Pink and Yellow
Here’s a round up of the first week of racing at the women’s Giro Rosa and the men’s Tour de France. Whilst the men are known to be chasing the famous yellow jersey of the Tour, the popularity of women’s racing has given rise to 10th edition of the Giro in Italy, as the women chase the equally well established pink jersey.
The Giro Rosa deserves a wider TV coverage
A solid field; 10 days of challenging racing and all set amongst stunning Italian views; the Giro Rosa rightly deserves to be part of the World Tour and TV coverage. Sadly, we can only pick two. For now, in the UK at least, we are having to settle for online coverage. The UCI have incorporated Women’s World Tour (WWT) onto their Youtube ‘road cycling’ channel, but have set up a dedicated IG account, UCI Women’s World Tour, which alone has gained 50,500 followers. Further supporting the case that WWT is growing in both participation and popularity.
Annemiek Van Vleuten is in glorious pink
Today’s stage 8 was won by the European Champion, Marianne Vos. With only two to go: a summit finish on Saturday and a customary lumpy-flattish stage on Sunday, the GC contest is tight. Netherlands, Annemiek Van Vleuten currently wears the pink jersey, having sealed a convincing victory on the hilly time trial on stage 7. Unlike other contestants, who chose road bikes to navigate the uphill terrain, Van Vleuten climbed onboard her trusty TT bike. Somehting her GC contenders realised only at the end, was perhaps a good choice. All the same, Van Vleuten contributes her success to having made both the right equipment choice, but also having “good legs” on the day. Hot on her heels is two-time stage winner, Canadian, Leah Kirchmann. With a talented field of experienced and neo-pros, it’s going to two more great days of racing.
“Pretty happy with this one. AS long as you believe, anything can happen” – Marianne Vos on winning stage 8.
Just who will be in pink on Sunday?. We’ll keep you posted.
Further reading: Giro Rosa Stage details
“Give Change a Chance”
EF-Drapac-Cannondale team have a new mascot. His name? Argyle, the crocodile!
“Give change a chance.” These were poignant words shared by current British Cycling (BC) Performance Director, Stephen Park. Besides the visual drama that draws us to racing, there are moments, particularly like in today’s Stage 7 at the Tour de France (TdF), which also happens to be the longest at 231km; where interviews and commentary go beyond the obvious, “Ooh, look it’s bicycle race.” Yes, it was refreshing to hear that Stephen Park didn’t want to pretend nothing bad has happened at BC and that change is difficult for a large organisation. Instead, he observes that challenges still exist, but that the entire team, including riders are involved in the change for good at BC.
Right, let’s get back to the racing!
It’s France and they’re racing to get to Paris. That’s right, but before that day in 2.5 weeks time, they’ll have to go around almost the entire country before duking it out on the Champs Elysees. And isn’t this why we love this race?
Classic Chavanel, breakaway Baroudeur attempting to set up fellow team-mate for the win on stage 2
Currently slogging it out in the lush north-west region of Bretagne, the race has seen breakaway after breakaway attempt to crack the peloton. Unsurprisingly, it has been mostly been classic French and Belgian Baroudeurs, such as Sylvain Chavanel going long on stage 2 and 5 of Direct Energie, Yoann Offredo and most recently, Guillaume van Keirsbulck, both men from Wanty Groupe-Gobert.
Let’s do this again, Chava!
“I knew I shouldv’e turned back…”
Even without success, there’s glory to be earned in the break, but occasionally, it can come back to bite you. On a 200+km TdF stage in 2017, a certain Baroudeur on a Belgian team rode away, solo. He remarked, “I knew I shouldv’e turned back, but I didn’t want to look stupid.”
Meanwhile his Directeur Sportif (DS), race manager, supported his young pro over the race radio saying, “Don’t worry, some teammates will join you.” They never did.
Hands on with Gaviria and Sagan
Up till now it’s been traditionally a week for the sprinters. However, with lumps in between winding Bretagne roads, everything has been happening. Not surprisingly the likes of General Classification (GC) and near-GC protaginists have set claim for stage wins. Dan Martin winning strongly on stage 6 shows he’s left the poor team time trial results behind him and is ready to look forwards.
Without a doubt the first week’s results reveal a healthy pattern for the two popular contestnats for the coveted green, sprinters jersey. Early wins and second places have either been taken by Gaviria, or Sagan.
Bastille Day Celebrations
Worth noting that French riders will certainly continue with attacking conviction tomorrow. The nation celebrates their National Day each 14 July and will add spice to the day’s proceedings, which will likely spill into the World Cup final on Sunday too.
Soundboard for Sunday
Many of the GC have a Classics specialist helping them for Sunday’s cobbled stage. With 19 bumpy pave sectors, a specialist not only helps lead the GC leader, but helps them prepare as well. Everything from course knowledge to equipment; right up to mental preparation on the day all counts. People like, Silvain Dillier, second in the Paris-Roubaix 2018, will be assissting local French favourite, Romain Bardet. Whilst Chris Froome will be relying on his man, Gerain Thomas.
It’s not even the end of the week and this TdF is already shaping up to be one fo the finest yet.
Tour Stages – each stage broken down by INRNG
La Course – the one-day Tour de France, ironic we know, for the women kicks off on Tuesday 17 July
Live updates of La Course on ITV4 and BBC Sport