Reblog Data crunch the TDF by numbers 2016


July 26, 2016 – The 2016 Tour de France wrapped up on Sunday with Chris Froome (SKY) celebrating his third overall win of this prestigious race.

Graphics/Words by Dimension Data || Image by Yuzuru Sunada

Additionally, Dimension Data produced a final infographic based on the information obtained through its data analytics technology that tracked each riders’ journey across the 21 stages. Here’s a quick snapshot of race analytics:

1. The riders conquered 80 km/h winds, 3 rainy finishes, 1 hail storm and 1 day of 35C/95F heat.
2. Stage 11 was the fastest with an average speed of 46.65 km/h while Stage 18 was the slowest speed at 29.58 km/h.
3. Riders climbed a total of 8,500 m in elevation of categorized climbs in the Alps which is equal to 26 Eiffel Towers.
4. Dimension Data Big Data truck traveled 4,892.5 km and processed 127.8 million data records in its cloud.

The 22-person data team used 12 collaboration tools to work with colleagues around the world and coordinate a 24-hour testing and development cycle to keep up with the race. You can view Dimension Data’s graphic list of facts from the 2016 Tour de France above.

tour-de-france-stages-121-it-takes-a-team-to-win-the-tour-1-1024

key moments of the TdF


CYCLINGNEWS …. reblog

The run up Ventoux

The defining image of this Tour de France. Few would argue that this was a Tour for the ages, but the sight of the maillot jaune running up Mont Ventoux without his bike is an image that immediately etched itself into the rich tapestry of the race.

It was the most dramatic moment by some distance – the leader of a team synonymous with control being plunged into utter chaos. According to the rules a rider must finish with his bike but there was no time for logical thought here – this was just a desperate bid to reach the sanctity of the finish line. It was absurd, comical even – one of those moments of madness the Tour does so well.

The chaos ensued on the mountain for a good hour as the commissaires bashed their heads together, and it looked for a while like Froome might lose the yellow jersey. Once the decision had gone his way, he refused to speak to the press and got straight in a team car – telling, perhaps, of the psychological impact of the pandemonium.

Bardet’s instinct lights up the race

The four stages in the Alps were set up to provide a thrilling conclusion to the fight for the yellow jersey, but they were beginning to feel like a sleepwalk to Paris until Romain Bardet brought the race back to life in the shadow of Mont Blanc on Friday.

In fact, we should probably credit Mickaël Chérel with the actual ‘moment’ here, as he was the one who had the idea of attacking on the descent ahead of the final climb, telling his teammate ‘follow me’. Despite a moment’s hesitation – “Don’t take too many risks” – Bardet jumped on board wholeheartedly as chaos ensued behind, with Froome among those to crash.

The Frenchman, now solo, made his way up the climb with no knowledge of the time gaps, just riding on instinct, and was rewarded with the stage win and a leap from fifth to second.

Bardet quickly became the story of the Tour here in France. It was his face – not Froome’s – on the front page of L’Equipe three days in a row as a nation malnourished in terms of home success in recent years basked in the 26-year-old’s coming of age.

The Cavendish of old

Mark Cavendish‘s Tour de France was already a roaring success before he even began to wind up his sprint in Villars-les-Dombes. The Dimension Data rider, who faced doubts about his form and focus with the Olympics on the horizon, had already won three stages, but the fourth made this his most fruitful return since wearing a HTC jersey.

The clock had been wound back and this was the Cavendish of old. There was a difference in the manner of the victories – the dominant sprint train making way for a more inventive approach – but the outcome was the same as the 31-year-old stamped his authority on the majority of the bunch sprints.

Between 2008 and 2011 he averaged five stages annually, while in the subsequent four-year period from 2012 to 2015 he managed just six in total. This was a return to the hauls of old. It was also of massive psychological import to beat Kittel on each and every occasion, having never got the better of the German head-to-head before. When Kittel burst onto the scene a few years ago he announced himself as Cavendish’s successor, and earlier this year he seemed to confirm himself as the fastest in the world. Now that doesn’t seem so certain.

