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Return of Le Tour!

I guess because last year's was delayed, this snuck up on me...the Tour de France starts tomorrow! Can't wait to see the beautiful French countryside again.

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5623 posts

Exciting race ahead, and it’s reassuring to have the Tour de France in July - things getting a bit more back to normal all the time. Starting in Brest in Brittany this year, and the first time we saw it in person was in 2008, where it also started in Brittany. That was Chris Froome’s first year, too, and he’s back this year after what looked like career-ending injuries, but now he’s riding in support of his Canadian team leader. Winning 4 Tours doesn’t guarantee you’ll be winning forever, and just getting onto a team for any rider is a phenomenal accomplishment.

I wish fewer people stood in the middle of the road, blocking riders on climbs, but with excessively poor behavior by so many people over the last year, that may be asking a lot. Looking forward to a competitive but safe Tour ahead!

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801 posts

Perfect place to ask this question (not really, but I don't know where else to ask). Are you using Peacock to watch in the US? GCN+ doesn't have it and of course NBC cancelled its cycling pass.

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85 posts

Catch it on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). It is being shown on Verizon channel 590 in the DC area.

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3375 posts

Le Tour snuck up on us as well. We are excited to watch tomorrow! Also looking forward to watching Chris Froome. Wishing him well.

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5623 posts

We have Dish satellite TV, and NBCSN is on our Channel 159. I’ve already set the DVR to record the whole series for this year. Stage 1 Prologue pre-show is tomorrow at 4am (MDT reeeeeealy early - hence we’re recording it!), with the race programming starting at 4:30. No prime-time show, or repeats, so it seems to be basically airing in real time, once per day.

Allez, allez!

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220 posts

8.35pm Live pictures. The flag has dropped, and the intoxicating unique travel extravaganza disguised as a bicycle race is under way for another year. Free to air all over the great south land via one of the eight taxpayer funded TV channels. The wine cellar was prepared last week with a champagne from northern Tasmania on ice ready to pop at just before midnight. The cheese fridge stuffed full of camembert, brie, and blue varieties. If one cannot be there one can at least dream.

Watching Caleb Ewan closely and Taswegian Ritchie Porte and my fellow sandgroper Ben O’Connor.

Enjoy.

Regards Ron

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5623 posts

Stage 14 will be on regular NBC. It seems that the penultimate stage, Stage 20, is not being shown on NBCSN or NBC, which is a shame, as that’s when the winner has generally been determined. The final Stage 21 has been a purely ceremonial cruise into Paris for m any years now. And last year, Stage 20 had that unexpected finish, with the winner becoming the champion.

Sounds like the woman holding the massive sign into the road, and paying no attention to the race, is being pursued and may get sued. She ruined so much with her stupid selfie/greeting to her grandparents. Imagine if someone threw debris onto the track at the Indy 500 - bad, very bad at today’s Stage 1. If you go, enjoy the race, but not at others’ expense!

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5623 posts

Ron, Bob Roll, aka “Bobke,” an American who rode in the Tour in the 1980’s and lives in scenic Durango, Colorado, has been a long-time commentator for TV coverage of Le Tour in America. He predicted that Caleb Ewan would win today’s stage. More Tour to come.

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220 posts

As always, the unexpected. The spectator was stupid, irresponsible, but I did not see anything that I would class as malicious. Running behind one of the team cars should guarantee no repeat performance or attendance. Impressive sportsmanship to allow the peloton to reform. Baring divine intervention my men Ben and Ritchie will have to be satisfied being super domestics. For the time being am switching my allegiance to Jack Haigh for yellow. Fickle supporter here.

@Cyn. Bob could be on the money for today. Elbows McEwen (3 times green winner) has tipped Sagan for green and Ewan for stages. I suspect that he may know what he is talking about. Have not heard him lay his cards out for today. A couple of our other expert commentator’s fancy Alaphilippe for today after his panache performance yesterday.

Beautiful start to the day.

