Michael Matthew goes faster than Thibaut Pinot dares

Orica-GreenEDGE (stupid typography) have all but cornered the market in second tier sprinters. They’re a kind of lead-out production line. Fortunately, having a sprinter who is merely very, very good is sufficient at the Vuelta with Marcel Kittel, AndrĂ© Greipel and Mark Cavendish elsewhere. Michael Matthews therefore managed to win his first Grand Tour stage and quite honestly, I don’t have much to say about it.

I don’t have much to say about the stage at all, actually. The general classification remained exactly the same. It’s almost like stage five didn’t happen. It started in Sober. Maybe that was the problem.

The need for speed

29th placed Thibaut Pinot, who inadvertently gave us this Tour highlight in 2012, has a well-documented fear of cycling downhill. Clearly, this is something of an issue for a professional cyclist and wannabe Grand Tour contender. Fortunately someone thinks they have a solution.

That person is Max Mamers, a former rally and ice racing driver. He’s offered to take Pinot out on the race track to accustom him to high speeds. Pinot will get lessons in driving an electric car at 190kph. His team manager, Marc Madiot – he of the screaming and car door beating in that video – also considered sending him down steep ski slopes.

Stage six

Kind of flat again. Here’s the profile. Don’t worry, things get steep again at the weekend.