The final week of the Tour was a total non-event in terms of the general classification leaving many to wonder if the course wasn’t quite balanced enough to promote attacking riding.
Although to be fair when there was a summit finish it was generally either won by Tadej Pogacar or he gained time on his increasingly hapless looking rivals.
If it hadn’t been for Ben O’Connor and Jonas Vingegaard emerging from the shadows and taking the race on we would have been subjected to less action.
Pogacar was so far ahead after the final mountains that he and his team were able to let the latter stages play out with chaos on the road and breakaways ruling the roost.
Ineos Grenadiers had such a disaster with the fading of Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte that Richard Carapaz was their only hope.
Despite a couple of attacks he never once looked like dropping the other favourites.
His team also reverted to type after promising enterprising and attacking riding. They formed a train on the climbs and as mentioned in last weeks post, pretty much armchaired the yellow jersey to within a few kms of the finish on key stages.
I have no idea why they chose to ride in that way. Defensive and stifling they should have left more riders from lower down the top 10 to challenge in the way that Guillaume Martin did.
But they knew that if he hung on Carapaz was likely to get on to the podium and for Ineos that looked enough.
Contrast that with Jumbo/Visma who lost Primoz Roglic at the same time as Thomas faltered. They made sure that Vingegaard became a loose cannon, especially on the Mont Ventoux stage. The second prong to their fork was Wout Van Aert who became a stage hunter in the Sean Kelly, Peter Sagan mould.
Their tour will be a success, Ineos a failure.
I am not sure that the management of Jumbo is such that they showed great agility in adapating their planning. I put it down to the riders being strong on the road and mentality tough.
Despite getting boxed in by the Eddy Merckx mafia of Belgians in Paris (!), Mark Cavendish and Quickstep will be looking at this Tour as a real successs. He equalled the record and if thats as far as it goes then I am sure he will still be happy.
Julian Alaphillippe got his stage win and Cav the green jersey. Job done.
The main blot of the week 3 landscape was the police raid of Bahrain Victorious. This was the culmination of rumours since Rod Ellingworth left the team suddenly and they started winning.
Gino Mader and Mark Padun came from nowhere to win important races before the Tour and during this race Matej Mohoric and Dylan Theuns got wins (although neither was too surprising).
Foul seemed to be being cried over the sudden emergence of Sonny Colbrelli as a mountain climber, which was a little uncomfortable to watch at times.
But until there are charges from the investigation, and that goes for all stage and classification winners, not just Colbrelli, we will take the race and its outcomes at face value.
The good news for those of us who are down in the dumps this week with the race over is that the Tour of Wallonia starts today !
|1||1||–||POGAČAR Tadej||UAE-Team Emirates||1000||500||82:56:36|
|2||2||–||VINGEGAARD Jonas||Team Jumbo-Visma||800||380||5:20|
|3||3||–||CARAPAZ Richard||INEOS Grenadiers||675||340||7:03|
|4||4||–||O’CONNOR Ben||AG2R Citroën Team||575||300||10:02|
|5||5||–||KELDERMAN Wilco||BORA – hansgrohe||475||280||10:13|
|6||6||–||MAS Enric||Movistar Team||400||260||11:43|
|7||7||–||LUTSENKO Alexey||Astana – Premier Tech||325||240||12:23|
|8||8||–||MARTIN Guillaume||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||275||220||15:33|
|9||9||–||BILBAO Pello||Bahrain – Victorious||225||210||16:04|
|10||10||–||URÁN Rigoberto||EF Education – Nippo||175||200||18:34|