Regards
Ron

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260 posts

Thanks Jessica, we have signed up for Peacock prime for the month of Le Tour. There will be a lot of tv time in the am the next 3 weeks.

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92 posts

The NBC Sports YouTube channel had a 25 minute recap show of stage 1 yesterday. I am assuming they will be doing this for the other stages.

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5623 posts

Watching Stage 2 right now. I am certainly appreciate the racers needing to slow down somewhat on rain-slicked roads. It must be a very five line between not sliding out in the wetness and not scrubbing off too much speed to stay upright.

Also eagerly awaiting the Mur-de-Bretagne, where we positioned ourselves the first time seeing the Tour in person, in 2008. Not that many other roadside spectators, and we were right at the top, where the view of the road disappeared below the edge of the top. A truck came by, announcing the order of riders at the moment, and seemingly saying that there’d been a delay in the pace, and that it would be a while before they would arrive there, just down the road from the sprint in Corday.

Anticipation was building, then suddenly the helmet of Thomas Voelkler appeared, and he crested the hill, two other racers right behind him, and the peloton some distance behind. They all still had a way to go to the finish, in Saint-Brieuc, so they couldn’t expend all their energy for the climb. With today’s stage ending ay the top, it’ll be an extreme effort.

Valverde won that stage 13 years ago, and he’s still racing. We stood inches from Robbie McEwen as he was being interviewed in the paddock after the race. Uran and Quintana are in the running now, after yesterday’s stage - maybe they’ll be contenders as the race progresses. Cavendish still has some sprinting potential.

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5623 posts

And yesterday’s sign-wielding woman fled the scene immediately after she committed her shameful act. There’s now an “Involuntary Reckless Endangerment” offense that they’ll charge her with, should she be caught. Perhaps that’ll send a “message” to others who are more about selfie photo opportunities than about seeing a race up close, in a sport where that opportunity uniquely exists.

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5623 posts

One of the thrilling parts of seeing the Tour is the mix of flags, showing the international support and pride of spectators. Some of those flags are so big, though, that they extend out into the race course, potentially creating a hazard for the riders. Giant flags are more flexible than a big piece of stiff cardboard., but still dangerous in the hands of a thoughtless flag-waver. The racers have a lot more hazards than just weather, hills, road dividers and other obstacles, and the clock.

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5623 posts

One more rant - a current Forum thread about Euro Cup soccer mentioned fans shooting off smoke flares. There appeared to some of those yesterday. But these weren’t in the stands, some distance from the athletes, but at the edge of the road, spraying smoke into the faces of the riders. Not good. And spraying smoke, what’s the point? That’s as stupid and annoying as the canned air horns that have been wielded in the USA the past several years. Annoying? Yes. Sporting and reinforcing? Absolutely not.

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5623 posts

Stage 2: Mathieu van der Poel owned the Mur - both climbs! And Pogacar continues to be a Phenomenon.

Sagan looks different every tour. With his mustache and shorter hair, he now looks like an insurance salesman, not the wild guy from past races.

The Breton countryside truly does look spectacular. Hope to see it in person again before too long. There’s a caramel-y Kouign Amagn in my future, one of the highlights of Brittany. And was that an oyster farm shown in an aerial shot, about halfway through the stage?

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6626 posts

Love Brittany -- the tour photographers do such a great job on showing us the beauties of france -- the commentary is lame though -- they frequently don't mention the town they are going through or mention it once -- given the nature of watching things like this, they should be giving more descriptive info about the chateaux and the towns and landmarks. Hours of butts on bikes is not that fascinating except during sprints, crashes or the finish but the countryside is.

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5623 posts

TV coverage in recent years often included a shot of the town-name sign coming into a town, and the sign on the other end with a slash through the town name, indicting leaving it.

Towns aren’t getting identified or mentioned as much this year, not have significant landmarks. Last year, Bob Roll (and the late, much-missed Paul Sherwen in prior years) provided historical details about castles, churches, and other sites while an aerial shot was broadcast on the screen. Maybe that’s the coverage in Brittany, and might change in other parts of France. Maybe that’s just what the broadcast has become. Wonder what the first few days will be like next year, starting off in Denmark?!?

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801 posts

I'm with you Cyn. I totally don't understand why anyone who spends hours wanting to see the riders go by would want to shoot a flare off in a rider's face! As for the commentators, I kind of like Anthony McCrossan. He certainly does his homework on the riders. Simon Gerrans is getting there. I like his little previews of the race finish. It's funny to hear Mark Cavendish described as a domestique. And yes, it's time to visit Brittany.

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8985 posts

For those with the premium Peacock package you have the option of viewing the international feed without commercials. Also a few weeks ago Peacock also finally released an app for Samsung TVs which allow you to watch the race on the big screen.

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5623 posts

Stage 3: wow-lots of crashes! At least not because if spectator interference. Remains to be seen whether “G,” who continued to ride today with a dislocated shoulder, can continue for 3 weeks, and was Gesink, in the same crash, forced to abandon? Then the riders who fell on the left side of a pack, then slid across to the right, wiping out bikes in their path. And Roglic, now banged up and he lost time. And Ewan flipping as he passed Sagan, taking both of them out just before the finish line. But Nairo Quintana gained time, moving up to 8th place. A brutal stage, and just finishing has to have been a victory for many riders.

The finishing town - how beautiful Pontivy, France looks!

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8295 posts

I’m late to the party, just started watching today and just finished watching Stage 2. Stupid, stupid woman that caused that massive crash. I’ve never seen a worse pile up in 21 yrs of watching the Tour. Ok, now back to watching Stage 3…. 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️

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959 posts

Watching the TDF in June/July makes me feel almost normal!!! LOVE the Grand Tours.

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6626 posts

Brittany has the amazing neolithic stones which were briefly shown in an overhead shot with ZERO commentary or mention. I want to know what the towns are, what the key churches and chateaux are and to hear about things like the amazing neolithic sites. And it is nice when they give a little attention to the locals efforts to do little tableau for the tour.

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1767 posts

The commentary is more difficult with Phil and Bob on different continents !

I‘ll claim kinship with Cav based on Miles Standish‘s possible Isle of Man heritage !

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801 posts

@Janettravels44, the standing stones you asked about are in Carnac. The commentary on Peacock said that they date from 4500 BC and the line stretches 4.5 km (if memory serves). One of the next towns that was particularly picturesque and about which there were a number of helicopter shots was Grand Champ. Putting 2+2 together I gather that the commentary differs depending on the platform you are using to watch Le Tour. Since I'm a chord cutter I signed up for Peacock Premium and although the vast majority of comment is about the race, they at least mention each town, provide a little history and mention the more interesting sites. The TV graphics also include the name of the towns and the name of the church, chateau, etc.

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1016 posts

What a wonderful scene past the finish line. It's difficult to beat the feel-good moments that a good tale of redemption provides, and Cavendish supplied plenty.

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Can Mathieu van der Poel keep the Yellow jersey? He is the grandson of "PouPou" Raymond Poulidor, the French cycling legend who despite winning 7 stages never wore the Yellow jersey and never won the Tour de France, but became 3 times second and so nicknamed the Eternal Second. Raymond Poulidor passed away 83 years old in November 2019 and so Mathieu dedicated his win to his grandfather.

Van der Poel is always good for spectacular wins like the Amstel Gold Race of 2019, Tour of Flanders 2020 and Strade Bianche this year. Time trial is not one of his favorit things, but you will never know with him, we will see today.

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My husband, who reluctantly watching with me, had tears in his eyes along with Cav at the finish!

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I agree Nigel, I’m very glad.
Let this be a lesson to other thoughtless people.

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If I’m reading correctly, it appears the Tour de France has dropped the lawsuit. (Reuters and BBC).

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SO happy for Cavendish! Love him.
Hoping for 34 this tour.

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Great race today ( July 2 ). It could have been a boring, long race where everyone saved themselves for the alps.

