Saxo-Tinkoff invade the podium

You probably think that podiums (podia?) are there to be clambered onto. You’re wrong. They’re there to be invaded. Just ask Team Saxo-Tinkoff directeur sportif, Fabrizio Guidi, now that the team has riders in second and third place.

“I’m very happy to see that both Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador are doing such a stunning time trial and we have now conquered the two lower spots of the podium.”

Take that, the podium. Consider two-thirds of you to have been conquered.

Foreshadowing

A mountain time trial is a good way to start a tough stint in the Alps. We get to see each rider operating independently and this gives us a decent idea who’ll be strong and who won’t over the next few days.

Chris Froome won, but we expected that. Alberto Contador was nine seconds behind him and Joaquim Rodriguez was one second behind Contador. Rodriguez is known for being a godawful time trialist and while the inclines will certainly have offset that significantly, he does seem to be in really good form for this last week. Bit late, but he’s surging up the general classification.

Of course one rider’s rise means another must be falling and here we have to look at the Dutch pair of Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam. Mollema is actually still ahead of Rodriguez, but he’s the one to have suffered as a result of Saxo-Tinkoff’s podium invasion.

Stage 18

Alpe d’Huez. Twice. 13.8km at 8.1%. Here’s the profile.

Playing the percentages

Pierre Rolland wants to win the Alpe d’Huez stage.

“There’s a 90% chance that I won’t win but I’m going to exploit that remaining 10% by giving 1,000%.”

He didn’t say whether the 1,000% effort would improve the 10% chance of winning to something like 11 or 12%. It could be that 1,000% effort ensures the 10% chance and a mere 990% effort would compromise his chances further.

There’s a real lack of clarity here and I for one am incensed about this.