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One in a Billion | Rise to the Summit
@Aquarius: Stages of individual brilliance mixed with stages of individual lapses, kind of sums up the season so far really.

@Tamijo: Thanks Smile
A Difficult Step

Date: 16th May, 2021

"How did it go?" It was my uncle on the phone.
"As good as I could have hoped for", I replied.
"I didn't think you'd go through with it", he responded.
"I had my doubts. I'm still not sure I want to do this, to be perfectly honest with you."
"Well kid, it's too late for that now. Take my advice, this is best for your career. I saw it in your eyes kiddo, you want this. Even though you don't say it out loud."
"You know everything I guess." We shared a laugh.
"Gotta go now. I fly off to for the Tour altitude training tomorrow."
"Sure kid. See you when I see you."
"That might not be for some time yet."
"Take care of yourself. You know I'll be rooting for you."
"I know. Bye."
"Goodbye. Happy landing."


Team Results and News from April and Early May

The Ardennes campaign went well for us with Julian Alaphilippe winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Tom Dumoulin broke his hand in training and was ruled out of the Giro. We went in with Alaphilippe the new team leader. Alaphilippe was inside the Top 10 with a couple of Top 5 stage finishes when he too had to retire with an injury on Stage 7. Stage wins and perhaps the KOM jersey are our only targets for the rest of the Giro.
Great story indeed! I registered extra for giving credit where credit is due. I caught up with it over the past few days and it was great fun to read.

Now it seems, though, that Mr. Abhishek will have to make a decision. From the looks of the races he won, he seems to have turned into a decent punsher by now. But the Grand Tour GCs are decided in the big mountains. It's tough to be competitive in both the GTs and the daily Classics. And it's so much easier to survive a bad day in the mountains when this is where your training and focus is. Looking forward to where time will bring him.
SFMaverick wrote:
Great story indeed! I registered extra for giving credit where credit is due. I caught up with it over the past few days and it was great fun to read.

Now it seems, though, that Mr. Abhishek will have to make a decision. From the looks of the races he won, he seems to have turned into a decent punsher by now. But the Grand Tour GCs are decided in the big mountains. It's tough to be competitive in both the GTs and the daily Classics. And it's so much easier to survive a bad day in the mountains when this is where your training and focus is. Looking forward to where time will bring him.

First of all, thank you for the huge compliment! I'm honoured by the fact that you made a profile to comment on my story Smile

Coming to my alter ego, he has progressed well but has not yet made winning the GC a habit. Hope that will change soon. The rest of this season will be a good indicator of where his future. I personally hope it lies in the highest of high mountains!

After two months off competitive cycling (where I took care of a very difficult personal business), but with solid altitude training behind me, I got back to the road in Switzerland for my next race.

After a good early season, the team had a poor outing in the Giro, with Nelson Oliviera the best placed rider at 16th. No one from the team came close to challenging for a jersey.

Tour de Suisse

The management released another strong startlist for this race. Alaphilippe, having recovered from his injury, Barguil and Ulissi lined up with me on the startlist. Me and Barguil were again tipped for a high GC finish.

Stage 1 was the medium distance Prologue. I crossed the finish line in first place but was pipped by a later starter by a single second. I narrowly missed out on back-to-back ITT stage wins. Alaphilippe had a horrible day while Barguil was decent.

Craddock started Stage 2 unwell. The two man early break was being chased by a fifty rider peloton on top of the first climb. Three more riders attacked and joined the break on the descent. At 25 km to go, the break was down to 4 riders. Kwiatkowski and Nairo Quintana attacked on the second climb. The break was caught with 5 km to go. Ion Izaguirre and Mohoric attacked but were caught soon after. Quintana too was reeled back in. Kwiatkowski held on and won the stage. I lost a place in the GC.

Stage 3 saw a lone rider make up the early break. He was caught before the second climb. Three riders formed the next break but one was caught on he climb itself. Beyond the second intermediate sprint, the break increased in number by two riders. They were caught with 45 km to go. Ulissi paced me up the next climb but got dropped at the top after the effort. I passed the KOM sprint in first place to pick up maximum points. The lead group was down to twenty. Alaphilippe attacked with 20 km to go but was caught 5 km later. Vuillermoz attacked at the 10 km mark and was followed by a few others. Alaphilippe got dropped but I made my way back through the field to finish 6th. I moved down to 5th in the GC.

