It’s been a pretty sedate couple of days for the Tour as it recommenced on the Atlantic coast around La Rochelle.
No hope breakaways or no breakaway at all have been the order of the day and sprinters Sam Bennett and Caleb Ewan took advantage to win their first and second stage of the race respectively.
For Bennett it was the first of his career having played second fiddle to Peter Sagan for his time at Bora/Hansgrohe so it will have been a sweet moment to beat his old team mate and take the green jersey from him.
Sagan’s struggles continued into yesterday where he managed to get relegated from his final position to last on the stage for an alleged head butt on Wout Van Aert.
I say alleged because the pictures are pretty clear cut and there is no doubt that he did collide with him but overnight footage has emerged showing that Sagan may well have been ducking to avoid a selfie stick and fool hanging over the barriers.
If that is the case I would like to think that the jury would reinstate him and give him the points back.
Off the bikes and the rest day covid tests have put a number of teams including Ineos and Ag2R on one of their two strikes.
Although with Tour race director Christian Prudhomme holed up in isolation for another 11 days its unclear who would actually have the authority to make that call!
Here is a link to the current GC from procyclingstats.
Jerome Cousin of Total/Direct Energie was keen to push on with the stage 3 breakaway to Sisteron. The two other members of the move were more interested in accumilating KOM points and then not contributing so with around 130km to go Cousin pushed on.
His wonderful curly mullet and posh Scott specs make him look every inch the 1980’s retro pro as his long lone breakaway brought back memories of a couple of rides of that era.
Most notably the 1989 breakaway in the first week by Joel Pellier of the BH team. He managed to go the distance and was greeted by his family at the finish. They’d never seen him race as he had a disabled brother who needed constant care and this was the first opportunity for someone else to help out with that and allow his parents to watch the Tour live. It was one of the great stories of any Tour.
Back to 2020 and Cousin managed to stretch his advantage to 4 minutes but the peloton were never feeling generous enough to give him any more of an advantage. Shame.
There were times in his ride where he looked a bit bored riding puppy paws through the lovely scenery. I think he knew from quite a long way out that he would be caught and that didn’t really help his morale.
The catch came in time for Caleb Ewan to fly through the sprinters and take an easy win. It was a great finish to watch from the over head camera and he zig zagged through the group to beat Sam Bennett who left us in no doubt how upset he was by his reaction in crossing the line.
Lot’s had been written about stage 4 and the finish at Orcieres-Merlette. Luis Ocana and Steven Rooks are pretty decent names for a town to have on its palmares of stage winners and in Primoz Roglic 2020 added to that list.
The stage itself wasn’t a classic despite friend of Fendrien Krists Nielands being away until the final climb.
For a mountain stage there were a lot of riders in the group coming into the last 2km. I wonder if this is down to the lack of racing and everyone being at a mostly similar level perhaps?
Jumbo were taking no prisoners and the speed they went into the latter metres of the stage was more than sufficient to deter any attacks. Adam Yates admitted as much in his post race interview.
Sepp Kuss provided the perfect platform for Roglic to outsprint the other favourites and make a real statement of intent for the remainder of the race.