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2016 Tour de France; Stage 2- Sagan Sails, Contador Crashes, Porte Plummets, Alaphilippe Agonizes

July 3, 2016

Stage 2 is done and now vast swaths of cycling pundits claim that Richie Porte’s Tour is already over after he lost a little under two minutes on today’s stage. Wasn’t it just May when Vincenzo Nibali rose from the ashes of his funeral pyre and benefitted from the untimely lawn dart antics of Steven Kruijswijk on stage 19? Wasn’t Nibz written off by the unrelenting Italian press over the first two weeks of the race? Did he not ultimately win the race? This is stage TWO people … sip some decaf and mellow the fudgecicle out! Swede Baby Cheezits!

So, yesterday we saw Cavendish take his 27th stage win and first yellow jersey. Today we saw Sagan take his eleventeenth stage win and first ever yellow jersey too. Apparently, this is now a thing. It’s kinda nice too. It’s a shame Sagan has had such an underwhelming career up to this point … poor kid. Best post-race quote from the man-bunned all-rounder; “It is the first time in my career to have the yellow jersey, and it is unbelievable. I’m already wearing a nice jersey [his pretty striped one], but this one is also very nice.”

Sagan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat- more accurately from the jaws of Julian Alaphilippe (EQS), and a bit earlier on the final kicker from Jasper Stuyven (Trek). Alphaville smashed his bars in total angst, as Sagan overhauled him just before the finish line. While Stuyven quietly shed a tear after the finish, having nearly managed to stay out on the usual suicide break of the day … only being caught in the last 700m before the line. As consolation, he’ll get to wear a pretty polka dot jersey tomorrow. So there’s that …

The day, of course, was not without additional drama- it is the first week of the Tour, after all. The biggest drama (Pt 1) was Alberto Contador’s second crash in as many days. In the past, he’s had quite good luck during his grand tour reign of pistolero terror … but as of late, France has been kicking him in the cajones fairly routinely. The next biggest drama (Pt 2) was the very untimely and slow to remedy flat tire of Richie Porte. Pouty Porte lost nearly two minutes due to a slow wheel change from neutral support on the crowded, narrow, steep finishing climb. After the stage, at the BMC team bus, when pressed REPEATEDLY on whether this incident had sealed his GC fate, Porte suggested it possibly had. However, even his haplessly lovable co-best-most-awesome-team-leader Tejay van Garderen reminded everybody that today is only THE SECOND STAGE OF 21. Even Tejay knows the race isn’t over yet. THAT is saying something. At least Porte is unhurt, aside from his pride and ego. Once he gets his knickers untwisted, maybe he’ll see that.

Tomorrow’s stage is likely another one for the fast guys like Cavendish, Kittel, Greipel, Kristoff, and the other knuckle draggers. The course profile shows a tiny rise at the finish, so it might be a sprint more suited to the pure power guys, such as Kittel, Kristoff, and Greipel. But Cavendish proved yesterday that he’s got a turn of speed left in him, and the taste of yellow has renewed the shy little fella’s confidence. Given the flattish, yet undulating nature of the route tomorrow, a bored peloton will let another break get away to earn tv time for their sponsors, but then the sprint trains will rev up and take over. A break could succeed, but then again, it might snow frozen peas. I’m jus’sayin.

Tim

PS- did you buy your kit yet?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 4, 2016 7:12 AM

    Ok, this is the best tour update available anywhere. Short and sweet with a dash of humor. Well done sir.

    Like

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