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260 posts

Sign up for Peacock premium for $5-6 for the month. There are no ads on their Le Tour broadcast. We also go to You Tube for a review of the tour in the evening.

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8295 posts

Does Peacock have Phil Liggett and Bob Rolle commentating?

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2017 posts

I’m watching on Peacock and it’s been great. They do tell you the historical stuff, they tell you about the towns, there’s no commercials and there’s a lot of background information. It’s a much better race that way. it’s well worth the five dollars a month. Don’t sign up for the no advertisement version because you’re not getting ads during this event anyway.

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801 posts

Susan, no, peacock doesn’t have Bob and Phil. Peacock has Anthony McCrossan and Simon Gehrens. Gehrens is a former rider and yellow jersey.

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Thank you Trotter. It’s not the Tour for me without Liggett and Rolle so I’ll stick with NBC. The ads don’t bother me.

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1016 posts

Just fyi… it’s La Tour… : )

Interesting, then, that the official website is letour.fr

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You are right Eric! My apologies. Normally in French it’s la tour xxx but for the TdF they do say Le Tour. Oy! As if French grammar isn’t hard enough…

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And today, to add to the confusion, I saw La Tour painted on the road in a rainy, French, mountain town.

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I saw a lot of La Tour de France when I Googled it. So confusing - lol.

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Thanks Bobby. I did think it must be because of the two definitions of “tour” in French. Now we know.

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1666 posts

Isn’t it time that languages become gender-neutral?

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Another great stage. Unbelievable that a sprinter finished third. Massive time losses for so many, over 30 minutes !

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Roglic’s out, a second disappointing Tour in as many years. Nairo Quintana was dominating the rainy course today for a long time, but it would seem that his initial energy expenditure, and maybe hypothermia, didnt leave him enough to keep up the pace. More mountains to come, though.

Cavendish wore a ski cap at the Green Jersey podium presentation, probably more fitting at a ski resort in the cold and wet, than the little cycling caps the others were sporting. He made the time cut today, for more sprints to come.

Pogacar is truly commanding his lead - if this keeps up, everyone else will be fighting for 2nd place.

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5623 posts

Re: Bobby’s mention of in-person viewing, I don’t know whether the top of the Arc de Triomphe is accessible on the Last Stage, and whether folks would be permitted to hang out for as long as they wished. You’d certainly have a bird’s eye view, although not completely close-up. With bikes whizzing by at way over 30 MPH, though, any closer vantage along the sides of the Champs would be blurry.

Corners let you see a little of bikes coming and going, along with a slightly reduced speed of the riders.

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5623 posts

The NBC coverage is technically amazing, with Phil in London and Bob in New York, conversing as if they were together in the same studio, or at least in the same country, and neither in France. Last year’s Covid-19 assignment adjustments seem to have carried over on some level, and might factor into how broadcasting is handled in the future.

The NBC commercial breaks, the ones that aren’t shown on a split screen next to te race, are exactly 3 minutes long, every time, so that makes it easy to fast-forward thru commercials with the DVR.

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5623 posts

Rest day today. A chance to catch up on recorded footage that I missed last week, including Cav’s second sprint win!

It’ll be interetesting to see whether G decides to abandon the race after today’s recovery day, or to keep going after his hard pull on yesterday’s climb. He sure got banged up with his crash several days ago, and it’s phenomenal that he’s been riding after that shoulder dislocation.

And the Opi/Omi sign-holder’s not facing the lawsuit now. Lucky for her, but that’s a shame. In the USA, there would’ve been 20 people filming the incident on their cell phones, and footage would’ve made every medium, to widespread response. Every injured rider might’ve had an attorney working the case. She sure made herself scarce after the mayhem she caused, and was adept at laying low. Wonder whether her grandparents were pleased by her message? Had there not been a horrible pile-up, I wonder whether her sign would’ve even been seen? It sure got exposure after the collision - wonder if she had it all planned out that way?

