Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More Excitement in the Tour?

So are we getting more action from the Tour? 

I think it's hard to argue it's been "boring" this year... now whether the excitement has been a good thing is highly debatable. On the other hand, despite what seemed to be an effort to break up the Sky dominance, it looks as if they'll nonetheless cover start to finish in yellow this year, failing something catastrophic happening (which seems quite possible this year) or a cohesive decision from multiple other teams to sacrifice all else to try and topple Froome, which is unrealistic.

The "Queen stage" was full of drama, and it showed us that at the very least Astana seem to believe racing for a podium spot is more realistic than racing for yellow. All in all, that's probably the prudent choice of action, as it would be tough for (any team) to hold yellow for so many days coming, save sky. 

The biggest "hit" since the Cav/Sagan debacle is the loss of Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas. (And also nearly Dan Martin) It's unfortunate as pretty much everyone had hailed Porte as the most likely contender to Froome, and of course losing GT, who was at the time holding fairly well onto second place was a certain loss for SKY. (although, just as testament to how stacked that team is, not a catastrophic one) 

The other hailed contenders still in the race have had some rough times of it. Aru looks very good, possibly the strongest man in the race still (although without the ability to TT on Froome's level he would need some very big gaps to steal yellow.) and Martin looks strong (although his misfortune has put a hamper on that) as does Bardet... and maybe surprisingly, Uran. (Has Garmin had a great tour so far or what?)

Quintana just looks tired unfortunately. Maybe we're at the point where the Giro / Tour double is a fools gold dream... it seems it hasn't worked out in our generation. Maybe Tour / Vuelta is still possible. It also looks as if it's time for Contador to accept that he is not a tour winner any longer, he has shown he isn't on the same level as the other's. Nothing wrong with that, I think he's a podium contender in many races, even GC's... but winning may be behind him, certainly in the Tour. 

Having a great tour though? Kittel. What a monster. He's won from so far behind I would have thought he wasn't even going to sprint on the day. Cavendish may have somebody hot on his heels for stage wins in the near future if Kittel holds this kind of winning trend. 

The other person having a great tour? Lance Armstrong. Seems ridiculous to say, but his new podcast has caught on and is a hit. I have listened to it, and it's well done, and so long as you can tune out Lance's often "eye rolling" heated analysis, you can often get short tidbits of insight from a very, very rare perspective of the Tour. Hard to think that so few years since the "bomb" went off I'm thinking this has been Lances best tour since 05. 

Finally, with Sagan's entertainment factor gone, I think this may be Phinney's time to shine. He's got the personality, is amusing and quirky enough to keep your attention, and is doing that little "extra" (his video's) to stand out even on the slow days. Maybe he's the next Sagan or Voigt... we shall see.

Alright, another tour post, back to a normal schedule soon I assure you!

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!
-Christopher Morelock

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