Le Tour 22 – Stage 16-21 Week 3 Vingegaard makes it to Paris

I had to think long and hard over a headline. Implying that the winner Jonas Vingegaard merely “made it” to Paris might be seen as belittling his achievement. But the context I am after is showing the challenges he faced with the climate, with climate protestors and the fact that Tadej Pogacar wasn’t going to hand over the title without a battle.

We left the race in the South of France after one of the hottest days on record for the Tour.

Stage 16 was a medium mountain stage which saw Israel-Premier Tech continue their ascension out of the World Tour relegation places when Hugo Houle rode away to win the stage. He was ably back by team mate Mike Woods for a Canadian one two.

The next day to Peyragaudes saw Pogacar win the stage without creating any distance between himself and the yellow jersey.

Despite being super confident that the Slovenian would have what it took to come back and win the race overall, his lack of ability to drop Vingegaard made me start to doubt his chances of doing so. This was clear evidence that the Dane had his number and that it would take something really special to dislodge him.

The final mountain stage to the disgraced (based on the evidence of former winners) peak of Hautacam saw Pogacar dropped for good.

After dueling on the way up the penultimate climb, the top two on the overall classification both had sketchy moments on the hot tar going down.

The yellow jersey had his foot out to save him from snaking into a ditch before Pogacar went over and crashed.

Vingegaard waited for his rival and when he caught up they shook hands as if to say “no more, this could get silly and dangerous“.

They did battle it out on the final climb before Wout Van Aert (who else?) delivered a monster turn for his leader which saw him win alone.

Christophe LaPorte got reward for all of his efforts in this race and across the season to date with the only French stage win after escaping in Cahors. Jumbo continued to monopolise the stage wins with Van Aert taking the final time trial for the second year in succession before Jasper Philipsen made it two stage wins in Paris.

There are those in the media calling this the best Tour ever. I think that might be a bit steep based on 1989 (and others!). But it was exciting from first to last and raced continually.

The only real off day was stage 15 but with the alps in the riders legs and a 40 degree, baking hot stage between them and the second rest day that can be understood.

I really enjoyed it and the race had a worthy winner in Jonas Vingegaard. Whether he is starting a dynasty or will be a one off winner, only next summer will be able to tell us.

Stage winners and leaders

DateRaceWinnerLeader after stage
07/01Stage 1 | Copenhagen – Copenhagen LAMPAERT Yves LAMPAERT Yves
07/02Stage 2 | Roskilde – Nyborg JAKOBSEN Fabio VAN AERT Wout
07/03Stage 3 | Vejle – Sønderborg GROENEWEGEN Dylan VAN AERT Wout
07/05Stage 4 | Dunkerque – Calais VAN AERT Wout VAN AERT Wout
07/06Stage 5 | Lille – Wallers-Arenberg CLARKE Simon VAN AERT Wout
07/07Stage 6 | Binche – Longwy POGAČAR Tadej POGAČAR Tadej
07/08Stage 7 | Tomblaine – La Super Planche des Belles Filles POGAČAR Tadej POGAČAR Tadej
07/09Stage 8 | Dole – Lausanne VAN AERT Wout POGAČAR Tadej
07/10Stage 9 | Aigle – Châtel les portes du Soleil JUNGELS Bob POGAČAR Tadej
07/12Stage 10 | Morzine – Megève CORT Magnus POGAČAR Tadej
07/13Stage 11 | Albertville – Col du Granon VINGEGAARD Jonas VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/14Stage 12 | Briançon – L’Alpe d’Huez PIDCOCK Thomas VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/15Stage 13 | Bourg d’Oisans – Saint-Etienne PEDERSEN Mads VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/16Stage 14 | Saint-Etienne – Mende MATTHEWS Michael VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/17Stage 15 | Rodez – Carcassonne PHILIPSEN Jasper VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/19Stage 16 | Carcassonne – Foix HOULE Hugo VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/20Stage 17 | Saint-Gaudens – Peyragudes POGAČAR Tadej VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/21Stage 18 | Lourdes – Hautacam VINGEGAARD Jonas VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/22Stage 19 | Castelnau-Magnoac – Cahors LAPORTE Christophe VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/23Stage 20 | Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour VAN AERT Wout VINGEGAARD Jonas
07/24Stage 21 | Paris La Défense – Paris (Champs-Élysées) PHILIPSEN Jasper VINGEGAARD Jonas
from Procyclingstats
RnkPrev▼▲RiderTeamUCIPntTime
11 VINGEGAARD JonasJumbo-Visma100050032″79:33:20
22 POGAČAR TadejUAE Team Emirates80038040″2:43
33 THOMAS GeraintINEOS Grenadiers6753407:22
44 GAUDU DavidGroupama – FDJ5753004″13:39
55 VLASOV AleksandrBORA – hansgrohe47528015:46
66 QUINTANA NairoTeam Arkéa Samsic4002606″16:33
77 BARDET RomainTeam DSM3252404″18:11
88 MEINTJES LouisIntermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux2752206″18:44
99 LUTSENKO AlexeyAstana Qazaqstan Team22521022:56
1010 YATES AdamINEOS Grenadiers17520024:52
from procyclingstats

