Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Stage 4 Laurent Jalabert was moaning a bit on TV about how the “same scenario” can get boring. He means the escape that begins on kilometre one, carries on throughout the stage, and gets caught by the sprinters' teams a few k from the end. I do know what he means, I don't even disagree with him. But this has been happening for decades, so I don't get his problem now. He wants riders to attack more, but the stage is flat. In fact, there is not a lot to report or analyse today. I tried to observe closely, but Jalabert was right, there was nothing much that changed. In fact, the whole stage ending was a bit empty for me by the crash with 2k left to go. Nice countryside for sure. I guess today I didn't feel that into the spectacle, even though many bits are the same. Like the thousands lining the route, they are keen. I have not quite figured out the exact reason for the crash, but Cav ended up on the ground, just sitting there, waiting for a new bike, so he could coast across the line. No one lost time. There seems to be some doubt that Eisel came through relatively unscathed. That means that although he will have a hard time sleeping if he got some road rash, or bent some bits, if I rider has not broken anything they can carry on. Its a bit like a fifteen hundred metres running race, where the favourite or even more than the favourite, stumble and fall in the last 200 metres. The point about this stage is that it was going to help us answer the question as to what might happen on a flat stage between Greipel and Cav, with others (Sagan, Goss, Kittel) mixing it in. How would that affect the points competition? Personally, although it is way too early to tell, I think this big zero in the points race means that if Cav wants to leave the race early he might. I think he has lost the points race already. On the other hand, he might want to win the stage on the Champs for the fourth year in a row (plus another one). I am sure no one else has ever done that. In fact, I think his three stages wins on the trot is the record. He sure looked like an unhappy guy riding in on his replacement bike, way after the action was over. He got relegated once a couple years ago, losing any points on one stage. You cannot try to win the green jersey and miss stages completely. You gotta be like Sagan, up there in the top five every day. With a few wins. Sagan is just running away with the jersey. 147 points, next is 92, then three in the eighties. I am sure they will all keep trying. If Cav had even finished in the top five there would still be a race. I guess I was wrong about the green jersey being an interesting race. None of the other races within the race, the young, the mountain or even the maillot jaune have changed, or even started. Nothing to report. Credit to the Lotto team leadout and Greipel's victory. He is a very fit athlete, and deserves to win more stages for sure. But I do hope we get a couple of “everyone is there” sprints before we hit the mountains. Kittel, the young German sprinter is still pretty unwell, as he lost five minutes today, probably all in the last few k when the peloton moved from easy does it to full gas. I guess the intermediate sprint was more interesting. Cav won, with two of his former teammates, Renshaw and Goss, keeping the stubborn Sagan in fourth place. That Sagan is really quite good. Ummm. Let's see. Voeckler seems in better humour and maybe his knee is repairing itself. I am sure he won't last though. Ummm. I did notice that Jalabert seems incredulous that Cav can lose four kilos and still not lose his power. I am sure he won't say that he has new respect for the innovative and careful methods of Sky. Wiggo did the same thing. Lost weight without losing power. The sprinters should be forced to have a meeting with the commissaires and have a good talking to. These crashes at the very end are getting silly. Here and there, a few riders, on narrow roads etc, but not on the broad flat roads at the end of a stage. Someone is making mistakes. They should be brought to order. Two stages in a row, so close to the end … bad. Although I don't have time tonight, I shall give you an update on my various Fantasy teams in the next day or so. Tonight there are storms and lightning, so I might have to turn things off earlier than I would like. But mostly I will save my energy for later, when more is going on that requires some kind of deep explanation. Lightning. Everything off. Sorry about that. Rain will be good for the garden though.