Relaxation Day Spherical Up: We at the moment are in an important a part of any Grand Tour, the third and ultimate week. It might all be turned the other way up in a single stage. First Ed Hood seems to be again at week 3 and all of the tales that caught his Tour de France eye. Stage 10 via to stage 15.

# You possibly can see the ‘Relaxation Day #1’ HERE and ‘Relaxation Day #2’ HERE. #

‘He can out climb most people who find themselves faster than him nevertheless it wasn’t science or watts that received him the stage, it was ‘racing pedigree,’ he was dropped within the final kilometre however fought again and didn’t cease combating till he’d crossed the road.’ The phrases of EF Training EasyPost DS, Charly Wegelius on his stage successful Dane, Magnus Cort.

Cort takes his stage win

After enlivening the primary week the person from the island of Bornholm within the Baltic once more gave guys like me loads to jot down about on a ‘basic’ Tour stage – warmth, mountains, excited followers, fabulous surroundings, a giant break and a wily, cunning, ‘previous hand’ winner. At 29 years-of age Cort is hardly a veteran however he’s been within the professional peloton for a decade and extra and is aware of himself inside out. Chapeau!

Wily, cunning, ‘previous hand’ winner

It was good to see my previous Kiwi amigo, Jack Bauer ‘doing the enterprise’ within the massive break to deliver again Bettiol for the Kiwi’s Aussie workforce mate, Nick Schultz. Right here at PEZ we first caught up with Schultz some 4 years in the past when, using for Spanish ProTeam, Caja Rural he’d been posting some good outcomes, together with third within the GP Miguel Indurain. Mitchelton Scott signed him for 2019 and since then he’s been making regular progress to the place he’s now only a bike throw away for a Tour de France stage win. There’ll be different occasions, Nick. . .

Shut for Nick Schultz

At 26 years-of-age Schultz is hardly a ‘younger gun,’ however at 23 years-of-age, Movistar’s ‘Yankee on the Court docket of King Alejandro,’ Matteo Jorgensen definitely is. The tall American has produced some good outcomes these previous few seasons however progress was derailed by a foul crash in Paris-Good initially of this season, it’s good to see him again. The Biking Podcast’s Ian Boswell – with whom we hope to deliver you an interview quickly about his transition to gravel – interviewed Jorgensen after the stage and requested him the way it felt to be prime 4 on a Tour de France stage; ‘it sucks!’ The person is a winner.

Matteo Jorgensen ‘Younger Gun’

After which there’s Bahrain’s Londoner, Fred Wright, it looks as if yesterday I used to be taking his image on the u23 Berlin Six Days in 2017 – the place he rode and received with Jake Stewart, who’s now with Groupama FDJ – and right here he’s at 23 years-of-age within the thick of it once more within the massive break after being my ‘man of the match’ on Stage Eight to Lausanne. Chapeau!

Fred Wright… once more

Pog lead the peloton house; however a giant blow to lose Bennett to Covid having already misplaced Laengen – Majka, Soler, Bjerg, McNulty and Hirschi shall be drawing deep breaths. . .

Stage 10 highlights:


Like that morbid music from a number of years in the past mentioned; ‘I Wasn’t Anticipating That!’ I don’t assume many have been, besides my amigo Jakob from Copenhagen who precisely predicted that Jumbo’s power in numbers would make the distinction for Vingegaard.

A solo Vingegaard had wings

Pogačar and UAE have misplaced mountain strongman Bennett and large, dependable rouleur, Laengen to Covid – while Hirschi and ever-faithful Majka are each beneath par. The one-two which the Dutch workforce labored on the Slovenian on The Galibier began the rot nevertheless it seemed like the person in yellow was in full management, even launching cheeky counter-attacks – one might wager that he needs now he’d saved these watts – nevertheless it was all chipping away at his inner ‘power block’ and are available the merciless slopes of the Col du Granon the unthinkable occurred and Pogačar cracked wider than the San Andreas fault.