Almost at the finish line yesterday, someone had painted “Allez Opi” on the road. I wonder whether they were actually greeting someone in a much less obstructive way, or being sarcastically ironic? Nobody died, but many were injured, some very seriously. Reckless or careless endangerment is nothing to be tolerated.

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Well, catching up on the recorded Stage 6, from 5 days ago. Seeing Chenonceau was inspiring and nostalgic. Nobody was kayaking on the Loire when I saw it years ago. And the floor of the ballroom that spans the river sure is bumpy, for a dance floor.

And it was announced, during that stage, that there wasn’t going to be a Tour lawsuit against the Opi/Omi woman, although at the time, authorities who had arrested her said she could still face a €1,500 fine. A slap on the wrist! And Marc Soler of the Movistar team, whose injuries from her negligence forced him out of the race on Day 1, declared that he wanted to file a personal lawsuit against her. Bob Roll suggested that the Tour officials should put forth more effort at keeping fans from creating hazards, and not in pursuing fans who do.

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8295 posts

It is very disappointing they will not be charging the Opi woman. I wonder why.
At least she has paid some price for her stupidity, hopefully, at the very least, embarrassment.

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I think this woman was a wake up call for watching for people who are more focused on themselves (Instagram selfie types) than the race and riders. When other clowns, Vikings, devils, etc get way too close to the riders they are usually making eye contact with the rider not standing with their backs to the rider(s) and looking in the opposite direction for a camera like this woman. I too want to hear the Gendarmerie who slowly travel in front of the riders actually YELL at the people to get back!

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8295 posts

Mona, thank you for that link. I was happy to read it and know that she’s facing charges.

I agree that the police / the tour are absolutely to blame for all the idiots that get too close. I have to fast forward for those stretches, I just can’t watch it.

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3111 posts

Susan, that article was from 4 days ago. They have since dropped charges against her.

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1821 posts

I love watching the Tour more than any other event. My next trip to France will have to be in July.

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Mona, Oh…

Richard, It’s a thrill to be there. We watched the Final Stage on the Champs Elysée one year and it was so much fun.

SO happy for Cav today!!

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joe, Mona posted your 2nd link above.

Unless something has changed since that article was written, my understanding from reading that article is what you said… that the TdF dropped charges but the local prosecutor is still charging her and a TdF rider, Soler, is considering a lawsuit.

Mona, are you saying the prosecutor has also dropped the charges against her since this article was written?

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3111 posts

Susan I believe it was only the Tour de France organization that said they wouldn’t press charges. It seems that she is still facing a court date in October.

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8295 posts

I was so happy for him!
I think we’ll see 35 before the end 🤞

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1821 posts

Cavendish should win every sprint for the rest of the tour, there's nobody left to challenge him. Same for Tadej in the GC. Still, it's the Tour and there's lot's of racing left so anything can and usually does happen. I'm just glad to see France in early summer as opposed to the fall like last year's race. and people on the road, for better or worse.

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5623 posts

Stage 13 was a lucky number for Cav. His supreme lead-out teammate, never had the room to pull off before the finish line, and might have just won the stage in front of Cavendish. As the NBCSN commentators mentioned at the end of the stage, it would’ve been a very quiet, awkward team dinner that night had, that happened. Quick-Step has been a prominent Sprinter team fit a long time. Superstar Tom Boonen rode for them. Their teamwork on behalf of Cav has been superb.

The crash with 61 km. to go was nasty. Not caused by a spectator, but messy gravel on the road. “Gravel bikes” have become a particular design in the last few years, with gravel rides now a “thing.” That wasn’t anticipated today, and 3 riders in the crash have now dropped out. Marc Cavendish’s teammate, Tim Declercq, who’s back sly led the Peloton for the last 2 weeks, and pulled Cavendish through the tough sections, fell in that crash, but remains in the race. His body looked like raw hamburger afterwards, and was clearly hurting. There are special yellow, green, polka dot, and white colored jerseys to distinguish leaders; Declercq should get his own MVP designation for this year!

