Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What a Tour so far (Past Day Spoilers for 2016 TdF)

I know I said this weeks post would be a How-To, but I just had to share my excitement over this year's Tour. Already one of the most amazing TdF's in recent memory.

Look, I know a lot of people are not Cav fans, but even those who aren't fans still have to admit, finally pulling on that yellow jersey had to be that icing on the cake. Personally, I like Cavendish (I liked Columbia HTC as a team a lot back in the mid-late 2000's.) but I was a doubter. I just didn't think that he had that explosive dominance (let alone an insane lead out train) he had as a younger sprinter.

Hard to not feel pretty wrong after the first three days of this year's tour. Two stage wins in 3 days, day one making it look easy vs. all the big names, and Monday squeezing out that little extra against the Gorilla. If you had asked me Friday if Cav would ever pull on yellow I'd have said no way barring some fluke where the rest of the sprinters missed the final run in... now... hell maybe it's not so impossible that he can get up to Merckx record. I suspect he'll abandon the tour before the mountains start, but this is already his best tour in recent history.... probably in the last 6 or 7 years at least! Interested to see if he can keep the dream alive and bring home some hardware in Rio. My current thoughts are "unlikely...maybe bronze" but seeing how surprised I have been this week, maybe I won't be surprised in a few weeks.

But Cavendish isn't the only one living some dreams. Whereas not everyone loves the Manx, I think it's a fairly safe assumption that pretty much everybody loves the World Champion. Sagan has also lived a pretty big dream, breaking his streak of finishing right off the top step and winning stage two (and not even knowing it apparently) and maybe more importantly, pulling on the yellow jersey to combine with his rainbow stripes. Is this the tour of dreams? It will be interesting to see just how long Sagan can hold on to the maillot jaune, as Wednesday may very well be the preliminary fireworks between some of the big hitters.

Yellow, Green and Rainbow... not a bad haul.

That said, it hasn't been a fairy tale tour for everyone. Contador continues his streak of bad luck in the tour with a couple of pretty nasty looking spills. Oddly almost every spill has been in a fairly uneventful section of the stage while being in good position / doing it all right... It really just looks like bad luck. Reports seem to say he's not beat up too bad, but Contador is good at hiding when he's hurt. I suppose we'll see.

It's also certainly not how Porte was imagining his co leadership role on BMC. A flat that has left him quite a ways down on the competition (and also on his own teammate Van Garderen) has almost certainly removed him from serious contention this year. I think both of the BMC captains have a similar weakness in the big Grand Tours... they are very strong most days, but when they have a bad day, they have a VERY bad day. I hope I'm wrong, I'd like to see both of the BMC boys do some special stuff in the Tour.

Actually, I'd like to see anything shake up the seemingly unstoppable entity that is SKY. Quintana is almost certainly the only "real" threat, and I am just not sure he has the team to back him up for three weeks. I have no doubt he certainly can win the Tour, I'm must not sure he can do it if SKY is on top of their game.

The secret to Froome's strength... the stem stare.

Of course all of this will play out pretty soon. I am excited to see how the Time Trial's go this year... is Rohan Dennis unstoppable (except when he flats of course...) or do the "old warhorses" like Tony Martin and Fabio have another stage win in them? (or even Froome / Porte)

My guesses for Paris...
Frenchman in Polka Dots
Sagan in Green
Froome in Yellow
Quintana Second Step
Tejay Third Step

Let's see how I do!

I swear, How To is on it's way ;)

- Christopher Morelock

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