Le Tour 22 – Stages 4-9 Week 1 in the sun

If the opening weekend of the 2022 Tour de France belonged to the Danish crowds and Magnus Cort, then the return to the events homeland belonged to two men.

Wout Van Aert and Tadej Pogacar ensured that two of the races main competitions were over by the end of stage 9 in Chatel.

Van Aert was in the yellow jersey but it was the Maillot Vert that he was at the race for. It didn’t stop him attacking the race on that familiar bit of headland to holiday makers who make for Calais on the ferry.

He rode the whole race off his wheel and soloed to a memorable victory. Amazingly despite its position on the map in the north west of France, this was Calais’ first stage finish. The town put its challenges aside for the day and put on a lovely face. Maybe next time I head off a ferry I won’t just zoom past on my way to other more exotic French locations.

The stage to Arenberg saw the end of a couple of GC challengers hopes. Ben O’Connor and Primoz Roglic lost time. Pogacar was superb (as he is on every stage nowadays) and the expected Ineos onslaught from the cobbled specialists like Dylan Van Baarle and Luke Rowe didn’t provide any advantage.

A Wallonian stage followed to Longwy and despite some Van Aert magic as he went away on his own again, the jersey changed hands when a Pogacar sprint won the stage and yellow.

The Slovenian wonder kid wasn’t done there winning the next stage on the Planches des Belles Filles overtaking long time leader Leonard Kamna in the final 100 metres on the steep gravel extension to the usual finish.

Van Aert hit back on Saturday winning a reduced bunch sprint over the border in Switzerland. But Pog was right up there at the finish.

The stage to Chatel yesterday finally saw a breakaway succeed and it was a pair of comeback kids who made this a stage for the ages and broke up the WoutPogopoloy.

Comeback kid – The Midnight

Alone with 60km to go, Bob Jungels rolled back the years with a brilliant display of paced climbing and aggressive descending.

He held on from Thiabut Pinot who was closing fast but couldn’t get across the last 20 seconds before getting caught on the line by a pair of chasers.

Well done Bob.

So whilst there will be plenty of commentary stating how dull this Tour could end up being as a result of Pogacar pretty much having won it already, there is still plenty going on and enough to make this a really strong edition so far.

Can’t wait for week 2!

Le Tour ’22 Stages 1-3 – A farmers son from Belgium

As with the previous couple of years, I will write a post grouping key stages together (rather than doing each one on its own as I did the summer I was out of work!).

It feels right to cluster the whole of the Grand Depart together and to talk Denmark in totality with the massive pile of positives (experiences not doping tests) to take out of it.