Stage 4 was flat with a slightly uphill finish. The early break was caught with 8 km to go and a sprint decided the result. Alaphilippe finished 9th with Adrien Costa 10th for us.

Stage 5 saw the pack split on the early rolling flats. They were back together when a four rider breakaway formed. I got caught in a pack split on the first climb but my way back to the peloton with the help of a couple of teammates. The pack was down to just thirty riders with 7 km to go, the break having been caught before that. In the reduced bunch sprint, Alaphilippe finished 2nd.

Stage 6


A group of five GC contenders, including Barguil and Alaphilippe join the early break. They built up a lead of two minutes over the pack. They were eventually caught by the peloton. It started snowing as the next break formed with five riders. Peter Kennaugh, just four minutes off the lead posed the biggest threat from the break. The peloton was down to fifty riders on the first climb while the break had built up an eleven minute lead! At the final sprint point, the break's lead was down to four minutes and the peloton was forty riders strong. Five more riders attacked from the pack. I chased along with my surviving teammates. I caugth and passed Kwiatkowski and Vuillermoz. Barguil was out ahead on the road. I was not able to make up further ground. Barguil finished 9th while I was 10th. I moved down further to 7th in the GC. Kennaugh and Leo Vincent, both in the day's break moved up to 2nd and 6th in the GC, respectively.

Stage 7 saw the day's break caught on the first climb. I was a part of a four rider group at the head of the field on that climb. We built up a lead of 45 seconds over the pack. I was the weakest in the sprint and finished 4th. Alaphilippe finished 7th from the pack. We gained 36 seconds to the pack. I moved up to 6th in the GC.

Barguil and Hardouin joined the nine man break on Stage 8. The lead group was down to twenty five riders on top of the second climb. With 25 km to go, the break was down to six. Hardouin was back in the sixty rider peloton. With 13 km left, Barguil was the lone break, with an eleven rider group, including me, chasing him. Barguil was caught with 10 km to go. The next group on the road caught us soon after. Kwiatkowski attacked with 4 km to go. He won but there was no time gap to our group. Alaphilippe finished 3rd in the sprint.

The Stage 9 was a good chance for me to improve my position. I crossed the first intermediate in first place but lost my way in the secomd half of the race. I crossed the line 43 seconds in arrears. One more rider finished faster than me and my position on this stage was 4th. I remained in 6th place in the GC.

General Classification

1Nairo QuintanaDe Koninck32h37'29
2Ion IzagirreTEAM Cepsa+ 2'02
3Peter KennaughHuawei+ 2'13
4Michał KwiatkowskiOrica-GreenEDGE+ 3'49
5Tony GallopinTinkoff-Saxo+ 3'57
6Abhishek SinhaDuvel+ 5'05
7Alexis VuillermozTinkoff-Saxo+ 6'19
8Léo VincentTeam Europcar+ 7'02
9Daniel MartinLiqui Moly+ 9'16
10Peter SaganTinkoff-Saxo+ 9'19

