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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

2017 Tour de France: Roglič overcomes the Galibier, Stage 18 – showdown on the Izoard?

 Primoz Roglič wins in Serre Chevalier

 Overall Chris Froome still in Yellow, Fabio Aru loses time 

 Green: Michael Matthews leads 
following Marcel Kittel's retirement

Climber: Warren Barguil still leads 
but advantage has been trimmed a little 

Young rider: Simon Yates still leads  
but Louis Meintjes is now closer at 2.28'

Primoz Roglič soloed to a very fine first Tour de France stage victory – first over the Galibier and the long 28 kilometre descent into Serre Chevalier. This first Alpine stage revised the Overall Standings slightly with Fabio Aru losing time at the top of the Galibier and then more on the descent. Aru was at 18 seconds to Chris Froome but now is down to 4th place at 53 seconds. Rigoberto Uran and Romain Bardet are now Froome's closest challengers tied on 27 seconds.

Only Dan Martin and Bardet attacked Froome on the Galibier but each time these attacks were easily neutralised. At the very top of the Galibier Martin was also dropped and is now at 2.37, while Simon Yates also lost time down to 4.07. He still leads the Young Rider Competition but his advantage to Louis Meintjes has now been reduced. Despite crashing Warren Barguil rode another fine race and still has a comfortable lead in the Climbers' competition. 

Alberto Contador tried one of his typical daring long range attacks that nearly came off – it certainly enlivened the race. Initially he had Nairo Quintana for company but to Contador's surprise Quintana couldn't sustain the effort. Quintana is now at 12th place 12.54 down, which is easily his worst Tour de France result.    

Unfortunately Marcel Kittel was involved in a crash early on in the stage and, although he rode on, had to abandon the race soon after. This is a great shame for Kittel but also deprives us of an exciting finale to the Green Jersey competition. Providing Michael Matthews reaches Paris he will surely now win the Jersey. Before Kittel abandoned Matthews had already closed the gap to just nine points. Matthews now leads André Griepel by 160 points. 

Stage 18: Briançon to Izoard 179.5 kms

Today is the last chance for the overall contenders to challenge Chris Froome in the mountains. Froome is expected to perform better in Saturday's time trial in Marseille than Bardet and Aru. The uphill finish, only the third in this Tour, gives someone the chance to grab the Yellow Jersey. Realistically, unless Froome blows up, only Uran and Bardet are likely to be able to do this. However, Sky remain the dominant team, especially with Mikel Landa climbing so well and Froome didn't show weakness yesterday. Should be a gripping climb up the mighty Izoard! 

No comments: