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Le Tour and Other Cycling Talk

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The Tour sent out an infographic last week and said that it takes a 500 person production crew to provide their global  pool feed of the annual celebration of sport, agriculture, and French tourism. It really is an amazing technical accomplishment that makes most other sports filming look basic in comparison. 

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I'm at a loss this morning with no race. I'm a teacher, so for three weeks every summer I can let my life come to a halt as I watch the race every day. 

My friends don't understand my obsession, but Le Tour is amazing. Complex characters, drama, conflict, pageantry, gorgeous backdrops, humor...

I love how all the little towns spruce up and the effort they pour into their moments in the spotlight. 

Its easily my favorite three weeks of the year. I appreciate the work of all 500 of those people!

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3 hours ago, Crankybroad said:

My friends don't understand my obsession, but Le Tour is amazing. Complex characters, drama, conflict, pageantry, gorgeous backdrops, humor...

I know!! It really is great to watch. The three week length gets you sucked into rooting for someone new every year (I am loving Team Cannondale and Uran in particular), and even newbies can appreciate the crazy spectators on the climbs and the stunning scenery. I spent part of the weekend looking up waterfalls in the Central Massif section of France after seeing one small gorge and its breathtaking falls. 

Another sign I remember Phill pointing out was one at the bottom of the category 1 climb yesterday. Instead of "Welcome to [town]", it said "Welcome to Hell." Ominous!! 

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Exactly! After that shot of the fortified chateau built into the cliff last week, I spent an afternoon trying to find it online - and I did. 

I do the same thing! I get caught up in researching things I see during the race. If I ever go to France, I'm going to that Bergerac region. Stage 10 from Perigueux to Bergerac was one of the most beautiful stages I've seen. 

I loved it in 2014 when the tour was in Yorkshire and the women in one town knit the little jerseys to hang everywhere as bunting. 

I also love Cannondale and Uran. They seem more accessible and seem to be enjoying the experience. I always love the teams who seem to be getting along and appreciative. I tend to like BMC as well - I ❤️ Richie Porte. I used to have a serious soft spot for Orica, but not as much the last two years. I'm still crossing my fingers for Greipel to get a stage; I like him as well.

I wish they had a team time trial stage. It seems like it's been a couple of years since they had one. 

It seems the NBC commentators have been getting a little testier with each other this year. I like all of them but they've had some intense exchanges this year.  

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I love Phil, but he's having problems finding words and getting riders correct these days, and it seems like they've put too many people into the booth around him to try to cover for that. Plus definite generation gaps from Phil & Paul to Bobke to the guys who are only 2-3 years from the peleton. 

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Jensy is very cynical, it seems to me. He's all, "fuck everyone and all rules, just RIDE!!!" Paul is old-school, and I think Christian is still a bit diplomatic but he leans toward Jens. Of course, the race is completely different now than it was in the pre-Lance Armstrong era, maybe even going back to LeMond. I just saw a quote from LeMond urging Sky to attack Aru next chance they get, so he's not willing to play nice, either. 

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Sad to see Kittle abandon. It's the kind of stage where he was going to struggle to stay ahead of the broom wagon under good circumstances, and Quick Step was having to balance trying to keep him inside the time cutoff after the crash with not pulling a FDJ and keeping enough domestiques inside the time cutoff so they could help with Dan Martin's top ten position in the GC. 

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Yeah, that was one abandonment that really surprised me. 

Nice seeing Didi the Devil!! I was just thinking yesterday that I missed seeing him in the Pyrenees. 

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Didi is the real life Where's Waldo of global sport. And it's always good to see him still doing his thing because his health hasn't always been great in recent years. 

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If anyone else is like me and cannot wait for TdF, the Dauphiné race is going on this week. NBCSN is broadcasting the previous day’s leg in the wee hours of the morning, so I have my DVR all ready. I missed the Giro d’Italia last month, but heard about Froome’s huge leg in Stage 19 that vaulted him from 4th to 1st. Looks like he’s set for France.

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Ah yes Chris Froome. The guy who tested positive during the Vuelta but no one can be bothered to do anything about it and now we have a tainted Giro winner who won that leg in the Giro in a way that reminded many people of that infamous Floyd Landis TdF stage.

 

I felt awful for the rider who had to leave the Giro the day before the end because he was dehydrated.

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Before I get started watching today’s stage, just wanted to say that yesterday’s opener ended up being much more exciting than I thought it would be ten minutes before the end! Narrow roads = mayhem in the peloton. Also, Froome tried to maneuver his way up, only to end up in the ditch, all his own fault. And my favorite, Nairo, suffered from broken wheels/double puncture (don’t know which it ended up being), and since there are three GC stars on Movistar, no one was there to help him back to the pack. I am guessing he’ll be looking for a new team next year. 

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Lots of talk about Lawson Craddock’s crash yesterday early in today’s coverage. Very dramatic footage of his bloody face, which Taylor Phinney told him yesterday during the race was going over well on the tv (truth). Craddock had a very emotional interview after the stage where his tears showed his utter disappointment. Today, Phinney explained in a pre-race interview that Craddock’s fractured scapula meant that every movement felt like he was being stabbed in the back, “so we’ll just call him Julius Caesar from now on!” Taylor Phinney always cracks me up.

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I love Taylor.  He seems so mellow; if I didn't know better, I'd think he was perpetually stoned.

Another pile-up close to the end.  At least it was within the 3 km today.

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The Departs for the day are actually partly showing up on what NBC Sports has labeled as 'Tour De France Pre Show' on the schedule guides. Interesting to hear the guy in the starting car doing the summary for the field in French and English just before they go from neutral pedaling to racing. 

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Yeah, Phil was talking about how this year’s goal is to teach the viewers some French. 

Very exciting finish today! Jens was wrong about the leaders not getting caught, though—guess he’ll be getting grief about that from the rest of the guys. 

Brittany is looking gorgeous, as usual. Some beautiful chateaux on display today. 

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Today’s stage was so exciting!! Bob and Christian disagreed before the stage about whether 15 segments of cobbles was really necessary, but I am with Bob—loved all of them! The worst of the falls came before the cobbles even started, dropping Richie Porte and one of the Movistar team, but all the little slips during the cobbles showed how dangerous they are, even without rain. Phil was driving me crazy with his dissing the riders who were backing off on the turns so they didn’t slip, but better that then fall and lose major time, like Tejay and Bardet did. Felt really bad for Tejay in the post-race interview.

So happy to see Nairo stick right next to Froome! Had no idea he had that cobble ability in him. And even with all of the lost riders, Lawson Craddock is still in it—good for him!

Edited by Sharpie66

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And we have the first sighting of The Devil at this year's Tour! I assume that since Didi is also a huge football fan, his time at the World Cup overlapped the early days of the race. 

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My second favorite spectator sighting after Didi was the guy dressed as the Pope, blessing the racers as they passed. Much classier than the faux Borats.

These mountain stages are why I started watching Le Tour, and I am glued to the screen for them. I was yelling for Nairo to get a move on, but I hope we’ll see something from him tomorrow. Froome is looking so strong, though, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him and Thomas extend their lead.

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I hate it, but no one can bust Team Sky. I really despise them. How r tight are doping regulations these days? Froome dodged a bullet just to be here. 

Edited by Sew Sumi
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Yeah, it’s hard to root for such a dominant team.  I can’t say for sure but I’d figure the Tour de France officials are extra vigilant regarding doping, I wonder if the sport or this race would survive another doping scandal. 

I’m enjoying the mountain stages, there’s so much beautiful scenery to see.  

About yesterdays “short” (aka killer) stage and the elimination of Cavendish, Renshaw and Kittel due to not making the time cutoff, I’m wondering about the wisdom of having such a tough stage that it knocks out top notch sprinters but then everyone has their bad days.  At least we still have Sagan to watch.  

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Looks like Nairo just doesn’t have the legs this year. He’s been my favorite racer since his first TdF, so I am bummed. As much as I don’t like Sky, Egan Bernal was very charming in his post-race interview. I have to join those who are looking forward to seeing more of him in the future. 