Whilst on the subject of doping there was a lot of pre-race nosing into the business of Bahrain-Victorious but as of yet there is nothing concrete to report on the team or its riders. As Groupama-FDJ rider Stefan Kung said, the authorities either need to charge them or apologise for picking on them. Let’s leave that there…

The first stage time trial produced a major upset. Despite most of the other Specialized riders wearing a funny bank robber snood as part of their new helmets, it was standard lid wearer Yves Lampaert who put the other favourites in their place with a great win.

Lampaert was nervy watching the remaining riders finish before producing what on day 1 will be the quote of the race in relation to his ascent to the yellow jersey.

“I am just a farmer son from Belgium”

After trying to for years to land a big win in the Flemish classics, it was a tour time trial that thrust Lampaert into the spotlight. Irony.

The first road stage saw the “Grand Belt” bridge take star billing. Will it ever be as iconic as a strip of cobbles or mountain pass?

Probably not. It also didn’t have the impact that the Passage des Gois seems to have when that coastal route is used, mainly as the wind didn’t blow.

After a length break including home rider Magnus Cort Nielsen hoovering up all of the King of the Mountains points the race was together hitting the bridge.

There was a crash involving the yellow jersey and within the 3km limit which held up defending champion Tadej Pogacar but in the main it was fairly standard stuff.

Fabio Jakobsen kept up the 100% record of Quickstep winning the opening two stages ending his journey back to success following his Polish crash 18 months ago.

Cort took his chance again on stage 3, heading off alone to take some king of the mountains points but finding no other riders willing to join him.

He had a brilliant day out in his homeland taking a heroes welcome in each town and village. In fact there barely looked a spot on the side of the road all weekend with people lined up to see the race everywhere.

It was one of, if not, the best Grand Depart I can remember.

There was a crash outside the 3km limit which saw a few riders ship time but a sprint was pretty much guaranteed. This time it was Dylan Groenewegen who had his turn at redemption (also as a result of the Tour of Poland crash) winning from Wout Van Aert who has been in second place in each of the stages so far.

The race had an early break yesterday heading back to its homeland from Denmark ready for some tough looking northern French stages starting today.

Gaudu or not Gaudu? That is the question

It’s time for fantasy cycling to become part of the club 10 car park narratives for the next month as a number of games launch ahead of the Grand Depart.

I am an addict so play the Procyclingstats star allocation game (a la Het Nieuwsblad), I also play their stocks and shares trading game Procycling-game (despite being terrible at it).

For the Tour de France 2022 though I am putting my all into the Velogames competition (sorry official Tissot Le Tour one) and would love you to do the same.

This isn’t an endorsement of the game (officially) and I am getting no benefit from promoting it… just to make that clear.

Fendrien CC – 2022 Tour de France

Now I am sure that each and every one of you reading would have a different view of who to pick and where to spend the 100 EUR budget. Heck reading the news I might still substitute Wout Van Aert if his knee is broken.

But the whole idea is to add fun to the three weeks of the Tour and a bit of depth of interest when watching.

So please do pick a team (its free and if you have a social media account you don’t have to go through any registering process) and join in. I am sure you will have the skills to finish above me !

You can register to play here >> https://www.velogames.com/

EDIT – I have tweaked my team again…

2022 Tour team V2

…and Enric isn’t yet assured of starting.

Fenland Clarion Velogames league

Not sure if there is much interest in fantasy cycling games but I just joined the Velogames classics one. Really easy to join but hard to pick a pick within budget.

I am hoping this line up will get me from Strade to Liege without having to make transfers.

I have started a FCCC league so feel free to join in..

https://www.velogames.com/ < to register

League code to join is 140233727

Riders of the year 2021

Here are my top 3 mens riders of the 2021 season.

3. Julian Alaphillippe

I am trying to avoid using the standard cliches to describe this guy. Swashbuckling for example.

However, its really hard when the two stand out wins of his season were gathered in that typical… umm… swashbuckling style of riding the race off his wheel.

