Rider Tour de France, Not a path. That’s how it happened, and once again the whitening adage was revealed in the opening week, when the stage allotted for sprinters created more drama and more gaps in the general classification than the two mountaintops combined.
Tricky 2020 lecture When it was released last October, it was acclaimed for its invention, but not to mention its character Jumbo-bismaThe striking collective power of the company-as a whole, appears to be repressed rather than encouraging the adventurous spirit of competitors. Aside Julian Allah Phillip and Adam YatesThe two-stage attack was a collective effort, from the forcing of Jumbo-Visma at Orcières-Merlette to the successive movements of Bora-Hansgrohe and Ineos Grenadiers on their way to Lavaur.
On Saturday, the tour arrives in the Pyrenees. There, for 110 years, the desolate but delightful mountain trails inspired some men’s solo activities and sing more songs to the shipwreck.
“The Pyrenees are heartless, ruthless and atheist. Without affection, the psychologist will tell,” wrote Gianni Mura, explaining precisely why the Pyrenees are so important. An emotional endurance race, The Tour always reveals everything from indifferent mediators like the Pyrenees.
Just as the tour first reached the Pyrenees or the lean air of the Alps, there is an expectation that the race will climb into the high pitched surroundings. Quoting another tiring old truth: “The real tour starts here.” Who designed this, Thierry Gouvenou lecture, In an interview, downplayed expectations for a weekend double header. Reuters, Jumbo-Visma suggests setting the tempo again to convince the attacker.
Gouvenou admitted, “There may be more rhythms in the Pyrenees, but it will be a bit like Orcières-Merlette.” “We’re impatient and picky, but don’t forget that the tour is 3 weeks long. It can’t be 100% over 3 weeks. They are managing their efforts.”
Tours are always exercises to manage accumulated fatigue. The race is only 7 days old and there are still two weeks left if the coronavirus pandemic is allowed. Men like Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) did little to help attack fresh pelotons. Orcières-Merlette or Mont Aigoual, However, the French suggested that the Pyrenean doubleheader’s second leg could provide more offensive range as the legs began to get tired.
“We’re focusing on the Pyrenees,” Pinot said. “We have to tire our rivals and make the race difficult on Saturday so we can attack them on Sunday.” team, He said earlier Friday’s unexpectedly hard day To Lavaur, who may have accelerated the softening process.
Groupama-FDJ trainer Fréd Grappe was more obvious. The task of Pinot and others like him is to separate Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin from the Jumbo-Visma guard and Egan Bernal from the Ineos cohort.
“If you want to attack the leader of Ineos Grenadiers or Jumbo-Visma, you must first get rid of the teammates.” team. “As long as there are still team members in the mountain, it is very difficult to ignore them because they will sacrifice themselves to chase you. The strategy is to wear them out.”
Of course, the problem is that Jumbo-Visma hasn’t felt burdened so far. Wout van Aert’s incredible massive performances symbolize his team’s post-closure form. Already the winner of Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, he has won two sprints on this tour and led the race at the first summit. At this speed he can drive the bus and even enter the press release until the race arrives in Paris.
However, for all their strengths, Jumbo-Visma has been able to choose and choose battles up to this point, saving energy as much as possible. They actively teeed off for a 10-second bonus with Roglic at Orcières-Merlette, but on Thursday they were willing to step back to help Ineos take the reins at the Col de Lusette.
Roglic reaches the Pyrenees, which ranks second overall. Yellow jersey Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). Guillaume Martin (Kofidis) is in third place in 9 seconds, with Bernal, Dubite, Pinot and Nairo Quintana (Akea-Samsik) all leading by 13 seconds. Jumbo-Visma and Roglic’s visual impression of excellence did not (yet) match the time difference.
It remains to be seen whether they will blow up tours in the Pyrenees this weekend, or instead use Roglic’s punches to pick the bonus seconds offered in the final ascent, gradually boxing and gradually gaining advantage. On Saturday and Sunday.
“I don’t think Roglic wants to burn his teammates in the lead,” Gouvenou said. Reuters. “It’s a very quiet race because you know what’s coming.”
And yet. On the way from Miyo to Lava Ur on a Friday afternoon, the lies of the earth suddenly changed. By the time Ineos separated the peloton at the race exit at 40 km from Castres, all of the expected contenders were lying on each other within seconds. But now, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) and punk victim Richard Cara Lapaz (Ineos) are down a further 1:21 in the overall rankings.
As Bernal suggested that the race would be decided in the third week, it was easy to imagine a situation where Podium competitors would again be conservatively riding the Pyrenees, but the unexpected setbacks of Landa and Pogacar can now add some urgency to their strategy. Landa didn’t need a lot of encouragement to throw himself into the attack, but Pogacar also has an attacker’s instinct. Eventually, at Orcières-Merlette, he sent Fabio Aru up the road with his teammate Davide Formolo over the radio to accelerate, and a speculative effort at Mont Aigoual.
Others may also be tempted to try the water. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) wears a yellow jersey, but his goal is to win the stage, and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) seems to want to fight every second after losing with a Wednesday time penalty. The two men will be active in pursuit of bonus seconds at Col de Peyresourde on Saturday and Col de Marie Blanc on Sunday. It’s hard to imagine one man coming all the way down from the other.
The powerful Tourmalet has been missing from its route for two years in a row, but the race across the Pyrenees is marked by a familiar name. The first part of the doubleheader is from Cazères-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle via the Col de Menté, Port de Balès and Col de Peyresourde, taking 141 km of peloton, then gently dropping to the finish line.
The opening stage looks relatively gentle. Although it depends on how keenly Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) compete for the middle sprint after 42 km, the road turns sharply upwards after that. After Orcières-Merlette on Tuesday, the race will forever visit Luis Ocaña’s Starcross 1971 Tour, another delightful site related to the Col de Menté. The road climbs more than 18 km, but officially the first category ascent starts 6.9 km from the top and has an average slope of 8.1%.
Next, on the 2010 tour, the Port of Valles (11.7 km, 7.7%), most famous for the site of’Chain Gate’ by Andy Schlec and Alberto Contador, is the Col de Peyresourde (9.7 km, 7.8%). The col hardly imparts the mystery of neighbors like the Tourmalet or Aubisque, but always offers a white knuckle finish when functioning as the last climb of the day. Especially here, you get an 8 second time bonus. normal.
In 2016, Chris Froome won the Luchon by recording Peyresourde’s striking descent, and Rodolfo Massi defeated Marco Pantani in 1998 in the same finale. This time Peloton deals with Peyresourde on the other side, but similarly white knuckles. The drama can continue on this side, as when Alexander Vinokorov won the Luden Wiel in 2003.
Individually, Saturday’s stage is the harder leg of the Pyrenean weekend, but fatigue in stage 9 from Pau to Laruns will be a bigger factor. The 153 km section is preceded by the first category, the Col de la Hourcère (11.1 km at 8.8%), just before the halfway point, followed by the fourth category Côte d’Artiguelouve. The short climbs of Col de Soudet and Col d’Ichère are ahead of the evil Col de Marie Blanque.
Marie Blanque’s average slope of 8.6% is only part of the story as the slope rarely falls below two orders of magnitude during the last 4km, and there is a long ramp exceeding 13% near the top. Once again, a time bonus is offered near the summit and the finish line is an 18km descent.
That said, it’s an ideal launchpad, but the rider himself will decide whether to use it. Roglic’s yellow and black jumbo-bisma guards can be more insurmountable obstacles than the Pyrenees itself.