We are half way through the race. Teams take different approaches to the rest day yesterday - some take it easy and others train hard. On the easy side, Peter Sagan's riding an e-bike on the rest day raised a lot of commentator eye brows because officials conduct 40-80 test each day to make sure there are no e-bikes in the peleton. The final 1.5 miles was a narrow urban route, but fortunately it was not a factor and neither was the wind as it was 2 days ago. The exciting finish was won by a aerodynamic-style sprinter who came in the top 3 in four previous stages, winning by inches after a perfect lead out from his team.
The Friends of the Green Bay Trail is a 10-year-old volunteer managed non-profit 501(c)3 organization. At the July 16, 2019 meeting of the Evanston Bicycle Club we learned from volunteers Betsy Leibson and Ann Reilly about their work to remove invasive species, restore native plants, and create a healthy habitat.
Colorful commentary heard today: "Today was a stage and a half", "You can't win today, but you can definitely lose". Overall standings changed with several riders in the top 10 losing time. One stat thrown around today was that in the first 10 days there were 10 different stage winners, the first time since 2002. Today's feel good story was the stage win by Wout Van Aert of Belgium, 25 year old three time world cyclocross champion and first time Tour de France (TdF) rider. He said the TdF is larger than he imagined and he values his stage win more than any other career win. Rest day tomorrow.
Another hard day today considered an intermediate stage, not completely flat with a category 1 climb, but not completely hilly either. It was another feel good story of the stage winner, 34 year old Daryl Impey from South Africa earning his first stage win after riding in the Tour 7 times. No changes to the overall standing again today.
At the start of the second week the race encountered the first of 3 hard days. The course was "lumpy", i.e. lots of ups and downs, technical turns, and the pavement in this part of France is poor. Julian Alaphilippe got the yellow jersey back, delighting the French as they approach Bastille day.
This was the longest stage. After a few hills at the beginning, it was flat, and the peleton rolled at a pedestrian pace until last mile with an exciting 46 mph sprint finish and a new stage winner by only a few centimeters. There was no change to the overall standings. A few crashes occurred, reportedly, when riders were caught napping. If you are fascinated by how much the riders eat, it is still not an exact science since the Sunweb team reported they are measuring and counting every calorie the team consumes to gather data for a nutrition study.
An exciting stage, the first in the mountains and most difficult so far with an opportunity to take a closer look at the general classification contenders. The attack did not occur at the start, with the pace described as parade-like. There was speculation whether the current yellow jersey holder, Julian Alaphilippe, could hold on to it with the long steep climbs, and he did not, but he gave an outstanding performance, so he may be a contender. Even through Tour de France riders appear super human, there is at least one who is mortal like many of us, Andre Greipel who walked his bike up the 24% grade climb on stage 6 (click "Read More" below to see photo)
We learned that the stage winner, Peter Sagan, is a “quacker”, a cycling term for those that weave through the peloton cutting off people. It was worth it because he dominated the sprint and won the stage and is well on his way to win the green jersey for the points competition. The race got exciting in the last 1 mile while all the teams got in position to launch their sprinters. In a colorful turn of events, a large golf umbrella was blown onto the route, but luckily no one got hurt.
Appropriately enough for a July meeting while the 2019 Tour de France is ongoing, Ron Kaminecki was the speaker at the Earth Rider Cycling Series on July 10th and gave a talk about a bike ride of the Loire Valley in France which ended with a viewing of the final stage of the 2017 Tour de France in Paris.
The peleton traveled another day through the champagne region of France with more hills. There was no change in the overall standings.
Sharon Kaminecki comments on adventures in bicycling and other stories