Stage 1 of the Tour de France had been marred by crashes but was set up for Mathieu Van der Poel to win with an uphill finish and the weight of history driving him on. But that moment in the spotlight would have to wait as our Julian rode away from the whole of the race having surfed through the carnage on the road behind him. Carnage that ended the challenge of Primoz Roglic, Chris Froome and others.

He never seemed to get so far away that the peloton didn’t believe he was catchable, but he was never close enough for anyone to bridge. It was timed perfectly.

After waiting what felt like a lifetime for the Tour to be back and to have fans on the road side, this was the start that both France and the race needed. It also took the spotlight off a certain placard waving fan a little…

He then backed this up at the end of the season by retaining the world champions rainbow jersey by using his team 160km out to make the race uncomfortable for the home town Belgian team.

As the race entered a crucial period he was simply too fast for the riders remaining in the peloton and was justifiably a back to back world road race champion.

2. Mathieu Van der Poel

It feels like this guy had his best moments early in the season. He was thoroughly dominant at Strade Bianche with an uphill power packed attack sending him clear of the peloton. It was a truly wonderful display and the best individual piece of riding of 2021. Bar none.

He backed that up with a brilliant performance in Tirreno Adriatico in the filthy weather. He proved that his cyclo cross background didn’t make him solely a 60 minute racer.

VdP left the peloton behind “to keep warm” with over 50 km to go and would have won by miles if Tadej Pogacar hadn’t thought about the overall win and chased him hard.

But that ride did seem to do more damage than good, with him short and Milan-San Remo and then outsprinted at Flanders by Kasper Asgreen.

He did show his champion credentials in his Tour de France debut. Stage 1 was a disappointment for him missing out in a kit designed to mirror that his grandfather wore in the race. The Mur de Bretagne was different. He attacked first time up for the time bonuses before riding clear to win the stage and take the yellow jersey on the second ascent. It was great to see him get the jersey and then honour it to the Alps.

You have to love VdP for the way he rides and the way he makes cycling like it was in the good old days. Long may this level of performance continue.

1. Tadej Pogacar

The first rider in living memory to win the Tour and 2 of the classic monuments in a season. This lad has it all.

Whilst the Tour de France was in his pocket by the end of week 1 making the overall battle redundant, you can’t help but be impressed by his style and power on the bike.

Before we even got there he’d outsprinted the generations best classic riders to take Liege Bastogne Liege.

That was followed up with a dominant performance in Il Lombardia which is rapidly becoming my second favourite single day race of the year, where he took Fausto Masnada of Quickstep to the finish before smashing him out of sight in the race to the flag.

Aside from the results there is a quiet confidence and dominance about this guy where his presence at the head of a race seems to break the others before he even attacks.

The Ventoux stage was the only one where he looked like shipping any time but I still look back at that day and think he was focused on making Richard Carapaz put his nose into the wind rather than his being in genuine trouble.

Is his dominance good for the sport? For now I would say yes. It means the other teams will need to show greater innovation and creativity to isolate and then beat him, although his team has stocked up on domestiques so far this winter.

But what a talent. A poster boy for cycling for the 2020s.

pro launches anti-litter campaign

I am very lucky that where I live, in the main, road side littering by cyclists and the general public isn’t too bad.

(Fly tipping aside)

You do see the odd gel wrapper and banana peel along with MacDonalds drinks holder, but its not massive.

There are also regular picks both along the road side and the river bank near to my home. This is much appreciated and my kids and I plan to join in the a pick from the water in our kayak next summer.

Groupama/FDJ pro Anthony Roux has been a part of the pro peloton for years and has noticed more litter by the road sides of his training rides.

Some may say his attempts to get action on littering are attempts at launching a political career when cycling is over for him.

I prefer to see it as environmentally conscious and would like to share and back his initiative.

Read more about it here.

We all have a part to play in being the solution, not the problem.