Second rest day is done. It’s time for the Alps and the final push for Paris. Here’s how we see things as of right now. Agree? Disagree?
Yellow jersey by a comfortable margin, putting all the heat on their rivals. Forget marginal gains. Only a major catastrophe in the Alps will stop Froome from winning his second TdF. The intense and often hysterical media scrutiny seems only to be galvanising the team further. Thomas has been a revelation. One final challenge to withstand this week.
Another stage win and Van Garderen is still in the top three on GC. The American is riding a strong race, but to us he just looks to be missing that final 5% to really take it to Froome and Quintana – and not just this year.
We agree with Tinkov, Sagan is the strongest individual rider in the race this year. Green is virtually sewn up and he’s done it pretty much on his own. But with Contador far from his peak to date, it’s looming as another Tour more of opportunities missed than ones taken.
Quintana has been strong and Valverde has been arguably even stronger with repeated feisty attacks. But in all likelihood yellow looks to be just out of reach. With two in the top 5, best young rider and leading the overall team classification, it’s still been a good Tour so far for the Spaniards. Could they make it a great one in the Alps? You know they’ll keep attacking.
The smiles of week one seem a distant memory now. Cav got a stage win, true. But it’s all aboard the autobus now. A stage win in Paris would lift spirits immeasurably. Kwiatkowski has been fiesty. Uran has been virtually invisible.
A slight improvement on week one, but the horse has long since bolted. Nibali has shown some character and so far is the only of Froome’s main pre-race rivals to take back any time. Vino has provided plenty of comedy, whether he realises it or not.
Nothing much to report, except that they still have riders…riding. The busted up Michael Matthews has been herculean and even scored a top 10 the other night. Can the Yates boys salvage something in the Alps?
Riders of the week:
Steven Cummings – first stage win for MTN-Qhubekah, ever
Geraint Thomas – a fine rider and a hard man who just keeps busting his gut for Froome
Jean-Christophe Peraud – skinned alive but kept on riding
Peter Sagan – more seconds than the Ghandi movie
Laurent Jalabert – he knows who he is, doesn’t he Chris?