Cycling Thread - The French are good now!

#1

Next year’s Tour route has been announced:

It looks brutal, with a finish on the Tourmalet, the Galibier involved and a raft of other rarer climbs like Val Thorens, which looks like a beast.

#2

Massive news as Sky announce that next season will be their last sponsoring a team:

Assuming this happens, the sport will be way more interesting.

#3

I guess everyone knows already but it should be noted that Paul Sherwin died last week.
Along with Phil Liggett, he was the voice many of us drifted off sleep in the early hours of a cold July morning too.
As much as I prefer Matt Keenan & Robbie McEwan now, like Martin Tyler with football & Murray Walker with F1, those 2 are the voices I’ll always associate with cycling.

#4

What percentage of this decision is due to Froome’s salbutamol Case? ( I haven’t read the story)

#5

Sagan takes TDU stage 3. Who’ll take GC? Richie? Impey? Bevan? Anyone been to SA for the TDU? Looks like a great few days for cyclists (whilst the Family does other stuff).

#6

I loved Luis Leon Sanchez & Sagan’s interaction after the sprint. LLS spent, angry & disappointed as a fresh Sagan wheels up next to him and starts chatting. You could see LLS realise that although the result was close Sagan had plenty in the tank and had only done enough to beat him while he was full out. They’re probably my 2 favourite riders in the peleton, Sagan for obvious reasons but LLS because he’s just always there. Sprints, hills, always finding the right breakaway in transition & mountain stages, ITT, classics & stage races, I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. Whether it’s due to team orders (earlier at Astana), bad luck (hasn’t won a GT stage since 2013, plenty of 2nds 3rds & 4ths though), the golden era of riders of his ilk (Sagan, Van Avermaet, Alaphillippe, Valverde, Gilbert etc.), Quick Steps recent 1 day domination or Sky shutting down stage after stage, he hasn’t won as many races as maybe he should have but I think he’s still one of the greats of his generation.

As for the TdU I’ve backed Pierre Latour to win. 13th overall last year only 24 seconds back and was only 14 seconds behind Porte up Wilunga Hill.
A few who finished ahead of him aren’t here this year. He’s the undisputed #1 of his team for the race unlike last year. He’s had a long lay off since last years TdF and doesn’t race again for 2 months until he starts his TdF build up where he will be #2 to Bardet so may not get a chance to win another race until the 2nd half of the season. He’s one of the few riders who can match Porte’s (how fit is he?) explosiveness and natural progression should have seen his ability improve. My only concern is his long lay off.
I don’t think Porte will win. New team, long illness after his crash and La Vuelta, a lack of a clear plan heading into the TdF and all of his teammates well off the pace, I see him being isolated and attacked up Wilunga. Pantano winning that stage in a breakaway is more likely for mine with Richie riding as he did in La Vuelta.
Diego Ulissi, Michael Woods & George Bennett are my other big name picks with Eduard Prades being my smokey.

#7

It’s fucking annoying that none of the Eurosport content is on Kayo. I’ve not jumped in yet for the A-League because I already had a year of the My Football App paid for, but was considering getting it given that the ACL games coming up will only be on Fox. But if the cycling isn’t included then that kind of sucks.

Has anyone had experience with the UK Eurosport Player through a VPN? It’s a shame they don’t offer the same thing here. Now, despite the rest of pay tv sport in this country finally banding together to offer something approaching a convenient and affordable streaming platform, cycling is left ailing on the old platform behind the higher paywall of the bundled entertainment packages. It’s particularly galling for the Italian races, which are Eurosport exclusives so made completely unavailable to SBS even if they wanted them.

#8

I’ve not used the Eurosport player before but I’ve never really had trouble finding a stream when I really want to.

My biggest disappointment is that SBS don’t do highlights packages each day of most races any more. I don’t have time to watch 2 hours of coverage of every stage of the Dauphine, but I’d love half hour packages I can watch on the way to work.

#9

Yeah fair call. I think they can only do half hour packages when they are actually rights holders. They do tend to do a short package each day for the World Tour races at least. See the 3 min packages for the UAE tour this week for example. Nice win for Caleb Ewan overnight on a short uphill sprint. Very happy for the guy after a pretty shitty year last year.

ICYMI I just noticed SBS put out their cycling broadcast schedule for the next couple of months the other day. Just Paris-Nice during March, then Flanders, Roubaix and the Ardennes week. I think I will give the Eurosport player a go for the month of March. It’s such a good month for cycling starting with the opening weekend this week, then Tirreno, Strade Bianche, Milan-Sanremo and all the other early cobbled classics.

Particularly excited to see how Michael Matthews goes on the cobbles. If he can stay upright he will be a chance in any race he enters. I’m looking at the transition made by Michael Valgren last year from an Ardennes guy to a Classics all-rounder and thinking if he can do that then Matthews can do the same.

