Stage 12: Everyone beats Chris Froome

2017 Tour de France, stage 12
Okay, not everybody, but it was an uncharacteristically limp performance from a man who so rarely relinquishes the yellow jersey midway through the race.

His team were strong. Very strong. Unrivalled budget strong. But then it all rather dribbled away in the near-vertical final 200m.

Mikel Landa led his team leader to the foot of that final slope, pulled aside to let him through and… finished ahead of him.

That isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.

It could have been the gradient favouring lighter riders, but I think it was more just that Froome didn’t have anything left. He had the air of a man battling more than just gravity.

Chris Froome flags (via YouTube)
Chris Froome flags (via YouTube)

Romain Bardet won, allowing ITV4 to play out with On A Ragga Tip again; Rigoberto Uran was two seconds slower; and Fabio Aru was third on the same time and so snaffled the yellow jersey.

Landa, Louis Meintjes and Dan Martin came in after that and only then Froome, who managed to lose 22 seconds in little more than a minute of racing.

He then rounded off his day by doing the post-race interview with a stupid thing in his nose.

Chris Froome nose thing (via ITV4)
Chris Froome nose thing (via ITV4)

Come on, Chris. We know things didn’t go well, but have some self respect.

After all, some had even worse days. Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana are now both utterly out of contention, while Jakob Fuglsang is labouring with broken bones and will surely abandon if he knows what’s good for him.

There was some bad news for Uran after the stage too, as he was given a 20 second penalty for taking a bottle in the final kilometres in much the same way that Bardet wasn’t for doing the exact same thing. It pays to be French in these sorts of situations.


Stage 13

2017 Tour de France, stage 13

Look at the distance. This is less than half the length of stage 12 but with plenty of climbing crammed in.

They will race this hard and not everyone will have recovered from today. Time gaps could be sizeable.


2 responses to “Stage 12: Everyone beats Chris Froome”

  1. I liked seeing the other front runners claw back some time from Froome. Given that stage 20 is a TT and Froome put 40 seconds over his rivals on stage 1 they are going to need to put at least a minute on him over the next week to win in a way that doesn’t involve Froome making a mistake. As such I hope we see the attacks continue in earnest.
    One thing I haven’t enjoyed so far is watching robots with their eyes glued to the power meter riding to a set output. It seems to have taken a lot of the passion and guesswork out of riders judging the required level of effort for themselves.
    Would we see better racing if power meters were banned during the race?

    1. Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on the power figures being that much more informative than the riders’ own feelings anyway.

      They generally know what’s sustainable and they’ll also be more able to recognise how that will change as the stage and race wears on. All well and good knowing you can do 400 watts for half-an-hour on a good day, but no point trying to achieve that when your body says no.

      A lot of talk about the time trial and my thought is that Froome is likely to regain time, but all it would take is one slip, poor choice of line or puncture, so he can’t pin all his hopes on that.

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