Thursday, 5 July 2012
Stage 5 Kittel is gone. The young German sprinter had to quit today, just could not sustain the effort, given that he had some gastro problems. You just lose everything you eat, plus loads of fluids. No idea how he lasted this long. Looks like Brice Feillu is going to quit soon too. The young French climber, after wining a mountain stage in the Tour two years ago, has not done much since. He won't do much this Tour. Gradually with crash induced injuries and illness, the peloton is being reduced. But at least they have not had horrible weather, which would have given some of them colds and antibiotics. It really is hard work what they do for a living. Besides being a huge sporting spectacle. Seems Voeckler might be recovering from the knee problems. Be nice to have him around. Flat stage. Four riders in a break, one Japanese, riding for a French team, a Basque riding for Euskatel, a Frenchman riding for FDJ and a Belgian riding for Cofidis. The escapes usually have a heavy French flavour, but in this era of globalisation of the Tour, a rider can be from anywhere. As it happens, I was quite excited toward the end. I thought the escape might make it. When you think of it, without an escape, and a tiny bit of tension about whether they will be caught, each of these flat stages would just be a bunch of guys riding bikes for nearly 200k and then sprinting at the end. The escape got caught in spite of me supporting them. And it was kind of slow TV day really. Fabian Cancellara just took the record for most days in yellow for a rider who has never won the Tour (and never will, as he agrees). Another crash at the end, which is not usual, except this year There were also several crashes during the race, Sagan for example, crashed twice today. This more normal, to have crashes during the race as the road narrows, or turns quickly or the wind blows suddenly. This crach in the last 500 metres was caused by Tyler Farrar being leaned on by Tom Veelers. Farrar leaned back to keep his balance, and he fell, taking out a few other riders, including Sagan. I might add that my hunch is that th Lampre rider, Pettachi maybe, also took away Farrar's front wheel by making a very slight movement to the right. Farrar was pissed off and apparently went off to the Veelers' bus to have a chat or something. The result of this crash, only a few hundred metres from the finish, was that the field was reduced, for example, Sagan did not score any points at all. Andre Greipel beat them all for the second day in a row. Matt Goss is still trying very hard and not only won points at the intermediate sprint, but took second at the end. He is clearly not giving up on the green jersey. Cav finished fifth, beaten by Samuel Dumoulin and JJ Haedo, two sprinters who normally would have no chance at all against Cav. It appears that it was more of an uphill finish than we thought, and that Cav must be a bit tired from the crash. When you crash like that, you have road rash, skin missing, and it is hard to find an easy position to sleep in. Still, he should be recovered by tomorrow and we will see how the final sprint goes. It does look like Greipel 1, Cav 0 at this point. With a stubborn Goss part of the trio who are not totally giving up on beating Sagan for green. Sagan leads clearly even though he scored nothing today. Hmm, what else to talk about? No change in young rider, mountains or GC. Or team classification. The result of a flat stage does not usually have widely felt effects. But maybe I was too hasty and maybe there will be a race for green. I still don't think so. And I don't think Cav has much of a chance. He obviously disagrees, as he was trying hard for points at the intermediate sprint. Maybe there is life there yet. Sagan should be still the favourite. Loads of writers and perhaps riders are talking about Lance, Johan Bruyneel and others about drug charges and their effects on cycling and the Tour. I am not. If he did it, bust him, if not, don't. I am focussing on the Tour now.