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Thread: 2019 Tour de France

  1. #21
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    Tantalizingly poised Tour de France is saving its best for last
    By John Leicester and Samuel Petrequin (AP Sports Writers)
    NIMES, France — A Tour de France jam-packed with unexpected plot twists is saving its biggest surprise for last.
    With six riders within reach of the podium heading into the toughest final stages in the Alps, the race that resumes Tuesday after the final off-day is tantalizingly poised. Furious racing over the first 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) through Belgium and France and the uncertain outcome ahead of the grand finale in Paris are conspiring to deliver the most engrossing Tour in recent memory.
    Like a summer rain, the suspense of still not knowing who will win with just six of the 21 stages remaining is exquisitely refreshing for cycling’s greatest race after years of implacable domination by the uber-rich, super-calculating British Ineos team, formerly Sky.
    “Nobody is really controlling the race as such. It’s way more exciting but it’s more like chess in another sense. It’s brilliant fun,”
    Either one of Geraint Thomas, Ineos’ struggling defending champion, or Thibaut Pinot, the French climber who rebounded in the Pyrenees from what had seemed a decisive loss of time on the flat before the mountains, could still ride up the Champs-Elysees in the iconic yellow jersey on Sunday.
    A Pinot victory would trigger delirium across France, which has had no homegrown champion to celebrate since Bernard Hinault in 1985.
    But Thomas’ Colombian teammate Egan Bernal or dark horses Steven Kruijswijk from the Netherlands and German rider Emanuel Buchmann could put French champagne back on ice. Making few waves and avoiding the misfortunes, mistakes and big off-color days that sank other riders’ title hopes, they’re very much in the podium picture. But their stealthy consistency could hit its limits in the Alps, where conservative riding might not be enough to win if Pinot and others attack, as expected.
    Just 39 seconds — practically nothing in cycling, where riders often lose minutes when they wilt on big climbs — separate Thomas, in second place overall, from Buchmann, in sixth. Kruijswijk is third, Pinot fourth and Bernal fifth.
    Missing from this script, of course, is the yellow jersey himself, France’s sweetheart Julian Alaphilippe. His punchy, unpredictable style has endeared him to fans bored with the by-the-numbers wins that Sky, now Ineos, secured with Bradley Wiggins in 2012, four-time winner Chris Froome and, last year, with Thomas. But in the Pyrenees, Alaphilippe started to pay for the energies he expended in taking, losing, getting back, and then extending his race lead in weeks one and two.
    Having built up a lead of 2 minutes, 2 seconds over Thomas at the top of the Tourmalet, the first of seven climbs to above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) at this Tour, Alaphilippe then cracked Sunday on the last ascent in the Pyrenees. His lead shrank to 1:35 and, most importantly, his ride appeared to signal that the even harder climbs to come in the Alps, where what remains of his lead could quickly melt away if he can’t stay with the pace, might be beyond his limit.
    Either way, the Tour can say something that has not always been true in recent years: there is still much more to come.

  2. #22
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    Stage # 16 Mostly flat to be a sprinters finish. The HEAT is at 98 at the start with the pavement at 130 !! Water and ice packs are in order for the day.
    At mile 79, Geraint thomas goes down but, gets up and is team aided back into the peloton.
    9th place Jacob Fuglsang crashes hard with others maybe his own team mate and hurts so bad he withdraws from the tour at this point.
    In the sprinters flat finish a surprise winner - Caleb Ewan from Lotto Sougal wins over the highly touted others.
    Alaphilippe still leads with 1:35 over Geraint Thomas. Many mts. to come for the rest of the week.
    A fun fact - the town of Nimes was rthe 1st place to make deniem as we know it. It was from [de] Nimes that we get our word for jeans.

  3. #23
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    #17 again in the heat of 95+ in the heat wave that grips all of Europe!
    It takes awhile but, a B A of 33 moves out from the Peloton. They are allowed to have a greater time gap because of the non top contenders that are all in the Peloton.
    The 33 pull out to 11:09 @ 57 miles to go and 13:50 @38 mi. and 17:43 @ 6 miles to go!!
    Rain comes down on the off the front pack and then the Peloton to cool things dow.
    6 riders try to move out some and do get 43 seconds on the chaser then Matio Trentin jumps on the hill before the others can react and rides the last 4 miles out front to win the stage.
    Lance Armstrong is being asked to comment on his thoughts on the race and his choices on the leaders in the High Alps in the next 3 days.
    It's nice for me to see him back in the world of T D F after being banned years ago.
    None of the leaders changed as they save themselves for the Alps.

