I’ll be honest, I was drunk in a hotel room after a long day of doing my real job in front of clients. My recollection is not so sharp today, for some reason…
5. Col du Glandon
Well, for a few fleeting moments it seemed almost possible that the race might come alive on the Col du Glandon.
Alberto ‘Pistolero’ Contador was quick on the draw, attacking solo with nearly 50km to the finish.
Vincenzo ‘Lo Squalo’ Nibali also scented blood and tried to establish a break before the summit, the plan seemingly to extend the gap on the descent and then climb up the GC on the final hill.
It was exciting!
Then Sky did what Sky does, lifted the tempo, reeled everyone back in and that was that as far as the Big List was concerned.
4. Fuglsang and the deadly moto
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) was cursing after the stage, because he was knocked off his bike by one of the camera motorbikes as it passed him on the Col du Glandon. He was in the lead group at the time, and still managed to finish 5th on the day, but geez…
— TV 2 SPORT (@TV2SPORTdk) July 23, 2015
It was all a bit reminiscent of the Shimano neutral service car decking Jesse Sergent at the Tour of Flanders, wasn’t it?
The moto driver from today’s incident has been booted off the race, as punishment.
3. Pierre Rolland!
Pierre Rolland emerged from the witness protection programme last night to claim second on the stage.
Usually at the Tour Rolland is in everything. This year, like the rest of his Europcar team, he’s barely been seen.
Would it be wrong to infer that the team’s departing sponsor has not been replaced, that the team is therefore facing imminent demise, and that this is affecting team morale?
2. Hip hop hooray, for Romain Bardet!
Well, the French whippet has done a good one.
He hasn’t had the Tour he wanted, but his AG2R squad will be chuffed with its second stage win.
After royally screwing up stage 14 (won by Steve Cummings as Bardet and Thibaut Pinot discussed things between themselves) Bardet wasn’t leaving this one to last-minute tactics, and decided that solo was the way to get it done.
Frankly, he deserved a win after being one of the more aggressive climbers of this Tour, and this was quite a stylish victory, his first in a Grand Tour.
That’ll be enough to crank up the expectation for next year, then.
1. The Lacets de Montvernier can stay
These lacets, they’re bloody stunning, aren’t they? It was a bit eerie what with spectators not being allowed along the narrow roads in that section, but it made for some compelling aerial footage. There’ll be millions of amateurs heading there next summer!
Check out Beardy’s Caravan for some amazing photos of the day.
Stage 19 should be a belter – epic climbs and tired legs – and I’m off to watch it with Blackburn CC. Enjoy.