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Tag Archives: Tour de France 2014

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Stage 21: Et Maintenant, La Fin.

As we “knew” would be the case barring any last-day catastrophe, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali is the champion of the 101st Tour de France– by a huge margin no less!  He joins only five other cyclists in history to win all three Grand Tours– the other two of course Italy’s and Spain’s.

Nibali in Paris

For the first time in more than 30 years, France saw two of its own take the yellow podium–Jean-Christophe Peraud in second and best young rider Thibaut Pinot third.  This, after Marcel Kittel’s second Champs-Elysees bookending victory shut out a stage win for Peter Sagan, even as a LeTour.fr survey of more than 4000 votes favored the man in green to take stage 21.  And let’s not forget our resilient American finishing fifth, Tejay Van Garderen, nor Jens Voigt’s swan song.

    Champagne time.   France's Tour Salute

And now, the end.  So passes another Tour de France into the history books for 164 riders who made it to Paris– big-name losses notwithstanding– complete with all the triumph, tradition and Parisian fanfare that defines the finale.  While I’ve yet to get there to see it all in person, for now having Phil Liggett, Bob Roll and all their comrades deliver the action every day for three weeks– plus a commendable first-year commentating job by 2013 retiree Christian Vande Velde— remains an acceptable substitute.  I’m happy to have cycled a mere one quarter of the Tour’s total distance during this time, less than I did last year, but nevertheless taking me there every day in spirit.  Vive Le Tour!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in 2014 Tour de France, Daily Activities

 

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Stage 16: This Time Around.

The UK has held champion bragging rights for the past two years.  Then England hosted this year’s first three stages.  Now, however, the 2014 Tour de France is turning out to be not very British, as the withdrawal of Simon Yates leaves just one of four UK riders still in the game.

Rather, those bragging rights this time around remain en route to Italy, while France must surely be excited for its shot at the Paris podium, holding GC spots three, four and five here at the end of stage 16.  American Tejay Van Garderen stays in the top 10, down to sixth today overall.

10th (or 205th)Time's a Charm!

The longest day of this Tour ended a much longer winless streak for Australia’s Michael Rogers, who finally earned his first stage victory in his 10th Tour de France!  Talk about a change of luck this time around, for Rogers today a truly great one, while for world champion Rui Costa with respect to his departure— quite the opposite.  And so passes this first stage in the Pyrenees.

 As stage 16 rolls... Stage 16 continues...

(Photos Courtesy LeTour.fr – ASO)

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in 2014 Tour de France

 

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Rest Day 2: Just Barely Beginning.

My mention on this day last year regarding spectators stands just as relevant now, while my fondness for that unforgettable French baker of two years ago has not faded.

On this second rest day, while our minds here at home are permitted to wander, clearly it’s all focus for 161 remaining competitors heading into this third and final week of Le Tour de France.  After all, Paris will greet them in just six more stages, by no means a quick or easy stretch after two unforgiving weeks of mounting fatigue, with plenty more hard climbing to come.

Horse racing, TDF style.

Horse racing, TDF style.

In any case, we might say the riders are just barely beginning to see the end.  Among all else, perhaps we’ll be treated to one more “horse race” on the way into town, along with any more surprises on the road that, true to cycling, forever remain impossible to predict.

Roadside entertainment lives.

TDF sprints come in all forms.

 

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in 2014 Tour de France

 

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Stage Two: Minus One.

Sure enough.  The very first thing we heard at the top of today’s broadcast certainly came as no surprise, all-around disappointment notwithstanding.  Mark Cavendish is out of the Tour de France. With this, stage 2 went on with 198 riders minus one.

It’s difficult to imagine the next three weeks without the Missile, especially with Le Tour still in England today and tomorrow.  Nevertheless, as we’re left to picture how Cavendish would surely have dominated the peloton through his homeland, the race shall go on as always.

As it did, today’s route from York to Sheffield ended with minus one photo finish.  Winner du jour Vincenzo Nibali just couldn’t be caught, crossing the line “well ahead” of the pack with his two-second lead.  Next stop, London!  (Sorry, Cav.)

Photo:  AFP

Stage two’s finish in Sheffield, England.  (Photo: AFP)

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in 2014 Tour de France

 

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Stage One: Fanfare to Disaster

Kate & Cav Tour colors

From a royal send-off to fittingly colorful sheep, the big first day got underway with full fanfare in the English city of Leeds, followed later in the day by polka dot victory for this year’s oldest rider.  Then, as instantaneously as everything can change in cycling, stage 1 did not end as hoped for the day’s largely anticipated winner.  Not only did the region’s star competitor lose the day– but rather, complete disaster prevailed.  With the rare chance to capture yellow in a sprint finish on not just his native soil but his mother’s hometown of Harrogate– before the eyes of William, Kate, Harry, Prime Minister Cameron and thousands of supporters, not to assume any pressure of course– shockingly, painfully, and in a cycling instant, it did not happen.

The 101st Tour de France appears likely to resume with one less rider at the start of stage two in York, a huge loss indeed to the next 20 days of racing.  Sadly enough to say, for as “royally” as his day began, his crash on finish line approach looks like a pretty bad one for Mark Cavendish.

 

 

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