Stage 18: Round-up

*Yaaaawwnnnn*  … hello everyone.  Hope you made time for a nap during last night’s stage? No? You were all wide awake trying to spot cows?  Really? Hmmmm …

WELL WHERE WERE THEY?

And, no, these guys – cute as they are – do not count.

Cute, but not Vache

I guess we really can’t complain. We’ve had some terrific Vache spottings this tour and I think (although I haven’t done the stats yet*) that we’ve seen many more than last year.

I’m very pleased that they have all been very well-behaved Vache too; unlike those ones in the Dauphine last year, or the big black furry dog from this stage. It’s a terrible shame that spectators haven’t learned yet not to bring animals to the tour that aren’t controlled. Unfortunately the only vision on the incident that the ever-resourceful Injerarufus could find also featured Gilbert berating the owners, who were cowering behind their young daughter. No winners from this moment.

But Cowvendish gave us a real thrill at the end of the stage.  He made it the whole way through the mountains, carting water bottles and rain jackets, he didn’t leave early to prepare for the Olympics, and he earned his star-studded Sky lead out train of Wiggo and EBH. The peloton caught a strong breakaway with mere metres to spare and then, the little man FLEW! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone ride that quickly on the road. Amazing. Good one Cav!

The uninteresting stage gave me some time for reflection  – was this the most boring tour I’ve watched? Maybe. Without many of the individual stars – like the God of Thunder, and the promise of a Schleck sandwich, or Fabian Cancellara’s sweet smile on the podium – I did find it lacklustre.

I vacillate between admiring Team Sky and disliking them. Watching them after the stage win last night and seeing the genuine joy shared by Wiggo and Cav makes my heart sing a little bit.  But Stage 17 where Wiggo or Team Sky just weren’t prepared to let Froome have a bit of a run at it broke my heart a little.

Overall I blame the lack of genuine GC contenders for the predictable nature of the Tour.  Sure, it’s been a fantastic result for Great Britain, Team Sky and Wiggo, but there really weren’t enough teams to challenge the tactics and the spreadsheets of Team Sky.  Any team competition knows that you need your talent spread amongst a number of teams to make it an interesting competition and that just didn’t happen this year. What effect even one more GC contender might have had on the result is interesting to contemplate. The placement of the two individual TTs (one just before the Alps) must be questioned.

I want to see a Team TT as well as an individual TT.

The GreenEDGE boys tried again and again, and were mixing it up at the right end of the peloton again. You’d have to rate this a success for them, and see it as laying a foundation for next year.

Over the line we saw Cav, Rogers and Sagan. Overall we’ve got Wiggo, Froome and Nibali. Vino earned Most Combative and the white jersey still sits with Tejay van Garderen.

#trolldj

  • “Now or Never” from Thirsty Merc
  • “Let the Good Times Roll” by Georgie Fame
  • “Here I go Again” – Whitesnake

So two more days of riding with little chance of Vache on either them. I’m looking forward to catching up on the #tourdesnack hashtags and reading some of the interesting cycling blogs.

 

* and may never do them.

2 thoughts on “Stage 18: Round-up

  1. ToTheBillyoh says:

    It is in our antipodean nature to publically excoriate the Pommy teams/riders and privately to wish them well, especially over the Seppos and Euros (the Kiwis are honourary Australians until they get to be too good.)

    I also think that a Tour without a TTT is not a real tour. But on the other hand would I want to see Sky blitz the field, including BMC and more especially Orica GreenEdge? Not bloody likely!

    2012 has been a snore fest until you think of the Gallic panties bunched by another Anglophone victory; a 1-2, and even a chance of a 1-2-3. Sacre Bleu!

  2. Pingback: Tour de France 2012 – Stage 18 « Visible Procrastinations

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