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5623 posts

The flat sections yesterday apparently didn’t make for compelling television. NBCSN cut away to lots of vignettes about individual riders, and reshowed many of the pre-recorded stories for the umpteenth time. Even Pogacar said the stage had been boring, before it got crazy.

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5623 posts

Stage 14 - Saturday, into the foothills of the Pyrenees for an upcoming punishing week! The buildings and the countryside look so different from Provence earlier in the week. Bauke Mollema’s uncontested breakaway stage win was his first since 2019 and team Trek-Segafredo’s first since 2018. Wonder if the publicity will sell a few bikes, or some cups of coffee?

I was surprised to hear that Cofidis, a prominent French team, hasn’t won a TdF stage since 2008! Not the Tour itself, but just a stage!

Cavendish’s 34th stage win is truly remarkable, although riders nowadays are pretty much specialists. Cav is a sprint expert, but without rivals Caleb Ewen and Peter Sagan to contend with, this has clearly been his year. Those others got eliminated by the same crash, Ewen immediately, and Sagan after several torturous days. Had they been in better shape, Cav would’ve had tougher stages to win.

And Eddy Merckx’s 34 wins include Mountain stages, too, so his 34 victories are, arguably, a greater accomplishment. Cav still has 2 chances this year to top 34 stage wins.

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902 posts

Congrats to Sepp Kuss from Durango to win stage 15. Go Team jumbo

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5623 posts

What a stage!!!

Sepp lives and trains near Andorra, so he was a semi-local winning at home today. And his Spanish girlfriend and her folks were there to cheer him on on the final climb. Alejandro Valverde, second today, chatted with him in Spanish beyond the finish line. The two had been riding together at one point, before Sepp took off. It looked as if Valverde might overtake him with a couple miles to go, but Sepp was just too fast. He was 5th overall last year, and unless something disastrous happens, Sepp will ensure Pogacar makes it through the mountains for an ultimate win in Paris.

Durango has an annual event where cyclists try to beat the steam train from Durango to Silverton. Some do! Wonder if Sepp did that as a kid? The first Tour stage we saw live, back in 2008, Valverde was the winner. A lot of Spanish girls were cheering “El campeón !” (champion) at him. He’s the oldest rider this year, at 41, but still rides like a champion.

Nairo Quintana looked worn out the past few days, but won one climb today - gaining King of the Mountains points. Pogacar has such an overall lead, there’s not much suspense as to who’ll win the overall - again, barring some catastrophe. But the KOM points riders are so close, that’s where the suspense might be now for this Tour.

The telecast started off with a bunch more interesting buildings and features from aerial shots, besides the huge breakaway group. Fantastic scenery, with fewer farms, so less agricultural displays and more mountains and rocky ridges.

Sepp cast his sunglasses off into the crowd on the right, before crossing the finish line. I wonder if people injured one another to catch them? Or if Sepp might get fined for disposing of “trash” outside the disposal zone, a new Tour regulation?

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5623 posts

So an American won the stage today, and Rigoberto Uran, on the American EF Education First! team moved back into second place, overall. Just about the best Tour day for the U.S. since back when Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis were riding.

The last U.S. stage winner was Tyler Farrar, 10 years ago. The last Tour we saw live, 6 years ago, he was riding for the South African MTN-Qhubeka team, which rode past us on the way back to their team bus, after the stage in Valence had ended. That team also had Norwegian Edvald Boassen-Hagen, and German Gerald Ciolek, whom we’d been following since seeing him on our first live Tour, Stage 2 in 2008.

France has been waiting a long time for another overall winner from their own country. They’ve hosted a race now for more and more nationalities - riders and fans.

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1767 posts

Cyn - what does Sepp have to do with Pogacar winning? They are on different teams.

