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This year's TDF thread

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So:

 

1 Is this one of the sporting highlights of your year?

 

2 Who's in the frame to win it?

 

3 Who's getting over there to see it?

 

4 What do we think of Wiggo missing out?

 

1, definitely,

 

2, hard to see past Froome v Contador

 

3, me! Ventoux on the Sunday and then the following three days; idiot second son has his graduation on the same day as the double Alpe D'Huez stage. Major boooozz.

 

4, he's been a great Olympian and he beat all the odds to become a TDF winner, maybe a comeback in the Veulta, or maybe not. Looked well off the pace in the Giro.

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So:

 

1 Is this one of the sporting highlights of your year?

 

2 Who's in the frame to win it?

 

3 Who's getting over there to see it?

 

4 What do we think of Wiggo missing out?

 

1. No, though the crashes and scenery are occasionally decent.

2. I have no idea.

3. What ? People actually travel to see it ?

4. Serves him right, the odious football-hooligan cobblers spouting arse.

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1. Yes, cracking sport. One of the few thing itv sport does well.

2. Froome, nibali, c*ntador. That order.

3. Not this year, bloody honeymoon! Goes right past my parents place too. Annoying.

4. Shame. Was there to see him win the final time trial last year, brilliant day in sun. Course didn't suit him this year though so doubt he would have won - in some ways means better chance for sky team as no distractions for the GC.

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This is the sport, above all sports that is universally known to be saturated to the bone with drug taking.

 

In light of that, I think all drug testing in cycling should be dropped, and competitors allowed to take what they like.

 

We, and the scientific world, could then sit back and watch the chemically enhanced evolution of the cyclist's human body form reach it's grotesquely horrific, yet morbidly beautiful, zenith.

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1 Yes the absolute number 1 sporting highlight of the year.

2 Froome, Contador, TJ Van Garderen, Evans (Nibali not doing it) today's stage of Criterium Du Dauphine will be an interesting one as it Most fascinating will be the fight for green between Cav and Sagan.

3 Unfortunately not. The nearest I'll get to Alpe D'Huez this year is talking about it to my next door neighbour who is doing La Marmotte in July. Plus it's still term time so no go.

4 Agree with Sandwich that Wiggo was well off the pace at the Giro. Not sure about his prospects for the Vuelta. he possibly won't get the leadership there, plus the course is probably suited more to Sky's Colombians. In some respects his fame and personality goes well beyond cycling itself and I'm not sure he is prepared to be an also-ran in a Grand Tour, so I think it will be the ITT at the World Champs that he focuses on. Even then he will have to go some to beat Tony Martin who I believe was turning an 8 tooth gear on Wednesday.

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So:

 

1 Is this one of the sporting highlights of your year?

 

2 Who's in the frame to win it?

 

3 Who's getting over there to see it?

 

4 What do we think of Wiggo missing out?

 

1, definitely,

 

2, hard to see past Froome v Contador

 

3, me! Ventoux on the Sunday and then the following three days; idiot second son has his graduation on the same day as the double Alpe D'Huez stage. Major boooozz.

 

4, he's been a great Olympian and he beat all the odds to become a TDF winner, maybe a comeback in the Veulta, or maybe not. Looked well off the pace in the Giro.

 

1. Definitely

 

2. All the usual suspects. The cheating Spaniard Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Tommy Voekler, Cadel Evans.

 

3. I'm off to France on the 12th July, going to catch a few stages in the Alps/Provence.

 

4. Annoying for me personally as I wanted to see him race, but not the end of the world, don't think he would have done anything anyway even if he'd of been fit.

 

If enough people are interested I'll post photos up of my TDF experience.

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I can't see past Froome for the Tour tbh. Unless Contador was hiding something last week... I can see Sky pulling off another 1-2 with Froome and Porte. They are going to have a good team built around winning it. They will want to do what they did last year and keep two riders in the hunt, and Porte is capable of doing that. He will be playing the role that Wiggo would have been if he was riding. They won't want to put all their eggs in one basket after what happened in 2011!

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1) Absolutely

2) Froome & Contador are clear favourites. Rodriguez (if he is in it) will be close. Evans looked good in the Giro and will only improve. Possibly a surprise from a pure climber such as Uran or Henao.

3) Nope - would love to but most likely the daily highlights on Eurosport or ITV4 for me.

4) I would have liked to have seen him race, although it is probably good for Sky and Froome that he is not there as I don't think that Wiggins would have been content to ride in support. Without Froome, I'd have fancied Wiggins to be on the podium.

 

Looking forward to the Green Jersey battle. Cavendish will start favourite, but will have strong competition from Greipel, Kittel, Sagan and possibly one of the overall contenders.

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Hopefully Team Sky will announce their squad soon though, although the bulk of the team is pretty obvious. This is my guess to whom they'll line up with

 

1) Chris Froome

2) Ritchie Porte

3) Edvald Boasson Hagen

4) Geraint Thomas

5) Bernhard Eisel

6) Ian Stannard

7) Peter Kennaugh

8) Rigoberto Urán

9) Christian Knees

 

There are a couple of names that might change. They might not take Eisel and might not see Peter Kennaugh as being ready. They could also pass on Stannard which means they could take Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, and/or David López. All of whom probably deserve a place.

 

It's going to be a tough call as all those riders are capable. i think it will be between those 12 riders?

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Think Sky will go with the Dauphine team, probably minus Pete Kennaugh and with the addition of Bernie Eisel and Christian Knees. You could argue a case for Dario Cataldo given that he is the current Italian TT champion and that with the loss of Wiggins Sky would be weakened in the TTT around Nice once they've got through Corsica. Still very strong on that front though with Porte, Froome, EBH and Geraint Thomas. If they go down that route it might mean swapping Stannard for Cataldo.

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1. Yes

2. Froome and Daylight

3. I wish - long way from the Gold Coast

4. Probably for the best - think Froome would have beaten him. Would love to see them on different teams for the 2014 Tour to Duke it out.

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So with Team sky announcing this years squad I think they are looking pretty strong...

 

http://www.teamsky.com/article/0,27290,29112_8785078,00.html

 

Chris Froome

Richie Porte

Edvald Boasson Hagen

Peter Kennaugh

Vasil Kiryienka

David López

Kanstantsin Siutsou

Ian Stannard

Geraint Thomas

 

Thought there may have been a place for Uran and Christian Knees. But guess they have a hard Giro and maybe thought it be best to go with potentially fresher riders. It does show what depth Team Sky have at their disposal! Not one rider who rode in the Giro there and I still think that's a pretty impressive squad!

 

Also good to see 4 British riders going.

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What would everyone prefer, Chris Froome to win the General Classification or Mark Cavendish to take a further 4-6 stages including on the Champs Elysee and take a step close to the all time record of stage wins?

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My wife wept tears of pure joy when I told the tv belongs to me for the next three weeks:smug:

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Can't wait.

 

I think Froome will win reasonably easily (if you can say that about a 3 week bike race) as Sky have such a strong team out. Well chuffed to see Kennaugh get the nod because he was excellent in the Giro and could be an overall challenger in a few years.

 

Massively looking forward to seeing Peter Sagan rip the field apart on a few stages. The bloke is an utter monster. He's my pick for the Green Jersey as even though Cavendish has his number on the flat finishes, stick a few hills in and Sagan leaves the rest trailing. He was even up the front for a while on a mountain stage last year.

 

I love this clip of him parking his bike:

 

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Can't wait.

 

I think Froome will win reasonably easily (if you can say that about a 3 week bike race) as Sky have such a strong team out. Well chuffed to see Kennaugh get the nod because he was excellent in the Giro and could be an overall challenger in a few years.

 

Massively looking forward to seeing Peter Sagan rip the field apart on a few stages. The bloke is an utter monster. He's my pick for the Green Jersey as even though Cavendish has his number on the flat finishes, stick a few hills in and Sagan leaves the rest trailing. He was even up the front for a while on a mountain stage last year.

 

I love this clip of him parking his bike:

 

 

Not seen that before! Thanks for sharing. Agree, unless Contador can find some form it looks like this could be one of the most one-sided tours of recent times? And to think we didn't even have a team three or four years ago. Main interest could switch to Cav v Sagan for the green jersey and you'd have to fancy Sagan for this.

 

 

This year's reading, to while away the boring bits (LOL) Charly Wigelius, Domestique, For 11 years I was a professional cyclist, competing in the hardest and greatest races on Earth. I was in demand from the world's best teams, a well-paid elite athlete. But I never won a race. I was the hired help. When my mum dropped me off in a small French town aged 17, I was full of determination to be a professional cyclist, but I was completely green. I went from mowing the team manager's lawn to winning every amateur race I entered. Then I turned pro and realised I hated the responsibility and pressure of chasing victory. And that's when I became a domestique.

 

I learned to take that hurt and give it everything I had to give, all for someone else's win. When the order came in to ride it was I pushed out with the hardest rhythm I could, dragging the group faster and faster, until my whole body screamed with pain. There were times I rode myself to a standstill, clutching the barrier metres from the line, as the lead group shot past. But that's what made me a so good at my job.

 

As my career took off, I started looking at the fans lining the route, cheering us like heroes. The passion for cycling oozed off them, but they couldn't know what it was really like. They didn't see the terrible hotels, the crazy egos or all the **** that goes with great expectations. Well, this is how it is…

And a quick, easy-but-painful must-read 'Wide-eyed and legless': In 1987, the Tour was won by Irishman Stephen Roche. It was the first time the champion had hailed from outside the Continent or the States and the first time in 20 years a British team - ANC Halfords - had competed in the world's toughest and craziest race. Jeff Connor not only stayed with the British team but also found himself an unofficial team member.

From Halfords ANC in 1987 to Team Sky in 2013, read and weep at how useless we were!

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The 1st stage was absolutely bat-sh!t crazy, really surprised there weren't more crashes towards the end.

 

Loved the Corsican scenery, what a bloody gorgeous island!

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The 1st stage was absolutely bat-sh!t crazy, really surprised there weren't more crashes towards the end.

 

Loved the Corsican scenery, what a bloody gorgeous island!

Couldn't put it better myself. if you think the east coast looked good wait until tomorrow and Monday. Definitely on my list of must do cycling places.

As far as the crash was concerned Tony Martin I believe is out with a collarbone, Geraint Thomas has gone to have X-Rays, Sagan looked pretty beaten up as did Beefy Bertie. Bring on Stage 2!

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Madness. Millar sneaked in 4th in the sprint. Possible yellow tomorrow if he gets in the break, it's the sort of stage he could do well on.

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That little dog nearly met its maker today. I gasped out loud watching it live today.

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The 2nd stage was another thriller, really didn't have a clue who was going to win it right up until the last couple of kilometres.

 

I too stood up and shouted at the television when the dog was in the road, I'm so glad he didn't get run over.

 

Won't be able to watch the 3rd stage live tomorrow as I'm at Wimbledon all day, but I'll definitely watch the highlights tomorrow night.

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That little dog could have seriously injured someone, even killed one of the riders if he'd been hit and the peleton went down (given the speed they were travelling).

 

Hope the irresponsible owner gets a severe reprimand. He should think himself lucky that there wasn't a crash as I'd imagine he'd be facing some legal action.

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Good stuff by Orica Greenedge winning the TTT yesterday. OPQS and Sky right up there too. No great GC losses although some lost for Evans and TJVG. Looking forward to the Pyrenees at the weekend. Mountain top finish on Saturday at Ax 3 Domaines after the Col De Pailheres. http://www.letour.fr/le-tour/2013/us/stage-8.html

Expect the whole thing to be more clearly defined come the rest day on Monday. The only downside to the whole thing is having to listen to the interminable drivel from Phil Liggett and his pet monkey on ITV 4's commentary as have no access to Eurosport during working hours. C'est la vie!

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Looks like a sprint today. Let's hope Cavendish has fully recovered from his illness to take it.

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He nailed it. Boassen Hagen outsprinting Greipel and Sagan for second was a bit surprising.

 

Tomorrow is even flatter, Cav should do it again.

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He nailed it. Boassen Hagen outsprinting Greipel and Sagan for second was a bit surprising.

 

Tomorrow is even flatter, Cav should do it again.

Think you will be right on this one as well. Only issue could be unpredictable crosswinds from the Carmargue which is to the south of most of the stage. If this causes splits in the peloton it could upset the bunch sprinters plans. BTW what was impressive about Cav yesterday was that it really wasn't even close. Admittedly Greipel had sat up by the line, but he'd been seriously distanced by the initial burst that Cav put in. EBH got in a brilliant position, but was never really close enough to get Cav's wheel, and impressive though he is Sagan isn't an out and out drag race sprinter. Good stage. Like the breakaways with 'will they, won't they catch them' scenarios

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Anybody remember when the breakaway used to stick?

I've been watching the TDF about 20 years and remember stages where 3 or 4 riders would arrive at the finish 5-10 minutes clear of the peloton, and then just roll, or even track-stand, in the last 300m as they turned it into a standing sprint. Haven't seen a stage like that for years.

Guess there's much more depth in the peleton these days and teams are stronger all round.

Reckon the green jersey and the team places will be really close, still think Froome is nailed on for the overall but we will see.

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Anybody remember when the breakaway used to stick?

I've been watching the TDF about 20 years and remember stages where 3 or 4 riders would arrive at the finish 5-10 minutes clear of the peloton, and then just roll, or even track-stand, in the last 300m as they turned it into a standing sprint. Haven't seen a stage like that for years.

Guess there's much more depth in the peleton these days and teams are stronger all round.

Reckon the green jersey and the team places will be really close, still think Froome is nailed on for the overall but we will see.

 

 

too many sprinters with powerful teams having no candidate for the Overall or even Top 10 whatsoever. Watched today and it was just too boring, apart from the fact that a quarter of the bunch ended up on the deck at one time or other. Fortunately with a hard ride tomorrow and the Pyrenees on Saturday we might get away from this Cavendish/Greipel/Sagan borefest.

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Yeah, it's so dull seeing a Brit winning stages after years and years of watching cycling with hardly a sniff of a home rider winning!

 

Pity Cavendish crashed today, getting back in the peloton probably cost him vital energy for the sprint. Have to say his team didn't do a lot to help him. Neat bunny hop over the roundabout too.

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Who do we fancy today? Froome or Roland for me and Froome to move into the yellow, perfect.

 

I rode Ax 3 Domaines last time the tour was there (2010?), not a particularly long climb by tour standards (6 or 7km from memory?) certainly not the hardest finish, very steep at the bottom but a more moderate (5-6%) on the top two thirds, reckon most of the big guns will be close together today, depending what happens on Payeres (sp) which is a beast (haven't done that). Fantastic place for a bike break, also got Plateau de Beille just down the road and within touching distance to Andorra/Envilara/Arcalis.

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Just looked at the profile for AX3D and I lied - big gradients all the way up, and then about a 1.5km run in to the finish which is much flatter. Memory plays tricks - I must have been fitter then cos I found it pretty comfortable when we did it!

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Could be interesting.The Pailheres looks to be a monster and will shred the peloton but possibly not the place for significant GC attacks. The Ax3 climb could be explosive given it's length. Respect to anyone Sandwich who goes up mountains like those on a bike. Next door neighbour, as I type, will have climbed and descended Glandon and probably be well on the way to Telegraphe/Galibier on La Marmotte. One day I may get to try before I get too old.

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think they'll stay together until the last 3k or so then it'll be time for the GC attacks. If Sky get Froome in yellow today tomorrow will be very interesting - they'll want to control it but the others can't sit back and roll over like they did last

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Yes Froomey!

 

MASSIVE win, lovely seeing a Brit in yellow once again!

 

1 minute 34 seconds up on Contador, 3 minutes up on Schlek and 4 minutes up on Cadel Evans!

 

Amazing stuff!

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Hmmm a TDF that lasted about 1 hill, wtf is that really. The TDF is a spectacle above all and now that there is zero suspense it

may well hit their audience ratings.

 

Tuned into to 3 sporting events today expecting some good sporting competition.

 

TDF...an easy win for Froome

Wimbledon Lisicki crushed in 2 straight by the erratic Bartoli

U20 WC France-Uzbekistan.... wtf is a team like that doing in the quarters, any side beaten by them must be parks standard.

Edited by Window Cleaner

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Hmmm a TDF that lasted about 1 hill, wtf is that really. The TDF is a spectacle above all and now that their is zero suspense it

may well hit their audience ratings.

 

Tuned into to 3 sporting events today expecting some good sporting competition.

 

TDF...an easy win for Froome

Wimbledon Lisicki crushed in 2 straight by the erratic Bartoli

U20 WC France-Uzbekistan.... wtf is a team like that doing in the quarters, any side beaten by them must be parks standard.

 

Yeah I just watched that, should've been a cricket score except for France's ridiculously poor finishing. Spain v Uruguay up next, I've enjoyed the tournament.

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Where did Peter Kennaugh come from? The work he did up front today was amazing, as were his downhill skills. If he keeps up this work he could become a contender for the yellow jersey in a few years.

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Don't care if it seems like a procession. Remember the Indurain years? Thought Sky were great today particularly Porte and Kennuagh but Froomey was fantastic. The way he rode away was (dare I say it) like Armstrong on Alpe d'Huez. Tomorrow's stage got a great profile. I've ridden some of those climbs and they aren't easy. Just a shame it's not another summit finish!

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Where did Peter Kennaugh come from? The work he did up front today was amazing, as were his downhill skills. If he keeps up this work he could become a contender for the yellow jersey in a few years.

 

Pete Kennaugh is the next big thing from Sky. Only 23 years old. Has been track orientated for London 2012 for past 3 years, but has been long talked about as a potential TdF winner in the future. Hope GT gets at least one crack at it but feel that Kennaugh may be there before that opportunity arises. Did you know that Gareth Bale, Sam Warburton and Geraint Thomas were all at the same school in Cardiff?

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Team Sky could have this sewn up for years to come "manage the manageables" as they say. I take it Contador is clean this year as well, just shows what a difference that made, Froomey was an animal in those last few K's.

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Hope GT gets at least one crack at it but feel that Kennaugh may be there before that opportunity arises. Did you know that Gareth Bale, Sam Warburton and Geraint Thomas were all at the same school in Cardiff?

 

Even living in Cardiff I have to remind people who G is. Drives me nuts. He lives up Cheshire way now but I bumped into him on a ride a couple of months back. He rode alongside and chatted for a bit then sped off. Can't see many top sportsmen doing that with a slow amateur. Absolute gent.

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Great ride by Froome today. Interesting to see how he got isolated today. Next week pretty flat till Ventoux but very hard in third week. We'll see then if the other teams use today as a template for attacking in the Alps. Guess Froome will want to use Wednesday's ITT as a chance to widen the gap.

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Definitely a bad day at the office for Sky, Pete Kennaugh's encounter with a hawthorn bush started things off badly and it ended badly with Vasil Kyrienka being outside time cut off, Lopez and Suitsou really need to step up now. Sky domestiques seriously put themselves into the red yesterday and it showed today. Movistar made an absolute horlicks of the stage in the end.

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Harsh on Cav methinks. Veelers seems to peel off to left and then remains basically on line as Greipel and Kittel go left thus blocking Cav off from following their wheel. Cavendish has to adjust at high speed to the right which throws him quite naturally to the left as the sudden adjustment would, hence the contact. Commissaires have declared no fault. OPQS need to look at that final few km today as they got lost as a train. Even Steegmans was adrift. It certainly bore no resemblance to HTC of old or Argos Shimano today. Kittel took full advantage. Fair play to him.

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Good point. Cav seems to be ending up having to do his own thing far too often. Be interesting to see if Omega get their act together later this week

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