Froome’s ambushes

Amid the memories of the collective might of Team Sky, it might be easy to lose sight of the fact that flashes of individual flare played no small part in Chris Froome‘s victory.

Sky’s ability to practically rest and rotate luxury mountain domestiques did often subdue the spectacle, with offensive riding largely neutralised, but it would be harsh to label Froome ‘boring’ when he had the gumption to attack and gain time on a descent and on a flat stage.

His furious top-tube pedalling on the way down the Col de Peyresourde could be seen as a microcosm of his contest with the other main favourite, Nairo Quintana – one rider sitting up and taking a bottle, watching and waiting, while the other was striking out and winning the race.

Seeing the maillot jaune away in a four-man group in the crosswinds with the world champion at the end of a flat stage was more absurd still. Many questioned the risk/reward of the attacks but there’s little doubt that for a rider like Froome, who likes to get ahead early, they had significant psychological impact and won him increased appreciation in the public eye.

Contador abandons

We mentioned earlier that this wasn’t one of the most excitement-filled Tours of recent years, yet that may all have been so different if it hadn’t have been for the early exit of Alberto Contador.

The two-time – three if you ask him – Tour champion crashed heavily on the opening two stages and eventually abandoned with illness on first day in the Pyrenees, and you sense the race thereafter was poorer for it.

Froome was in a different league to most of his rivals here – only Nairo Quintana was considered a true threat, and his race petered out in disappointing fashion. With Contador, it surely would have been different, even if he wasn’t as strong as Froome or his team as strong as Sky.

The Spaniard is more attacking and adventurous than Quintana, more willing to take risks and take the race to his foe, and you sense that he’d be more likely to get inside Froome’s head and possibly throw him off.

Quintana’s challenge fades away

It’s difficult to really pinpoint one major ‘moment’ in what was really one large damp squib of a Tour for Nairo Quintana.

The Colombian wanted to avoid losing time early on like he had done last year, and be able to hit Froome in the Alps in the last week. As it was, Froome still managed to carve out an advantage and Quintana once again arrived at the second rest-day with a deficit of around three minutes, his powder very much still dry.

At Movistar’s press conference on that rest day he claimed he had a plan for the four-part Alpine climax, and there was talk of a possible coalition with Astana. Any excitement about Quintana applying the pressure he had done late last year, however, dissipated when he was dropped on the final climb to the Emosson dam.

He played the waiting game for a further hour and a half as he struggled to do the necessary to provide an anti-doping sample and when he did emerge he revealed he was struggling physically – which he later claimed was allergy-related. He told us there was many years left for him to win the Tour and with that, the race for yellow ceased to be a contest.

Respects paid to Nice

The pandemonium on Ventoux was still fresh in the mind but it would soon seem almost trivial as news filtered through overnight of the terrorist massacre in Nice.

Suddenly, the cut and thrust of elite-level competition seemed to fade into insignificance. It was only right that the Tour continued in a statement of defiance against those who try to disturb our peace and make us live in fear. Froome pretty much sewed race up on the stage 13 time trial but the atmosphere was strangely subdued and he again refused to speak to the press besides offering a brief statement on the attacks in the city where he lives.

Nevertheless, bringing the yellow, green, white, and polka-dot jersey wearers out onto the podium for a minute’s silence was a powerful moment.

Tour de france fantasy league (its free by the way)


come and play  fantasy Tour de France – go to velogames

Screenshot 2015-06-25 18.53.57

then enter The Blogger Heads league – 25184553

And may the best Directeur d’Sportif win … (I will reveal my team after the start ….)

The Tour de France in numbers


  
Dutch corner on one of the more difficult climbs to access gives you an Idea of the crowds at this iconic race but ever wondered about the organisation and total numbers? Peleton scratches the surface….

With over 4,500 people, organizers, teams, media, partners, advertising caravan, service providers and more, the numbers truly speak for themselves. Enjoy the Tour de France by numbers.

