The three grand tours this summer/autumn/winter were very different in a host of ways.
The timing was one thing, the readiness and sharpness of the riders was another. Lots of pundits and experts were even confused by the shadows and lighting with the usual bright yellow sun and fields of sunflower for the Tour de France long since having gone over ahead of the changing colours of the leaves.
Some of the worlds biggest teams have been taking to YouTube to diarise what their experiences were and in the name of research (and to avoid watching Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend) I have studied most of them and come up with a shortlist of one film per race.
First up is the Tour de France through the eyes of the Deceuninck QuickStep team.
This was an interesting film as it covered the fast start of Julian Alaphillippe before moving on to cover the stage and green jersey winning powers of Sam Bennett.
It’s well shot and tells the story in stages, although it does miss out bits and pieces from when Alaphillippe lost a lot of time in the GC battle.
The EF gone racing series by the popular hipsters team in association with kit sponsor Rapha is seen as the benchmark of this type of fly on the wall documentary and this one is no different.
The best one they ever made was Lachlan Morton riding the GB duro gravel race and this isn’t as good. But it is still a decent watch.
The final big race of the year was the Vuelta and it featured a nervous sense that the race might not make Madrid along with some terrible weather.
Like the Tour and the Giro it featured a brilliant battle to see who would win with Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz going to the final kilometer of the final climb the day before the finish before we knew for sure.
After his final weekend loss of the Tour de France, the Jumbo/Visma team car is the best place to watch that GC competition play out. It’s safe to say they are nervous, all of which adds to the quality of the film.
All three are a great waste of an evening so make sure you have a watch and enjoy.
The cycling, in fact the whole sports news in the UK today is dominated by Team Ineos’ leaving out 5 Tour de France’s worth of yellow jersey’s at home for this years race.
Chris Froome was (maybe unsurprisingly given he is off to Israel/Start up Nation) the headline name left out of the squad with 2018 winner Geraint Thomas shocked to miss out.
Froome has been part of transfer negotiations all season and at one point there was even talk of him heading to his new team in time to lead them in the race. That would have been a really good option with I/SIN losing Dan Martin last week to a crash in the Dauphine.
However he stayed with the team he joined from Barloworld with Thomas and has been rewarded for his loyalty by being cut. Let’s hope he has a GCN Racepass…
To be fair to Froome he has taken it graciously and accepted an autumn Vuelta as his last outing in the Ineos colours.
Thomas on the other hand was more of a surprise. He had worked well in tandem with Egan Bernal last summer and seemed to be the most ok with sharing team leadership. However the interview he did on TV after the penultimate stage of the Dauphine saw him admit to being 1kg over weight and that he needed to shift it.
He gets to ride the Giro as compensation.
You wonder whether this is a move to keep Bernal happy or whether the performance of the climbing unit in the last couple of stage races has been that poor, Sir Dave Brailsford was moved to shake things up.
Jumbo/Visma have dominated Ineos this season so far and something needs to change for that not to be the case around ‘Le hexagon’ in the next few weeks.
Thomas will have received a boost to his Giro ambitions with reigning pink jersey Richard Carapaz one of the riders called up to help Bernal in the Tour.
Is this the best or craziest move this team has ever made?