Stage 8 Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle 140 km; 3701 total climbing; 1748m Max elevation ; 13% max grade; 3 climbs 1 sprint. I read a comment on Twitter from one of the best riders that they thought the way the tour was laid out with one sprint in the middle of difficult climbs each day leads to sprinters mixed in with the climbers for too long in the race each day. I guess we will see as they go into the Alps next week.
This stage turned out to be as exciting as yesterday's race. The French Primate Minister was a guest in the Official Race car today.
13 riders were in the breakaway. It was mentioned that the Pyrenees can be scarey because they are shorter and steeper than those in the Alps. I posted a photo of the windy descent above if you don't think that isn't true.
If I were to be there in person I would probably choose to be at the roadside on a climb so you can actually see the entire Tour come by a lot slower and can cheer them on. Even with Covid-19 masks were worn by all the fans and Tour officials and some of the fans get very carried away with how close they come to the riders near the top. Chris Horner told us after his Tour in Bend (Joe participated) that it really pumps the riders up to have fans cheering and running beside them as they getting towards the top of a climb. It still makes me nervious, especially when they touch them!
A race favorite to win the Tour coming in is Thibaut Pinot from Groupama-FDJ was off the back with his team surrounding him, encouraging him to keep going and this was to be the story of the day because his hopes to keep cclose to the other favorites were now dashed.
The breakaway did very well the entire way to the finish. Nans Peters of AG2$ La Mondiale won the stage. American Neilson Powless again was in the breakaway attacking and almost crashed rounding a corner into the grass with the fans and came right back out again like nothing had happened - he finished 5th.
Stage 7 will be known as the Block Buster Stage for years to come. Not only did the wind play a factor in the race but Bora Hansgrohe sent the entire team to the front to set such a fast pace that it dropped off most of Sagan's sprinter competitors so it would clear the way for the Stage win he wants to badly. Unfortunately his chain dropped right at the end of race while sprinting. He still retained the green jersey but it is much closer competition going to Paris. Adam Yates retains the Yellow Jersey.
Thomas de Gendt attacked and stayed away for ahwile but the main contendors for the sprint finish caught him and it was a finish to watch again.
This Stage is 168 km; 2110 total climb; 880m max elevation; 9%max grade; 3 climbs; 1 sprint.
Stage 6 on Thursday September 3rd from Le Teil to Mont Aigoual Observatory. 191 km 3149 total climb; 1590m max elevation; 14$ max grade with 3 climbs and 1 sprint. The last 26 miles are uphill in stair step climb. The countryside was really beautiful and I tried to capture some of the scenery in the photos above. 172 riders left in Tour.
There was some discussion of how penalties were assessed in past tours with fines more often than a combination of fines and time penalties. They didn't recall any cyclist wearing the yellow jersey ever had been penalized with time and usually it isn't as much. Alaphilippe seemed to take it in stride and plans on getting the jersey back.
From the start Nicholas Roche attacked followed by 7 others to form a perfect breakaway which was a surprise to the teams in the Peloton. Maybe since no one was a threat to any of leaders in the jerseys. They never caught them. Nicholas has been a favorite of mine for years and in 2015 I painted him along with Peter Sagan, Alberto Contador and Matthew Ladagnous because they had shown such good qualities to work for the team and they were outstanding cyclists in their own right. See my painting of Nicholas Roche above when he rode for Sky.
Breakaway riders cooperated the entire length of the race with one another: USA cyclist Neilson Powless turned 24 today and was feeling amazing to be in such strong experienced company in the breakaway. He admitted in the after interview he probably shouldn't have attacked the 2nd time to save his energy for the finish but he came in 4th -- not bad for his first tour. Alexey Lutsenko of Astana rode away from Herrada, Van Avermat, Powless and Roche to win the stage. Astana had not won a stage in a decade. Herrada was 2nd, Van Avermat 3rd. Adam Yates retained the yellow jersey and Roglic is 3 seconds behind him.
Please leave comments about specific kind of photos you might like to see in future stages. e.g., more cyclists or more scenery???
I need to let you know there is a 3rd American in the Tour de France that somehow I overlooked when I was looking through the team rosters: Sepp Kuss of the team Jumbo-Visma. He is doing very well so wanted you to be watching for him.
Today's stage: 183 km Gap to Privas 165 riders. There was an intermediate sprint which Sam Bennett was the first over the line and became the "virtual" green jersey winner as Sagan was 5h and now 7 pts behind in the tally. There was an interview with Tiesj Benoot of Sunweb who had crashed yesterday dramatically over the guard rail and only hurt a couple fingers -- good news. This stage saw no attacks and breakaways -- the announcers weren't sure that had ever happened before except for an incident of nature or problem on the course.
The tour entered the Drone Department and there is a lot of things to see here: lavendar has grown here since the middle ages; good cycling roads, beautiful scenery, and good eating. There was a little interview with a "black olive" farm owner--60% of these olives are grown here. Lots of fruits grown here so the desserts are also well known.
Won Van Ert who was the "super domestique" who set the fast pace up the climb from yesterday's peloton run-in to the finish ending up winning today's stage! It was a close finish with Cees Bol from Sunweb who had the ideal lead out train to put him in a good place to win. Very exciting.
The Yellow Jersey changed hands after the race had finished due to a violation charged against Julian Alaphilippe who had received a water bottle within the 12.5 mile limit for taking on water. Adam Yates was 2nd so was called out of the shower to put on the Yellow Jersey.
Stage 4 Nice Moy Sisteron to Orcieres-Merlette: September 1st. 160.5 km 3252m total climbing 1820m max elevation 5 climbs 1 sprint. This is the first summit finish at a ski resort. 6 cyclists broke away from the start. N. Politt won the first 4 mountain top points but only Krists Neilands stuck it out for 153 miles and 7.5 miles from the finish before being caught by the Peloton (seen above). The scenery was beautiful today and there were interesting resorts and the observatory along the route. Despite the steep climb with switchbacks, the teams lined up to race for the finish with 1km left. Wout Van Aert set such a fast pace that no one came around him until he peeled off. It got rid of all but 16 cyclists. The fast run-in to the finish included the favorite sprinters and Primoz Roglic emerged the winner so is now in 3rd place overall - 7 seconds behind Julian Alaphilippe who retained the yellow jersey for another day. Sagan will wear the Green Jersey. The question of the day is how many days will Alaphilippe retain the jersey -- he held it for 13 days last year.
Sharing my paintings with others is one of the joys in my life. Educating others about how I paint and the media I use is very important and why I wanted to reach out through this blog. Hope you will add a comment about what you see. What else would you like to see here?.
www.dianagnadal.blogspot.com Link to Previous year blogs: