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2016 Tour de France; Stage 11- “Balls as big as church bells”

July 13, 2016

Once again, Chris Froome managed to shock the rest of the GC field BY ATTACKING FROM THE FRONT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. This time, rather than going solo, he joined an attack by green jersey wearer AND CURRENT WORLD CHAMPION Peter- “balls as big as church bells”- Sagan. Froome latched onto Petey’s wheel like a hungry leach, taking his faithful man-servant Gerraint Thomas along. Sagan, who got pistol-whipped yesterday by a gang of Orica pickpockets, took his teammate Maciej Bodnar with him for security purposes. The four riders rolled OFF THE FRONT OF THE FIELD in plain view, and rolled away to the finish line to contest the finish alone, with the rest of the frustrated peloton following in 6 seconds later. WTF ? Is anybody else in the GC field planning to attend the race?

The day was supposed to be a fairly simple affair, custom tailored for the sprinters. But the wide open plains of southern France provided the drama of the day with crazy crosswinds shredding the field into echelons. The main field of GC favorites stayed attentive, with the sprinter’s teams keeping a close eye on the two man early break of French champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Leigh Howard (IAM … looking for a new team) … because, you know, they wouldn’t want to let their chance to sprint for the win slip away.

It was a day of nervous chasing for those caught out by the echelons, like Thibaut Pinot- who has proven that his previous third place in the 2014 Tour was (for now) an absolute fluke. I like Pinot, don’t get me wrong, but he’s either fragile, dumb as a sack of hammers, or so poorly coached/ directed that he needs to find a new team tout de suite! With less than 30km to go, the field was essentially back together, as the peloton eased slightly and the echelons regrouped … including Pinot. But it was in the easing of the pace and reshuffling of the field, that things went pear-shaped for the sprinters and so-called “GC contenders.”

With about 12km to go, Sagan “attacked” the field IN PLAIN VIEW FROM THE FRONT OF THE RACE, taking Bodnar with him, as Froome- WHO WAS PAYING ATTENTION- chased to catch the Tinkoff pair, dragging Thomas along to hum old Style Council hits with. As the “startled” (sleeping at the f*cking wheel) GC contenders stared lazily at their bellybuttons, Froome, Sagan, Bodnar, and Thomas silently dropped an entire bag of hammers on their dumbasses. At one point, before the addled sprinters realized that their chance to win a stage was rapidly evaporating faster than spilled podium champagne, the quartet had TTT’d themselves into a 22 second lead.

With the field closing in on the four, it looked as if Sagan was preparing to reward his faithful Bodnar with a stage win, but Froome- clearly a little low on oxygen to his brain from his giddy romp- attempted to sprint around Sagan. Sagan, looking over his shoulder in a mix of bemusement and horror at the sight of Froome attempting to sprint, gave the maillot jaune a quick “bitch please” look and easily gave the pedals a little tap to surge past the yellow menace and win the stage.

WTF did we all just see? Well, those of us who watched the race could only shake our heads and laugh. Both Sagan and Froome made the race happen, rather than sitting and waiting. or playing by the script. It’s to be expected of Sagz, he’s an undeniable goofball and pot-stirring shitkicker. But Froome? FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS TOUR?! For as easy as he has made it to be unenthusiastic about him in the past, Froomebot is suddenly transforming from caterpillar to butterfly. SKY, as robotic as they are, has benefitted hugely from a little spontaneity and an utter lack of incentive from the rest of the GC field. The tactic of waiting for the final week is clearly paying huge dividends for the GC buffoons. I’d like to think that the team directors are in the team cars, whispering sweet words of discouragement to their riders; “it’s ok, there’s always next year, he’ll eventually retire and go back to Kenya.” I do blame race radios for helping to create a generation of riders with no sense of tactical instinct, but after watching Froome crack skulls coming off the Col de Val Louron-Azet and letting him “sneak” away again is tantamount to willful stupidity. Thanks to his second place finish and the time bonus that came with it, Froome padded his lead by a further 12 seconds, on a day that was supposed to be all about the sprinters.

Froome; good job. GC Fakers; WAKE UP … you are IN A RACE! Sagan; kid, you just keep doing you.


Tomorrow is the feared finish on the ball-busting Ventoux. The stage is shortened by 6km due to wind gusts possibly topping 100kph, so that means the GC dipshits and climbers looking for glory will have a shorter stage to try and distance themselves from Froome … or thankfully less time to lose to Froome. Ventoux, like the Alpe d’Huez, is among the most iconic and feared climbs in all of cycling. It has hosted many epic battles of the cycling immortals over the years. Will it again tomorrow? Or will it simply be a parade lap a few days early for Froome? With the way the race has gone thus far, Aru, Bardet, Quintana, Porte, Van Garderen, and anybody else with an ounce of GC pride needs to slap a handful of tingly chamois creme on and pull on their big boy bibs and start this race.

Tim

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