14th July 2016

Grumpy Gary’s wandering analysis of the Tour de France: Week 2

Nobody can out-pose Grumpy Gary.

Nobody can out-pose Grumpy Gary.

Grumpy Gary is a Bike Co-op member and our Senior Graphic Designer, who isn’t really that grumpy.

See Grumpy Gary’s Week 1 Analysis

See A Beginner’s Guide to the Tour De France

Well week two has been a bit more eventful, having witnessed everything from Chris Froome actually doing something (and most definitely not staying safe) to biblical-size hailstones (great for a bit of dermabrasion but not so good for cycling) to cross winds on Stage 11 that would make us mere mortals cry.

So it’s looking more and more likely that the GC race is going to become as dull as dishwater.  With Contador out, Nibali doing frankly nothing, and Quintana (the man with only one expression) sleeping his way around the tour, His Royal Froomeness is currently in pole position with a 28-second lead.

Talking of Froome, I have to grudgingly admit his attack on Stage 8 was impressive. Not in the fact that he actually attacked – I mean, even I could attack on a downhill, especially if there was a queue at the bottom to get into the cake shop – but in the speed he was taking those corners and doing that rather mental but clearly effective aero-pedalling thing. Where was Quintana when this was happening, enjoying the scenery?

The cycling gods are displeased.

The cycling gods are displeased.

The big surprise of the week has to be the fact that after a sterling effort by Adam Yates (Orica-Bike exchange), the top 2 positions on the leader board are occupied by British riders. It’s like being in an alternative universe.

The main highlight for me was when Tom Doumoulin took the stage win on Sunday after his successful solo breakaway. So far Tom has been a little off-form, looking like a shadow of the man he was on last year’s Vuelta. Not so on Sunday. With giant hailstones, driving rain and a mountain finish, Tom delivered a brave and heroic finish. I found myself shouting at the telebox, cheering and willing him on – Chapeau, Mr Doumoulin! This was also the day Contador pulled out; Tinkoff clearly couldn’t get enough Weetabix into him.

Wee Tommy Voeckler is still gurning his way around the tour. I love watching that guy. Sagan, after a couple of impressive days riding, has put himself back in the Green jersey and bagged himself another win on Stage 11. Talking of that stage win, what a breakaway group that was! Sagan with his teammate Maciej Bodnar, and surprisingly alongside Froome and Geraint Thomas. It’s not every day you see the GC boys getting involved in a potential sprint finish.


My 17-year old daughter now recognises Cavendish.

Maybe – just maybe – Team Sky have turned over a new leaf and are moving away from marginal gains and staying safe, although I suspect normal service will be resumed shortly. Again, where was Quintana when this was going on? Stuck in the peloton probably working out what he needed to get from the shops. Come on Quintana! Like the current labour party, you’re meant to be the effective opposition.

But it’s still all about the stage wins for me.

So after stage 11, who has what jersey? Chris Froome is in yellow, Peter Sagan is back in Green (sprinters), Thibaut Pinot is King of the Mountains sporting the polka dots, and the one and only Adam Yates is wearing white for the best young rider.

I will leave this week with a classic quote from my 17 year old daughter, who is getting to know who the riders are: “Is that Cavendish?” she asked. “Yes, well done” I said, feeling impressed. Proudly, she replied, “Yeah I recognised him by his teeth.”

Until next time – it’s all about being aero.

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