Of the Tour de France - End of Week 1

Tour De France Week 1

Hede-Bazouges, on tour, France, Stage 9, Team Time Trial

#TdF2015 One week in. OK, what have learned this week?

Of the big Four, let’s start with Nibali (13th place at 2’22”), the current TdF champion - not that it means anything 50 weeks later. He was dropped in the final kilometer Saturday, up the Mur de Bretagne. Losing 4 seconds. Not a huge amount, but the other three didn’t, and finished together. He lost more time in the TTT, Sunday. By this time last year he had the race wrapped up, as Contador & Froome had departed injured. He’d also won a stage, over the ‘pave’. He’s a winner, but he’s not looking like one now. In fact he’s looking a little punchdrunk. I think I even saw him breathing on Saturday’s final climb. If he doesn’t come good in the Pyrenees on Tuesday/Wednesday, I’m guessing he’ll be ‘a casa’, spaghetti-side, by next weekend.

Quintana (9th place at 1’59”).
He’s near the front at every finish, with a great TTT result Sunday. He’s not overdoing anything, not featuring on the tele, or overdoing interviews. Everyday I have to check the results to see if he finished, cause he’s so hard to see. In fact I’d say he’s riding in ‘economy’ mode. He’s not attracting any attention, riding tucked in, and hidden. Economy mode… Saving it all for the third week. Economy. Two minutes in arrears before any mountains? Pfft. ECONOMY.

Contador (5th place at 1’03”)
He’s hard to read. A convicted drug cheat, who has never confessed, is hard to believe as well. At face value he’s looking good. His team is strong, and he’s riding well, always near the front. After the winning the Giro, I’d expect him to be tired, but that may not be apparent until we’re in the Alps in the third week. I’m not about to write him off, but if he wins this tour, I won’t be believing what I’m seeing.

Froome (1st place, in yellow)
Christ, have you seen him? On the bike he looks like a daddy long legs spider in a wind tunnel. I’d like to say that I’ve seen him in the flesh, but he doesn’t have any. Hard to believe he’ll live for three weeks, let alone win. I’m surprised every time he stands up. If the plague, or some other pestilence, went through the peloton he’d be the first one dead. Will not see Paris.

The Sprinters
Griepel, has got his mojo back, beating Cav twice this week. But Cav has had the last win, of the three sprints up for grabs. It’s a fantastic contest, and Friday as they rolled through Argentan, after the first sprint, they were side by side, having a little chat. While it’s disappointing we don’t have Kittel in the mix, we’ve still got a great race on our hands. Sagan’s back in Green tonight, by the way – still without a win.

The fall of Tony Martin
This week we saw a multiple world champion, wearing the leader’s jersey of the greatest bike race in the world, crash and break his collar bone. No one to blame but himself. The moral of this story is that all bike riders crash, no matter how good they are. Just ask Simon Gerrans. Bike riding is inherently dangerous. If you are happy to ride a few centimetres off the wheel of a bike in front of you, you can expect to be involved in a crash. You need not look past yourself, if you need to appoint the blame.

Cuisine Report

We had scallops served on a bed of mushrooms, last night, from Scotland, served by a (fantastic) Irish Chef, in Brittany, France. The photo didn't do it justice, sorry. You'll just have to imagine. Followed by Duck for the main, and Creme Brullee with a local 'sticky', that wasn't too sticky.

Off to meet my girls tomorrow in Bourg d'Oisans, for a few days, before we kick off the final TdF Paris tour on friday.

PS - Topbike TDF Dates for 2016

TOUR DE FRANCE PARIS - July 15–25 2016*

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