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MalevolentPanda

Pro Cycling - Tour de France 2018

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great first post, I love the Tour but always gives me the problem for 3 wks of avoiding the internet, radio and news channels from about 330pm every day so I can watch ITVs excellent highlights package 'fresh'

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Very excited for le tour. I think Cavendish will stay on until Paris. If he dropped out he'd pretty much have to do it after Day 10, and that's really very early. There are flat stages interspersed all the way up to the end so he has reasons to stay in the game. Don't forget Le Tour is pretty much everything in cycling. Mark has said that winning the Olympics is a nice goal but the tour is essentially what matters to him.

The other possibility, of course, is that he'd be dropped. There was some dodginess about Cav and some of the others making the time cut last year in the mountains, and that was when Cav had a whole team of domestiques working for him. This year, Sky is definitely going to be focused on Wiggo and so there will only be 1+ guys looking after Mark. I suppose if it looks like that might happen he might drop out early, citing the Olympics, and save the embarassement?

Anyway, I'm firmly supporting Sky this year. I like Cavendish despite what many say. He's shown this year he can win sprints without his signature leadout train (although I will miss getting a shiver down my spine last year whenever the HTC train formed up) so I think if he stays in the field he has a good chance of taking green. Wiggins is the best in the field by a long way, just look at the Dauphiné, and after his frustrations last year I think he deserves it. Plus that way he might shave his sideburns!

Bradley-Wiggins.jpg

Just think how amazing a Wiggins/Cavendish Yellow/Green would be, one week before the Olympics.

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Very excited for le tour. I think Cavendish will stay on until Paris. If he dropped out he'd pretty much have to do it after Day 10, and that's really very early. There are flat stages interspersed all the way up to the end so he has reasons to stay in the game. Don't forget Le Tour is pretty much everything in cycling. Mark has said that winning the Olympics is a nice goal but the tour is essentially what matters to him.

He hasn't really though. He's said he's lost 4 kg specifically with the Olympics road race in mind. He might finish the tour, I hope he does, but I'm less sure than you. And the Tour really isn't everything in cycling. It is in this country where it's all that gets coverage, it isn't to those in the sport. If you told Cav that his Milan-San Remo win didn't mean anything he'd disagree.

I always like(d) the Tour, but all the doping scandals ruin it for me. I might just skip the Tour altogether this year after the latest Armstrong clusterfuck. I'm sick and tired of rooting and cheering for contestants only for them to be outed and disqualified later.

Whilst I can understand the sentiment, you shouldn't be put off by doping stories unless you think that blissful ignorance is better. Cycling is the only sport that takes doping really seriously.

And surely you weren't ever rooting for Armstrong? The latest news on him isn't a clusterfuck. It's him finally about to get his comeuppance.

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I always like(d) the Tour, but all the doping scandals ruin it for me. I might just skip the Tour altogether this year after the latest Armstrong clusterfuck. I'm sick and tired of rooting and cheering for contestants only for them to be outed and disqualified later.

Pretty much this. I used to race when I was around 16 due to getting hooked on ch4's coverage. Really I don't understand why any individual/ team would go down the doping route... I mean the spot light is on all these teams due to so many previous scandals, why risk it.

Few weeks ago the time vampire known as YouTube sucked me in to watching old tour footage of Roache, Delgado, Finnion and LeMonde. Such an amazing few years. Anyway, maybe I will give it a blast this year... but the first sign of any dope pedlars and am oot!

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(although I will miss getting a shiver down my spine last year whenever the HTC train formed up)

Even as a casual observer, I find watching HTC do that train for Cavendish is one of the most spectacular sights in all sport.

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I'm excited for this year's Tour too. I'll be cheering for Rabobank's Bauke Mollema, hopefully he can be a dark horse for once.

And when Le Tour's over, I'm off to France myself for 2.5 weeks. This time I'm going to try and tackle Tourmalet, then Mont Ventoux again and maybe Alpe d'Huez on the way back. :D

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I fucking well love the Tour. Three weeks of utter sporting bliss. This afternoon I will not be shifting from the couch.

Could be an interesting tour. Wiggins looks strong, but then he looked better than Evans last year and then crashed out. I don't see Cav dominating the sprints, as it's obvious his training has focused on the Olympic road race.Think the king of mountains titles will go to someone that attempts a breakaway and rattles up a lot of points and then defends on the early climbs on other stages.

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I'm excited for this year's Tour too. I'll be cheering for Rabobank's Bauke Mollema, hopefully he can be a dark horse for once.

And when Le Tour's over, I'm off to France myself for 2.5 weeks. This time I'm going to try and tackle Tourmalet, then Mont Ventoux again and maybe Alpe d'Huez on the way back. biggrin.png

You'll do it, you lucky Mukker*!

*Pics or it never 'appened! ;):lol:

My rider knowledge is a black hole this year (not the first time recently, but worse!) and I was going to ask of any notable Dutchies to keep an eye on, so thanks for the name. Got some searching and reading to do! :) Ooh, can I come back for translation? :D

As for the annual just-pre-Tour doping-related coverage, is no-one sick of that either? I can't stand that side exists in any sport and as a cycling nutter in a former life and one that's old enough to have seen its effects too many times - as have we all since the 90s - and whose early years included knowing of Tom Simpson (who died a few years before I was born) but I'm also fed-up of the near-enough annual wind-up of drugs stories. I can in no way come close to portraying my disdain for the dark and risky behind-the-scenes aspect of Cycling and other sports - which fuels an inner conflict with a pursuit that's been a key part of my life for decades, creates disgust, perhaps anger and more - but I also don't like the muck-raking that's essentially now guaranteed to appear year-on-year. I'm not condoning, I am conflicted; but also find irritation akin to the distracting reporting that goes around in Politics and related discussions and the repeated lazy 'scandal story' features of certain sections of the press time after time.

Much of the sheen of the Tour has been wiped out for me over the years as the cheats and contemptible team doctors and companies were discovered and outed, but there is another, positive side to the sport.

I'm not coming close or clear enough to what I'm trying to say there, but I hope that it makes some sense and I am interested in hearing in more detail what you guys think - whether that's pro- or anti- the reporting or how it relates to individual riders (including why you might be glad of it).

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I think Cav has half an eye on all those laps up Box Hill after the Tour. I think he wants green but he's not going to bust a lung going for it.

All I really hope for is that all the British road racing team make it through the tour unscathed. oh and that Wiggo takes yellow of course.

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Box Hill is a piece of piss for a pro though, even one with Cav's allergy to hills. It's almost flat, not very long and they get a nice little downhill run each lap too.

Mr grimes - I know what you mean. I like hearing about the doping; the battle between the dodgy bastards trying to come up with new ways of getting away with it vs the feds. But I prefer hearing about the ridiculous suffering these guys go through in training to make them unbelievably hardcore.

Why does Armstrong keep saying he had no positive tests? Neither did Millar did he?

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Ok, so I've never followed this really but I might this year! I've just finished reading Armstrongs biography, but can people fill me in on why they have re-launched accusations at him? I've only heard his side but a quick read suggests he has never failed or refuses to take a test, so what are the allegations based on?

Don't want to de-rail the thread but it would be good to hear why it's being brought up again!

Also, ITV4 is showing all the races, is that right?

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Should we make a doping-specific thread? I'm happy to talk about it but it would be a shame if this thread was all doping talk.

Also, ITV4 is showing all the races, is that right?

ITV4 will show a few stages live I think, and highlights every night. The UK production team and Gary Imlach et al are excellent, but the commentary they use is bought in and really shit. Eurosport will show every stage live plus highlights and have better commentary but not the same nice edited package that ITV4 will provide. You take your choice, basically. My choice is Eurosport live when I can, but stages I have to miss (and I'm away for a whole week for an OU summer school :() I will watch the ITV4 highlights when I can.

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Why does Armstrong keep saying he had no positive tests? Neither did Millar did he?

No cyclist or athlete ever had a positive test, therefore they were totally innocent, right up until they tested positive. It means nothing.

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PROFIL.jpg

One for the puncheurs today. Like a scaled down classic route, a bit like the one Gilbert won last year. Gilbert's been way off last year's form though. I predict Boasson Hagen, providing Sky aren't going to be dicks about letting their riders pursue some of their own ambitions where it won't cost Wiggins. Hopefully not, they have a good enough (and expensively enough assembled) team to go for everything.

The break has 3 minutes lead at the moment, with 65 km to go.

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I was nearly right! EBH just left himself with a bit too much work to do having missed the move when Cancellara first went. It was super steep there for a bit too.

Sagan looks pretty good though! Perfect tactics. Didn't look like someone making their debut there.

EDIT: Froome lost 1'25". This is the guy that beat Wiggins in the Vuelta last year, remember. Might have been a puncture. Disappointing for him if that loss stands.

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Didn't look like he was in the same crash that took Rodgers down, but there were another couple of falls. If it's the collarbone that'll be him out.

Great ride by Sagan today.

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Fairly unexcited by it all so far, and by the prospect of this Tour in general. No HTC, rubbish course - why did they ruin Stage 16 with an uphill finish - and a few of my favourite riders missing. Watching the GC be decided on TTs is not really what I'm in it for...

Sagan looks fun though - points could interesting with so many coming for the intermediates. And maybe Sammy Sanchez will finally come good on a descents oriented course.

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I think not having a team dedicated to him is the perfect preparation for Cav's attempt at winning the Olympic road race. He's going to be out there scrapping for sprints with maybe just Bernie Eisel and Boasson Hagen to help him.

I agree with people about missing the HTC train. It was a beautiful thing. I'd love it to get to Paris with Wiggins in Yellow and see Sky bring it home with a nice long train for Cav.

God I love the tour. Also ITV4 has every stage live this year from 2 except for a few of the mountain stages where they are on earlier.

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I think it's clear Cav has set a higher priority on the Olympic road race than what he does at the tour. I guess adding an Olympic medal to all his grand tour wins and classics would fill that gap on his record. Being at Sky probably helps him in that regard, as if he was still at HTC they'd be wanting him to deliver as many stage wins as possible, while it's clear Sky are targeting Wiggins for the GC.

He's a good enough sprinter to compete even without the lead train. It could make for some interesting and chaotic sprints if no team can take control in the final few kms.

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Panda, a separate thread would be grand with me if people want to discuss the drugs side more. One vote here, then! :D

It's a shame to sully the day-by-day updates and discussion and besides, it makes reading and following things much harder when having to switch between Tour news and cheating investigations and denials.

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I'll make a doping thread later. It's a fascinating subject, I just get slightly depressed when it takes over from talking about the racing.

PROFIL.jpg

A pure sprinters stage today. Questions to be answered:

Has Cav's focus on the ORR lost him the pure speed needed to dominate bunch sprints in the style of the last few years, and how many riders are Sky willing to support him with?

Can Sagan carry his amazing form from other races and styles of finish like yesterday into a pure flat sprint on the biggest stage?

Have any of the former members of Cav's HTC lead out train (Renshaw, Matt Goss) got what it takes to beat him now they're riding for themselves?

Will Cav's hated enemy Andre Greipel have the edge as a pure sprinter with Tour stages as his main focus?

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