A cracked Pogačar

Maillot flapping within the breeze, shoulders rocking, head sunk between his shoulders – very a lot a sight we’re unused to. That smile for the digicam within the valley street – was it bluff or was he fully unaware that, ‘the person with the hammer’ was lurking on the ‘Monster of Briançon,’ because the Granon is understood?

A ‘softener’ from Roglič

But it surely was Jumbo’s day, Vingegaard reminding considered one of a 70’s specialist climber – ‘by no means change down on a climb, solely change up!’ – Roglič taking part in his half within the drama and it goes with out saying that Wout performed his half – all of the whereas now on nearly double second positioned Jakobsen’s factors whole within the inexperienced jersey competitors.

Wout performed his half too, after all

It was additionally a great day for the house nation with Bardet transferring up 5 locations and now on the digital podium in second spot – and Gaudu, while dropping one place on GC continues to be in seventh place.

Quintana again?

Quintana was again to wanting like the person who a number of years in the past appeared like a Tour winner in ready; second on the stage and transferring up seven locations on GC to fifth. Vlasov and Lutsenko too each rode properly, transferring up six and eight GC locations respectively, albeit 5 minutes away from the digital podium. However for the second time in 24 hours the stage belonged to Denmark – and Vingegaard, successful the stage in ‘old-fashioned’ vogue en route the maillot jaune – TiLLYKKE!

The ‘killer blow’ from Jonas

Bastille Day and l’Alpe tomorrow – I’m excited. . .

Stage 11 highlights:


2016: European Junior X Champion
2017: Nationwide Elite Criterium Champion
Nationwide Elite Scratch Champion [track]
Worlds Junior iTT Champion
2018: European u23 X Champion
2019: Worlds u23 X Champion
1st u23 Paris-Roubaix
3e Worlds Street Race u23
2020: 2e Worlds Elite X
1st Child Giro with three stage wins
2021: 1st Brabantse Pijl
Olympic Mountain Bike Champion
2022: Worlds Elite X Champion

At this time wasn’t such a shock then, Pidcock is a power of nature – and he has one other 10 years on the prime if his head holds out. Outstanding.

Winner on l’Alpe d’Huez – Tom Pidcock

‘A future Tour winner,’ they’re saying already – nevertheless it appeared only a matter of time earlier than Quintana received it, Ulrich was going to win a half dozen. . . However a surprising journey nonetheless and he strikes as much as eighth on GC while workforce mate Thomas hung robust and is now on the ‘digital’ podium in third spot.

Thomas held the 2 ‘massive’ GC males

Persevering with a great day for INEOS, Yates shed time on the stage however moved as much as fifth on GC. Not such a great day for the house nation on this big day although, Bardet regardless of battling arduous shed time and dropped from second on GC to fourth while Gaudu stays seventh on GC he was dropped within the ultimate.

Gaudu nonetheless seventh

Amongst these with a ‘stroll on’ half, Vlasov and Lutsenko each misplaced time, now sitting tenth and eleventh respectively; however Mas – you understand, that Movistar man who by no means goes to the entrance – moved up one spot to ninth.

Vingegaard and Pogačar marked one another

The Bigs? There have been no snaffled seconds for Pogačar on the finish of this stage with Vingegaard virtually in his jersey pocket. And there we have been pondering the opposite day, ‘it’s arduous to see anybody taking the jersey from Pogačar,’ and simply a few days later right here we’re pondering, ‘it’s arduous to see anybody taking the jersey from Vingegaard. . .’

Andy Hampsten wint op Alpe d’Huez de 15e etappe. Foto Cor Vos©
Reminiscences of Hampsten

Watching on TV introduced again my recollections of l’Alpe; I used to be there for Pinot, Riblon, Rolland, Sastre, Pantani, Conti – and my all-time favorite l’Alpe expertise, Andy Hampsten’s win. The photographs of the massive, loopy crowds as we speak jogged my memory of that day in ’92, it’s arduous to imagine that 30 years have handed since that day.

