Mega Daily Bone-up: Stage 9

I slept through this one, but I’ll tell you what it all means.

5. Orica-GreenEdge phoned it in

This is the team that has a fearsome reputation in TTTs, often using them as a springboard to dominate the first week of a grand tour. This is also the team that has three of its strongest riders at home nursing broken bones, and another (Michael Matthews) still riding on with broken ribs.

OGE hobbled across the course, trying to stay together, and the blank looks in their eyes as they rolled across the finish line told the story.

The postscript to the story is that they finished last, two and a half minutes behind second-last placed Cofidis and a shade under five minutes slower than BMC, who they frequently beat. This was an exercise in survival until the rest day for the OGE bus. This Tour business is pretty tough sometimes.

Here’s a bit of music to lighten the team’s spirits, anyway.

4. Nobody has ruined their Tour

I said it yesterday and I’ll stand by it: nobody important had their Tour ruined by the TTT.

Joaquim Rodriguez lost 1’53” and might disagree, but like I said, nobody important. Purito has won a stage already, and he might even be a better chance for another one if he drops a few more minutes on GC and is allowed a bit more freedom while the Big Boys mark each other.

Meanwhile, the Big Four (perhaps we should add BMC and Tejay to the ‘Big’ list)…

The Big Five were all within 35 seconds of each other.

KPI box ticked.

A few of the second-tier contenders have drifted backwards, it is true. The cream is rising to the top.

3. Movistar solid, but was it enough for Nairo?

Movistar would have had high expectations for this TTT, having brought former Hour record holder Alex Dowsett, and the big engines of TT specialists Adriano Malori and Jonathan Castroviejo along for the ride.

The aim would have been to do some damage to Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, and set Nairo Quintana up for the mountains.

It didn’t really work out, but only because Sky in particular rode a blinder. As a result, Quintana will start the second week 1’59” behind the maillot jaune. This is certainly not ideal, but Nairo is known for getting better in the final week of Grand Tours (see Tour 2013, Giro 2014).

We’ll see.

2. Sky on fire

Yes, Sky has always been strong in this discipline. Yes, they would have been highly motivated. Yes, they’ve had a couple of relatively easy days letting the sprinters’ teams control the race.

But still, getting within a second of the World Champion BMC squad was a massive effort, considering Sky arguably didn’t bring its A team of time triallists (they opted for more climbers).

It keeps Froome in yellow over the rest day, and perhaps more importantly it edged him a little further ahead of Quintana, Contador and Nibali.

So far everything is going to plan for Team Death Star, and Froome’s key mountain lieutenants have barely had to turn a crank in anger.

1. “Cos I’m BMC, I’m dynamite…”

With apologies to Acadaca, I’ll be earworming this one all day. Another big ride from the Swissmerican squad gives them two vans on the provisional podium (Tejay van Garderen and Greg van Bridesmaid) and a second stage win for this Tour.

This one will do wonders for their confidence. With a leader who looks in the form of his life and a team obviously in good nick, they’ll be starting to truly believe.

Not just in a “Yeah we’re all in for Tejay go team” sense, but in a visceral “Fuck, we can actually win this, I’m going to to turn myself inside out for this bloke for the next two weeks…” sense. That is powerful.

Big Boys’ GC

1. Froome

2. Tejay van 12″

3. Contador 1’03”

4. Uran 1’18”

5. Valverde 1’50”

6. Quintana 1’59”

7. Kreuiziger 2’18”

8. Nibali 2’22”

9. Barguil 2’43”

10. Rodriguez 3’52”

11. Talansky 4’17”

12. Bardet 4’38”

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