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That final steep hill was exciting to watch, which kept my interest since I didn’t really care who won in the breakaway. Sagan impressed again just by staying in the mix in a non-sprint stage and finishing fourth.

Loved today’s scenery in the gorges of the Central Massif! Those rivers with the kayakers look like something I would love to do someday. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s end, since they are finishing in Carcassone, another place on my must-see-in-France list when I eventually get there. 

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Another Team Sky hater here; especially after the doping allegations. It was a matter of time for them to emerge.

Froome rubs me the wrong way, but I. CAN. NOT. STAND. Thomas. The comment he made about Van Amenadt (sp) keeping the jersey reeked of arrogance, and I was hoping he'd keep it another day because of it. Those boos were well deserving yesterday and today.

I have been pulling for Quintana for couple of years, and still hold out hope for him to win--either him, or Dumonlin, who has really stepped up his game in the past couple of years.

Edited by sereion
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Gianni Moscon disqualified from Tour de France

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/gianni-moscon-disqualified-from-tour-de-france/

 

He sounds delightful:

Quote

The incident is the latest addition to the 24-year-old Moscon's already lengthy rap sheet of distasteful behaviour. He was last year accused of deliberately causing Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) to crash during the Tre Valli Varesine, but the UCI disciplinary committee dropped the case in June, citing a lack of evidence due to the absence of video footage.

Reichenbach suffered a fractured elbow and hip in the crash, and the Swiss rider believed Moscon deliberately caused the crash in retribution for his part in highlighting how the Team Sky rider had racially abused Kevin Reza at the 2017 Tour de Romandie.

Moscon was side-lined from racing for six weeks by his Sky team after he admitted to racially abusing Reza, though the squad allowed him to complete the Tour de Romandie. The UCI, however, declined to take any action against the Italian rider for the racist incident.

Following Moscon’s racial abuse of Reza in 2017, Team Sky said: “Gianni knows that there is no excuse for his behaviour and that any repeat will result in termination of his contract.”

In September of last year, Moscon was disqualified from the World Championships road race when video emerged of him taking a tow from the Italian team car after he was caught up in a crash on the penultimate lap.

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Wow—just turned on the pre-show, and they were showing the farmers protesting economic conditions by throwing hay bales into the road. A policeman pepper-sprayed the protesters, only to have the spray blow back onto the racers! Halted the race for 15 minutes.

ETA: They just went by this small church which was at the base of a steep hill. The path behind the church went up the hill past a series of tiny chapels which according to Paul is called the Calvary Way, which makes me think that each chapel is for a separate Stage of the Cross (knowledge of a lapsed Catholic). Very pretty!

Edited by Sharpie66
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The last time I saw such a scary crash over the edge was when Geraint Thomas went down a few years ago. And seeing the leader of the race crash twice on the same stage might be a first for me.

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...and the fact that he got back on the bike is impressive. That's determination. I am so sad that he had to abandon the tour.

I am thrilled for his teammate, Alaphilppe winning his second stage. I enjoy watching him ride; he is insane on the descents.

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Didi is the Where's Waldo? of professional sports. Sometimes he's a bit harder to find on a stage. 

Hospital MRI showed a broken kneecap for Philippe Gilbert, and he had to be having a lot of other pain once the adrenaline rush wore off. 

Nice to see Alaphilippe having a breakthrough year. I became a fan of his when he won the Tour of California in 2016. 

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I haven't seen Didi yet.

Way to go Quintana! It is so nice to see him earn a win--despite two mechanical issues! Looks like he's getting his mojo back.

I'm worried about Sagan, though. I hope he's able to complete the last four stages of the tour.

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Sagan says he plans on finishing the race. Hopefully time cutoffs are not an issue

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/tour-de-france-peter-sagan-certain-he-will-continue-after-stage-17-crash/

Quote

"I crashed in a turn - in the corner I made a mistake," Sagan told a scrum of reporters at the finish. "It looked like a fast corner, but after I just went a little more right - I was braking but it wasn't enough. After I flew through the forest and I hit a big rock with my ass."

