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Allez, lanterne rouge!

Old 07-08-17, 05:00 AM
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Allez, lanterne rouge!

Well, a third of the 2017 ToF in the books, and an impressive performance by Olivier Le Gac. 24 y.o. Monsieur Le Gac currently has an hour margin on Froome in the race for the red jersey*, and an impressive quarter of a hour trail on the second (to last) place rider.

Perhaps his crushing the Red Lantern like this wasn't expected by his FDJ team. This is the handsome young Le Gac's third grand tour, finishing a not-shabby-at-all 120th in the 2015 Vuelta and 133rd in the 2016 Giro. OTOH the unlikely-to-get-noticed-otherwise FDJ team might have suspected something, as they added Le Gac to their Tour roster rather late in the game.

Of particular note: the very last rider to cross the line on stages 3, 4 and 6, the plucky Frenchman has finished alone, by himself and unaccompanied on every stage of the 2017 ToF so far!

We're headed into the mountains, where massive time can be lost by a true champion Red Lantern, and we could see a big change in the standings on a single afternoon. Still, it's hard to fathom what beside elimination on stage time could prevent Le Gac's Lapierre Aircode SL from sporting a red LED blinky up and down the Champs-Elysées.


*The rider in last place on GC isn't actually awarded a red jersey - but he should be.
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Old 07-08-17, 05:42 AM
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It's been a long time since a fuss was made of the Lantern Rouge. Pity in some ways. I remember one bloke who's battle to stay in the race was so mighty he copped as much attention as the poseur in yellow. There've also been holders of the Lantern Rouge who've been able to continue to support their team, they're often not just passengers.

Robbie McEwan who couldn't climb in a bus, let alone on a bike, often spoke of his struggles and the calculations required not to be eliminated on the lumpy stages.
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Old 07-08-17, 02:13 PM
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Wow, you just can't let your guard down in the ToF!

As Oliver Le Gac took a comfortable seat in the autobus today, Luke Rowe of Team Sky (yeah, that Team Sky) Brexited off the back and put six minutes on the Frenchman. This narrows Le Gac's Lanterne Rouge margin to just eleven minutes.

With a fearsome day of climbing tomorrow, Le Gac will have to be on his guard. He has an impressive advantage, though - FDJ teammate Mickael Delage is in 191st place, just thirteen minutes ahead of the Lanterne pace, and FDJ has no less than five riders in the last fourteen positions.
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Old 07-09-17, 08:04 PM
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Our boy Taylor Phinney is making a nice run for the Lantern Rouge this tour - 175th place after today's stage.
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Old 07-09-17, 08:07 PM
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Luke Row dropped more time....Narrowing Le Gac's hold on the Red to under a minute!

180 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 1:56:00
181 Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ 1:56:55
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Old 07-09-17, 08:25 PM
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There are 17 withdrawals counting Sagan. Still in the race is ahead of those withdrawals. Finishing the race is in front of any DNF.
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Old 07-09-17, 09:26 PM
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Rowe has made two big Lanterne moves in two days, setting up a showdown with Le Gac Thursday and Friday in the Pyrenees.

The 27 y.o Welshman is road captain of the Team Sky squad and I wonder if he's truly struggling or pulling a Wim Vansevenant?
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Old 07-10-17, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Rowe has made two big Lanterne moves in two days, setting up a showdown with Le Gac Thursday and Friday in the Pyrenees.

The 27 y.o Welshman is road captain of the Team Sky squad and I wonder if he's truly struggling or pulling a Wim Vansevenant?
Sam Bennett, who won the Red Jersey last year isn't in the race but podium finisher Lars Bak is and he's doing much better this year, he's currently 114th, 44 minutes behind Le Gac.

Davide Cimolai, another yearly threat to the red jersey is only 16 minutes head of Le Gac.

