Descending matters and moral matters

Bit pressed for time, so I’m going to have to wazz through this a bit.

First, the stage winner: Philippe Gilbert. He was in the break, he was dropped on the climb, paced himself and then attacked on the descent. Descending matters (verb).

Next, the overall and moral matters (noun). Alberto Contador spotted that Astana’s Mikel Landa, second overall, had been held up by a crash and took advantage. Poor form, but then Astana did try and do precisely the same to him as long ago as the day before yesterday.

Astana’s move the other day was at least doubly-flawed if not trebly-flawed. Firstly, they were trying to drag Fabio Aru along when they were riding on a steep climb where drafting was of minimal benefit. As such, Aru wasn’t really gaining an advantage. Their failure also laid bare the fact that Contador was in way better shape, giving him every incentive to go straight past. Which he did.

Thirdly, it pissed Contador off and gave him carte blanche to do much the same to them. That’s what happened today. Riding much of the end of the stage on his own and then with Ryder Hesjedal (who’s barely seen the peloton all week) he gained another minute on his rivals.

Stage 19

236km and a summit finish. Quite cruel really.