This year’s Tour de France started with a quick run of 188 km from Mont Saint Michel, ending at Utah Beach in Normandy. Mark Cavendish took stage one with panache, to take the opening stage and the yellow jersey. It has been one of his long standing ambitions to stand on the podium holding the little gold lion. Nicknamed the Manx Missile, this is his 27th stage win in the Tour.
One hundred-ninety eight riders began the tour which will take them through France to the Pyrenees and over to the Alps before ridings into Paris for the ritual ride in the heart of the city. When they finish three weeks from now, they will have pedalled 3519 km.
Alberto Contador, Tinkoff, crashed with about 80 km to the finish. He was making a tight right hand turn when he failed to notice a traffic island and brushed it. Several other riders crashed as well but Contador was the most injured. He finished the stage with a jersey that was mostly in tatters. He was quite bloodied but stated that nothing was broken and he would be carrying on.
There was another spectacular pile up with only about 100 metres to go. All of those riders finished the stage. If a rider crashes within the last three kilometres(usually), he will be awarded the same time as the group that he was riding with, but he must finish the stage.
Jerseys and their meaning
Stage 2: Saint-Lo to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, a distance of 183 km will test the legs with a steep uphill finish.
Le Tour http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2016/us/overall-route.html
The sprinters had been waiting for two weeks for their moment of glory and a hotly contested sprint was won by Andre Griepel, Lotto. He described it as the biggest win of his career and he is no stranger to success.
Even before the final bell on today’s race plans are being laid down for the 2016 TDF. Next year the start will be in France near Utah Beach.
Some riders will be looking for new contracts in the meantime. Some have new contracts to negotiate. Richie Porte who is currently with Sky has announced that he will be leaving that team. Speculation has it that he is moving to BMC but that cannot be confirmed at this time. Team Europcar has announced that they will not be sponsoring a professional cycling team next season.
Stage 21 Standing General Classification
1. Andre Griepel, Lotto 1. Chris Froome, Sky
2. Bryan Coquard, Europcar 2. Nairo Quintana, Movistar
3. Alexander Kristoff, Katusha 3. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar
4. Edvald Boassen Hagen, Qhubeka 4. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana
5. Arnaud Demare, FDJ 5. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff
198 riders started the three week race, 160 finished it.
For excellent background information on the Tour de France both VeloNews and Le Tour are good sources.
Stage 19 Standings General Classification
1. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana 1. Chris Froome, Sky
2. Nairo Quintana, Movistar 2. Nairo Quintana, Movistar
3. Chris Froome, Sky 3. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar
4. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ 4. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana
5. Romain Bardet, AG2R 5. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff
There are other races than the final GC status. The best young rider award is given to the rider under aged 25 years. It looks as if Nairo Quintana will continue to claim that status. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff, looks to be continuing in the green jersey of most points accrued. Romain Bardet and Chris Froome will have to duke it out tomorrow on the slopes of the Alps for King of the Mountain and Team Movistar looks as if it has a lock on the top team classification.
It has been traditional that the peloton comes together in companionship on the 21st day of the race. The GC riders traditionally do not compete against one another. That does not mean that it is a ho hum stage. Once the mob reaches Paris, the pace quickens and the sprinters jockey for position to be the first to cross the finish line. With the cobble stones on the Champs d’Elysees rattling the skinny tires on the racing bikes, the unexpected is to be expected.
For full statistics and background try Le Tour and VeloNews
The long swoop down the Col du Glandon which took a fraction of the time to climb it, looked scary to someone who used to apply the brakes on little hills, but former cycling star Jens Vogt said on the TV coverage that it was not bad at all and that at least the riders, “Don’t risk falling down the cliff edge.”
After the descent of the Col du Glandon, the pack had a seventh climb to the finish. It was only 3.5 km of climbing compressed into 17 switchbacks.
Stage 18 Standings General Classification
1. Romain Bardet, AG2R 1. Chris Froome, Sky
2. Pierre Roland, Europcar 2. Nairo Quintana, Movistar
3. Winner Anacona, Movistar 3. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar
4. Bob Jungles, Trek 4. Geraint Thomas, Sky
5. Jakob Fulsand, Astana 5. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff
Stage 19 they do it all again Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles.
Quintana rode away from the big GC contenders at the 5 km to go mark and was never caught by Froome who crossed the finish today 1’20” behind Quintana.
It is traditional that the GC riders do not attack each other on the 21st day. The sprinters will be fighting it out for the stage victory in Paris.
Quintana will be taking the white, best young rider, second place on the podium and the yellow helmet for his part in the best team competition.
In order to claim the final prizes, the riders must complete the ride tomorrow.
Stage 20 standings General Classification
1. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ 1. Chris Froome, Sky
2. Nairo Quintana, Movistar 2. Nairo Quintana, Movistar
3. Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin 3. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar
4. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar 4. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana
5. Chris Froome, Sky 5. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff
The grande finale is a flat stage for the sprinters from Sevres to Paris with the dramatic circuit on the Champs d’Elysees.
For full race statistics take a looke at Le Tour and VeloNews
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