  4. #24
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    # 18 3 huge mt. [cols] climbs today. 3,700 -3900 - 4200 ft. of vertical each. 11 in B A with Quintana in the lead one.
    peloton 8:30 back after 2nd mt. A total of 31 riders are in the 3 lead groups with 140 others spread all over the mt. course!
    Niro Quintana goes for it on the last mt col de Galibier and gets a lead of 35 secs. on the 2nd & 3rd chase groups with the yellow jersey with most of the leaders almost 4:30 back. The leaders go over the top and Ala shows his amazing props in defending as he passes all 12 on the inside & outside of curves to lead the pack!
    Quintana wins the stage and pulls himself back into a 7 th place in the pack of leaders.
    Ala still in Yellow despite "experts" saying he would not. 2nd is now Egan Bernal + 1:30 3rd Geraint Thomas + 1:35 4th 5th Steven Kruijswijk +1:47
    and 6th Thibaut Pinot + 1:50 ..
    Fri & sat are 2 more mt. stages and anything can take place!

  5. #25
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    OOHH NOOO ! The stage was partially cancelled not because of the heat but for HAIL and landslides on the steep down hill sections!!??
    Ala lost the Yellow jersey since he was deprived of his awesome downhill skills! What an uproar this will be. More later !

  6. #26
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    #19 is time stopped at the top of Col De L'iseran! Even as most of the top contenders were 1/2 way down the mt. when they were formed by race radio and team communications and referee cars that they are stopping the race many still kept going.
    Heavy rain then hail and snow with end loaders trying to remove the water and snow before the racers got to that points why they decided to get exact times from the top of the mt clocks.
    Unfare to the racers that were decending into another town that they could have gotten times from!
    At this time Egan Bernal is in yellow because of his time lead over Ala at t he top of the mt. Final times will need to be all recalculated from that point before sat. OH what a mess this will be!

  7. #27
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    #20 Well the storms of yesterday have a hand in today's stage! The heavy rain and mudslides have destroyed some of the stage's roads!
    The organizers have cut the stage in 1/2 down to 37 miles! Well there goes any chance for Ala to use his downhill skills.
    Ala drops back on the steepest of the mts. and loses more time.
    Vinchenzo Nibali goes all in to break from the few leaders to gain the stage win by43 seconds!
    Egan Bernal, age only 22, the youngest riders in the year's tour, leads Ala by 1:11

  8. #28
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    Stage #21 the last goes into Paris with the final 12 laps around the champs Elyeses parade route till the team sprinters try to win the stage.
    All are in the peloton trying to keep the sprinters out of trouble and at the line --- Caleb Ewan wins the stage at 41 mph.
    The yellow jersey stays on T D F winner Egan Bernal of Columbia and team ineos ,the former team SKY.
    1st Egan Bernal - ineos wins T D F
    2nd Geraint Thomas - ineos 1:11 back
    3rd Steven Kruijswijk - Bora 1:31
    4th Emanual Buckman Jumbo 1:31
    5tg Julian Alaphilippe - Quick step 4:04

    What a great tour to watch this year with so many leads and teams winning stages!

