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Stage 19: The Big Return That Wasn’t.

Just one of today's many rain-soaked spectators...

Just one of today’s many rain-soaked spectators…

Back to a sprint day, and along with it came a big return of the rain– not sprinkles, but heavy downpour.  Every cyclist knows wet roads mean more tire punctures and higher crash risk, and today was no exception.  Add to this two very sharp turns into the finish on water-logged pavement, and predictions for the end of stage 19 quickly proved dicey, to say the least.

Would he finally, we asked?  Perhaps getting poised for another shot, all of a sudden– pile-up crash!  Thankfully for all involved, it happened within three kilometers of the finish line, meaning each rider gets the same time for the day as their group.  Still, not exactly the big return he was hoping, but rather another stage win dashed for “poor” Peter Sagan, courtesy of a rain-plagued wipe out.  Instead, a well-earned victory du jour emerged for Team Garmin-Sharp.

       Peter's unplanned end du jour. Stage 19 victory
(Photo Credit: AP)

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in 2014 Tour de France

 

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Just One More…

France might just have done it again, as another victory du jour looked promising for a long stretch of the day with Pierre Rolland in the lead.  As it happened though, Rui Costa stole his own encore performance— all alone to cross the finish line once more– in a water-logged stage 19 finish.

Le Tour seems always beset by interestingly timed natural challenges.  Today it was torrential rain in the stage’s final miles, just enough to create a soaked and all-the-more dangerous last descent to the line.  With no wet-road wipeouts fortunately, and the main breakaway group kept huddled together, the general classification remains mostly unchanged at the end of this penultimate day in the Alps.  Just one more, Chris!

The man in yellow maintains his position.

This drenching day’s end killed any chases.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in 2013 Tour de France

 

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Day of… Fear?

As printed on letour.fr, this succinct and accurate analysis by race director Jean-Francois Pescheux labels Stage 19 as the one everyone is afraid of.

“Today’s route runs in the opposite direction to yesterday’s. The riders tackle the successive climbs of the Col du Télégraphe and the Galibier, and then finish with the climb to Alpe d’Huez, which returns after an absence of three years. It is a short stage. Nevertheless, all of the riders will be afraid of it. Those who aren’t going so well will be concerned about the cut-off time for elimination and the favourites will know that they will pay a heavy cost for any sign of weakness. The shortness of the stage allows the climbers to attack from very early on, which is not something they will be used to. This stage will be thrilling and, bearing in mind that it comes on the back of two other tough days, there is a chance that a lot of damage will be done today.”

The Road to Alpe d’Huez

The infamous, feared and celebrated climb of Alpe d’Huez has been completed for the year, with now a new man in yellow!  And it’s not last year’s Tour winner.  But who am I to spoil your own viewing?

 
 

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