Jumbo-Visma ‘in management’

And a ultimate level, Jumbo-Visma, the best way they rode on l’Alpe, they jogged my memory of one other workforce from a number of years again, I can’t fairly keep in mind their identify although. . .

Stage 12 highlights:


Mads had hardly dropped his arms from his victory salute when my telephone, ‘pinged’ – a neat little row of Danish flags from my buddy Jakob in Copenhagen. He has each proper to be happy; their third stage win, Cort’s time in polka dots and the present maillot jaune. ‘Meget godt!’

One other Danish victory

A transition stage so there’s a little bit of a tussle till the appropriate composition of break goes clear then all of it calms down – the break positive factors time, stays away, contests the dash and the peloton ambles in, proper? Mistaken!

The ‘break of the day’

Not lately, each race is contested like a world championship and it wasn’t till Lotto Soudal misplaced Caleb Ewan to [another] crash and stopped chasing, then late within the day, arduous chasing BikeExchange-Jayco threw within the towel when it turned obvious that the six males up the street have been simply too sturdy that it was sure the break would survive.

Fred Wright there once more

For the third time on this Tour the 23 year-old Londoner, Fred Wright has impressed, this time it took former World Champion, Pedersen to disclaim him the win. The standard of Wright’s journey is below scored by the truth that when Pedersen break up the break on an increase solely the Londoner and Canada’s Hugo Houle might reply; Matteo Jorgensen, Stefan Küng and ‘Pippo’ Ganna couldn’t – sufficient mentioned.

Quinn Simmons…. No Didi the satan

And with reference to, ‘younger guys’ Pedersen owes a point of his success to selfless work by workforce mate Quinn Simmons who rode himself to a standstill to take care of the hole for the break. It’s arduous to imagine if you observe his ‘Grizzly Adams’ look and the best way he rides that he’s solely 21 years-old – however then it’s solely three years since Martin and I watched him destroy the very best juniors on the planet to grow to be World Junior Street Race Champion in Harrogate.

Pog scheming

What of The Bigs? It wasn’t a day for them however Jumbo have been massed on the head of the peloton many of the day, simply to remind everybody who’s in cost and Pog spent the day scheming. . .

Wout very protected in inexperienced

Wout has greater than double the factors rating his nearest rival, Pog with 333 to 164 while Geschke leads the King of the Mountains by 4 factors from Meintjes – that jersey in Paris can be an enormous deal to both’s workforce however Vingegaard is simply a handful of factors behind and positive to attain extra within the Pyrenees.

Victor Lafay out

However let’s spare a thought for poor Victor Lafay, the Cofidis press launch places it this manner:

The rider, who found the Tour de France for the primary time in his profession, needed to give up on Friday. He had been attempting to withstand for a number of days, regardless of his weakened state of well being resulting from repeated efforts.’

Few sports activities present much less mercy. . .

Stage 13 highlights:


The probabilities are that Michael Matthews has by no means heard of Italy’s Guido Bontempi and would marvel what the hell I used to be doing evaluating him to some Italian man from the historical past books. Massive Guido began as a observe man, he rode the Kilometre Championship on the Moscow Olympics in 1980 however quickly crossed over to the street – the place the actual cash lay. He was fast, successful 16 Giro phases, six Tour de France stage, 4 Vuelta phases and two Gent-Wevelgems to record however a few of his palmarès. BUT not all of these stage wins got here from mass prices. As Father Time started to meet up with Guido he realised he wasn’t one of many very quickest any extra. The answer, ‘The Buffalo’ – as he was recognized – got here up with? Infiltrate the breaks, do his share and belief his fellow escapees would assume they might lose him on a gradient someplace alongside the percorso – he was a BIG man – and work with him. In the event that they couldn’t do away with him then there was solely going to be one winner out of that breakaway.

Guido Bontempi
Guido Bontempi

It was good to see the Aussie ‘doing a Guido’ however there’s no manner Guido might have climbed that col just like the Aussie did, or despatched Bettiol as he did. The stage winner and ‘man of the match’ after his aggressive, dogged show – Monsieur Matthews, CHAPEAU!

