The second week of the Tour de France offered only glipmses of a batte for the yellow jersey but was made famous for the wins of Mark Cavendish.
His two stage wins in Valence and Carcassonne book ended the week and gave us something to remember this race for.
His first stage win in 2008 was a “remember where you were moment“. I was in the car going to Skegness listening to Simon Brotherton on 5 live.
Friday I had it on in the background whilst working and from 2km to go to the finish was a nervous wreck.
He is level with the record now and its thoroughly deserved after his efforts in this race over the years.
At the other end of his Tour career is Wout Van Aert who was the other star of the week after winning the stage with a double ascent of the fearsome Mont Ventoux.
He was part of the breakaway for much of the stage before going clear with Kenny Elissonde and leaving him behind as Julian Alaphillippe tried to get across to them.
Behind Wout there was the merest hint of a battle for the GC with Jonas Vingegaard becoming the first person to drop Tadej Pogacar only to be pulled back on the descent thanks to some negative riding from Richard Carapaz and Rigo Uran.
Why those two didnt want to put the yellow jersey under pressure and leave him to chase Vingegaard on his own was beyond me.
It was a clear indication that they were only interested in riding for 2nd place. Which is poor.
In fact the whole Ineos tactical masterplan this week has been poor.
Short of giving Pogacar an armchair and slippers they have done very little other than keep Carapaz in with a shout of the podium.
What happened to last years pledge to go from long? be disruptive and shake up the race?
They have ridden the perfect mountain train for the race leader who isn’t in their team. Bonkers.
The second third weekend of the race took us into Andorra and saw some spectacular climbing and a deserved stage win for Sepp Kuss who continued the Jumbo/Visma comeback after the loss of leader Roglic.
Whilst I don’t see much changing in the top 10 this week, save Carapaz moving up to second or third, I will be keeping focus on Cav getting through the mountains within the time limit.
Fingers crossed he can make it to Paris.
|1||POGAČAR Tadej||UAE-Team Emirates||62:07:18|
|2||URÁN Rigoberto||EF Education – Nippo||5:18|
|3||VINGEGAARD Jonas||Team Jumbo-Visma||5:32|
|4||CARAPAZ Richard||INEOS Grenadiers||5:33|
|5||O’CONNOR Ben||AG2R Citroën Team||5:58|
|6||KELDERMAN Wilco||BORA – hansgrohe||6:16|
|7||LUTSENKO Alexey||Astana – Premier Tech||7:01|
|8||MAS Enric||Movistar Team||7:11|
|9||MARTIN Guillaume||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||7:58|
|10||BILBAO Pello||Bahrain – Victorious||10:59|