Cavendish v Kittel v Greipel v Sagan
There was a high profile Tour de France preview yesterday with the four main contenders for this year’s green jersey going head-to-head-to-head-to-head in a Tirreno-Adriatico sprint finish. Who would emerge victorious?
Er, well it was Matteo Pelucchi actually. Greipel managed third; Sagan ran out of steam a bit and finished fifth; Cavendish never really got in a position to compete and finished 17th; and Marcel Kittel’s handlebars broke when he went over a pothole with 2km to go. The German promptly finished the job, picking up his bike and driving it into the tarmac in a tantrum.
Meanwhile in Paris-Nice
More great racing. The bobbly, non-mountainous, time-trial-free route is working really well. The stage finished with a long descent and then a bit of flat. Vincenzo Nibali scared everyone by leading the way far too quickly on the downhill before Carlos Betancur attacked on a short uphill bit. He, Jacob Fuglsang and the marvellously named Bob Jungels just about stayed away until the finish and Betancur won the sprint.
Le Mur de Fayence
Today’s stage of Paris-Nice will definitely be worth watching if you’ve got access (it’s on Eurosport). It finishes up Le Mur de Fayence, a short, steep, irregular climb. You can see riders struggling to progress up it from about 18 minutes onwards in this video of the 2012 Tour du Haut Var. The winner? Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. After months and months and months, there’s still no word what’s going on regarding the dodgy values on his blood passport so he’s still in non-racing limbo.
Back to the present day, Carlos Betancur will again be one to watch – as he will be all year; Tom-Jelte Slagter looked untroubled by inclines the day before yesterday; and Geraint Thomas is still in the race lead and so has to do well to have any hope of winning the overall.