Edit: Just as I post, Cycling News put up a nice piece on Matthews.

#10

Matthews should be well supported in that team. He has the right physique to succeed on the cobbles as well.

#11

An absolutely extraordinary end to Amstel Gold. Try to catch the last 5km in full if you can.

#12

Fleche had one of the better finishes that I can remember last night too. I mean it’s always roughly the same but at least it went down to the wire.

I’m making a real effort to keep up with cycling more this year, but it’s bloody hard when you fall behind on some of the stage races.

#13

Froome appears to be out for the season after a bad crash. Broken femur, elbow, & ribs.

Was looking forward to seeing if he or Geraint performed best at The Tour.

#14

TDF starts on the weekend so time to fire up this thread again. With Froome out it looks like it will be one of the most open for years. Really looking forward to it after a pretty lacklustre Giro. Looks to be a good route too with minimal time trialing, GC days dotted right throughout and a really tough final week. I’m not really into betting but there are some very generous odds available given the openness of the field.

Particularly looking forward to seeing the Aussies in action. With Ewan, Matthews and Porte that’s basically someone in with a chance on every stage. Would be great to see Richie make it through the three weeks, last time he did that (2016!) he was fifth. Rohan Dennis did a great Tour de Suisse too, so looking forward to seeing how that translates to three weeks.

#15

This potentially makes it the most exciting in ages.

#16

I don’t see it being open or close between anyone except for Bernal & Thomas who will go 1-2, in that order.
Although I see them relinquishing the jersey to Alaphilippe on Stage 6 INEOS will be in control of the race from Stage 2. Alaphilippe will be battling Barguil, Herrada & possibly De Gendt to defend his KOM, not out for the overall, so having Quickstep drive the peleton from Stage 7-12 will save the legs of INEOS. Thomas or Bernal will take the Yellow back on the Stage 13 ITT and with the energy they’ve saved due to Quickstep working, INEOS will shut down any attacks and drive home their advantage in the Pyrenees prior to the 2nd rest day. If he isn’t already wearing it, Bernal will take the Yellow on stage 20 where I think the 3rd day in a row at altitude will be where Thomas’s disrupted build up will hurt him.
The only guy that can push them is Fuglsang, who I have for 3rd, but I can’t see him making up the time that Astana will lose on the 2nd stage. The same goes for Bardet, Quintana & Pinot although I have those 3 to finish behind one, if not both, of Kruijswijk & Bennet.
Nibali will fall away in the 3rd week as he rode the Giro although he will be put in a good early position because of Bahrain’s TTT strength.
Adam Yates will have at least 1 bad day and will be lucky to finish top 10. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack Haig finishes ahead of him overall.
The excitement for mine will come in the battle for the Green Jersey. Sagan, Matthews, Ewan, Viviani & Groenewegen are the obvious choices but I think Wout Van Aert is a real smokey for it. His form has been unbelievable since he’s concentrated on the road full time and with many of the sprints uphill & his TT ability I see him picking up quite a few points that Ewan, Viviani & Groenewegen won’t get. Is it enough to get him ahead of Sagan though?

My predictions:
Yellow: Bernal (2nd: Thomas, 3rd: Fuglsang)
KOM: Alaphilippe
Green: Van Aert
White: Bernal
Team: EF Education First
Top Australian: Jack Haig

#17

Ha I like it. Not afraid to put your neck on the line :wink:. All fair predictions I think except Van Aert for green. He’ll be riding for Gronewegen on all the flat sprints so will lose points to Sagan and Matthews. That will be too many points to make up unless they both abandon.

#18

Completely agree, a lot has to fall into place for him to win it. Sagan is the obvious choice and Matthews will benefit from Sunweb not really having a serious GC contender. Van Aert will need to win a couple of the transition stages from the breakaway to stand a chance so maybe Jumbo will give him free reign and hope that Matthews & Sagan go with him. If that happens and the 3 of them weaken that takes 2 of Groenewegen’s rivals for the sprint out.
Either way, the Green Jersey competition is far from the foregone conclusion it has been for pretty much the last 10 years (expulsions aside).

#19

A great sprint for stage one! No one would have predicted that result that’s for sure.

It looked like Ewan was just boxed in but was going to be finishing fastest. That gives confidence that he might be able to get a stage or two.

#20

It will be interesting to see the fallout from the crashes. Everything came up Bernal apart from INEOS having to go off first tonight.
Thomas went down again and while there’s no damage falling off twice in a month can’t be good for your body.
What a stage for Jumbo. Teunissen takes the stage and Yellow but Groenewegen & Bennett both went down hard which will not only affect both of their individual chances for success but will also impact Kruijswijk’s chances as well as I think Jumbo will lose a lot of time tonight because of their injuries.
Fuglsang also hit hard and took a lot of skin off. I don’t see him being able to heal quick enough to not lose a chunk of time tonight & on stage 6.