11Jan PolancMTN-Qhubeka+ 9'49
12Julian AlaphilippeDuvel+ 11'06
13Warren BarguilDuvel+ 13'04
14Rohan DennisHuawei+ 13'53
15Andrey AmadorMTN-Qhubeka+ 14'01
16Tim WellensDe Koninck+ 16'07
17Rui CostaAg2r La Mondiale+ 16'12
18Jay McCarthyHuawei+ 20'33
19Matvei MamykinTinkoff-Saxo+ 21'25
20Gervais HardouinDuvel+ 22'41
21Pierre-Roger LatourAlcatel+ 24'48
22Matej MohoricDe Koninck+ 25'18
23Carlos BetancurDe Koninck+ 25'40
24Lawson CraddockDuvel+ 25'41
25Rubén FernándezTEAM Cepsa+ 26'22
26Steven KruijswijkTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 27'29
27Cyril GautierTeam Europcar+ 27'46
28Tao Geoghegan HartHuawei+ 28'25
29Emanuel BuchmannTeam Europcar+ 28'34
30Graham TrainoRoth - Skoda+ 29'08
31Bob JungelsTinkoff-Saxo+ 31'44
32Chris FroomeTinkoff-Saxo+ 33'01
33Alvaro CuadrosTEAM Kodak+ 33'18
34Ilya KoshevoyRoth - Skoda+ 34'13
35Ruben GuerreiroTEAM Cepsa+ 36'50
36Lennard KämnaTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 38'44
37Dzidoslaw GrodeckiMTN-Qhubeka+ 39'28
38Jacques Janse Van RensburgCCC Sprandi Polkowice+ 39'47
39Jeffrey PerrinMTN-Qhubeka+ 39'54
40Patrick MüllerRoth - Skoda+ 39'57
41Danny Van PoppelOrica-GreenEDGE+ 40'58
42Stefano NardelliLiqui Moly+ 42'10
43Michael MatthewsOrica-GreenEDGE+ 43'31
44Terence SaliouAg2r La Mondiale+ 44'37
45Moreno MoserAg2r La Mondiale+ 46'48
46Christian MagerLiqui Moly+ 47'07
47Andreas RosenbergTinkoff-Saxo+ 48'23
48Lachlan MortonDrapac Professional Cycling+ 48'26
49Daniele RattoLiqui Moly+ 48'56
50Diego UlissiDuvel+ 50'17
51Conrado MoscosoHuawei+ 50'37
52Bryan CoquardTeam Europcar+ 51'09
53Alexis DulinCCC Sprandi Polkowice+ 52'46
54Nacer BouhanniTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 52'50
55Richard WeinzheimerLiqui Moly+ 53'00
56Kiante ChogeNike+ 54'12
57Toms SkujinsSwissair+ 57'55
58Jens KeukeleireDe Koninck+ 59'21
59Enea CambianicaNike+ 59'57
60Miguel Angel BenitoTEAM Cepsa+ 1h00'26
61Fredrik LudvigssonCCC Sprandi Polkowice+ 1h01'27
62Hervé BrangerAlcatel+ 1h01'49
63Marcel HeitzAlcatel+ 1h02'05
64Yves LampaertDe Koninck+ 1h02'08
65Aitor CerveróMTN-Qhubeka+ 1h02'48
66Mads PedersenSwissair+ 1h02'49
67Tiago MachadoCCC Sprandi Polkowice+ 1h03'06
68Sergey KuzminDrapac Professional Cycling+ 1h03'33
69Adriano MaloriTeam Cannondale - Garmin+ 1h03'37
70Luca SterbiniTeam Cannondale - Garmin+ 1h03'49
71Maurits LammertinkCCC Sprandi Polkowice+ 1h04'45
72Harry CarpenterOrica-GreenEDGE+ 1h05'46
73Chris MortierTeam Europcar+ 1h07'23
74Stefan KüngMTN-Qhubeka+ 1h07'41
75Rudi MilicDrapac Professional Cycling+ 1h08'27
76Giacomo NizzoloHuawei+ 1h08'46
77Jérôme FrancoisTrek Factory Racing+ 1h10'02
78Yonas TekesteAlcatel+ 1h10'17
79Laurens De VreeseTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 1h10'29
80Silvan DillierNike+ 1h10'58
81Daniel OssTeam Cannondale - Garmin+ 1h11'50
82Manuele BoaroTEAM Kodak+ 1h12'34
83Ian StannardTEAM Kodak+ 1h12'38
