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TdF #7 Will crashes decide the Tour?

July 16, 2014

More travels have delayed my viewing again. So still catching up:

Crashes continue to dominate the tour and it is beginning to look like they may decide the race. Being able to stay upright through luck and skill may be more important than strength and tactics this year. There were plenty more victims today including some GC favourites. Tejay van Garderen lost a minute after a crash too far from the finish for the 3km rule to apply, but too far out to regain the peleton. Worse for BMC was losing Atapuma, who quit after too many falls. Talanksy crashed hard within sight of the line but did not lose time due to the 3km rule. He will be nursing injuries for the next few days though.

The stage was decided by some hard riding close to the finish. The hills may have been small, but the pace of the peleton was too much for Kittel and Greipel. That allowed the other sprinters a chance and surprisingly it was Trentin who pipped Sagan by less than a tyre width. It must have been a surprise to Trentin as well, as he seemed to congratulate Sagan after the line. Sagan is left wondering what he has to do to win a stage. He has been in the top five many times but no win yet. That has given him a huge lead in the points competition but I’m sure he would love a few stage wins.

Back to the GC, it is shaping up to be a battle mainly between Nibali and Contador. The Spaniard is well behind so will need to attack repeatedly. Watching this will be exciting but his team has shown very aggressive but sometimes strange tactics recently. For example, they gambled with Froome at the Dauphine which ended up with both Tinkoff and Sky losing, arguably Contador more has he was in the winning position. Nibali can be quite conservative and does not need to chase everything. This gives him a large advantage and his team is stronger.

What happens with the rest will be interesting, but more to see if any of them can challenge the top two rather than a fight for the final podium place. Can Porte fill Froome’s shoes? He has shown promise in the past without coming through in the biggest races.

However, the winner needs to avoid crashes. That can ruin their race in seconds, as happened to Froome. The way this race is shaping up, that is a game of Russian Roulette. Who can miss the bullet?

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