Monday, July 18, 2011

Tour de France Stage 16 Preview - July 19th

Stage 16: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Gap 163km
The stage to Gap is going to be hard:
  • if you're on a team that doesn't have a stage win at this point. (Lots of em)
  • if you have a rider in contention for the overall GC (Saxobank, Liquigas, BMC, Lampre). 
  • if your team has a jersey holder on their team (maillot jaune-Team Europcar, KOM-Omega Pharma-Lotto). 
  • if your team if your team is within striking distance of grabbing a jersey (King of the Mountains Euskaltel-Euskadi, Young Rider-Cofidis)). 
  • if you need to improve your position in the Team competition before Saturday's Stage 20 Time Trial (Europcar, AG2R). 
  • if you need to gain every second back that you carelessly lost in stage 1 and need to attack on the col de Manse. (Contador) 
  • if your're the latern' rouge-Tour's last placed rider (Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar) and you've struggled to get this far and you don't want to quit. 
  • if your team risked the elimination of four riders and had to ride what was essentially a team time-trial to get your team leader prior to the time cut and thus eliminated on stage 14. (HTC, Cavendish)
  • if you have your foot in your mouth and are finding it hard to breathe. Tyler 'shut your mouth and ride" Farrar
If you think your sport is harder or has tougher atheletes, I respectfully submit the following as evidence that unless your response rhymes with 'jockey', you might be wrong. The guy's name is Laurens. Mr Laurens ten Dam. He stated the day after this picture was taken, he was talking to reporters how he is planning on taking a stage. In hockey they wear pads.
Photo credit © AFP
Look for a breakaway to get away and possibly get a big gap if the right riders form the mix. If the mix is not right, meaning that there is no one within a deep breath of the overall or any of the jersey competitions, or comprised of the wrong team, they will held close. Expect some of the big guns to try and fire on the Category 2 climb which crests just 11km before the finish in Gap. Keep your eye on Basso to gain time. Voeckler will still be in Yellow. Millar to take the stage. (but how can you not pull for Jeremy Roy to finally get one?) The next three days will even more difficult. Adieu

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