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« How a Single Ride Changed the Face of British Time Trialing | Main | Candy Apple Paint »
Thursday
Jun252015

Looking forward to the TDF

I have watched some great racing this year, the Spring Classics, the Giro d’Italia, and the lead up races to the Tour de France. The Paris/Niece, the Criterium du Dophine, the Route du Sud, and the Tour de Suisse. I have not written a single word about any of them here on my blog.

The reason, whenever I do it turns into a discussion on doping, and quite honestly if I am in the middle of watching a race, or I have just watched it, it spoils it for me. It is not that I am in denial, or that I am so naïve to believe that doping doesn’t still go on, but I do believe that the sport is in a better place than it has been for a long time.

The fact that no one rider is dominating the sport anymore, I feel is an indication of that. It makes for better and more interesting racing. Here we are approaching the Tour de France, with four favorites. Contador, Froome, Quintana, and Nibali.

The winner will be whoever hits peak form during the race, so don’t rule out Tejay Van Garderen. Sure Froome beat him in the Criterium du Dophine, but only by 10 seconds. And if Tejay peaks at the Tour that could change. Nibali did nothing in the same race, but then again he did the exact same thing last year but appeared to peak at the Tour.

The same goes for French riders Thibault Pinot and Warren Barguil, and young British rider Simon Yates. Any of these could peak at the right time and cause an upset. All are in with at least a chance of a podium place.

Froome has a good chance of winning if he doesn’t fall off his bike. But I would take bets on him falling off over winning. I read a quote somewhere, that Chris Froome’s riding style is like “An octopus falling from a tree.” Not a pleasing rider to watch. Sure he gets the job done, but Contador climbing out of the saddle is more like watching a ballet, and a joy to behold.

Contador has the Giro d’Italia in his legs, which could either help or hinder his chances, depending on whether or not he has taken all the right steps to recover. On the penultimate stage of the Route du Sud that included three category one climbs, Contador looked extremely strong, but Quintana was able to meet his every attack. In the end it was Contador’s superior bike handling skills on the final descent that won him the stage and the overall race.

I would like to see Contador win, if only to see him pull of the Giro/Tour double. He will almost certainly retire at the end of this year if he does. He is a joy to watch, and tough as nails, remember he dislocated a shoulder in a crash in this year’s Giro, and carried on to win. Quintana could win too, Froomey and Nibali I could care less really.

So let’s have all the anti-doping rhetoric now while I have a week to forget about it. Then I can sit back and enjoy the racing. It promises to be a great one.  

 

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Reader Comments (9)

While you're waiting, if you want to watch a good documentary about the pre-doping era of the Tour, check out ESPN's Slaying the Badger about the LeMond/Hinault partnership/rivalry. (Can't understand why ESPN wasted half the screen real estate with movie theater graphics!)

June 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

RubeRad,
I watched it on Netflix, very well done.
Dave.

June 26, 2015 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

"pre-doping era" + "the Tour" = oxymoron

June 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLee

I get a little tired of the constant break aways that seem to always get caught tight before the finish line, on flatish stages. Plus I will never forget OR forgive Armstrong. The money and fame that TREK got,( you mean to tell me that THEY did not know about the doping?) Now every race I watch and see some rider dominate.what do you think I AM thinking?

June 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Events at the 2014 Tour reinforced my respect for the consummate team performances by Sky in 2012 & 2013 that brought victory for Wiggins and Froome respectively. Froome once more has a very strong supporting cast, and I think he will triumph if he can stay upright.
Last year highlighted how much skill, strength and luck is needed just to finish.

June 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMartin W

Hi Dave,

Apart from the usual suspects it will be interesting to see how the French do after last years podium placings. Pierre Roland on Europecar, touted a couple of years ago as a possible G.C. contender has fallen off the radar a bit. This years king of the mountains with as yet no obvious winner, let's see if he can do something for the polka dots.

Cofidis are always guaranteed a ride and apart from getting in a break or two have done very little. Now with Nacer Bouhanni the up and coming sprinter it will be interesting to see how they handle the argy bargy of the leadout trains at this level if they can get him up there.

The green jersey competition should be a good one. Peter Sagan may be otherwise engaged if Contador is in with a shout and whatever mood Oleg is in. With Giant's Marcel Kittle out, this would be a good opportunity for John Degenkolb to give it a go, my money's on John D.

I too would like to see Contador win, not bothered about Froome staring at his wattage readout for 3 weeks. I'm sure the main contenders have been working on the cobbles, not to let Nibali put as much time into them as he did last year, Quintana working on his time trialling etc. The g.c. should be tight if they can remain upright.

It's going to be grand.

I'm pulling for Tee Jay! He ALMOST won the Dauphine, he deserves a victory over Froome in the tour! I will also enjoy fast forwarding over every commercial, thanks to the DVR!

June 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Katz

Today stage was epic, with nice solo by Tony Martin.

July 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSportisto

Why so many more crashes in the most recent Tours than in past decades...?
Unlike what Phil Ligget or Paul Sherwin say, it isn’t “nerves”. Racers have always had those.
I read of Pro Teams teaching their riders the fine art of riding in a pack. Hum…may also be reflective of people today, glued to a screen. And racers not only have a screen on their bars, but a race radio in their ear.
Peter Sagan, Contador, Nibali, Valverde and a select few others look, and ride relaxed. They have an ease about them, without looking like a rabbit in your headlights.
That ease is rare today, but was common in days of yore...what wasn't common was all the crashes.

July 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

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