84Michael VingerlingTeam Europcar+ 1h14'34
85Davide PacchiardoTeam Cannondale - Garmin+ 1h14'52
86Moreno HoflandTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 1h15'24
87Lars Van Der HaarTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 1h15'57
88Romeo PisciottaTEAM Cepsa+ 1h16'53
89Florian SenechalOrica-GreenEDGE+ 1h17'11
90Marlon GaillardAg2r La Mondiale+ 1h17'55
91Luke RoweHuawei+ 1h18'00
92Andrei KrasilnikauDrapac Professional Cycling+ 1h19'41
93Roy JansCCC Sprandi Polkowice+ 1h20'10
94Sam BennettOrica-GreenEDGE+ 1h20'15
95Tim De TroyerDe Koninck+ 1h20'19
96Tom BohliTrek Factory Racing+ 1h23'13
97Elia FavilliTeam Cannondale - Garmin+ 1h23'55
98Edward TheunsDe Koninck+ 1h25'46
99Colin StüssiSwissair+ 1h26'17
100Logan OwenMTN-Qhubeka+ 1h28'31
101Erik BaskaTrek Factory Racing+ 1h28'59
102Stijn SteelsNike+ 1h29'56
103Sep VanmarckeTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 1h30'59
104Dimitriy LukyanovTEAM Kodak+ 1h31'39
105Adrian KurekCCC Sprandi Polkowice+ 1h31'56
106Kamil GradekDrapac Professional Cycling+ 1h32'00
107Sander HelvenNike+ 1h33'55
108Ramon SinkeldamTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 1h34'37
109Taylor PhinneyMTN-Qhubeka+ 1h34'50
110Adrien CostaDuvel+ 1h36'10
111Nawaf AlbalooshiTrek Factory Racing+ 1h36'14
112Jasper FrahmLiqui Moly+ 1h38'23
113August JensenRoth - Skoda+ 1h38'36
114Mark ChristianSwissair+ 1h39'17
115Matteo MalucelliTEAM Cepsa+ 1h40'29
116Mathias Van GompelNike+ 1h41'32
117Julius van den BergAlcatel+ 1h42'09
118Inaxio ArcegaTEAM Cepsa+ 1h42'17
119Lukas SpenglerTrek Factory Racing+ 1h43'46
120Alton McArtherTEAM Kodak+ 1h47'29
121Federico ZurloOrica-GreenEDGE+ 1h48'46
122Mattia FrapportiTeam Cannondale - Garmin+ 1h48'51
123Julien MoriceTeam Europcar+ 1h50'13
124Fabien CanalAg2r La Mondiale+ 1h51'30
125Nils PolittDrapac Professional Cycling+ 1h51'31
126Franco CantaluppiSwissair+ 1h51'58
127Alain EchevarríaTEAM Cepsa+ 1h52'34
128Matteo TrentinHuawei+ 1h53'59
129Travis MccabeNike+ 1h54'22
130Alexey LutsenkoTEAM Kodak+ 1h54'26
131Julian SchulzeLiqui Moly+ 1h56'22
132Pio ScarpatoTEAM Kodak+ 2h01'36
133Waldemar ErtlAlcatel+ 2h02'36
134Dylan PageTrek Factory Racing+ 2h02'53
135Manuel PorznerRoth - Skoda+ 2h03'28
136Johannes WindischbauerRoth - Skoda+ 2h05'30
137Robert-Jon McCarthyDrapac Professional Cycling+ 2h06'23
138Muchaneta CremerTeam Cannondale - Garmin+ 2h09'35
139Léonard QuentinSwissair+ 2h12'18
140Aurélien ConteAg2r La Mondiale+ 2h15'04
141Luka MezgecRoth - Skoda+ 2h15'17
142George PymSwissair+ 2h16'03
143Talal Al YazeediOrica-GreenEDGE+ 2h17'31
144Ashot DuginTeam Europcar+ 2h20'25
145Bryan AlaphilippeAg2r La Mondiale+ 2h29'31
146Milán BiróDrapac Professional Cycling+ 2h30'07
147Paul OurselinAlcatel+ 2h33'40
148Fariji TaharTrek Factory Racing+ 2h37'52
149Peter ErdinAlcatel+ 2h40'32
150Fabian CancellaraSwissair+ 3h03'20
151Stepan AstafyevTEAM Kodak+ 3h05'50