Riders
198 riders at the start (22 teams of 9 riders)
300 support staff
15 members of the race jury

2015 Route
3,360 km (21 stages)
3 countries visited (The Netherlands, Belgium and France)
26 French departments visited
37 stage sites
624 municipalities crossed (568 in France, 17 in The Netherlands, 39 in Belgium)

Organization
100 A.S.O. staff
300 temporary staff
1550 beds reserved every day for the organization and the sports teams

Medical Services
10 doctors (all specialties), 5 nurses
7 ambulances, 2 medical cars, 1 motorcycle, 1 radiology truck

Security
48 members of the Republican Guard motorcycle division
13 officers on duty as the permanent police of the Tour
14,000 gendarmes / 9 000 police officers and CRS riot police mobilized
1,000 agents from the General Councils

Accredited Media (2014 edition)
2000 journalists, consultants and photographers
637 media organisations
373 newspapers, press agencies and Internet sites
92 television networks
114 photo agencies
58 radio stations

TV Broadcast
Broadcast in 190 countries
100 channels, including 60 live
8 stages broadcast in full
80 hours of live broadcast produced (international signal)
6,100 hours aired worldwide in 2014

Internet / New Media
32 million unique visitors / 146 million pages viewed on letour.fr in 2014
4 languages: French, English, Spanish, German
1,700,000 fans on Facebook
1,300,000 followers on Twitter
500,000 on Google +
100,000 on Instagram
1, 1 million downloads of applications dedicated to the Tour de France

France Télévisions coverage
Daily programs
Start Village – on France 3 at 12.45 every day – Special 10 year show on July 12
Le Direct – (Live Broadcast) on France 3 from 1.50 PM and on France 2 from 3 PM
Vélo Club – on France 2 following the stage just until 6.40 PM
Stade 2 sports – program on France 2, live broadcast from the Tour de France on July 5, 12 and 19 at 5.30 PM
L’image du jour – on France 2 at 8.40 PM
Le film du Tour – (stage summary) on France 3 every night at 8.10 PM after the Tout le Sport sports round-up programme

Documentaries
Poulidor Premier, June 29 at 8.45 PM on France 3
Hinault, part one July 13 at 3.20 PM and part 2 July 21 at 4.40 PM on France 2
Jacques Chancel, le Grand Chancelier, July 21 at 5.30 PM on France 2

8 stages will be broadcast in full
1: Utrecht – Utrecht / Saturday July 4
2: Utrecht – Zealand / Sunday July 5
3: Antwerp – Huy / Monday July 6
9: Vannes – Plumelec / Sunday July 12
12: Lannemezan – Plateau de Beille / Thursday July 16
19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire / Friday July 24
20: Modane Valfréjus – Alpe d’Huez / Saturday July 25
21: Sèvres-Grand Paris Seine Ouest – Paris Champs-Elysées / Sunday July 26

La Course by Le Tour de France
Sunday July 26th, from 1.50 PM on France 3

Partners
42 partner brands with 5 new partners (Dimension Data, Le Gaulois, Bostik, Cornetto, GoPro)
5 Club Partners
7 Official Partners
16 Official Suppliers
5 Technical Partners
2 Official Supporters
2 Media Partners
2 Official Broadcasters
3 Institutional Partners

Advertising Caravan
154 vehicles
34 brands
600 people
14 million objects handed out
12 km of procession
35 minutes of show
55 people to supervise the caravane, including 13 officers of the Republican Guard motorcycle division

Spectators on the side of the road (2014 edition)
64% of men and 36% of women
54% under the age of 50, with 10% under the age of 25
80% of French spectators and 20% from abroad
More than 40 nationalities identified
6h30 of presence on the road side (6h on flat stages, 7h for mountain stages)
92% come accompanied (on average 5 people per group)

Are you ready for the Tour De France – Velogames


Time nearly for the TdF

I invite any reader to enter a team at VeloGames (It is free) choose a team and play fantasy racing ..

Screenshot 2015-06-25 18.53.57

then enter The Blogger Heads league – 25184553

And may the best Directeur d’Sportif win … (I will reveal my team after the start ….)

Robert Millar blogs about Contador the Giro and ahead …


Great read as always from this man

STAGE TWENTY OF THE 2011 GIRO D'ITALIA
STAGE TWENTY OF THE 2011 GIRO D’ITALIA

Let’s start with something there’s a bit of an argument over. How many Giro d’Italia has Alberto Contador won? He clearly thinks it’s three but the UCI records says it’s only two as he was disqualified from the 2011 results.

The way I look at it, Contador rode that race, was tested if and when the controllers thought fit and he had the pink jersey at the end of it. So he won the 2011 edition and if he shouldn’t have been there because of the previous Tour de France clenbuterol affair then that ought to have been decided quickly. Not a year and a half later.

As in 2008, this year saw him with no individual stage success, which is kind of annoying but hardly devastating in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure Astana would gladly swap all their stage wins for the final top step of the podium if they were given the choice.

It’s too late, though, because Contador’s individual strengths proved greater than the Kazakh team’s numerical superiority despite the shoulder injury, his lack of teammates in the finale of the uphill finishes and rivals willing to exploit mechanical mishaps. After all the Giro wouldn’t be properly Italian without a bit of treachery and drama.

So when things got dirty for the race leader on the Colle delle Finestre it was entirely fitting that Astana took advantage and put Contador in trouble. Or was he?

Contador certainly didn’t like the road surface on the way up to the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the whole race. He appeared to be struggling as he couldn’t climb out of the saddle as much as he likes to because of the poor traction on the loose gravel and he didn’t help himself by choosing some really bad lines on the inside of the bends where the cars had cut up the surface even more.

He was suffering, of that there’s no doubt, but I don’t think he cracked in any significant way. I think he recognised he was about to go too deep into the red to keep following all the accelerations and he decided to let the others go and then manage the situation.

He lost 50 seconds by the summit but then held that gap for all of the descent and most of the valley towards Sestriere. You can’t do that if you’ve cracked, not with a slight headwind, slightly uphill and the other GC guys still riding strongly.

It would have been fatal for Contador if he was in a bad way. I think he bluffed a bit, let Astana and Nibali think he’s more vulnerable than he really is. Tour de France mind games start way before the prologue and that, with a temporary moment of difficulty, is what we might have seen on stage 20.

It would have been more worrying for Tinkoff if Astana had told Mikel Landa to wait for Fabio Aru sooner, or Aru had ridden with Hesjedal and Kruisjwijk straight away, but neither did what they had to do soon enough and the chance was lost. They missed a slim opening to really pressure Contador and win the race so that was another error they, the Astana collective, have to learn from.

It’s often said it’s not how good you are on your good days which matters but how good you are on your bad ones, and that was never more true for this Giro’s GC hopefuls.

Aru had his bad spell after around the second rest day, Landa’s time trial let him down and Hesjedal and Kruisjwijk came out of the first week way behind/Kudos to them although they all recovered remarkably.

Fabio Aru is progressing very well, third last year , second this and still only 24. He has a very bright future as does Mikel Landa, who surely won’t be on the market for long if he doesn’t stay at Astana . Is he the successor to Contador? Well that’s hard to tell, but he looks a solid athlete who, with some work on his time trial, will be a real threat.

With the Tour de France on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see if the French Tour can be as exciting and dramatic as the Giro has been. Of course every team will field their A team for the most important race on the calendar, but if there are lessons to be taken from what we’ve just seen from the boys in blue at Astana, the other GC teams like Tinkoff, Movistar and Sky will have to be at the top of their game.

With so little individual time trialling, the climbing aspects of each team leader will take on a decisive role so getting those guys to the mountains safely and still in decent shape will be vital.

Anybody else wondering what will happen to Oleg Tinkov’s pink hair if Alberto Contador also wins the Tour? My Photoshop skills aren’t good enough but I’m sure there’s someone out there who can put together a little montage of our favourite Russian team boss sporting a suitable design on his head. #battenberg

cont1

Great Films: Slaying The Badger


Just Watched SLAYING THE BADGER – for some unknown reason I keep on calling it Taming the Badger but it a story about whupping for sure. I have always loved Greg Lemond but this film made me feel really in awe of him …

Screenshot 2014-12-01 16.32.26

You can find it here ….. Watch all 6 parts.

