a weekly double-shot of road racing
Wednesday 17th July 2013
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
SATURDAY — Tour de France S14
SUNDAY — Tour de France S15
MONDAY — Rest day
TUESDAY — Tour de France S16
WEDNESDAY — Tour de France S17
THURSDAY — Tour de France S18
FRIDAY — Tour de France S19
SATURDAY — Tour de France S20
SUNDAY — Tour de France S21
the view from gap
rest day chat
Testing, Testing, Ventoux
Contador on the attack Never a shrinking violet, Alberto Contador has said that he is prepared to risk his current placing in the GC in a bid for all-out glory in the Alps. With team-mate and super-domestique Roman Kreuziger also in the top ﬁve, any failed audacity from Saxo-Tinkoﬀ may give wily teams a chance to proﬁt from kamikaze attacks and push their riders up the GC. Movistar, Belkin, and Astana take note.
e peloton made their way gently uphill today, from Vaison-la-Romaine still in the shadow of Mont Ventoux to Gap, in the shadow of the high Alps, the hallowed grounds of France’s greatest race. Movistar’s Rui Costa made his winning move from the break on the steep slopes of the Col de Manse and, in the chasing group, Alberto Contador attacked Chris Froome, signalling his intentions for the ﬁnal week. And while there were no big dramas on the descent, where Joseba Beloki fell and Lance Armstrong famously rode across the ﬁeld-both the race favourites wobbled on the treacherous turns. Froome will know that even if he survived Ventoux in style, both he and Team Sky still have many mountains to climb before Paris. It is one of the most testing third weeks in memory, topped oﬀ, in the fans’ imaginations at least, by a double ascent of Alpe d’Huez. Actually, this year’s highest point was on the Port de Pailhères, and ursday’s Alpe stage is only one of a triple whammy of mountain tests that will make sure that whoever wears the yellow jersey in Paris truly deserves it. Saxo-Tinkoﬀ ’s Alberto Contador, lying in third behind Bauke Mollema (Belkin), is 4mins 25secs behind Froome and is probably the Briton’s only credible challenger. If the Spaniard has looked personally vulnerable – in the Pyrenees and on Ventoux – then he has had great support from his team, snatching the initiative on Stage 13 to Saint-Amand-Montrond and taking back a minute from Froome. Never mind that Froome responded with a tremendous performance on Ventoux, blowing Contador, Nairo Quintana and all other opposition away with devastating accelerations; Froome’s team has been depleted somewhat with the loss of Vasil Kiryienka and Edvald Boasson Hagen, but he remains strong and will take some catching. Outside the race for the yellow jersey, Peter Sagan has run away with the green jersey. His position is now impregnable and barring upsets he will make it two in a row by Paris. And the polka dots? Froome said after Ventoux that stage wins from now on are not his target, so there may be room for someone – Pierre Rolland or Quintana – to wrest that from him. If the little Colombian does win, he’ll add it to the white jersey for best young rider.
whee lie-ing up mont v entoux is # pr ost y le
Rain Jackets to the ready at the Rapha pop-up ere’s bad weather forecast in the Alps, and ursday in particular may see party-goers get very wet on the Alpe. If you’re caught without the right clothes, there is a Rapha popup shop in Alpe d’Huez. e riders, however, will have to grin and bear it. Who’s got the grinta to proﬁt from others’ discomfort? Europcar saved With Cyril Gautier and Pierre Rolland spending barely a second out of the breaks or attacking up mountains, it’s good to see Europcar extend its sponsorship of the Vendée-based team. It’s also home to this race’s best moustache – thanks to Jérôme Cousin, a veritable Magnum on two wheels.
ldn cycle club news During the Annecy-Semnoz stage (20th July) any Étapiste coming to the Rapha Cycle Club in London to spectate will, upon presentation of their race number, be rewarded with a free beer.
