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TdF #5 Pavé and rain shake up the race

July 11, 2014

Stage 5 always had an extreme risk for the GC contenders. When the rain fell, that risk multiplied. Froome was already injured and perhaps that meant he was nervous, could not control his bike properly or was slightly off the pace and therefore more in the bunch than normal. Whatever the reason, he fell twice early in the stage before the cobbles had encountered and did his body more damage. A broken hand or wrist seemed the most likely injury that meant he could not continue. A huge blow for the champion, his team and many fans. The course organisers did not do well with this stage. The cobbles may be exciting, but surely that is for the one day races. Why should a 3 week long Tour be decided by luck and crashes?

Nibali had plenty luck and even more skill. He has the best bike handling skills of the GC favourites and used them well to gain plenty of time. There were lots of crashes but Nibali avoided them. His teammate crashed in front of him on one difficult corner, but the Italian stayed upright. He was already in yellow and now has a very good cushion over everyone but especially Contador. Only Kwiatkowski out of his possible competition was inside 2 minutes at the finish line. Frank was more than four minutes back and will need some superb climbing to have a chance of a top five finish in Paris.

There was a noticeable lack of team support for some riders. Mollema is meant to be a GC rider for Belkin, yet he was left behind by stage winner Boom and more strangely by Vanmarcke, who should have looked back for his teammate instead of punching the air celebrating Boom’s win. I understand Boom going for the win, and that was taken in great style, but Vanmarcke should be in the naughty corner at the team dinner. Belkin needs a new sponsor, Boom’s win will help the cause but they will need more this Tour to attract a new company.


From → on your bike

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