Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 10 July 2016

2016 Tour de France: Amazing descent by Froome + uphill shootout today?

Yesterday was hot and tough over four climbs including the Tourmalet. It was made special by Chris Froome's amazing descent into Bagnères-de-Luchon to take both the stage and the Yellow Jersey. It featured a brave but quixotic attack by Thibaut Pinot at the base of the Tourmalet that ended any chance of him achieving a high overall placing – he is now 19'44 down on Chris Froome. Furthermore he missed out on the Polka Dot Mountains Jersey by one point to Rafa Majka, Majka grabbing the winning six points at the top of the Val Louron-Azet climb after Pinot blew up on the lower slopes of this climb.

Sky rode on the front of the leading peloton for all of the day. The Yellow Jersey Greg Van Avermaet was dropped on the lower slopes of the Tourmalet and came in 25'54 behind Froome. Nairo Quintana was undone by a moment of hesitation on the top of the Peyresourde, which was compounded by the other riders leaving it up to Valverde to close the gap on Froome.       

Overall Chris Froome has a narrow lead of 16 seconds over Adam Yates, who has the White Jersey as best Young Rider, 19 over Dan Martin and 23 over Quintana. Roman Kreuziger is Tinkoff's leading rider after Alberto Contador was dropped on last climb and now lies 3'12 behind Froome and still suffering from his crashes on the first two stages. 

Of France's Tour hopefuls only Romain Bardet is still fully in touch – just 23 seconds down, although Warren Barguil is at 1'51 and Pierre Rolland at 1'55. 

The UK may have stupidly voted to leave the EU by Brits are still very much in the Tour winning five of the eight stages to date and holding the Yellow (Froome), Green (Cavendish) and White (Yates) Jerseys. 

Stage 9: Vielha Val d'Aran to Andorre Arcalis 184.5 km 

This is truly a brutal stage, especially after yesterday's very hard stage run in hot conditions. Currently there are still 13 riders grouped within 34 seconds at the top of the overall standings. With this stage being a mountain top finish this will surely change and is likely to feature a battle between Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana. 

I expect surprises given the heat and the affects of yesterday's tough stage.    

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