Tony Martin was impressive, so was Chris Froome – Cadel Evans, Pierre Rolland, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen and a whole host of others, weren’t. Bonjour, from the Balladins Motel, ville de Tours, from Martin and Ed!
Yes, VeloVeritas has joined le Tour – well, almost, we spent the day in Tours, tomorrow’s stage finish town – doing a wee travelogue piece for ‘a well known North American Website’ and skeking the Mont-Saint-Michel TT on TV.
But before we talk too much about today’s stage – Ivan was in touch about what the word is in Belgium on yesterday’s ‘CavGate.’
Eddy Planckaert thinks Cavendish should have been de-classed; “a dirty thing to do to Veelers, Cav had already lost.”
And Steegmans said he could have taken Cav to 200 metres; he didn’t know why Cav hesitated – we thought the same thing.
Planckaert continued that he thinks Cav shouldn’t have ridden the Giro, it’s too much, too difficult a parcours, he’s not a Grand Tour rider, he’s a sprinter, sure he has to ride GTs to win sprints, but it takes far too much out of a sprinter, Kittel, Greipel etc. don’t have the Giro in their legs.
Planckaert also says Cav needs a team to take him to 200 metres, maybe Renshaw going to OPQS will help his train – so there would be Trentin, Steegmans and Renshaw all launching Cav.
But it’s history now; and the Stage One ‘BusGate’ is pre-history – that’s the Tour for you.
It’s like taking a kid to the shows; they come off one ride and immediately want on the next one.
Today’s biggest story – Martin shows why he’s world champion, Froome confirms that he’s at a different level from the other GC guys and someone taking the p**h in to Cav – personally I’d have kept schtum on the last one.
It’s sad to say that whilst most of the roadside fans on le Tour are great folks, there’s a minority of morons who’ll think that what happened to Cav is a great idea to emulate.
In the car you have to keep the windows closed in the mountains for fear of idiots throwing water in on you as you chug up through the crowds.
It’s really funny – I mean the driver could be distracted and run someone’s toes over or a grand or two’s worth of camera could be wrecked.
The trouble is that idiots aren’t there just for the race; it’s to get wasted and behave like imbeciles.
After the Cav story its guaranteed there’ll be more of the same and the Opel’s windows will definitely be kept closed on the climbs.
We spent the day in Tours; which is a really nice town, especially the ‘vieux’ part with its half timbered houses, pavement cafes, sculptures and mixed crowd of people enjoying the sun and air.
Working for Pez is more than just about the bike racing; many of the North American readers like to see what Europe is all about.
We snapped the cathedral, medieval part of the town, the flower market, trams and tried to catch the essence of Tours for the readers.
Then it was time to settle down and watch the stage in the Bar Balkanic – the perfect venue, quiet with a big flat screen, cool beer and a simpatico proprietor.
Cadel Evans wasn’t on a good day; for me, the very fact that he rode a good Giro means he can’t do a ride in le Tour – in the current era it’s not possible to be competitive in both races.
The parcours was stunning; the huge Mont-San-Michel dominates the area and provided a wonderful backdrop for the race – ASO got that one right.
Pierre Rolland was another man who wasn’t having a good day; despite riding the 21 miles at 30 mph he was six kph slower over the distance than Tony Martin – hard to take in.
Laurens Ten Dam isn’t a pretty sight in a TT, the saliva and mucus cling to his beard and if you cropped a picture down to his face, it’d be easy to mistake the Dutchman for a runner in the 4:20 from Kempton Park.
Contador’s time trialling just isn’t the same as it used to be – 25 seconds down at the first check and ending the day 15th with a two minute deficit on Froome isn’t what the Alberto of old would have served up.
I’ve long been a fan of the man and his humility – but it certainly makes me wonder how he’s gone from being one of the best testers in the world to a ‘top 20 finisher.’
Schleck’s renaissance stalled as he dropped four-and-a-half minutes – but then he was never a man for ‘alone and unpaced’ discipline.
Bad days too for Rodriguez and Quintana – both now more than five minutes back on GC.
Valverde rode a decent race and now looks like a real podium contender – I had the 1-2-3 down as Froome – Contador – van Garderen.
That’s blown out of the water as the American endured another bad day – and whilst I think it’s wrong to put a line through Contador’s name for second spot, I think Valverde could well make the podium.
But the day was about two men – Tony Martin and Chris Froome.
The latter looks anything but the consummate chrono man but what he lacks in style he makes up for in sheer desire to win.
On what we saw yesterday I think he’s still going to win this Tour but I also think there’ll be torrid days ahead for the men in black – let’s hope so.
Once we get this piece organised it’s down for breakfast and then head for the Permanence and those vital credentials.
We’ll be covering the stage finish, today; I’ll tell you about it later…
Results - Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 11: Avranches > Mont-Saint-Michel
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:12
3 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:01:01
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:21
5 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:31
6 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:35
7 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:37
8 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:01:43
9 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 0:01:45
10 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:52
11 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:05
12 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:02:08
13 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:12
14 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol 0:02:15
15 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
16 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:18
17 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling
18 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:02:21
19 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:22
20 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:26
21 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:30
22 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:32
23 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team
24 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
25 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 0:02:33
26 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp 0:02:34
27 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida
28 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:35
29 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard 0:02:37
30 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
31 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
32 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky Procycling 0:02:39
33 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha 0:02:40
34 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:43
35 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:02:47
36 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:02:50
37 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:02:53
38 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:02:55
39 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:57
40 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
41 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:03:04
42 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
43 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun 0:03:07
44 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:09
45 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:03:10
46 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:03:11
47 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha 0:03:15
48 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp 0:03:17
49 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:19
50 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:20
51 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 0:03:22
52 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:03:25
53 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:03:27
54 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:28
55 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
56 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:03:29
57 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
58 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha 0:03:30
59 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
60 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun 0:03:32
61 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:33
62 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 0:03:36
63 Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
64 Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 0:03:37
65 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:38
66 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:40
67 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar
68 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard
69 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard 0:03:42
70 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
71 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:03:47
72 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:03:48
73 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
74 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:03:51