Made me want to read more about it so may get more details in the book now too:

Richard Moore, Slaying the Badger

The book chronicles events leading up to, and including, the 1986 Tour de France, a race characterised by the apparent deceit, duplicity and double-crossing between its two major players, Bernard ‘The Badger’ Hinault and Greg LeMond.

Frenchman Hinault, in his final year as a professional, was under pressure from a public and media desperate for him to overhaul the five Tour wins of Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil. LeMond, a 25-year-old from the then cycling backwater of North America, was gunning for his first. Hinault had vowed to support his La Vie Claire teammate, following LeMond’s help the previous year in securing the Badger a fifth Tour crown. But would this promise, given seemingly in the heat of the moment following the 1985 race, be kept?

The answer, according to Moore, isn’t straightforward and makes for an engrossing story, even to those well familiar with the denouement of the ’86 Tour. It’s no spoiler to say the Badger was eventually slain – the title itself tells you this. But as is the case throughout sport, the result is very much secondary to the journey that gets us there.

Present day interviews with both men form the book’s core. Moore travels to Hinault’s farmhouse in Brittany and to LeMond’s home in rural Minnesota for their take on events 25 years later. Wildly different characters, it’s easy to see where conflict would have arisen. Hinault, single-minded and uncompromising, was just 23 and in his first Tour when he orchestrated a go-slow during a stage to Valence d’Agen. Considered la Patron, he is shown to have wielded huge influence over the peloton throughout his career. LeMond, charismatic but lacking in tactical nous, is portrayed as an outsider in what was the distinctly European world of professional cycling.

Anyone worried this may be a blow by blow account of a single race needn’t worry. The book is split into two parts; Part One, Depart, spans 165 pages and serves as a biography of both men up to the start of the ’86 Tour. Moore speaks at length to other key figures of this period, including Cyrille Guimard, Hinault’s Directeur Sportif during the first phase of his career up until 1983, and Paul Kochli who, as DS of La Vie Claire, called the shots for both riders.

Other members of the team, including LeMond’s compatriot Andy Hempsten, offer valuable insight into the inner workings of this central relationship from an insider’s perspective. Part 2, Arrive, examines the race in detail and the gradual disintegration of the working and personal relationship between Hinault and LeMond, as well as the question of whether the Frenchman, in his own backyard and against all his instincts, could follow through on his promise to help LeMond win his first Tour.

Where Slaying the Badger succeeds is in making such a well known story so readable. By starting from the beginning of each man’s career and building up slowly, Moore gradually reveals character traits that explain their behaviour in the run-up to the final showdown on Alpe d’Huez. It was Hinault, the all-powerful leader, seemingly able to make the peloton dance to his tune, against LeMond, the apparently fragile outsider, paranoid at the perceived forces conspiring against him (Moore reveals LeMond, towards the end of the Tour, resorted to cooking his own food and taking other riders’ food bags for fear of sabotage).

We found it difficult to side with either man, which is another success of Moore’s storytelling. It might seem natural to root for the underdog LeMond, who went through three weeks of torment, but Hinault’s iron will and force of personality is difficult to ignore. His audacious, and ultimately doomed, solo attack on the stage to Superbagneres, apparently against both team orders and his ‘promise’ to help LeMond, is hard to condemn in this era of conservative riding by General Classification contenders.

Hinault’s commitment to helping his teammate may be unclear, but Slaying the Badger proves one thing: if the 1986 Tour de France is the greatest ever, then it was its greatest rivalry that made it that way.

A clean Tour De France


Sept 02, 2014 – There were no positive dope tests at this year’s Tour de France, world cycling’s governing body the UCI announced on Tuesday.

 

“All the samples collected were systematically analyzed to detect stimulants and erythropoiesis,” said the UCI, the latter being the process which produces red blood cells.

“Isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) was also analyzed in a certain number of samples, in particular to detect testosterone abuse and its precursors.”

A total of 719 blood and urine samples were taken on this year’s Tour, compared to 622 a year ago, with the testing carried out at a laboratory in France.

he stole my helmet (and then sent it back)


Here’s a unique view of part of stage three of the Tour de France, as the race wound its way through the Epping Forest on the way to a sprint finish in the Mall. Europcar’s Kévin Réza was involved in the shake-down that day, leading out Bryan Cocquard to a fourth-place finish, but he found time for a bit of fun along the way too.

After a spectator’s helmet camera had been knocked to the ground by a ‘whoopsie’ elbow from Lotto-Belisol’s Marcel Sieberg – we’ll steer away from the debate on whether the fan was too close or Sieberg’s elbow was unneccesary for now – Réza managed to pick the helmet, complete with camera, up from the ground as he raced past. He clearly doesn’t stop or even noticeably slow down, so it’s a pretty neat trick. There’s general hilarity in the peloton thanks to Réza’s find – Chris Horner seems particularly impressed – before Réza radios back to the car and drops it off.

And how did the unlucky (or lucky, depending on your point of view) fan get the camera back? “My girlfriend sent Kevin a message via twitter asking if he still had the helmet”, he says in the comments on the video. “He replied and then he posted the helmet back to me! What a legend.”

Team Europecar pro cyclist Kevin Reza pickes up my helmet camera after a unknown team lotto rider elbows it out of my hand

Kittel doubles up and Nibali wins the tour


Vincenzo Nibali is the winner of the 101st Tour de France, a race he led for eighteen days out of twenty-one. It’s also the big return of French riders on the final podium with Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot second and third respectively. The last stage on the Champs-Elysées went to Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) just like last year. The German outsprinted Alexander Kristoff in a spectacular final sprint on the Champs-Elysées.

The traditional walk in the park

All the way from Evry to Paris, the 164 riders left in the peloton cruised at about 32km/h. The Maillot Jaune Vincenzo Nibali shared some Champagne with his team-mates from Astana. The tradition was respected.

Jens Voigt’s farewell

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) was the first attacker as the race really started on the Champs-Elysées. Jens Voigt (Trek) was the next one and it look like a lap of honour for the soon-to-be retired rider at the age of 43. The German veteran won the last intermediate sprint of his last Tour de France, after which a crash occurred in the peloton. Runner up Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R-La Mondiale) slipped in a curve and a got fright with 43km to go. With the help of three team-mates, he made his way back to the pack five kilometres further. Four riders took the lead with 36km to go: Richie Porte (Sky), Michael Morkov (Tinkoff), José Serpa (Lampre) and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne).

Kittel makes it four

Porte, Morkov and Serpa insisted as long as they could. Porte was the last member of this breakaway to be caught, with 7.5km to go. His compatriot Simon Clarke (Orica) was the last man to try to escape 5km before the end. But the inevitable bunch gallop saw the domination of Giant-Shimano in the lead out. Marcel Kittel emerged as the winner of stage 21, adding one success to the three he took in the first week of the Tour. Seven stages out of twenty-one have been won by German riders. Peter Sagan crossed the line in ninth position, therefore beating his record of points in the race for the green jersey. The Slovakian champion won the points classification for the third time in a row.

Bring on next year

Contador out in stage 10 – another epic stage of the 2014 TdF


So I am running a fantasy team in the TdF on velogames and this year I suck bad picking all the people that are dropping out.

velogames - 3 of my 9 are out already
velogames – 3 of my 9 are out already

Spain’s Alberto Contador crashed heavily during the 10th stage of the Tour de France on Monday and was forced to abandon the race.

