Domenico Pozzovivo doesn’t like abanicos – add them to the list

You can always count on crosswinds to make a race pleasingly scrappy. While stage 17 with its abanicos wasn’t anywhere near as compelling as the Echelons! stage of this year’s Tour, it still did some damage. Not entirely unsurprisingly, the day’s biggest loser was Domenico Pozzovivo.

I mean that he was the biggest loser in terms of time, obviously. Physically, he would only be the biggest Italian piano-playing economics graduate with an interest in weather forecasting who happens to be a professional cyclist. Any group larger than that and there would certainly be someone bigger than him. He’s minuscule.

Domenico missed the split in the field when the wind started blowing and lost 1m30s. He doesn’t like riding in the wind. Add it to the list.

Stage winner

Bauke Mollema by dint of being just about the only rider who wasn’t following someone else. With a kilometre to go, everyone wobbled about and waited to see what was going to happen, but Bauke set off for the line. Everyone then wobbled about and waited to see how everyone else was going to respond and by the time someone had decided to sprint, Bauke was home and hosed (assuming a person can ‘hose’ in the time it takes a sprinting peloton to cover 20o metres).

Stage 18

It seems like an age since we had a summit finish what with the rest day and, er, today. Thank Fignon for stage 18 then with its 5.9km 9.2 per cent finishing climb. Here’s the profile.