Bennatti, Roche and Rogers were the ones doing the work today. They'll be expecting Hernandez, Paulinho and Tosatto to do the work tomorrow.
There's a lot of riding yet to do, but Saxo ambushed Froome today and got a minute out of him. By comparison, between last Saturday and Wednesday, Froome walked up to them, punched them in the face and got 4 minutes. They'll have a lot of work to do to make him crack.
Finally some real racing. It seems like 99% of the time, the teams are in ultra-conservative mode because the attacks cost so dearly and have such a low chance of success. This was one time where a few teams just said "screw it" and went all in. I wish there was some way to adjust the rules to have this sort of racing happen more regularly.
While I'm sure Froome, in Monday-morning quarterback mode, regrets not catching the final break, these things happen and one reason you build up leads is so you can conserve a little energy, both physical and mental, knowing you have a cushion to fall back on. He's still easily in command and once the road starts up, I doubt he'll lose any more time and will probably make some up. And while a couple competitors made up a minute or so, his closest rival Valverde lost nearly ten, which is not a bad trade-off. And I bet Saxo totally burned its team up (including Contador) which they'll have to pay for later.
I'm betting Froome will have his lead back to 3:30 or better by Mon or Tues.
Wow, if there is a stage to point out how much team work means in the tour, today's stage was it. And I was only going to watch the last 30 minutes or so until I read a spoiler. I think Froome's going to be fine though, still one more time trial, and he'll just sit on the back of Contador's wheel or if Froome rides like he did in the Pyrenees, it won't matter.
I can't see why Valverde taking a teammates bike would be better than a wheel change. Being stuck on the wrong bike for an hour or more would really suck, but Phil and Paul kept saying he should have done that.
Last edited by Homebrew01; 07-13-13 at 06:47 AM.
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike
Michael Rogers has a nice interview on teamwork in Ride Cycling Review
Rogers, riding with HTC-Columbia, that did the same thing on Stage 3 of the Tour in 2009. The team included George Hincapie, Mark Renshaw, Bernhard Eisel, Mark Cavendish, Kim Kirchen, Bert Grabsch, Tony Martin, and Maxime Monfort. From Highroad Sports:Can you offer some comments about Alberto and how he handled the stage?
“He was just great. He was motivating us and yelling in the radio, ‘Come on! One more turn! One more turn each! Come on! Faster, faster… faster!’ He was certainly a great guy to work for. It’s really nice to have something like that with the whole team.
“In cycling there is one thing you kind of miss; it is a team sport but there’s not always the gratification of the whole team. But when we do something like we did in stage 13, it really bonds the team together and I must say it was a similar feeling to what I had in 2009 with HTC. You end the day feeling extremely satisfied and it’s amazing how much more you can give when you’ve got not a lot of guys behind you and they’re all hurting… everyone is hurting together and they’re on their last legs but they manage to pull more out of themselves.”
Cavendish's victory was the sixth Tour stage win and 43rd victory of his career, and came after 27 riders, including the entire Columbia-HTC team, broke away from the peloton around 30 kilometres to go. The 24-year-old rider made a gesture of using a mobile phone as he crossed the line, and he explained that it was in honor of his team's new sponsor, HTC.
"This gesture was dedicated to HTC because they [introduced] a new phone last week and I said if I win I'd do that for them," Cavendish explained. "There are eight sprint stages we have targeted here, so hopefully I'll get a few more before the end of the Tour, and one of them will be a win on the Champs Elysées."
Speaking of the Columbia-HTC squad's coordinated teamwork, he expleined, "It was brilliant. We were the only sprint team that wanted to ride today in the front group, but it worked out and the other teams had to ride behind anyway to chase us. You could really appreciate how strong we were as a squad and we took a lot of time out of the guys behind. It was a hard last kilometre, but I had five guys around me in the last build-up for the sprint. Mark [Renshaw] kept his cool and left it very late because there was a headwind but it worked out well."
"It doesn't matter who you are, if you work hard you're going to succeed, and if you've got a team like Columbia-HTC that are able to ride for you and they are such a great mix of the best young talented riders in the world and the best older experienced riders in the world, then it's a real winning formula. When we all work together it's bound to work out."
The wind changes — and so does the race
Suddenly, as a corner transformed the breeze into a crosswind, Columbia went to echelon, gave it the gas and split the bunch. Cancellara was not caught out, and neither were Armstrong or Thor Hushovd (Cervélo). But Evans was, along with Sastre, Contador, Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream).
“It wasn’t that they didn’t take advantage. It was just that they weren’t there,” said Armstrong. “When you see what the wind is doing and you have a turn coming up, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you have to go to the front.”
The move took 20 seconds on the peloton and ate quickly into the break’s advantage, sweeping them up them on a bridge and pressing forward. Saxo Bank was chasing, not liking that Cancellara was isolated — and perhaps thinking about Andy Schleck’s chances as the race goes forward.
The lead group was a big one, 29 riders strong, and with 25km to race it had half a minute on the peloton, with the entire Columbia squad — including George Hincapie and Mick Rogers — on board and doing the lion’s share of the work.
Saxo Bank abruptly shut off the chase as the wind forced the bunch into echelons. Armstrong had Haimar Zubeldia and Yaroslav Popovych for company, but Columbia had an astounding eight men in the break, after Bert Grabsch drifted back to the bunch.
Ten kilometers from the line the break held 33 seconds on a disorganized peloton, with Liquigas trying to jump-start a pursuit. But the gap just would not be closed.
Quintana is young but he is a GC contender for the future. He is also a good time trialer, though he didn't show it on Stage 11. I expect he will do better on the stage 17 TT.