Notes from stage 11 in Besancon.
The Tour de France recommenced today with a lively stage from Besancon to Oyonnax. CW was at the start catching up with the happenings after the first rest day of this year’s race.
NetApp-Endura’s Tiago Machado was popular at today’s start in Besancon. Machado, 28, crashed at high speed on the descent of the Petit Ballon climb during Monday’s stage to La Planche des Belles Filles. Race radio initially reported he had abandoned the race, but the Portuguese rider made it to the finish, albeit outside the time limit. However, he received a reprieve from commissaires, and started stage 11 this morning with bandages on his elbow and knee. “I thank the officials for letting me continue in the race,” he said. “When you have a crash like this, you need to be really strong to continue.”
Bauke rumours balked
Trek declined to comment on rumours that Dutch rider Bauke Mollema will join the team for 2015. Mollema, who finished sixth in last year’s Tour, currently rides for Belkin who require a title sponsor if they are to continue next season. General manager Luca Guercilena said: “The [transfer] market opens on August 1, so we will comment on August 1. It’s no secret we are interested, just like other teams.”
The idea that Richie Porte was ready to settle for second place was laughed out of court by one Aussie in the race caravan. “Richie is an angry ant from Tassie. What is he? 60 kilos? But he gets a couple of beers in him during the winter break and he wants to fight everyone in the bar, no way is he going to lay down without having a go.”
Grappe: Podium still wide open
Fred Grappe, the sports scientist and coach at FDJ.fr believes that the podium is still wide open and that Nibali might crack. “It’s unlikely, he’s finished strongly in Grand Tours before of course. But he can still have a bad day. Rather than make plans in the team bus beforehand, it has to be the riders who can see how Nibali is looking on the road, during the stage, and make up the tactics and decision to attack him then,” reckoned Grappe, happy thus far with team leader Thibaut Pinot’s Tour performance.
Love is in the air
The stages around the Tour’s first rest day provided plenty of opportunity for riders to catch up with their loved ones. Ag2r-La Mondiale’s Jean-Christophe Péraud was seen riding around the team’s hotel in Besancon with his son Baptiste on his top tube. Then, at the race’s reprisal this morning, Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) replicated Peraud’s antics with his child to ride to the sign on, while Johan van Summeren was accompanied by his partner.
Scarponi’s dirty look
Proof that it’s not just spectators getting too close to the peloton who can cause crashes: Cannondale’s Kristijan Koren received a dirty look from Astana’s Michele Scarponi after nearly crashing into him at the start in Besancon.
Spotted this morning in the start village:
A recumbent trike, it’s fairing styled as a sausage. It was advertising the local produce.
Tactical change of direction for Garmin
The demise of Andrew Talansky’s GC hopes mean Garmin have had to reassess their race strategies. “It’s all about stages now,” DS Charly Wegelius told us. Taking a look at the cover of last week’s Cycling Weekly, he was pleased to be able to count six of the team’s rider’s near the head of the bunch as it climbed through Haworth.
Spotted from the motorway driving to the finish:
A giant metal chicken overlooking the carriageways.
Sylvain Chavanel for Tour of Britain?
IAM Cycling’s French big hitter Sylvain Chavanel looks like he is being lined up for the IAM team for the Tour of Britain. All the riders love the race apparently. Not too hard, not too long, good hotels and great organisation. They’re weren’t kidding just because it was a Brit magazine that was asking either.