Matthews: ‘Climbs properly for a sprinter’

And if we had any doubts that it’s a two man race for the GC then they have been lessened as we speak as Pogačar and Vingegaard struck out on that final climb to the airfield at Mende. Pog must get a brand new white jersey made with pockets massive sufficient to accommodate Jonas although. . .

The Pog/Vin duo on the end

And hope for Pog followers with Vingegaard’s workforce wanting decidedly weary within the ultimate – however that’s hardly stunning given their work charge. And regardless of the Pog-inspired drag race initially and the fireworks on the ultimate climb the highest six stays unchanged – however Louis Meintjes’ day trip within the Massif Central thrusts him as much as seventh, transferring the remainder of the highest dozen down one place.

Meintjes transferring up

The administration at Intermarché Wanty shall be telling him to not take any dangers now, prime 10 within the Tour de France is a big end result from the workforce. Tomorrow with the lengthy downhill to the end simply might be for the sprinters and there ought to be a GC truce – however on this Tour nothing is for certain.

Stage 14 highlights:


Quote of the day; when requested by Eurosport interviewer Bernie Eisel why he was ‘solely’ sixth within the ultimate cost for the road, Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen responded succinctly; ‘I used to be completely f##ked!’ Thanks, Dylan.

‘Somewhat drained’

His self-assessment was confirmed by the overhead cameras displaying him wrestling together with his machine on the ultimate drag. However his efforts to stick with the peloton have been made to look positively balletic compared to these of Alex Kristoff whose makes an attempt to dismember his bike on that rise jogged my memory of myself as a teen attempting to maintain up with native star, Colin Carmichael on considered one of our horrible winters night coaching runs within the early 70’s.

Philipsen’s tour stage win

Males of the day on this lengthy, infernally scorching day – other than Groenewegen, that’s? Philipsen, taking his first Tour stage after his three Vuelta stage wins – a product of Axel Merckx’s Hagens Bermans growth workforce, a lot was anticipated when he turned professional with UAE. However his progress was regular relatively than spectacular and it wasn’t till he joined Alpecin-Fenix in 2020 that he blossomed and he’s now one of many quickest round, in a position to win the likes of the Scheldeprijs, GP Frankfurt and Championship of Flanders in addition to Grand Tour phases.

Beautiful dash kind Philipsen

Then there’s versatile Benjamin Thomas – world champion on the observe, stage race winner, time trial rider of high quality – whose courageous, dedicated escape on the final categorized climb, with Alexis Gougeard was solely snuffed out with 450 metres to go.

Fairly a journey by Thomas

And I’m biased, however I’ve to appoint my previous good friend, Michael Mørkøv – manner off the again, it was obvious that he was going to overlook the time reduce however refused to board the, ‘sag wagon’ and rode in to the end on this, his 128th Tour de France stage, 65 minutes behind the winner, and 12 minutes outdoors the reduce. Respect, sir.

Mørkøv out of time

And, ‘The Tour giveth and the Tour taketh away:’ It’s been Denmark’s Tour – the fantastic Grand Depart, stage wins, jerseys, every thing going their manner, till yesterday:
Cort is out with Covid; Michael is out as per my feedback above; Vingegaard was on the deck and misplaced two workforce mates – Roglič has gone house to lick his wounds and Kruijswijk broke his collar bone in a crash; and Fuglsang out with a damaged rib because of being concerned in a crash.

Subsequent up the Pyrenees

‘Anticipate the surprising,’ on this race. The Pyrenees on Tuesday – however don’t lose the rhythm of the race on the remaining day, watch a stage on ‘catch up’ or fish out an previous Tour DVD, I’ll be knocking out a few hundred phrases simply to maintain my hand in. . .

Jusqu’a demain. . .

Stage 15 highlights:


# Keep PEZ for all of the ‘Stage Reviews’, Relaxation Day Spherical-Ups’, ‘Race Breakdowns’ and all of the information in ‘EUROTRASH’ Monday and Thursday. #

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