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You’re right, stephen. It’s been a long, hard week for the riders, and they get a day off tomorrow. Looks like I need a Rest Day, too. Let me try again:

Sepp’s Dutch Jumbo team is down to just 5 riders, and the Dane, Jonas Vingegaard is currently in 3rd place overall, by one second, over the Ineos team’s Ecuadoran Richard Carapaz. Carapaz has Chris Froome riding for him, so Sepp will be focused now on getting Vingegaard through the rest of the Great Pyrenees, and maybe getting a time advantage. The next three stages are going to be a test for climbers, and the final time trial will have the final say. Pogacar has to be pretty comfortable with a lead of more than 5 minutes over everyone, but things happen. His UAE team has helped keep him in yellow, but there are trying days ahead.

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260 posts

Two days to go for 2021 Tour. We have enjoyed the racing. Even better has been all the coverage of the towns, architecture, countryside and background on the mechanics of running the Tour. The “tour” around France was spectacular. Can’t wait to travel again in that beautiful country.

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5623 posts

Catching on stages- two major mountain days, two wins for the clear leader, Pogacar - pulling away from all his rivals at the end. As of Thursday’s win, he’s got the yellow, polka-dot, and white jerseys. This year certainly seems to be his race, but for all the little victories by other riders. The scenery was spectacular, with town after town of darling buildings, in wonderful settings. I haven’t been to that part of France (yet), nor Andorra. Going there would clearly be fun!

Crazy costumes were being worn by many spectators on the climbing stages - they’re clearly having fun, too - or perhaps have some agenda and message to convey to riders or viewers that escapes me! And all those Brittany flags! Bretons are either dispersed all over other parts of France, or have gone on vacation en masse to follow the tour, or people are just flying that distinctive black and white Trees and Stripes flag. Wonder what the version that’s tinged green represents?

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Friday stage - a second win this year for Matej Mohoric, and the fifth for a Slovenian. As the commentators said, “no one” even considered Slovenia and bike racing 3 years ago, and now it seems to be the dominant source of Tour de France winners these days. No sprint finish today, with Mohoric’s breakaway win, so Cavendish will need to wait for tomorrow’s time trial stage to conclude, and have the final day in Paris to try to exceed the 34 wins he and Merckx each have. It was fantastic to see Eddy and Mark together at the start today. Eddy had a mask, Mark didn’t. Covid-19 continues to produce confusing images, but having the Tour and its images of France remains a constant thrill, that’s for sure.

Andre Griepel has ridden a solid your for the Israel team, as has the recovering Chris Froome. Not wishing Mark Cavendish anything but success, although I’d be thrilled to see Griepel get a win on Sunday. Should be thrilling, in any event.

Time trial #2 tomorrow. It’s been joked that Pogacar could stop for a coffee or two, and still keep his lead of nearly 6 minutes. Team Time Trials have’t been part of Le Tour in some time - I’d love to be able to see one in person, sometime. Anyway, with tomorrow’s stage ending in Saint Emilion, maybe Pogacar could stop for a glass of Bordeaux, instead of coffee. He’s barely just old enough to drink wine in France!

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743 posts

Posted on the Tour website for those who want to attend the Champs Elysées arrival on Sunday:

Sunday, 18 July, the Tour de France arrives on the Champs-Élysées. To congratulate the riders, a health pass and mask will be compulsory for all spectators aged 12 and over.
As a reminder, the health pass corresponds to:

A negative test PCR within the past 48 hours or;
A negative antigenic test within the past 48 hours or;
Proof of vaccination (with a vaccine recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA): Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson) is only valid if it provides evidence of a complete vaccination schedule, i.e:
2 weeks after the 2nd injection pour the double dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca);
4 weeks after the one dose injection vaccines (Johnson & Johnson);
2 weeks after the injection of vaccines for people with a history of Covid-19 (only 1 injection required)

The block quote ends here, but it must be too long for the RS Forum set-up.

This provides more detail on what can be presented as proof, at least for the Tour. I wonder how they will check people in.

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Barbara, I’m kidding of course, but I wonder whether the Caravan that precedes the racers, instead of tossing out hats, shirts, and free promotional trinkets, could instead somehow be enlisted to verify spectators’ qualifications for attending the final stage? Maybe toss out yellow nasal test kits? Or perhaps inflatable wands with a sponsor’s logo, but also a space where the vaccination date(s) can be written in permanent marker, then waved around for all to see?

