Pyrenean summits, French hope and blockages

  • Today’s stage: Pau – Luz Ardiden, 129.7 kilometers

The Pyrenees, the end of it. The 144 riders still in the peloton will go through the last mountain stage of this Tour de France on Thursday July 15. The program remains nonetheless muscular, the day after the arrival at the top in Saint-Lary-Soulan which saw Tadej Pogacar win: two odds of 4e category in a very fast and rolling first part before going on to the Col du Tourmalet from the 77e kilometer by the slope of Mongie and an arrival at the top, again, in Luz Ardiden.

It is therefore in one of the most legendary passes of the event, the Tourmalet, that this stage could come alive. Appeared on the race in 1910, this pass classified out of category – 17.1 kilometers of ascent with an average of 7.3% – has been climbed 79 times in the history of the Great Loop, which makes it the pass most often climbed in the test. After this ascent, the runners, surely scattered everywhere, will switch to 20 kilometers of descent before starting the climb to Luz Ardiden, with a length of 13.3 kilometers with an average of 7.4%.

Pau Tower
  • The runner: David Gaudu

David Gaudu at the finish of the 17th stage of the Tour de France, July 14, 2021.

He is the man in shape at the end of the Tour on the French side. The Groupama-FDJ climber was on the right path on Tuesday before being surprised by the American Sepp Kuss, and he made a very good final climb on Wednesday towards Saint-Lary-Soulan. Too close to follow the Tadej Pogacar-Jonas Vingegaard-Richard Carapaz trio, David Gaudu however managed to let go of Ben O’Connor, Rigoberto Uran or Peio Bilbao in the Portet pass.

His good performances in the Pyrenees allow him to be at the gates of the Top 10 in the general classification before the last mountain stage on Thursday: he is 11e 15 min and 42 s from Tadej Pogacar. What to regret the 25 minutes lost in Mont Ventoux during the 11e step he ran ill.

But he has already warned, Wednesday evening, that he intends to go back to the attack if the legs are present: “I recovered well from yesterday [mardi], it was a nice climb to my hand. Tomorrow we are at Bruno Armirail [son coéquipier], if we have recovered well why not try things. ”

An ambition confirmed by its sports director, Marc Madiot. “A few days ago, we had three out of four riders at the front so it shows that we are operational, that we are not giving up, that we are not downcast, he explained. The day today [mercredi] with David is very interesting for the future. We’re gonna try to race tomorrow [jeudi]. ” Appointment is made.

Screenshot / “Tour de Tietema” - YouTube

The sentence fell on Tuesday evening. “We have just learned that ASO [Amaury Sport Organisation, l’instance organisatrice du Tour de France] blocked all our YouTube videos on this edition of the Tour de France. “

“Tour de Tietema”, the videos of Bas Tietema and his friends, had nevertheless become one of our favorite events on this Grande Boucle. Whether it was to organize a rear wheel competition on the slopes of the Col de Beixalis for the peloton, to climb the Ventoux on a city bike or to set up a bar on the “Mont Chauve” for the runners, the Dutch videographers always had good ideas. .

But ASO decided to end the joke. Blocked videos “For copyright reasons”, can we now only read instead of images. It’s hard to understand why, especially since the videographers had paid attention to these questions and that some blocked videos did not contain any images of the peloton. The organizing body is far from being the first to be very protective of its rights. Not sure, however, that this is his best idea.

“Vingegaard told me he knew Carapaz was bluffing, and I knew it too”

Climbing the Col du Portet seemed to be a priesthood for Richard Carapaz on Wednesday. The Ecuadorian rider, well placed in a group of three, along with Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard, did not take over, to the chagrin of his companions.

Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard with Richard Carapaz in the background, during the 17th stage of the Tour de France, July 14, 2021.

Despite this acting game that could have earned him an Oscar, Vingegaard and Pogacar claim to have never believed it. And yet, the attack of the Ecuadorian in the last hectometers of the Portet pass on Wednesday almost destabilized the Dane. Fortunately for him, the Jumbo-Visma rider managed to come back a few tens of meters from the line before passing him in the sprint. Carapaz is not yet Armstrong …

  • Image: a little more cycling for Latour

When there is no more, there is still. Once the finish line was crossed at Saint-Lary-Soulan, at the top of the terrible Portet pass, the riders probably had only one idea in mind: get off their bikes and enjoy a well-deserved rest. But that was without counting on the organization, which made the teams’ buses and cars park a little higher up. After more than five hours of stage and three passes, including the last out of category, the riders then had to make a final effort: climb a few more meters to join their team.

This is how Pierre Latour found himself doing a few more meters on his bike. Unhappy runner during this 17e stage, where he tried to escape several times, without managing to outrun the peloton, he finally finished in 38e place, more than 17 minutes from the winner Pogacar. But there was obviously still some juice left for the leader of TotalEnergies to achieve this last ascent.