Just like with the yellow jersey, it only takes one "good" finish in the mountains to permanently lose the red to someone else.
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Old 07-10-17, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
OTOH the unlikely-to-get-noticed-otherwise FDJ team...
Le Gac is doing superbly in his quest, but I suspect Demare's stage win, two second places and two other top ten finishes in the first seven stages has gotten FdJ more notice. But as he has now dropped out, it's all up to you Le Gac!
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Old 07-12-17, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
Le Gac is doing superbly in his quest, but I suspect Demare's stage win, two second places and two other top ten finishes in the first seven stages has gotten FdJ more notice. But as he has now dropped out, it's all up to you Le Gac!
Luke Rowe, today swiped the L.R. from Le Gac by about 30 seconds.
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Old 07-13-17, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Luke Rowe, today swiped the L.R. from Le Gac by about 30 seconds.
On the eve of Bastille Day, no less! There should be a knighthood in that for him.
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Old 07-13-17, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
On the eve of Bastille Day, no less! There should be a knighthood in that for him.
Poor LeGac is gaining...or is it losing?....a full 10 minutes off now. Netherlands is making a play for LR now:


177 Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ 2:20:44
178 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 2:27:46
179 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 2:31:56
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Old 07-13-17, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Poor LeGac is gaining...or is it losing?....a full 10 minutes off now. Netherlands is making a play for LR now:


177 Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ 2:20:44
178 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 2:27:46
179 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 2:31:56
Team Sky wants everything don't they?
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Old 07-14-17, 04:41 PM
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A grand tour is designed to grind the riders down, but Le Gac went from a miserable first week to decent pro-tour domestique form here in the second week. There's an interesting story there - I wonder what it is? Anyway, chapeau, mon ami!

Rowe, who comes across as a classy guy, has indicated in columns and interviews the last few days that he's not 100% and he's genuinely struggling on long mountain stages. He made the stage 8 cutoff by just 5 minutes. It's still a long way to Paris - courage, Luke!

Hey, the Dutch Lottery team has pretty cool jerseys! I probably wouldn't have been aware of that without Tom Leezer falling into the Lanterne Rouge mix. This seems to be Tom's first grand tour - what a thrill to make the big show! Hang tough, buddy, and we'll see you on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
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Old 07-14-17, 06:21 PM
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Hmm, not too impressed by LottoNL - Jumbo jerseys. I do think there should be a Tres chic team award, for best kit. I think AG2R would win that. And Aru would win for best looking bike. He also has the best looking individual jersey. Or at least he did, till he got the yellow.

Is there a Lanterne Rouge team award? Sadly, FDJ would already have that sewn up.
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Old 07-16-17, 06:12 AM
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Aww, Luke Rowe was interviewed before today's stage...no mention of the Lanterne Rouge.
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Old 07-16-17, 12:08 PM
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Wowza...Rowe lost the LR by over 8 minutes today. Dan Mclay started out 2 minutes up on Rowe...only to finish over 8 minutes down on him.
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Old 07-16-17, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Wowza...Rowe lost the LR by over 8 minutes today. Dan Mclay started out 2 minutes up on Rowe...only to finish over 8 minutes down on him.
You can get 30 to 40 minute swings for that contest in just one mountain stage. Just one good performance in the mountains and you'll out of the running.

Olivier Le Gac, who held the red for the first week of the tour is now 28 minutes out.

Marcel Kittel is only 16 minutes out of a podium position
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Old 07-17-17, 01:02 PM
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My interest in the Lanterne Rouge is ramping up as we hit the second rest day. Here is the Top 10 for the mythical red jersey:


1 68H 04' 40''....Daniel McLay FORTUNEO - OSCARO
2 - 08' 19''........Luke Rowe SKY
3 - 15' 25''........Tom Leezer LOTTO NL - JUMBO
4 - 17' 41''........Rudiger Selig BORA - HANSGROHE
5 - 19' 23''........Robert Wagner LOTTO NL - JUMBO
6 - 22' 10''........Albert Timmer SUNWEB
7 - 22' 17''........Dimitri Claeys COFIDIS
8 - 22' 49''........Bernhard Eisel DIMENSION DATA
9 - 24' 08''........Taylor Phinney CANNONDALE
10 - 25" 20"'.......Marcel Sieberg LOTTO SOUDAL


Three of these riders finished in the top 10 a year ago (Eisel 4th, McLay 5th, Sieberg 6th). Timmer spent time in the top 10, but fell to 22nd by the time they reached Paris. Leezer wasn't in Le Tour last year, but he knows a thing or two about the Groupetto, having finished 8th in 2015.

With the Alps still to come, the race for red should stay interesting to the very end. On any given day, any of these guys could either ride too fast and "lose" time to the leaders, or ride too slow and miss the time cutoff.

Last edited by njlonghorn; 07-17-17 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 07-18-17, 10:32 AM
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Seven of yesterday's top 10 in the battle for the Lanterne Rouge finished today in a large groupetto of 47 riders. McLay was another 9' 58" back, solidifying his hold on the top spot. Timmer and Eisel finished well ahead of the groupetto, falling from 6th to 12th (Timmer) and from 8th to 18th (Eisel) in the over standings. Bozic and Senechal (who were also in the groupetto) took advantage of the opening and climbed into the top 10.

Updated standings:

1 72H 09' 12''....Daniel McLay FORTUNEO - OSCARO
2 - 18' 17''........Luke Rowe SKY
3 - 25' 23''........Tom Leezer LOTTO NL - JUMBO
4 - 27' 39''........Rudiger Selig BORA - HANSGROHE
5 - 29' 21''........Robert Wagner LOTTO NL - JUMBO
6 - 32' 15''........Dimitri Claeys COFIDIS
7 - 34' 06''........Taylor Phinney CANNONDALE
8 - 35" 18''.......Marcel Sieberg LOTTO SOUDAL
9 - 36' 12''........Borut Bozic BAHRAIN - MERIDA
10 - 37' 03''........Florian Senechal COFIDIS
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Old 07-19-17, 10:29 AM
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McLay's quest for glory has come to naught, I understand.
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Old 07-19-17, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
McLay's quest for glory has come to naught, I understand.
Darn Sky Team must have paid him off so Rowe can take it. Sky wants all the prizes this year.
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Old 07-21-17, 11:09 AM
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I haven't had a chance to update this in a while (damn job!), and a few things have changed.

Stage 17: Daniel McLay and Macel Sieberg abandoned. The rest of the top 10 all finished in a groupetto that included more than half the field, so they moved up in lockstep. Olivier Le Gac stepped into 9th, and Albert Timmer returned to the top 10, taking 10th.

Stage 18: Nine of the top 10 finished together, but Dimitri Claeys finished 4' 14" earlier. This dropped him down from 5th to 7th, with Phinney and Bozic each climbing a spot. There were 15 riders who finished after the groupetto, with 5 of them straggling in more than 3 minutes later. But none of them were close enough to crack the top 10.

Stage 19: The entire top 10 finished together. No changes. Yawn.

The current rankings:

1 87h 59' 59"....Luke Rowe SKY
2 - 7' 06''.........Tom Leezer LOTTO NL - JUMBO
3 - 9' 22''.........Rudiger Selig BORA - HANSGROHE
4 - 11' 04''........Robert Wagner LOTTO NL - JUMBO
5 - 15' 49''........Taylor Phinney CANNONDALE
6 - 17' 55''........Borut Bozic BAHRAIN - MERIDA
7 - 18' 12''........Dimitri Claeys COFIDIS
8 - 18' 46''........Florian Senechal COFIDIS
9 -19' 02".........Olivier Le Gac FDJ
10 -20' 11"........Albert Timmer SUNWEB


I don't see how Rowe loses over 7 minutes to Leezer in the TT and/or heading into Paris.
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Old 07-21-17, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
Darn Sky Team must have paid him off so Rowe can take it. Sky wants all the prizes this year.
Lol, sounds about right.

That said, I think Luke Rowe is the perfect guy for the Lanterne Rouge. He repeatedly burned himself up early in stages to keep the pace high. He then settled to the back and finished within time, which is much easier said than done. He deserves a bit of recognition for a job well done.
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Old 07-23-17, 03:47 PM
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Congrats to Luke Rowe of Team Sky in winning the Lanterne Rouge this year. Pretty close standings compared to previous years.

1. Luke Rowe (UK) Team Sky - 90H 56'47"
2. Tom Leezer (NED) +3:31
3. Rudiger Selig (GER) +9:09
4. Robert Wagner (GER) +10:40
5. Dimitri Claeys (BEL) +10:51
6. Jacobus Venter (RSA) +15:36
7. Florian Senechal (FRA) + 16:35
8. Borut Bozic (SLovenia) +17:11
9. Taylor Phinney (USA) +17:37
10. Olivier Le Gac (FRA) +18:31
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