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

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

2017 Tour de France: Démare wins, Cav and Sagan out. Preview of Stage 5

Having shown good form on Stages 2 and 3 Arnaud Démare duly won his first Tour de France stage in Vittel. Unfortunately his victory was overshadowed by the serious crash involving Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan. From the footage Sagan veers across the road to get on Démare's wheel taking Cav over towards the barrier. Then Sagan's elbow is raised. Whether his elbow actually connected with Cav is now hotly debated or whether Cav was now so close the barrier he was crashing anyway.

Whatever – the result is that Cav is out of the Tour with a broken shoulder blade and Sagan has been disqualified and thrown off the Tour. Initially the commissaires penalised Sagan by docking time and Green Jersey points before deciding to disqualify him, which has now caused a huge controversy. 

It is a great shame that the 2017 Tour has now lost two of its biggest stars.It has also blown the Green jersey competition wide open. 

Although involved in another crash within the last kilometre Geraint Thomas remains in Yellow. This crash held up Marcel Kittel. 

Stage 5 Vittel to La Planche des Belles Filles 160.5 kms

The final climb – last part is 20%

After the opening Time Trial this stage, which finishes is the first real test for the overall contenders. La Planche des Belles Filles was first used in 2012 and then again in 2014, so to feature three times in the last five years shows it has rapidly become a favourite. In 2012 Chris Froome won the stage and Bradley Wiggins took the Yellow Jersey and never lost it. The same thing happened in 2014 when Vincenzo Nibali won here and kept the Yellow jersey all the way to Paris. 

I fancy that either Geraint Thomas or Chris Froome will be in Yellow tonight unless a breakaway is allowed to stay away. If other overall contenders want to shake up Sky it would make sense as well as making the race more exciting if they started attacking well before the start of La Planche. It will be interesting to see how Richie Porte goes today – will he put in a big attack? Equally the steepness of the climb should suit Nairo Quintana, so will be an indication whether he has recovered from the Giro. Although time gaps are unlikely to be very big, I think we may well see Alberto Contador lose some time today.

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck was the sole breakaway ride of the day – riding almost the whole stage on his own not getting caught until just over 10 kms to go.

No comments: