First of all, best TdF ever. Seriously. I have not enjoyed a Tour this much in a long time. I hate to say it but not having Chris Froome there made this a hell of a Tour.
Julian Alaphilippe ended up being the big surprise of the Tour. Talk about being on fire, that guy was like a nuclear blast. I was rooting for him to win but unfortunately he didn’t have enough juice left at the end even with the shortened 19th and 20th stages. Thankfully he received the Most Aggressive Rider award and this year it really meant something. Chapeaux to JA.
Next up Egan Bernal. Talk about a guy much older than his 22 years. What a ride. No flash, just consistent great riding and he made the right moves when it counted the most, on stage 19. As with most Tour winners no problems and a bit of good luck did the trick. Great story there too as the first Columbian to win the Tour while at the same time also winning the white jersey.
I have to say a bit about how classy everyone was this year. Geraint Thomas, Bernal, Alaphilippe, the whole lot of them. JA was so gracious when he lost the yellow and seeing him shaking hands with Bernal the next day at the start of stage 20 was just fantastic. Class act all around.
And about those two shortened stages, 19 and 20…wow. Reminded me of the goofy weather that always happens during the Giro d’Italia. Snow/hail/mudslides made a mess of stage 19 and the results. That was the first good bit of luck for Bernal. Maybe with a full stage JA keeps the yellow. Not likely but still possible. But with 19 being cut short, and then 20 officially cut short because of mudslides along the route Bernal had it in the bag.
And lastly, how about Andre Greipel. The Gorilla, in most likely his last Tour, came in 6th on the Champs. I was really hoping he’d have a good showing and that was pretty good. Would have loved to have seen him win just one more but I was just happy to finally hear his name mentioned in the coverage!
I have felt so emotional today. The end of this race always makes me emotional but so much more this year because of how the race unfolded. Great stories and wonderful personalities this year. Even with Sky/Ineos winning yet again this year it felt a lot different. Watching the Tour is a huge time commitment. It’s three weeks of daily hours of television and it’s quite easy to get sucked into the whole thing on a very emotional level. I felt tears coming on several times today during the coverage. NBC did one segment where they showed the most memorable scenes of the 3 weeks. That montage along with the music they chose almost made me lose it. Such a beautiful country. I have to make it there someday, especially to see the Tour live.
Those immortal words of White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson appropriate for two situations today: Ciccone losing the yellow jersey and Teejay Van Garderen exiting the tour after his crash yesterday.
Apparently Trek-Segafredo wasn’t up to the task of keeping the yellow today and pretty much left Ciccone hanging in the breeze on his own today. The kid did a fine job of at least keeping it close but lots of racing left. Alaphilippe took the yellow back and put 23 seconds into the lead. Doubtful he’s going to keep it through Paris, especially with how crazy this Tour has been so far.
Teejay crashed hard yesterday and broke his hand so today he didn’t start. Always the underdog and still my favorite rider.
OK this was the most boring stage of the race as of yet. As in nothing happened. Dylan Groenewegen won the final sprint so good for him after the crash on day 1. But that was it. Why did I watch this again?
Holy cow what a stage! Inclines of 20% and 24% at the end of the course today in La Planche des Belles Filles. Not the first time the Tour has ended here but the old course ended after the 20% section. This year they added on some dirt road for good measure and that was a 24% climb. Absolutely brutal riding. I don’t know how these guys do this (and for fun the stage tomorrow is 230km/142 miles, thankfully mostly flat). Alaphilippe lost the yellow which went to one of the guys that started the day in the breakaway, Giulio Ciccone from Trek-Segafredo. The guy’s first TdF and he’s in yellow on day 6. Not bad work if you can get it.
Well, Peter Sagan won the stage today in a no-questions fashion by blowing everyone else out of the water in the final sprint. Other than that a pretty uneventful stage. The big one is tomorrow with the first mountain stage. Alaphilippe kept the yellow jersey today but not likely tomorrow.
Tour day 4 wasn’t all that exciting. Sprint finish with Viviani winning and Quickstep keeping the yellow. Peter Sagan up at the front but not close enough. Green jersey is great and all but the guy needs to get some stage wins and there won’t be many opportunities for him this year.
The most amusing part today was the early commentary on the cyclingnews.com live blog.
While posting quotes from a Carlton Kirby book:
Rigoberto Uran is about to eat a banana.
That’s not from the book. That’s actually about to happen.
Some real funny stuff, especially when the riders hit the feed zone:
No lunch for Schar due to Offredo getting in the way. No hard feelings, however, as the Frenchman offers the Wanty rider a Coke. Schar will have to grab food from the team car
The peloton come through the feedzone. Bernal is at the front but he’s on the far side of road while Kwiatkowski does the dangerous work, and picks up the Colombian’s lunch and effectively drops it off. It’s a bit like watching Uber Eats, but live.
Schar then drop back to the team car and is read the menu by the DS. Today’s specials: energy bars, gels, and a bidon.
Alaphilippe. Wow. What a 15k at the end of that stage. The guy is scary on the descents. At one point he’s going 50. I can’t imagine going that fast on a bike on perfect roads let alone the crap he was traveling over. And to put 20+ seconds into everyone else to get the yellow jersey. Just a phenomenal stage. Sagan starts to extend his points lead already. Expect to see him in green in Paris.
A very interesting day in the Tour de France! 2nd day was the team time trial and Ineos (former Sky) went first since G Thomas was near last finishing on day 1. They had the best time of the day thru 21 teams and finally at the end Jumbo Visma beat them to retain the yellow jersey. But they didn’t just beat them, they gave them quite the spanking by beating them by 20 seconds so now Visma had a 30 second lead in the yellow jersey. Changes things up nicely going into day 3.