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TdF #12 Kristoff’s turn to beat Sagan

July 19, 2014

Peter Sagan may be winning the points jersey by miles, but stage wins still elude him. This time is was Katusha’s sprinter who out-powered Sagan to win the stage. It was a finish suited to the strong Norwegian in the small bunch of riders that were fighting for the line. There was lots of movement in the sprint, but no real contact and fortunately everyone stayed upright. Katusha and Kristoff will be very happy with their stage win. If they were disappointed about the lack of a chance in the GC, they are making up for it with Purito’s mountain jersey and now this stage win.

The stage may not have crossed high mountain passes, but it was still a tough stage. There were several minor climbs and the race was fast enough to drop the big sprinters. Greipel worked hard and was there near the end until a tangle with Chavanel left him on the deck. The German and Frenchman then had a debate in English about whose fault it was. Greipel would have been disappointed as he would have been favourite after Kittel was dropped long before.

There was not much to report regarding the GC competition. There are rumours of riders falling ill. This becomes a big concern in the second half of any grand tour. Fatigue and crashes, along with their unhealthy skinny physiques, leaves them vulnerable to colds and other bugs. They often turn into more serious bronchitis. Minor complaints like saddle sore or road rash can also flare up into larger or more chronic problems. Riding for hours with saddle sore must be incredibly uncomfortable. Their stomachs are also at risk of gastro bugs. During every race they pack in lots of energy through gels and other sweet food. This can be difficult to digest and after a week or two the body starts to complain. Read the excellent Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore if you want a smelly tale of old.

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