The bone-up: TDF Stage 2

Things to talk about around the office today:

1. Classic Etixx-Quickstep.
This was a classic EQS performance in the sense that they rode aggressively as a team, full gas, bossing it like a Spring classic. Also because they managed to lose the race from a dominant position – something we saw repeatedly in the spring. It’s becoming a bit of a habit. After working so hard for 50km they made a tactical mistake (or perhaps had just shot their bolt) and left Renshaw on the front too early, which meant Cav had to launch from too far out. Oops. Greipel got the perfect lead-out from Cav and didn’t make a mistake.

2. GC shake-up came early
We knew the first week was full of banana skins for the GC guys, but I didn’t expect to see Nibali and Quintana dropping a minute and a half so meekly so early. Bit of a fail for Movistar and Astana who couldn’t match the power of Etixx-Quickstep after the race was split. Tinkoff-Saxo and Sky the main beneficiaries of Etixx-Quickstep’s work. That said, what were Nibali and Quintana doing being caught behind a split? EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED CROSSWINDS ON THE DUTCH COAST.

3. Unlucky Rohan Dennis
It wasn’t his fault, but it sucks to lose the yellow jersey like that. Dennis was stuck in the second group with his leader up the road, meaning there was no chance of defending his race lead. Fabian Cancellara pounced and took yellow thanks to a few bonus seconds on the finish line. Perhaps Fabs’ last time in yellow?

4. Peter ‘Nearly’ Sagan
Sagan was a tyre width away from the stage win. What if he hadn’t punctured in the last 10km and had to ride back to the front group? He was also spotted on the front working for his team. He’s so strong, but it’s yet another missed opportunity.

5. Tactics change?
Now that Nibali and Quintana have time to make up, will we see them try to strike back immediately? Or will they bide their time, knowing that a minute can be gained pretty quickly in the mountains? I don’t think Nibali can afford to wait: ‘Lo Squalo’ must be eyeing off a big day on the cobbles in stage 4.. Today’s result could change the whole dynamic of the first week, and the racing might get even more aggressive than anticipated. Hope so!

Relative GC (big GC names only)

1. Rigo Uran

2. Tejay van Garderen @ 2″

3. Chris Froome @ 6″

4. Alberto Contador @ 18″

5. Roman Kreuziger @ 26″

6. Robert Gesink @ 1’17”

7. Bauke Mollema @ 1’25”

8. Thibaut Pinot @ 1’29”

9. Leopold Konig @ 1’31”

10. Vincenzo Nibali @ 1’31”

11. Nairo Quintana @ 1’45”

12. Richie Porte @ 1’50”

13. Romain Bardet @ 2’18”

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One thought on “The bone-up: TDF Stage 2”

  1. I don’t know what you think Tim, but Nibali looks out of sorts to me. I just have a feeling it’s not going to be his year. Wow what a stage who would have thought we would see so much action on a pancake flat stage 2?

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