Friday, July 18, 2014

Storming the Bastille

France’s “La Fête Nationale” seems like a good day to summarize my view of the TDF – my favorite or notable moments – for week one. 

Stage 1: Leeds - Harrogate  190.5km
Marcel Kittle riding to glory and a second time winning the Maillot Jaune in an opening stage sprint was pretty awesome. I had to feel for Mark Cavendish who for the past couple of years has found the opening stage Yellow Jersey elusive… I especially feel for him after crashing out in the bunch sprint this year. He obviously took a risk to try to put himself in a better position for the stage win and collided with Simon Gerrans.

Stage 2: York - Sheffield  201km
Chris Froome testing the legs of his primary competitors with an attack and seeing the top GC contenders respond and ride together to the finish. Expecting Peter Sagan to take the stage in a sprint, it was fantastic to watch Vincenso Nibali surprise attack in the last few hundred meters and take yellow with a 2 sec advantage.

Stage 3: Cambridge - London  155km
Kittle Wins in London.

Stage 4: Le Touquet-Paris-Plage - Lille Métropole  163.5km
Now at the Métropole, Kittle makes it three.

Stage 5: Ypres - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut  155.5km
The cobbles in the wet. Mud. Awesome. There has been some controversy about the inclusion of the pave in the TDF, but from a spectator’s perspective this made for one of the most memorable stages that I have ever seen. There was so much anticipation of this stage leading into this year’s TDF – and for me it didn’t disappoint. Watching Vincenso Nibali float over the cobbles to maintain his lead was phenomenal. Lars Boom willing himself to the front and taking the stage was fantastic too. 

Chris Froome abandoning the race was the biggest disappointment. Although I have been rooting for Americans  TJ Van Garderen and Andrew Talanski to usher in a new era of American cycling with a TDF win, it was hard to see the defending champion struggle with a couple of crashes and abandon before he hit the pave sections.

Stage 6: Arras - Reims 194km
Andre Greipel wins the stage in a sprint finish.

Stage 7: Épernay - Nancy 234.5km
Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) photo-finish win over Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

Stage 8: Tomblaine - Gérardmer La Mauselaine  161km
Breakaway success – at one point 11+ minutes and Frenchman Blel Kadri holding on and winning the stage on Bastille Day-Weekend was pretty special to watch. I was rooting for Sylvain Chavanel (I AM Cycling) because he showed such spirit in the breakaway but I was equally pleased for his fellow countryman from AG2R La Mondial.  

Stage 9: Gérardmer - Mulhouse 170km
Tony Martin killing it and surviving solo on the breakaway, time-trial style, almost 8 minutes over the peleton. 

 Tony Gallopin leading chase and snatching the Yellow Jersey for France on the eve of Bastille Day.

Stage 10: Mulhouse - La Planche des Belles Filles  161.5km
Alberto Contador abandoning after a crash and knee injury was so disappointing.  I love how he rides, attacks, and makes the race interesting. Hope he is back in form for the Vuelta. 

Vincenzo Nibali proved again that he is a force to be reckoned with, putting the pressure on throughout and ending the stage with a superhuman attack on a 20% grade. Made his stage truly memorable as he took back the Maillot Jaune. Also nice to see TJ Van Garderen move up to 7th overall in the GC. 

Some really great riding again by Tony Martin and others as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment