greipel made a public apology and removed the tweet, but Demare would not accept the apology. Greipel is a nice bloke, and was big enough to apologise publicly, plus, Arnaud has form after “allegedly” taking a tow up the Cipressa in Milan-San Remo (That’s a monument BTW Pinnacle Insulting Group). Anyway, it added a bit of Bold and Beautiful drama to what was essentially a dull stage.
No change in the top two spots with Sam Green Machine holding off Sicknote 3. Mrs Trab moved into 3rd spot thanks to Laporte. The Jazz Singer finally hit the lows of rock bottom, and looks to be favorite to hold on looking at her team. I heard this morning that she has suddenly started to take an interest now she knows there is some prize money for the bottom few places! Big mover mention goes to Sportzcorp 4 who has just crept in to the top half of the table, up 76 spots to 148th.
Tonight should be a cracker of a stage with 2 HC climbs and a 1st and 2nd category. Expect fireworks on the final climb up the Col d’Aubisque as Bardet will trust his descending skills to try and salvage something from this tour. Sky will be under attack I imagine from Movistar and especially Lotto-NL Jumbo, who have been real animators in this years GC battle. Danny Boy will obviously attack as well, well why wouldn’t he, he can’t help himself.