Wow! Just wow! Todays stage at the Tour was total chaos! With cross winds throughout the race and then completely out of control crowds todays race was unlike anything we've ever seen.
The winds persisted again today. The last several days have been windy and it has been tough on the field. Today was no different. As per usual th early break went away. The men in the break were no threat to the overall GC so they were allowed to go free. Behind the echelons came together and the group was further split.
Riders were spread out all over the parcours today. Lots of really good riders missed the boat and had to fight their way back into the race once they came to the approach to the famed Mont Ventoux. The breakaway further split with three men going clear. Out of this group would come the eventual winner Thomas de Gent. He also took enough mountains points to secure the polka dot climbers jersey.
Behind, the Movistar men Valverde and Quintana repeatedly attacked the team Sky train containing yellow jersey Chris Froome. They were unable to shake Froome and his teammates. As the finish grew nearer Froome attacked and took Richie Porte (BMC) and Bauke Mollema (Trek/Segafredo) with him. This move immediately dropped Nairo Quintana and he was left to chase with his teammate Alejandro Valverde.
Inside the last km, the unbelievable happened. The TV motorcycle had to come to a stop and Porte, Froome and Mollema plowed into it. All three got up and remounted their bikes. Froome realized his bike was broken and started RUNNING the final km. There were so many cars, motorcycles and spectators that his team car was hung up behind. MAVIC neutral support eventually gave him an ill fitting bike with the wrong pedals which he rode until his team car arrived with a bike. Froome finished not quite a minute behind the group he'd originally been in. You could see him shaking his head in disappointment. On paper, he'd lost the yellow jersey.
The race jury later went back and "re-awarded" Froome the yellow jersey by taking the race time as the riders entered the final kilometer. This was the correct thing to do since the riders ran into trouble through no fault of their own. There will be debate for weeks to come about what the right thing to do was, however, this puts us into tomorrows time trial with the GC mostly unchanged.
Tomorrows race is a time trial that takes in a challenging 37.5km. It begins with a mild 7km climb right out of the start, takes in a technical descent and then finishes with a 5km incline to the finish. It will not suit guys like Tony Martin or Cancellara. However, I think we can expect Tejay Vangarderen and Richie Porte to come to the fore. Froome, without a doubt, will ride well but looking at the parcours my feeling is someone other than him will win.
PS. What do you think should be done about the out of control crowds? Too many motorcycles too? Sound off in the comments section below.