 

the race started with these standings

after stage 9
after stage 9

and ended like this

484ae190-e61e-49f5-9d79-81a4e4b05489-276x420

The double Tour champion spent several minutes being treated by race doctors, blood dripping from his right knee. He got back on his bike and was being helped by his Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates, some four minutes behind the peloton led by main rival Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana team. But having dropped further back the decision was made for Contador to drop out with more than 80km of the stage remaining. His withdrawal comes five days after reigning champion Chris Froome was also forced to abandon.

alberto-contador

The action on the Bastille Day stage was expected to ignite on the concluding climb ahead of Tuesday’s rest day, but the Tour lost another leading protagonist after Mark Cavendish’s crash on day one and Froome’s exit.

Contador crashed on the approach to the third of six categorised climbs, the Col du Platzerwasel. The Spaniard received strapping to his right knee and lost four minutes as a result of the delay, falling nine minutes behind the day’s breakaway, which held a five-minute lead on the peloton.

The Astana team of Vincenzo Nibali led the main bunch and did not increase the pace on the 7.1km, category one ascent as Contador’s team-mates dropped back to help him.

Contador began the day in ninth place, four minutes and eight seconds behind Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), who seized the race leader’s yellow jersey from Nibali. But the Spaniard struggled to reduce the arrears in the mist-shrouded Vosges mountains.

The finish at La Planche des Belles Filles was a reminder to Britons of the absent Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Froome won at the summit of the “climb of the beautiful girls” in 2012 as Wiggins took the yellow jersey he held until Paris, when he became the first British winner of the race.

 

But what happened – did his frame crack causing him to break – that would be something that the big S would really fear. Cannondale for years (in mtb aluminium) had the term CrackAndFail – and it really affected sales. this from velonews

that frame
that frame

Alberto Contador stood on the wet grass, blood pouring out of a deep cut to his right knee. Photographers swirled around him, the race doctor attended to his injuries. He motioned to his mechanic, a hint of frustration etched across his face. He sat down, dejected, and changed out his left shoe, its buckle smashed to pieces.

He’d just crashed on the descent off the Petit Ballon, just the second of the day’s seven major climbs. Rival Vincenzo Nibali cruised up the road, gaining minutes.

Perhaps it was optimism, or adrenaline, but Contador appeared calm, traces of pain just creeping into the edges of his face. He remounted and rode slowly away. Four teammates quickly came back to pace him.

But optimism waned, and adrenaline wore off — the two were certainly connected. 10km later, Contador pulled the plug on this year’s Tour de France. He gave his mechanic a small hug and slumped into the team car.

Confusion surrounded the crash; reports of a smashed bike, visions of exploded carbon, swirled around the press room and out through hundreds of thousands of television sets.

Initial reports on the Tour’s race radio, in French, and by NBC Sports’ Steve Porino, that Contador’s bike was “in pieces,” appear to be correct. “His frame snapped in half. They threw it in a heap in the back of the car,” Porino said, noting that he had arrived shortly after the crash.

Contador’s bike broke in the lower third of his down tube and on the top tube just in front of his seat tube. Both tubes were broken clean through, with just a few fibers holding the two pieces of the frame together.

How those failures occurred, though, is not entirely clear.

Specialized, Tinkoff-Saxo’s bike sponsor, initially denied reports that Contador’s bike had broken at all, either resulting in or as a result of the crash, or via some other externality. The company first stated that a bike had fallen off the roof of a car. That story was then amended — it still involved a car, but instead stated that Nicolas Roche’s bike had been run over earlier in the stage. This broken bike was the start of the rumors, it said.

“We have spoken to Alberto’s brother as well as his personal mechanic (Faustino Muñoz) and the mechanic who was at the scene (Rune Kristensen), and contrary to some early, unconfirmed reports, frame failure was not involved in Alberto’s incident today. Nicolas Roche was involved in a separate incident today and while his bike was laying on the road it was run over by a car causing it to break, potentially giving rise to the initial inaccurate reporting,” the original statement read.

But the photos do not lie. Contador is #31, and his race number is on the broken frame. The Roche incident relayed in this statement may be entirely factual, but it is clear that Contador’s bike broke as well.

Specialized later corrected itself again, stating that Contador’s bike that had been run over. A source within the team who was present at the scene of the crash explained that Contador’s mechanic, Faustino Munoz, grabbed his backup bike off the roof, then, seeing the condition of Contador, rushed to his aid, leaving the bike against the team car. The team car drove off and crushed the bike. Photos were taken, and the broken bike story took off.

