14 miles to go and TJVG is going backwards. A podium finish is starting to look doubtful.
3:40 back of the GC leaders, ouch. Podium chances done.
Looks like a Frenchman will be on the podium and Valverde might finally get his TdF podium.
Happy for Mick Rodgers!
I thought it was a bad sign when TJ referred to himself as a time trial specialist before the start of racing today. It seems like every year he has at least one bad day in the mountains.
Sad about TJ. Mixed feelings about Mick Rogers, not sure what to believe about the tainted beef situation.
Happy for Pinot, guy tha had to abandon the Tour last yea because of the descents now in with a real chance at a podium.
Whether TJ is up for it or not, he HAS to attack tomorrow. Not to take the race leaders jersey but in the off chance the 3 above him crack. Bobke was saying he still has a chance to reel in minutes in the ITT, which, I'm guessing is to keep fair-weather fans tuning in. TJ is over 4 minutes down behind Pinot. He can't make that up in the ITT.
Tomorrow is a brutal stage. One strategy is to set the pace hard on the first or second climb to split the peloton so only the heads of state (channeling my inner Phil Ligget) are left leaving it up to fate on the final climb. I'm not sure TJ can do it if he enters the final climb alone and the other top riders have teammates with them.
If TJ can't attack, I truly hope it's an epic climb, complete with attacking and being reeled in, with the race leaders gutting it out till the end.
Great day climbing those beasts. Aspet, Ares, Balés, and then the last 500m of elevation of Balès from the south. Giant 325km ride including 190km of the actual route today from Alairac the top of the Port de Balès with my girl. Fantastic day riding in the sun and catching goodies from the caravan girls atop Balès. Sunburned, ate a kilo of couscous, ready for bed.
Fantastic day for Tinkoff-Saxo. Didn't find out about the finish until we got home. But Rogers looked like he had a ton of power left in the flesh, and he obviously did.
Rogers and Voeckler in the breakaway.
Allez Reza, allez!
Chaingate Deux, Return of the Balès. What part of the bike is missing? Thanks KMC!! Missing Link and a regular link were FUBAR. "Must be user error." Would've required chain tool, KMC pliers, additional KMC link to field repair. If you have checkmarks on all those, then you are a far better boyscout than I. No-chaining it down Balès with the English and Spaniard weekend warriors at 75km/h was pretty fun with a cantilevered cross bike.
Tacks in the road. Classy. Perhaps first time in the history of cycling where two bikes, one chain, and four dead tubes were found together. We already had a flat on the descent of Ares. A metal shard that destroyed a tire and tube. So I thought a spare tire and four tubes was good logic. "Who needs a patch kit?" Again, if you brought a fifth tube and a patch kit, then you are the King of the Eagle Scouts. So this one ended our ride, and I rode solo for an hour to meet friends to get our ride of shame vehicle.
Still a great day. Plan on riding Stage 17 tomorrow morning if we can wake up before 8am. Dubious.
Outstanding! Thanks for the pictures. Bummer about the tacks.
This was the best video we got. Yellow jersey group with the helicopter and me trying to get on France 3.
A French priest off-camera yells in Spanish and can be slightly heard, "Muy facilmente, eh campeon?" Everyone died laughing since everyone around us was French (and believes everyone dopes) or Spanish (who love it when priests mock cyclists for being morally impure.)
View My Video
Last edited by rideorglide; 07-22-14 at 09:06 PM.