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I was holding my breath on the start of the last descent today- steep haripin turns and super foggy so no one can see past the next bend

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And all the attacks on the descent! Very exciting. I was really happy for Roglic, who struck an adorable ski-jumping-landing pose on the podium. As all the commentators said, the real hero of that last climb was Egan Bernal, who took control of the yellow jersey group and kept everyone close enough to Landa to ruin Movistar’s plans. 

The Pyrenees looked absolutely stunning, as usual. Missed Didi this time, if he was there, but I did see, and hear, all of the anti-Sky sentiment from the crowd, including lots of very rude gestures aimed at the team.

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Missed the late yesterday news that Taylor Phinney crashed with 30km to go yesterday. Hit a tree with his face, broke his nose and a bone under his right eye. Today, they showed the blood on his bike and the huge bandage on his face as he barely made the time cut. 

This article not only talks about Taylor but also the severe egging that the Sky team car took yesterday: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/tour-de-france-shorts-phinney-meets-a-tree-face-on/

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NBCSN had an interesting behind-the-scenes segment about their filming the race. My dad was visiting me on Sunday and I had the last 15 minutes of the Tour on mute in preparation for the NASCAR that Dad loves to watch. They showed the full credits at the end of their coverage and Dad’s eyes nearly bugged out over the length of the list of names.

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I saw that segment too and enjoy seeing that kind of stuff.  There’s a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t see and they make it all come out smoothly.  It’s amazing with all the trucks, cables, etc. that they move from town to town for each stage.  The past 3 weeks went so quickly I can’t believe it’s all over until next year!

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NBC should be showing the Vuelta Espana again in late August on one of their channels, and the pool video feed for that race is much improved from what it was a few years back. (I think they've hired a bunch of the French Le Tour technical folks to work on it)

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The Vuelta a Espana was broadcasted on one of the NBC subchannels a number of years back (like the Giro) until the channel became cable only (and went to a different tier on my service) - does that channel exist anymore? I can’t find anything on the NBC site other than NBC SN.  I was interested in both of the other races at one time but found the commentators underwhelming.  They were no Phil and Paul!

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On 8/3/2018 at 4:13 PM, Cobb Salad said:

The Vuelta a Espana was broadcasted on one of the NBC subchannels a number of years back (like the Giro) until the channel became cable only (and went to a different tier on my service) - does that channel exist anymore? I can’t find anything on the NBC site other than NBC SN.  I was interested in both of the other races at one time but found the commentators underwhelming.  They were no Phil and Paul!

 

Phil seems to have dialed back his commentary gigs in recent years and only really show up for Le Tour and one of two of the one day classics as a warm-up. (He's 75 so I can understand wanting to be semi-retired at this point) I'll come across Paul a few more times with Christina and Bobke, and sometimes NBC seems to just buy the Eurosport coverage and their commentary for some other races. 

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@selkie,

I like Christian’s and Bobke’s commentary as well.  IIRC, during the Tour of California, Christian seemed to offer more than during the Tour de France, or maybe I just tuned in during the times when he was talking more.  I don’t watch NBC SN for much other than the Tour de France and the Tour of California so I guess I may be missing a bunch of the other races.  

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I will definitely keep an eye out for a broadcast of the Vuelta.

I did just see this excellent recap of the best of the on-bike camera footage: 

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I also just saw this video posted yesterday, of a crash in a race in the Basque area, which had both Bernal and Landa really hurt. According to the video notes, Bernal had serious facial injuries.

Edited by Sharpie66

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The UCI is also doing some useful things in restructuring women's professional cycling and phasing in a minimum wage for those teams. Looks like the goal will eventually be to go with  a World team and Continental team structure like on the men's side. It's slow progress in some ways, but I can understand the difficulties both men's and women's teams face in getting sponsors to fully fund themselves and how trying to move too quickly could cause some women's teams to fold over the new financial requirements. 

 

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-womens-worldteam-minimum-salary-set-for-2020/

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