Mega Daily Bone-up: Stage 15

Well, that escalated.

5. Bling is back

No win, but he was back mixing it up in the finish of a stage that never really suited him. Bling doesn’t love the bunch sprints, and he had to freelance it through a tricky run in. He was nearly put into the barriers by a pair of Cofidis riders and lost position, then had to brake into the final corner and slipped further back. That’s OK.

At least he’s feeling good enough to be involved in the race again.

4. Rohan’s shorts

BMC’s dual stage-winner Rohan ‘Drop Bear’ Dennis was wearing special black knicks because he has saddle sores and he needed more, or different, padding.

HOW MANY TIMES DID WE NEED TO HEAR ABOUT IT?

3. Sagan watch: yet another top five

He’s racking them up faster than Paolini at a discotheque.

I wonder if he’s considered not getting in the break every single day, and saving some energy for the sprint at the end. You know, the one that matters. He may not have.

2. Greipel wins again, is clearly the fastest sprinter in the race

That’s three to Greipel, one to Cavendish, and donuts for all the other big sprinters.

Seems pretty clear cut that he’s the fastest when it’s flat.

Cavendish is apparently sick, and was shelled out the back very early today. Will he make it through the Alps?

1. Froome goes the media

This is a story that’s arguably bigger than the actual race. Chris Froome has gone in hard at the media, blaming ‘certain sections’ (mostly the French) for deliberately stirring the pot and inciting people to do stupid things like punch Richie Porte or throw piss at Froome himself.

French ex-TV commentator Laurent Jalabert seems to have been singled out by the English press, for comments he made about Froome:

Let’s take a moment to talk about Jalabert, a sprinter from the mid-1990’s who somehow also managed to win the King of the Mountains jersey twice AND the Vuelta a Espana (where he won all three jerseys in 1995).

Jaja‘s urine from the notorious 1998 ‘Festina Tour’ tested positive for EPO (shock!) but he has never admitted to knowingly doping, despite defying his natural physiology to prosper as a climber in the EPO-soaked 1990’s. I distinctly remember watching those Tours and hearing Phil Liggett express his amazement (yes, I know!) that Jalabert was climbing so well.

The idea that Jalabert of all people could lecture anyone about doping is laughable.

But so is the idea that by voicing his own doubts about Froome he is responsible for the actions of idiots, or that it’s unreasonable to question dominant performances given the context of two decades of false denials and omerta.

I can understand Froome is annoyed, indignant even. It is completely unacceptable to abuse or assault riders. And some of the loudest media voices making veiled accusations are the exact people whose own cheating led the punters to doubt his integrity in the first place. The injustice of it all!

But let’s all take a few deep breaths and try to maintain some perspective. We remember how we got here, right? Doubt is part and parcel now.

Especially when the competition has been crushed by the first stage of the Pyrenees, leaving the media without anything much to talk about.

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