Points Classification

1Michał KwiatkowskiOrica-GreenEDGE46
2Peter SaganTinkoff-Saxo30
3Alexis VuillermozTinkoff-Saxo20
4Ion IzagirreTEAM Cepsa20
5Léo VincentTeam Europcar16

Mountain Classification

1Jeffrey PerrinMTN-Qhubeka40
2Léo VincentTeam Europcar39
3Ilya KoshevoyRoth - Skoda36
4Peter KennaughHuawei27
5Miguel Angel BenitoTEAM Cepsa25

Young Riders Classification

1Abhishek SinhaDuvel32h42'34
2Gervais HardouinDuvel+ 17'36
3Graham TrainoRoth - Skoda+ 24'03
4Lennard KämnaTeam Giant-Alpecin+ 33'39
5Dzidoslaw GrodeckiMTN-Qhubeka+ 34'23


Team Classification

2Duvel+ 9'34
3De Koninck+ 9'50
4Huawei+ 15'24
5MTN-Qhubeka+ 26'47

My season of consistency continues with another top 10. I have finished between 5th and 8th positions for the past four races now! With the Tour coming up next, I just hope I can make that one step up at the right time. I don't think I could've asked for a better preparation this year. The team too had another good outing with four top 20s and 2nd in the team standings. Another U25 jersey in the bag for me.

Next up, it is the big big one...
Edited by AbhishekLFC on 01-09-2017 08:15
Good luck! I hope thje Tour includes lots of TT kms to help your chances against the pure climbers.
Thanks Ripley Smile. The Tour doesn't have a lot of ITT kilometres but it does end with an ITT at Champs Elysees!
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Posted on 30-11-2022 00:56
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The biggest month in the cycling calendar starts. My preparation since the start of this year has been leading up to this point. My personal target was to get into the top 5 in this race but the team were expecting a podium finish.

Tour de France

Duvel Startlist


I don't think I could've asked for a much stronger team to go into the Tour. What a difference from the last Grand Tour I entered! The course was not only for the climbers, with a moderate amount of TTs also involved. I was hoping I could take advantage of that.

The list of challengers included Nairo Quintana, Fabio Aru, Thibaut Pinot, Simon Yates, Louis Meintjes, Bob Jungels and others.

The prologue on Stage 1 was a sort of disappointment for both me and Dumoulin, whho was the bookies' favourite going into it. I finished in 36th place, 10 seconds off the pace while Dumoulin finished with the saem time, a couple of positions further down.

Stage 2 started off hilly but was meant for the sprinters. The climb of day, featuring four riders formed after the first climb, and held off the pack till 8 km to go. The bunch sprint saw Van Aert finish 4th for us.

Stage 3


The climbing started early on in this race. With a total of eight climbs, this stage was sure to separate the cream from the rest. The break consisted of three riders who built up a maximum lead of eight minutes. The peloton was down to sixty riders on top of the penultimate climb with the solo break two minutes in front. The break was caught 4 km from the top of the last climb, with a total of 10 km left. Arnaud Duteil was the first to attack with 7 km to go. He was caught but Polanc and Nairo Quintana attacked immediately. This was followed by Kwiatkowski on the descent. The earlier were not caught before the line but Kwiatkowski was reeled back in. The duo got over 30 seconds to the pack with Polanc taking the win. Quintana got the Yellow Jersey. I finished in the peloton to take over the lead in the U25 classification.

Stage 4 was another for the fast men. The break was caught with 12 km to go. The pack did shed some riders in the hills, with Dumoulin one of those losing time. Alaphilippe finished 10th in the sprint. I moved up to 15th in the GC by staying out of trouble.


(Wearing the White Jersey!)

Stage 5 was absolutely flat following a small climb at the start. Sagan won the bunch sprint.

Stage 6 had one big climb before the finish, where the climbers were expected to reign supreme once again. The four man break was caught with 40 km still left. Slagter attacked 2.5 km from the top of the category 1 climb. He was followed by two others. The peloton was down to forty five riders on top of that climb. One rider from the break was caught with 25 km to go. The others, including Slagter were caught with 7 km left. The reduced bunch sprint was won by Sergio Henao with Barguil in 2nd and Ulissi in 3rd.