Otherwise, it’s a little like going to the grocery store right now, where 98% of shoppers and employees aren’t wearing masks, and aren’t required to do so, although statistically less than 98% of us are vaccinated. Vive Le (safe) Tour!

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Stage 20 time trial, which NBCSN originally indicated was not going to be telecast by them or NBC, was exciting to see. Vineyards all around, with the occasional town I’d love to visit.

My husband and I had a chance today, during a Zoom cooking class, to ask Andy Hampsten, a super American bike racer from the 90’s, and who now runs Cycling/Cooking vacations in Tuscany, how he felt about not being on today’s time trial. He said the “kids” today are riding such short distances, it’s not like what he had to ride. LOL - like a grandpa who tells his grandkids that in the old days, he had to walk 15 miles to school and back, uphill both ways.

Pogacar kept his lead, although Mohoric’s blistering pace cut into the lead by a half minute. Wout van Aert, who suffered severe injuries in the time trial 2 years ago, was even better, and beat everyone for the stage win. That’s his second this Tour, in addition to the double Mt. Ventoux stage. And he nearly beat Mark Cavendish in a sprint finish this year. He won sprints last year, though, do he’s now the only rider to win a Mountain, TT, and Flat stage in his Tour career. Mohoric and van Aert are riders to watch for years to come!

For today’s TT stage, 6 of the 10 fastest finishers were Danish. Alejandro Valverde, at 42 years the oldest rider in this year’s tour by more than 2 years, will finish in the overall top 25. Nairo Quintana, who was on the Podium in Paris not so long ago, is now down at 28th place.

Carapaz finishing the Tour in third could be Team Ineos’ only semi-consolation, after such high expectations. It was mentioned on TV yesterday, that at a team payroll of €12 million, far higher than other teams, far better results were expected and warranted. Hmmm, professional bike racers are, relatively, severely underpaid. Aren’t there American baseball, football, and basketball players who, individually, make more than $14 million a year, a lot greater than a team of 8 at the Tour?

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The current standings, which will, barring a catastrophe, also essentially be the final results tomorrow, have a more than 5 minute advantage of 1st place over second in the overall race time. Third and fourth places are less than a minute apart. The other tones in the top 10 are two and three minutes apart. Over an 80+ total hour race, those aren’t huge differences, but some other Tours have been a lot closer . . . like last year!

And Declercq and the rest of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step Team, many with much faster times in the first 2 weeks, are now near the very back of the pack, timewise. They’ve been riding slower than many others this past week, shepherding Cavendish through the mountains. We’ll see whether that all pays off tomorrow, at the final sprint in Paris!

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Amazing finale Stage 21. Pogacar’s team didn’t appear to do the celebratory champagne toast astride their bikes … maybe personal rider decision, maybe an Arab Emirates muslim influence. But he’s won, 2 years in a row.

Inspiring scenery, from the air and on the ground. Versailles and Louvre palaces. The sight of the bikes racing past the Louvre Pyramid, with the museum building in the background will be a classic scene for years to come. What a great weather day, with clear views of Paris! Almost no masks among spectators lining the Champs.

Cavendish did win the intermediate sprint by a long shot, but van Aert had the right line and the right kick at the finish. Griepel was riding just behind le Cavendish at the end, and retired today - he had 11 Tours with 12 stage wins. Cav remains tied with Mercx at 34 wins. There’s something about Le Tour and tied records - after Lance was stripped of his 7, there are a bunch all tied with 5 GC wins. It’ll be interesting if Mark rides next year, and conditions allow him to vie for a record 35th stage win.

Thank you, Eric, for starting this thread this year.

Vuelta a España, anyone?

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Agree Cyn, today was fantastic. Loved every minute. I grew up in Chavenay and St Germain-en-Laye, so I really enjoyed today’s route. Sad for Cav, but I hope it means he’ll be back next year for 35. Something to look forward to. I wondered about the no champagne ride too…