a weekly double-shot of road racing
Wednesday 17th July 2013
anatomy of a stage
team sky mobile supporters club
Stage 18, 172.5km Gap – Alpe d’Huez GAP 871m
Col d’Omon 1371m
Col de Manse 1268m Rampe du Motty 982m
KM DRIVEN ON TOUR
What better way to celebrate the world’s greatest cycle race than an excursion up Alpe d’Huez? How about two? e 21 hairpins up the Alpe have become part of cycling history, yet it was a relative latecomer to the party. It wasn’t until 1952 that a few hoteliers, keen to promote the ﬂedgling resort above Bourg d’Oisans, tempted chief commissaire Élie Wermelinger to send the race their way. at year Fausto Coppi became the ﬁrst victor on Alpe d’Huez. It was also the ﬁrst mountaintop ﬁnish and the ﬁrst year the race was televised: the Alpe’s place in cycling legend was made. Any cyclist who has sweated up to the top at 1,850m (or the Tour usual ﬁnish line at 1,764m) will know the opening gradients are the ﬁercest, and that each numbered switchback is named after one of the greats – Coppi, Hinault, Herrera, Pantani and, yes, Armstrong. Even in a normal year, hundreds of thousands of fans crowd on to the slopes, led by the Dutch in a party that lasts several days either side of the riders’ passage to the summit. With the riders passing twice this will undoubtedly be a bumper year for spectators. Contrary to popular belief, the route from Bourg d’Oisans is not the only way up. ere is also the Balcon, a narrow scenic road that twists around the side of the mountain and connects with the Col de Glandon. And then there is the Col de Sarenne, until this year an unpaved track that ascends almost to 2,000m behind the Alpe and then swoops down to La Ferrière. 2013 is the ﬁrst time this col has been used, and when the pro peloton tried out the freshly tarmacced descent, in this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, some complained that it was too technical, dizzying and dangerous. It may be that a concerted attack by Contador, say, could really ignite the race here. If not, then Froome and his lieutenants will be several thousand metres’ climbing closer to glory in Paris.
NIGHTS ON A MOUNTAIN
COKES TO THE GRUPETTO
Give Me a Brake is week, our intrepid hero makes it to Brittany and back, sees David Millar honour a British legend and reﬂects on Dan (Martin) and the art of moto repair. And now I know ‘Mont Ventoux’ are not just pretty sounding words. e mountain was hot and not as crowded as many thought it would be, but bonkers all the same. I spent the whole stage at Tom Simpson’s memorial, taking pictures of people paying their respects. Of the pros there was only David Millar, who didn’t stop but took oﬀ his cap and gave it to the spectators to lay up there for him. Or put on eBay, possibly. I thought it was going to be English corner, but it wasn’t really. Going up Ventoux I wore my horn out beeping at the crowds, and that’s not the only part of the moto that’s been feeling the strain. Up north, I went cross-country on the time-trial stage from Mont-Saint-Michel, up and down some tracks and across ﬁelds. Afterwards, I realised I’d torn the brake hose to the front wheel and all the ﬂuid had leaked out, so I rode all the way to Tours with only a back brake, where I’d arranged with my Parisian ﬁxer to get the replacement part delivered. I had a good chat with the mechanic and he tweaked a few more things, and now the bike’s running brilliantly. My favourite moment of those ﬂat stages came in Brittany, when Argos-Shimano and Sky were pounding along, organising two rival sprint trains on a really narrow road. And then David Millar powers up alone between them, Dan Martin on his wheel… the two trains break up, and Ian Stannard just looks over in disbelief. Bugger me, if we didn’t go all the way up north just to come back south again, though. It was a long ride. Now, I’m leaving my campsite full of tattoed Belgians, and pointing the moto uphill towards the Alps. Next week I will mostly be photographing a DS doing his tactical planning and I’ll be spending a night getting drunk on the Alpe. See you on the other side.
COFFEES DRUNK BY DRIVER
FIND US AT: Alpe d’Huez, S19 beneath turn 6 Paris, S21 location TBC
wheelie-ing up mont v e ntoux is #pr ost y le