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, 7 July 2013

#TDF13: Chris Froome and Sky blow Tour apart

2010: Decorated bike shop in Pauillac

Chris Froome, Richie Ports and Team Sky took control of the 2013 Tour de France today on the stage to Ax-3-Domaines. In my previous post I speculated as to whether this first mountain stage would prove to be decisive and just be limited to some early sparring.

Little did I guess that it would be as dramatic as it was with such significant time gaps to Froome and Porte's rivals. Froome as he has demonstrated this year as well as giving hints last year likes to attack. The attacks are well calculated but he is prepared to go for it rather than taking the safety first option.
Although it eventually was snuffed out it was good to see Quintana attack well out from the finish, which made the race exciting. Sometimes these sort of attacks come off. Certainly if Froome's rivals are to claw back today's time losses them they will have to take risks like Quintana. 

ITV4 managed to put in a long advert break just at the crucial moments of the race on the last climb, so missed Porte bringing the greatly diminished leaders up to Quintana and then Froome's attack. Will have to take out a subscription to Eurosport!

Top Stage Placings and Top 10 Overall and other placings

Result Stage 8
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
2. Richie Porte (GBr) Sky Procycling @ 51s
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team @ 1’08”
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 1’10”
5. Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 1’16”
6. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 1’34”
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 1’45”
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
10. Igor Antón (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
11. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) 2.06
12. Rui Faria da Costa (Movistar) 2.28
13. Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R) 2.28
14. Romain Bardet (AG2R) 2.34
15. Daniel Martin (Garmin Sharp) 2.34
16. Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) 2.34
17. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) 2.34
18. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) 2.34
19. Haimar Zubeldia (Radioshack) 3.04
20. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) 3.27
21. Andy Schleck (Radioshack) 3.34
22. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) 3.47
23. Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) 4.04
24. John Gadret (AG2R) 4.08
25. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) 4.11
26. Cadel Evans (BMC) 4.13
35. Daryl Impey (Orica Greenedge) 7.50
38. Jan Bakelants (Radioshack) 7.50
39. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) 8.15

Standings after Stage 8
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
2. Richie Porte (GBr) Sky Procycling @ 51s
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team @ 1’25”
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 1’44”
5. Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 1’50”
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 1’51”
7. Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 1'51"
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team @ 2’02”
9. Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha Team @ 2’31”
10. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 2’40”
11. Rui da Costa (Movistar) 2.45
12. Andrew Talansky (Garmin) 2.48
13. Daniel Martin (Garmin) 2.48
14. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 2.55
15. Igor Anton Hernandez (Euskaltel) 3.06
20. Romain Bardet (AG2R)
21. Andy Schleck (Radioshack) 4.00 
23. Cadel Evans (BMC) 4.10
25. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) 4.57
29. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 6.39 

Chris Froome and Richie Porte have certainly stamped their authority on the race assisted by great work from Vasil Kiryienka and Peter Kennaugh. In contrast Alberto Contador had a dreadful time on the last climb and showed again, as he had in the Dauphine, that he is not the rider he was. Unless he gets back some time today Alberto is likely to be more than three minutes or more behind Froome after the time trial on Wednesday. Fortunately for Contador it is only 33K long but in the Dauphine he lost nearly two minutes to Froome in the 32.5TT. 
Alejandro Valverde, currently the most credible challenger to Froome, is also likley to lose significant time to Froome in the time trial as he also lost nearly two minutes to him in the same Dauphine TT.
Cadel Evans' chance of a podium place must have gone. It looks like asking Cadel at 36 to ride both the Giro and the Tour is too much. It is difficult to believe that he will again be a serious contender for a Grand Tour. 
Good rides from Laurens ten Dam and Bauke Mollema. Daryl Impey put up a brave defence of his Yellow Jersey coming in at 7.50 along with Jan Bakelants.     
Given the Lance Armstrong revelations and confession allied with the other doping scandals, some are inevitably comparing Froome, Port and Team Sky to Armstrong and the US Postal Team. Froome has made it clear that he is clean and that their success is down to training and hard work. He says that his wins will not be taken away from him in the future. I think and hope that riders like Chris Froome, Mark Cavendsish etc. are telling the truth that they are riding clean. If they are not they could carry huge responsibility for I suspect that professional cycling would not now survive another wideranging major doping scandal.

This is not to say that there won't be some positive dope results this year as there were in the Giro d'Italia but with only minor riders being busted. The leading riders now have to ride clean otherwise events like Le Tour could be finished.    

Today's stage
This will be another very tough day in the mountains (169K) with five climbs – one Category 2 and four 1st category. With 31K from the top of the last climb to the finish the stage's dynamic is likely to be different. Will any of the GC 'contenders' try to break Sky or will a break with riders with no overall threat be allowed to succeed?    


Luc Charlier said...

Jim, bad news and good news for you.
I’ve been experiencing more and more trouble visiting the net with “internet explorer”. My firewall cannot find any fault but I’m convinced “something” has infected this browser, it taking as much as 200.000-300.000 K to run!
I’ve downloaded Google Chrome and ... your site now runs smoothly (or almost).
That’s for the good news. In counterpart, it might mean I will now and again interfere, a most unwanted feature for many blog authors!
I promise I will not do so as long as the “Tour” is ongoing, for obvious reasons.
Enjoy the show.

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Luc. My apologies I forgot to publish your comment.