  9. #29
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    P S - A star is born at the Tour: 22-year-old champ Egan Bernal
    By John Leicester and Samuel Petrequin (AP Sports Writers)
    PARIS — The skies over Paris were yellow, ignited by a glorious golden sunset.
    The partying fans’ shirts were yellow, Colombians making themselves at home on the Champs-Elysees.
    But the yellow that counted most was the iconic jersey that fit so snugly on the slim shoulders of Egan Bernal.
    His crowning Sunday as the Tour de France’s youngest post-World War II champion, and its first from South America, heralded the birth of a new supernova in the cycling universe.
    Winning a Tour for the ages at the unusually young age of 22 immediately prompted the question: How many more might he win?
    Get this: He’s younger than the Tour’s greatest champions — five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain — all were when they were first crowned. Pity those in the peloton who also hope to win future editions of cycling’s greatest race: They could be in for quite a wait.
    “I am the most happy guy in the world. I just won the Tour de France, and, yeah, I can’t believe it,” Bernal said, looking bemused on the podium in the race winner’s jersey and silhouetted by the splendid sunset.
    The slightly built Colombian with a killer instinct on the road proved to be the strongest of the 176 strong men who roared off from the start in Brussels, Belgium, on July 6 on their 3,366-kilometer (2,092-mile) odyssey that delivered the most absorbing, drama-packed Tour in decades and confirmation that the prodigy Bernal is the real deal.
    Riding a yellow bike, and cheered by Colombian fans who were partying even before he rattled up the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees, Bernal crossed the line with his teammate Geraint Thomas, the 2018 champion who this year finished second. Steven Kruijswijk completed what Tour organizers said was the tightest podium in the 116-year history of the race, with just 1 minute, 31 seconds separating first and third places after three weeks of racing.
    The 21st and final stage was won in a sprint finish on the famous avenue by Australian Caleb Ewan, the dominant sprinter of his first Tour with three stage wins. Keeping with race tradition on its final day, the 155 riders who survived the Tour rode at a pedestrian pace and in a joyful atmosphere before hitting the Champs-Elysees. Bernal chatted with French rival Julian Alaphilippe and raised a glass of champagne as he rode.
    At the finish, Bernal fell into the arms of his family.
    “I cannot believe it. It’s just incredible. I am sorry. I have no words,” he said through a translator. “I still can’t understand what is happening to me.”
    Tearful Colombians celebrated their new hero.
    “When I saw that he won, I said, ‘I need to go with my music to support him,’” said clarinet-playing Colombian fan Sebastian Cortes, who traveled from Strasbourg in eastern France for the celebration.
    But millions of French fans who had lined the roads through east, central and southern France, and up into the thinning air of the Pyrenees and Alps, were ruing a bittersweet Tour.
    First, their hearts soared with fabulous racing from French riders Alaphilippe, who held the iconic yellow jersey for 14 days, and Thibaut Pinot, who won on the first of seven 2,000-meter-plus (6,500-feet) peaks scaled by the highest Tour in history.
    But joy turned to sorrow when Alaphilippe and Pinot’s prospects of becoming France’s first winner since Hinault in 1985 were cruelly dashed just two days before the grand finale in Paris, on an epic Stage 19 where Mother Nature became a party-pooping guest. An almighty dump of torrential rain and hail severed the Tour route just as Bernal was succeeding in ripping the race lead off Alaphilippe, who’d clung to it like a kid with a favorite toy.
    “Julian Alaphilippe made us dream,” said Celestin Simon, a Parisian who cheered his hero on the Champs-Elysees in a pointy hat of French red, white and blue. “Unfortunately, there’s no victory at the end.”
    So instead of a red-white-and-blue celebration, Paris got painted in Colombian red, blue and yellow.
    Lots and lots of yellow.

  10. #30
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    Thanks for the posts and summaries. I record each day and then fast forward through most of it.

    I enjoyed the Tour much more when there were no radios and motorbikes telling all the riders who was where. With today's communication, it may be more strategic for the riders, but it boring for most of the stages - except some of the mountains and time trials. If the peleton did not know who was way out in front and by how much, they might ride a bit harder. Under these conditions, I would watch much more of it.

    This is not dissing Mark Cavendish, but I am glad he was not riding this year. Not only does he get too much announcer time, I think he is a dangerous rider as evidenced by the incident with Sagan last year. Slow motion clearly showed he was the unsafe aggressor yet Sagan was DQ'd from the Tour for "fighting" back.

    The only thing worse than the sprinters are the absolutely stupid people who crowd the roads on the steep climbs.

    One thing for sure, the routes are gorgeous as are the castles. Maybe one day I can get over there on an electric bike and ride Alp d Huez!!

  11. #31
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    Agreed. The stupid people that wave flags in the face& paths of riders is dangerous!
    For most of T D F the crowds were more respectful this years but, in up hill climbs some idiots just want to be on TV!

  12. #32
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    Re: 2019 Tour de France

    More Tour woes for France
    But future looks bright, with 5 riders in top 15
    By Samuel Petrequin and John Leicester (AP Sports Writers)
    PARIS — “Now or Never.”
    That was the headline running across the front page of France’s biggest-selling sports newspaper, L’Equipe, three weeks ago, amid nationwide hopes that a homegrown rider could finally win the Tour de France.
    In the absence of many big names — including four-time champion Chris Froome — France’s top contenders, Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet, were expected to make the most of this year’s climb-heavy route — and even finally end the 34-year drought.
    Three weeks later, neither Pinot nor Bardet stood on the Tour podium and the wait for a French winner continues.
    The future of French cycling looks bright, though, and a successor to Bernard Hinault — the last Frenchman to win cycling’s marquee race back in 1985 — is likely to emerge sooner than later.
    Although Bardet, twice a podium finisher, was never an overall threat and had to be content with the polka dot jersey for best climber, Pinot was magnificent until a left leg injury reduced him to tears on the side of an Alpine climb, and forced him out of the race within touching distance of the Champs Elysees.
    With Bardet nowhere to be seen, another Frenchman, Julian Alaphilippe, surged to the fore, gaining pop-idol status in the space of just three weeks. And five French riders finished in the top 15 for the first time since 2011.
    A classics specialist, Alaphilippe exceeded all expectations, wearing the yellow jersey for 14 days after playing havoc with traditional race strategies. Despite his pedigree in one-day races, Alaphilippe was not among the pre-Tour favorites, and many spectators had hardly heard of him when the race started.
    But he took the Tour lead by storm during the first week of racing with a bold attack. After losing the yellow jersey, he reclaimed it and fought to stay in yellow with a living-the-moment humble attitude that excited fans and impressed his rivals.
    “It’s incredible how he stepped up and improved,” said 2018 Tour champion Geraint Thomas, who finished runner-up this year behind his Ineos teammate Egan Bernal. “A big, big well done to him. He fought until the very end. He deserved to be on that podium.”
    In scenes sometimes reminiscent of the “Wiggomania” in Britain when Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour, Alaphilippe was feted in every village crossed by the peloton. Each morning, fans chanted his name near his team bus, asked him for selfies and stopped him for autographs. The excitement was such that at some point Alaphilippe had to be escorted by police officers to the start of the stage.
    With his team not strong enough to protect him in the mountains, Alaphilippe worked alone in the Alps and ultimately paid for his exhausting efforts, cracking under the pressure of Ineos and Jumbo-Visma teams to drop to fifth place overall.
    Pinot’s situation is slightly different. A confirmed climber with a team capable of supporting him in the mountains, he arrived at the Tour in the form of his life after focusing on the Giro d’Italia last year.
    Having spent weeks based in the Alps with all the big mountain stages in mind, Pinot showed from the start he would be a force to be reckoned with when he jumped on Alaphilippe’s wheel during the hilly Stage 8 to Saint-Etienne to gain time on Thomas and Bernal.
    Pinot also showed a newly found mental fortitude later in the race, quickly bouncing back after the loss of 1 minute, 40 seconds in crosswinds. An emotional rider, Pinot responded with a display of class and power in the Pyrenees. In the southwestern mountain range, he stood out from the rest, even putting the pure climber Bernal on the back foot with devastating acceleration which earned him a prestige win at the Tourmalet summit.
    But Pinot’s fragile health overtook his challenge. His Tour abruptly ended Friday in the arms of William Bonnet, the teammate who rode by his side in the last meters before his withdrawal, his left leg badly affected by a muscular injury sustained earlier in the final week.
    A third-place finisher at the 2014 Tour, Pinot has not finished his home race since 2015. On Saturday morning, he still had to choke back tears when speaking to a TV crew about his withdrawal. But he has promised to come back in 2020.
    “The confidence I have in Thibaut Pinot is enormous. He is a great rider and will remain a great rider,” FDJ-Groupama manager Marc Madiot said. “He always gets back on his feet, I believe the best is still to come.”

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