Stage 7


The first of the big climbs and the first MTF of the race, leading to Pau. The eight man break was allowed only three minutes. The break was down to four with 40 km to go. The peloton had forty five riders at the top of the category 1 climb. Craddock was dropped from the pack. The bigger shock was that Areu was dropped as well. The break was caught at the base of the MTF. Meintjes attacked with 6 km to go. Nairo Quintana, Pinot and Simon Yates followed. Dumoulin and Alaphilippe chased them down for me. Quintana was dropped as Alaphilippe grabbed 5th place at the finish. Dumoulin got 10th. I finished with the same time and moved up to 7th in the GC. Meintjes was the new leader of the race.

To be continued...

Stage 7 export file missing, so cannot give the time update now

Great result at stage five, Sitting with the best on that ugly summit finish.
Tamijo wrote:
Great result at stage five, Sitting with the best on that ugly summit finish.

Thanks Smile. You mean stage 7 though isn't it?
You mean stage 7?

Yes I did Wink
Tour de France

Stages 8 - 13

Stage 8


The seven man break was allowed to build up a five minute lead. The peloton was down to 50 riders on top of the first HC category climb. The break was caught on the 1st category climb. Five riders attacked on this climb, but none were threat to the GC. At the end of the descent, only a two rider break survived. The break was caught in the opening km of the last climb. Riders started dropping off this group as the climb went on. With 2.5 km to go, I found myself in an elite group of five riders, all potential race winners. Simon Yates launched the decisive attack at the top of the climb. He held on to a thirty second lead on the descent, winning the stage and becoming the new owner of teh Maillot Jaune. I finished 4th on the stage and moved up to 4th in the GC!

Stage 9 was flat and van Aert, our best sprinter, instead of riding for the stage win, was allocated the task of protecting me! Needless to say, he couldn't compete in the bunch sprint. Craddock was suffering from severe headaches since the morning but he fought through the pain to reach the finish.

Stage 10


The early break was caught at the base of the category 2 climb. Two riders broke away from the pack and got a lead of a minute at the top of the previously mentioned climb. The break was caught on top of the last climb before the MTF. Alaphilippe and Oomen launched the first important attack but they were caughton the descent. I attacked on the climb to finish, with four km to go. Nairo Quintana, Kwiatkowski and Gallopin followed. Our quartet was caught only by Alaphilippe at the finish, who ended up 5th. I finished 3rd on the stage and gained time on Yates and Meintjes. I moved up to 3rd in the GC!

Stage Result

1Nairo QuintanaDe Koninck5h05'32
2Tony GallopinTinkoff-Saxo+ 20
3Abhishek SinhaDuvel+ 29
4Michał KwiatkowskiOrica-GreenEDGEs.t.
5Julian AlaphilippeDuvels.t.
6Simon YatesHuawei+ 55
7Romain BardetHuaweis.t.
8Gregorio IbañezTEAM Kodaks.t.
9Thibaut PinotTinkoff-Saxos.t.
10Sam OomenTeam Giant-Alpecins.t.

Stage 11 started off hilly but had a flat finish. The day's break was caught with just 3 km to go. A bunch sprint followed.

Stage 12


A strong ten man break had the likes of Arredondo, Ania and Vanmarcke in it. They had a maximum lead of three minutes to the peloton. At the 20 km mark, the break had only two riders, who had 30 seconds to the pack. Three riders, Quintana, Duteil and Jungels attacked with 12 km to go, with no response. The team did their best to chase them down with Barguil once again playing the role of my super-domestique. Kwiatkowski attacked next but his move did not succeed. I was soon chasing down on my own. I couldn't make up all the gap, finishing 8th on the stage. I lost a place in the GC, going down to 4th as Pinot moved up to 3rd.

Stage 13


The first ITT stage was a welcome relief for me from all the climbing. Dumoulin started the stage as top favourite but he could only manage 7th place. I started my ITT very well, going past the first two time-checks in 3rd and 2nd place, respectively. Although I did get tired at the end, I managed a commendable 6th place on the stage. I was faster than Pinot by 19 seconds, enough to climb back into 3rd in the GC. I gianed time on all GC contenders besides Simon Yates, who was 5 seconds faster than me.

