Le Tour is in its 6th stage and back to a flat stage from Aix-en-Provence (my favourite sounding French city) to Montpellier (which is a sentimental favourite of my wife as she lived there for a year while at University). What the riders didn’t experience in elevation to overcome, they were hit with a mean wind blowing all over the course. There was one attempt at a breakaway, but the sole poor bugger who tried to give it a go turned around and noticed that no-one else was with him and gave up. This turned out to be a very boring bunch sprint finish stage as a result.

Le Tour is taking its toll, with a few more spills. The riders are looking tired and haven’t quite got the second wind in the legs. They are still slipping on banana peels and still nervous. I don’t remember so many riders going down so early in a 3 week race.

There have been two big withdrawals and the GC candidates have been reduced by two:

1. Jurgen Van den Broek (Lotto-Belisol) has bunged up his knee and got told by the Great Eddy Merkx that he is not good enough. Boy it is harsh being Belgian.

2. Janez Brajkovic, one of the two hopes from Astana decided to kiss the tarmac, has been forced to abandon. The crash was so sever he bent his bike. A big shame.

Gorilla Time

Cavendish went down too, and had to chase down the peloton himself for a number of reasons. But he is a hard man.

It came down to a bunch sprint and Andre “Gorilla” Greipel’s team delivered the perfect lead out for him to absolutely belt it home. He has finally opened up his account and the Maillot Vert competition is well open. Once again the Tourminator (Sagan) was in the mix but couldn’t seal the deal. I reckon the Gorilla is awesome, particularly how he has embraced his nickname. So while the Lotto-Belisol team has lost big in one area, the zoo part of the team has been let loose.

I love Gorilla time!

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenWedge) chose to hand over the Maillot Jaune to teammate Daryl Impey in recognition of the fact that Impey did all the work to lead-out Gerro to the stage win. The South African now becomes the first African to wear the Tour’s leader’s jersey.

tdf_2013_stage_6-winner

Fashion Faux-Pas in the Tour

Lycra is a tough kit to wear to ride in and attempt to look good in. But Pierre Rolland dressing in polka-dot shirt, shorts, helmet, and his bike is really taking the mickey. #WhatIsHeThinking

Orica GreenWedge’s choice in yellow shorts for Gerro is upsetting my wfie too. She is asking for for someone to cover up the yellow crorch styling. Well out of order.

For a more serious assessment:

CyclingNews – http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/stage-6/results

VeloVoices – http://velovoices.com/2013/07/04/tdf-stage-6-greipel-mashes-it-in-montpellier/

SBS Cycling Central – http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/road/news/49798/impey-makes-tour-history-as-greipel-wins-stage

The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

The new Jersey competition that I have invented reflects the demonstration of hardness or degree of  “cement” in the bidons that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically HTFU). Here is the ranking as it stands:

1. Christian Vande Velde – he literally has a screw loose in the plate that is holding his shoulder together. Chose to ride on – much HTFU demonstrated!

2. Mark “Manx Missile” Cavendish – went down, his team radios were not working, and had to chase the peloton down by himself. Then he sprinted!

3. Geraint Thomas – The hip is still broken. He can’t even get out of the saddle to pedal.

4. Tony Martin – he will soon be dropping off the list, he is getting better now.

5. Jens Voigt – need I say more. He will always be on the list, it is just position that will change.

The Turbo Training Challenge

The turbo training session for stage 6 got replaced by my regular Friday morning ride with MG. This time around I had another riding buddy AC join us to. The wisdom of choosing these two “athletes” would come into question post the ride. You see these two characters like to run… FAST. MG is a regular cross-country runner who only ran his first half marathon a few weeks ago – in a time of 78 min – FAST! AC ran his first marathon late last year – in a time of 3h 36min – FAST! So the ride became a bit of a smash session on the pedals and we rode FAST! It was fun, but after six straight days of riding I was exhausted by the last 10km. Big ride again tomorrow with my riding buddy JB. He is eyeing a new steed which may be acquired this weekend.