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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Sagan’

Upholstery tacks?  Seriously?  Clearly my “Ugly Fans” rant was two days too soon.  The Tour is such a great spectacle partly because of the amazing numbers of fans lining the road.  Sadly it is a statistical certainty that with enough people in a group, you will have a number of imbeciles shouting hatred for their own stupid reasons, and another group of vandals risking other peoples’ lives and livelihoods for whatever reason: ideology, dumb self gratification, whatever.

It was shaping up to be a cool stage too: the break was doing what breaks do (I can’t believe Sagan dragged himself over the wall in touch with them all trying to drop him) and LL Sanchez eventually won himself the day with a very smart move a long way out from the finish line.

The cool bit was waiting to see what would be happening with the big shots having a go at each other on such a treacherous hill.  Sadly the end result was a stage very sportingly neutralised by Wiggo and Team Sky.

Sigh…

Tonight’s stage will be a sprint, and I reckon it’ll be Cav from Gossy from Greipel, and hopefully there will be no idiots taking it upon themselves  to become part of the race.

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So if you looked at the result of last night and saw Greipel from Sagan from Boassen Hagen, you’d likely think “Aaah just another bunchie” – it was certainly the finale that I was expecting!  And was far from the finale that actually happened.

BMC took advantage of the stiff crosswinds and tough little wall 25km from the finish to send Cadel shooting off the front of the bunch.  Clearly they are still sniffing around to do some damage and hopefully get Cadel back into the race!  The result was no change for Evans, although he did blow the peloton to smithereens and made Sky work a lot harder than they otherwise would have

Atop  the climb there were only twenty or thirty riders still in contention, and when Alexandre Vinokourov attacked with Michael Albasini, the pressure was kept high, making it very difficult for any riders who were attempting to bridge up to the front bunch from closing the gap.  One group who did were the boys from Lotto Belisol, with the big fella (Greipel) in tow.

It then became a drag race between two very strong lads in front, and the Lotto train behind.  While the inevitable happened and they were caught a couple of km from the finish, the damage had been done, and the race was between the few who remained. Greipelh ad used all of his soldiers in shutting down the break, so had no train, and no one else was interested in delivering the few fast men there to the line.

And then the unheard of happened.

The Yellow Jersey lead out the sprint.  There are always anomalous times when the bloke who happens to be in yellow isn’t the leader of the team, so does some work for whoever it is that is the boss: Hushovd helping out Farrar last year for Garmin is an example, as is  Victor Pena riding for Lance back in 2003.  Neither man was any chance of winning the race at the end of the Tour.  That the Yellow Jersey rode for Boassen Hagen yesterday speaks volumes for the respect Wiggo has for him, and had he have set the Norwegian up for the win, would have paid back a lot of the work done throughout the race.

Greipel eventually won out over Sagan, with the latter consolodating his lead in the Green Jersey as Gossy didn’t get over the climb in touch with the lead bunch.  What a cracking finale to a stage that many would have penned in as a “boring” bunch sprint.

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We’ve had a full week since the mad dog sprinters have had a chance to shine, and I would be astonished if we had to wait another day to see them

Sagan singing an opera at Gossy (thanks to Bettini photos)

all go head to head for the win. That is not to say that the sprinters have kept quiet: we’ve had Gossy be relegated for deviating from his line against Sagan (tough 50:50 decision); Sagan dragging Nibali up the road in an attack on the Sky Supertrain (bike racing brilliance); Ty Farrar suffering from multiple wounds and hopefully recovering enough to bop a win (hardman); and Cav keeping his mouth shut. Weird.

A break will skip away, Sky will let them clear on out of Dodge, then Lotto and GreenEdge will control the peloton to bring things back together for another crack at line honours.

Gossy will be that fired up after pumping Sagan twice in a day, yet losing points in the race for the Green that I reckon he’s the man for the win today. Second to be Greipel, third Cav.

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After the savagery of yesterday’s stage, today is very likely to be a neutral stage from the GC boys’ point of view.  There are big hills in it, but they are very early in the stage.  Hence those who played big roles late in the climb yesterday will likely be riding small, tucked into the bunch conserving energy.

One can only assume that everyone’s favourite Slovakian, Peter Sagan, will get himself into the break and win the stage.  The mountains may be just a little too steep for someone like Matty Goss to attempt, although I have no doubt he’ll try!

For mine, it’ll be Sagan from Hoogerland from Chavanel.  A quieter stage though.

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