GC after Stage 13

1Simon YatesHuawei52h15'58
2Gregorio IbañezTEAM Kodak+ 2'07
3Abhishek SinhaDuvel+ 2'42
4Thibaut PinotTinkoff-Saxo+ 2'48
5Nairo QuintanaDe Koninck+ 3'45
6Bob JungelsTinkoff-Saxo+ 5'52
7Louis MeintjesSwissair+ 6'36
8Michał KwiatkowskiOrica-GreenEDGE+ 7'14
9Jan PolancMTN-Qhubeka+ 7'51
10Romain BardetHuawei+ 8'58

To be continued...
Edited by AbhishekLFC on 04-09-2017 17:43
Come on! That podium must be yours! Also, don't forget to fight for win Grin
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix

Yes, yes, yes. In with a shot for the win now Grin
Very close GC after 13 stages, anyone in top 5 might lose it all or take it to the top. Will be an interesting last week.
Nail bitingly close, the pressure is on!
@Tamijo: This race has been a battle of tactics so far. I'll try to take advantage of the cat-and-mouse games in the last week.

@Ripley: More than ever! Need to avoid my 'one bad day' syndrome.
Tour de France

Stages 14 - 17

Stage 14


Both me and Alaphilippe were being touted as favourites for the stage win. Sergio Henao and Sep Vanmarcke were among the riders in the eight man break. With 40 km to go, the peloton was down to less than a hundred riders and the break was down to four. Over the next 10 km, three more from the break were caught. The last rider was caught just 3 km later. With 18 km left, Alaphilippe led an attack followed by Oomen and Kwiatkowski. They lasted out in front for 5 km. Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski attacked again at the base of the last climb, with just 8 km to go. I was able to drop the rest of the GC contenders and catch up to Alaphilippe before the finish. Kwiatkowski won, Alaphilippe finished 2nd, while I picked up 3rd and the bonus seconds. I gained time on all my rivals. Ibanez was the biggest loser of the day, dropped from the contenders' group before the finish. This meant that I moved up to 2nd in the GC!

Stage Result

1Michał KwiatkowskiOrica-GreenEDGE5h07'56
2Julian AlaphilippeDuvel+ 25
3Abhishek SinhaDuvels.t.
4Alexis VuillermozTinkoff-Saxo+ 55
5Sam OomenTeam Giant-Alpecins.t.
6Michael MatthewsOrica-GreenEDGEs.t.
7Tony GallopinTinkoff-Saxo+ 1'12
8Arnaud DuteilTeam Giant-Alpecins.t.
9Peter SaganTinkoff-Saxos.t.
10Nairo QuintanaDe Konincks.t.

Stage 15 was supposed to be, and was uneventful, except for the fact that Ibanez lost even more time! The break survived the day while the peloton did have a couple of splits before the finish. I managed to stay out of trouble.

Stage 16 was flat with a kilometer long uphill finish. The eight man break still had 30 seconds to the peloton with 10 km to go. All of the break barring a single rider were caught over the next three kilometers. Oomen attacked at this stage and joined Barta from the break. They had a 30 second lead with 5 km to go. They were finally caught with just 2 km left. I attacked at the kilometer marker but was caught and passed on the line by four riders. Alaphilippe was one of those and finished 2nd. I got 5th.

Stage 17 was another majorly flat stage with a single short climb at the halfway point. Two from the early seven man break survived to take the stage win. There was a pack split with about 15 km to go which meant some riders lost time. Luckily, I wasn't caught up in it.

GC after Stage 17

1Simon YatesHuawei69h04'57
2Abhishek SinhaDuvel+ 1'32
3Thibaut PinotTinkoff-Saxo+ 2'25
4Nairo QuintanaDe Koninck+ 3'22
5Michał KwiatkowskiOrica-GreenEDGE+ 5'39
6Bob JungelsTinkoff-Saxo+ 7'37
7Gregorio IbañezTEAM Kodak+ 8'00
8Louis MeintjesSwissair+ 8'21
9Julian AlaphilippeDuvel+ 8'25
10Tony GallopinTinkoff-Saxo+ 9'05

To be continued...
Wow getting closer and closer Smile
It's happening... Shock

What's left on the race?
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix

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