An alternative potential explanation is that Contador’s bike broke on impact with a large pothole, or on impact with the ground afterwards.

Contador crashed when he hit a hole in the road, according to representatives from his Tinkoff-Saxo team and riders who were nearby.

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde said he saw Contador’s bars slip, which caused him to crash. “I saw him [Contador] crash right in front of me. His handlebars slipped when he hit a pothole,” Valverde told Spanish radio. “I realized at the feed zone that he abandoned.”

In the event of a direct impact with a large pothole, a compression fracture of the frame is possible, though it is unlikely to occur near the back of the top tube, where Contador’s bike separated. Contador’s fork or head tube would likely fail first. The top tube would likely fail just behind the head tube. If fractures to Contador’s frame did come from the crash, they are more likely a result of the bike hitting the ground or something on the side of the road than a direct result of the pothole.

The likelihood of Contador’s frame breaking before the crash, causing his crash, is close to zero. Munoz is one of the best mechanics in the world; Contador’s bikes are pampered, and Specialized has, historically, designed reliable carbon fiber frames.

The timeline from the crash onwards:

Contador got onto his second bike after the crash, an S-Works Tarmac with a normal Tinkoff paint job, and without a race number. A brief shot on television showed his mechanic picking up his crashed bike, still apparently in one piece. This could support Specialized’s story, or a few strands of carbon could simply have held the bike together. Without being there, it’s impossible to say.

Contador did not swap bikes onto Roche’s McClaren frame, as initially speculated. Roche finished the stage on his second bike, rather than his McClaren. That would support the notion that Roche’s first bike was also run over.

Whether the frame was broken by a car or a pothole, the result is the same. Contador is out of the Tour de France.

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TdF stage 5 – possible going into the great stages of all time


Lars Boom (Belkin) won his first Tour de France stage on Wednesday after Dutchman soloed his way to victory on a dramatic day in northern France.

Boom, who won the 2011 edition of the Tour of Britain, won the 152.5-kilometre run from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in three hours 18 minutes 35 seconds, but it was what happened behind him that will make the headlines.

Following his crash during Tuesday’s first stage on French soil when he picked up some nasty road rash and injured his left wrist, Team Sky’s Chris Froome started the day feeling fragile. The defending was later forced to abandon after crashing twice towards the start of a treacherous, slippery stage featuring seven sections of cobbles.

the moment he sat down in comfort
the moment he sat down in comfort

“It’s tragic for Chris, for him to not be able to defend his title and have to leave the race in that way must be his worst nightmare, it would have been mine,” said Greg LeMond later. “To come into the race in good form with the potential to win and then to lose it like that is tragic, for him and for the whole team who have been focusing on this race all season.

“It now really opens the race up to Contador and Nibali, Richie Porte will now take on the main responsibility for Team Sky. There is a lot of racing left and the current top 10 will change a great deal, it will take a while yet for things to settle down.”

With Froome out of the race Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to win the 101st edition of the race which concludes in paris on July 27. However, after the Spaniard lost contact with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) the Italian and his team-mates made their way to the front of the race before they turned the screw on Contador.

Supported by Jakob Fuglsang and Lieuwe Westra, the 2013 Giro d’Italia champion powered onwards to increase his lead over Contador.

“Well, we lost about two-and-a-half minutes to a very strong riding Nibali but we’re still confident,” Tinkoff-Saxo directeur sportif Steven De Jongh said afterwards. “Alberto lost touch with the back wheel of Vincenzo and we simply couldn’t close the gap. Fortunately, Alberto didn’t crash at any point and he didn’t have any punctures and not having any crashes is very important concerning the rest of the race.

“We’re five days into the race. Alberto is in peak shape and better than he was in Dauphine and we’re going to do some hard mountain stages. So, we’re still absolutely confident but aware that there’s some hard work to be done in order to make it back to the top of the rankings.”

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